Old Students Association

Chief Awolowo


Date: August 18, 2014 Author: busari Categories: Chief Awolowo

Chief Obafemi Awolowo: “An Accounting of My Achievements in the Western Region from 1952-1959″
Taken from “Awo: An Autobiography of Chief Obafemi Awolowo”, Cambridge University Press, 1960


Pp 272 ff.

In my view, therefore, democracy exists only when the people
are free, periodically and at their will, to re-elect or remove
those who have been elected by them to administer their
affairs. It is when this freedom exists that man can grow into
the self-reliant and fearless creature that God intends him to
be. But the moment a single person or a group of persons
contrive to put themselves in a position where they become
a law unto themselves, and are not amenable to the arbitrament
of the people under their jurisdiction, they become a menace
to their fellow-men: the governed lose their self-confidence,
self-reliance and self-respect, and they live in an atmosphere
of dread and spiritual hopelessness. There is, however, a Jewish
proverb which every despot must always remember: ‘When the
tally of bricks is too heavy, then comes Moses.’

As I said before, by June most of our policy papers had been
embodied in Sessional Papers and Bills. These were laid on
the table of the House of Assembly during its meeting which
started on 14 July 1952. All the Sessional Papers were
fully debated by the House of Assembly and were unanimously
passed. The House of Chiefs passed them without debate. The
Local Government Bill which I regarded as my magnum
opus, and which I described as the ‘Charter of Freedom’,
together with other Bills were passed into law. The financial
requirements of all these measures were clearly shown, and
on the aggregate they came to a mighty sum. By way of illustra-
tion, the estimated capital costs for education and health
alone amounted to £10 million, whilst the recurrent expendi-
tare on the same items was expected to go up by about £3
million during the 1954/55 fiscal period. As against these, the
total revenue available for capital and recurrent expenditure
in 1952/53 was only £4.79 million. Where would the required
money come from? That was the question. And it was a ques-
tion which had to be tackled with speed and success, if we were
to redeem our promises to the electorate. I decided to do
everything possible to save money on approved capital esti-
mates. I placed an embargo on expenditure on a number of
building projects such as staff housing. I ruled that government
staff, whether white or black, must go and hire houses wherever
they could find them in Ibadan. I applied for a grant from the
Cocoa Marketing Board, to meet part of the capital expenditure
on education. My argument was that reserves accumulated
from the marketing of cocoa belonged to farmers in the Western
Region. The new education scheme would benefit people
living in the rural areas more than those in the urban areas.
The scheme was, therefore, a legitimate project for financial
assistance from the Cocoa Marketing Board. When my
application was turned down, I threatened that I would
agitate for the Cocoa Marketing Board to be controlled by the
Western Region Government instead of by the Nigerian
Government. It was wrong that the people of the Region should
starve educationally whilst they had huge sums of money
belonging to them lying unused in the hands of some misguided
custodians. My threat went unheeded.

I then had a brain-wave. The capital expenditure on new
schools could be considerably reduced if buildings with per-
manent foundations and ordinary mud walls were erected
instead of completely permanent ones. I made careful in-
vestigation and I was informed that such semi-permanent
structures would cost only about a third of the estimates for
permanent ones, and that they would last at least 50 years.

I took the view that the duty we owed to the present generation
of young people would have been amply discharged if we were
able to provide for them school buildings which would last
50 years. In any case, even if we erected permanent buildings,
their architectural styles would probably be out-of-date in
50 years’ time, and would be due for reconstruction in any
case. Accordingly, I brought a memorandum to the Executive
Council, and we decided that semi-permanent school buildings
should be erected. This would reduce the capital expenditure
on our education programme from £9 million to £3 million.
When the technical people in the Works Department were
apprised of our decision they were flabbergasted. They told
us that they could neither handle nor supervise the type of
buildings we had in mind. I convened a meeting of contractors
to explain our proposition and problem to them. They turned
up; but only Nigerian contractors promised co-operation, and
actually helped in erecting these buildings. European con-
tractors thought it was beneath their professional dignity to
handle our type of semi-permanent buildings.

But the problem of finance for education and health and for
our other projects had not been solved. We decided to impose
a levy of 10/- (shillings) on all adult male taxpayers. At my request, the
Lieutenant-Governor Sir Hugo Marshall convened a meeting
of the Senior Administrative Officers (called Residents) in
charge of Provinces, in order to inform them of our decision
and to secure their co-operation in plucking the goose without
too much squeaking. Some of them thought 10/- was too high;
but it was made quite clear that this was the lowest levy we
could impose if our schemes were to be implemented. When a
resolution seeking the approval of the Legislature for this tax
levy to be imposed with effect from i April 1953 came before
the House of Assembly, the Opposition (still led by Dr Azikiwe)
was up in arms. They denounced the 10/- levy and suggested
2/6d (2 shillings, 6 pence) understand why a government which could mint
coins and print paper money should be levying a tax on its
subjects the NCNC suggestion was received with widespread
acclamation. A fierce and ferocious agitation against this tax
measure, mainly instigated by the NCNC, followed in certain
parts of the Region.

The time-lag between this tax measure (1953) and the actual
introduction of the educational schemes (1955) on account of
which it was imposed, made the government very unpopular.
The NCNC seized the opportunity to din it into people’s ears
that they had been led up the garden path, and that the
capitation levy had been imposed for purposes other than
those which the people were made to believe by the government.
The courage of the Action Group leadership in the face of the
attendant public obloquy was severely tested, but we remained
as undaunted as ever. The NCNC opposition called on the
government to resign; but instead I went to the House of
Assembly to obtain a vote of confidence on the government’s
tax policy. I always have the feeling that if the Residents and
the Administrative Officers under them had been enthusiastic
about the levy, and had shared our faith in the schemes for
which it was intended, they would have been more discreet and
tactful in the way they put it across to the people, and the
violent nature of the agitation in the initial stages would have
been averted. My colleagues and I intensified our campaign
throughout the Region to explain the beneficient purpose of
the levy to the people. Sporadic violence and rioting ceased;
but the Government remained unpopular. The measure of this
unpopularity was shown by the defeat which we suffered in the
federal elections of November 1954. We won 19 Seats; the
NCNC 22; and one seat went to an independent candidate
who campaigned on a purely anti-tax platform. The actual
votes cast were more revealing than the narrow defeat which
the number of seats won by us indicated. Of the total votes
cast we scored only 35 per cent (147,301 votes); the NCNC
53 per cent (218,473 votes), and the ad hoc anti-tax parties
and independents 12 per cent. The NCNC’s renewed demand
that we should resign because of these results was ignored, and
we pressed on with our schemes. We also imposed a purchase
tax on cocoa, and oil palm produce. Other avenues of raising
revenue such as an entertainment and cinema tax and a lottery
were explored. As a result of all these exercises we increased our
revenue in the 1953/54 fiscal year by about £1.5 million. In
respect of our water supply projects we applied to the Federal
Government for a loan of £1 million which was granted. In
addition, I had in the meantime succeeded in saving about
£750,000 on capital expenditure.

But all these did not amount to more than chicken-feed in
the face of our gargantuan requirements. All the same we
proceeded with the implementation of our programmes on a
scale permitted by the funds at our disposal. If we were to
work to our target of starting the free primary education
scheme in January 1955, expansion of teacher training must
commence in January 1953. This was done, and for a start we
made use of hired houses. Free medical treatment for children
up to 18 years of age was introduced in 1953; and all our other
schemes were also introduced on a skeletal scale. The real
miracle occurred, however, when as a result of the alliance
between the Action Group and the NCNC the Commodity
Marketing Boards which were controlled by the Federal
Government were regionalised, and allocation of revenue was
made mainly in accordance with the principle of derivation.
By means of the former, an accumulated reserve of over £34
million was transferred to the Western Region, and as a result
of the latter our revenue rose from £6.39 in 1953/54 to £13.20
million in 1954/55. The initiative for both of these measures
came from the Action Group; and whilst Dr Azikiwe later
regretted his art and part in them, I had no cause to. Since the
introduction of these financial measures, our revenue has been
on a steady increase. The system of allocation of revenue has
been revised, and it is now based not mainly on the principle
of derivation, but on a combination of several principles which
favour less developed areas of the Federation than the Western
Region. In his Report of the Fiscal Commission of July 1958,
Sir Jeremy Raisman commented in this connection as follows:

Starting from the base of 1958/59, it will be seen that our scheme
may be expected to provide increasing revenue in each year for all
the Regions save the West. There is a case for some check in the
rate of expansion of Government services in the West in view of the
favourable treatment which the Western Region has enjoyed under
the present allocation system.

But the fall from £15.88 million in 1958/59 to £15 million in
1959/60 forecast by the Raisman Commission did not materi-
alise. The revised estimated revenue for that year which was the
last fiscal year with which I was connected was £20.13 million.

During my eight years of office, apart from being Leader of
the Party in power from February 1952 to September 1954
and Premier from October 1954 to December 1959, I also held
specific portfolios at different times: Local Government from
1952 to September 1954; Finance from October 1954, to March
1955; Economic Planning from October 1957 to November
1957, and Chairman of the Region’s Economic Planning
Committee from 1955 to December 1959. The achievements of
the Western Region Government during these eight years are
truly phenomenal and remain the object of emulation by the
other governments in the Federation, as well as the subject
of special mention and constant praise by overseas visitors to
Nigeria. I will give a summary of only some of them here.

My aim throughout my tenure of office has been to establish
and maintain a sound and democratic government in the
Region. We have succeeded in doing this owing to the good
sense and patriotism of our people and the loyal and devoted
service of all members of our civil service, expatriates as well as
Nigerians. We have ensured the participation of our Chiefs
in the work of the Regional Legislature by establishing a House
of Chiefs, and in the House of Assembly we have adopted the
well-tried parliamentary practice obtaining at Westminster. We
have maintained law and order throughout the Region; and
on the few occasions when breaches of the peace have occurred,
we have restored order speedily………

Page 280ff

In the field of public finance, perhaps the greatest achieve-
ment of the government during my time has been, as I already
indicated, a steady annual increase in public revenue coupled
with the strictest control of public expenditure. The result is
a state of buoyancy and solvency throughout the period of my
regime which has enabled the government to devote the bulk
of its expenditure to development projects. As I said before,
our recurrent revenue rose from £4.79 million in 1952/53
to £20.13 million in 1959/60. This has been achieved largely
as a result of our economic development programme. Under
our 1955/60 Five-Year Programme we planned to spend £105
million; but in actual fact we did spend a little more than this
amount, and without external borrowing save the £1 million
which we had borrowed from the Federal Government in 1952.
The execution of this development programme has brought
about a substantial increase in the real income of the people, a
consequential rise in their standard of living, and an enlarge-
ment of their taxable capacity. As regards expenditure, by
pruning all unnecessary items of expenditure and keeping
every programme under constant review, we have succeeded
in channelling public spending to the most utilitarian ends. Our
total expenditure, comprising of recurrent and capital expendi-
ture, rose from £4.67 million in 1952/53 to £30.45 million in
1959/60. The wisdom of our spending is shown by the fact that
31.8 per cent is devoted to purely economic projects, 41.5 per
cent goes to social services and general administration claims
the remaining 26.7 per cent. The importance which I attach
to education in particular is reflected in the fact that, of the
total expenditure of £51.688 million on social services through-
out the period of my regime, education alone takes £39.363

In the field of economic planning, I gave pride of place to
the development of agriculture. Nigeria is an agricultural
country, and no less than 95 per cent of its population engage in
agriculture. But their methods of farming are to say the least
unscientific. I believed that if the standard of the people was
to be raised as quickly as possible the efficiency and productivity
of the farming population must be increased. This could be
done in several ways: by the introduction of scientific farming
methods, and of marketing and storage techniques; by the
general enlightenment of the farming classes and the improve-
ment of their health; by the control of pests and diseases, and
the conservation of soil fertility. In order to achieve these ends,
the government must expand its extension services considerably,
so that new knowledge and techniques might be taken to the
farmers on their farms. Many an educated Nigerian does not
like an agricultural career. Nevertheless, the agricultural
extension workers of the government rose from 77 in 1952
to 478 in 1959.

Our biggest source of wealth was cocoa and oil palm produce.
But the fact that we were dependent on two main crops only
makes our economy shaky and precarious. All the same we
were determined to make the best of what we had whilst we
explored every avenue for diversifying our economy. Cocoa,
oil palm produce and rubber thus became the subjects of
intensive research. Advice was made available to farmers who
were engaged in these crops on planting, cultivation, regenera-
tion, crop harvesting (tapping in the case of rubber) and
processing. In this connection, new high-yielding and disease-
resistant seeds or seedlings were from time to time provided
by the government for the farmers. By way of illustration,
under the Rubber Improvement Scheme, whilst only 90 or so
seedlings of high-yielding clones were distributed in 1958.
300,000 were distributed in 1959 and the figure will rise to
about two and a half million by 1960. Over six million seedlings
of the high-yielding Amazon variety of cocoa were available
for planting by farmers in 1959. When we assumed office in
1952, black pod and capsid were dread diseases to cocoa. Today
they have been completely overcome. Not only are farmers
instructed in the best ways to deal with these diseases, which
do grave damage to cocoa, but also they are assisted with loans
to purchase chemicals and spraying equipment. By the end of
1959 28,500 farmers had been trained in black pod control
measures, and 32,453 in pest-control measures against capsid.
Through the Western Region Finance Corporation, the loan
finance currently available to farmers has reached the level of
£1 million. The government has also provided subsidies in
respect of purchases of planting materials, or, in partnership
with the Marketing Board, in respect of chemicals required
by farmers for combating pests and diseases. Farmers who
produce food crops have also received special attention from
the government. New disease-resistant and high-yielding seeds
have been introduced to them. They have been given advice
on cheap modern farming technique and on the storage and
marketing of their products. They have also been given loan
assistance at the very low interest of 5 per cent per annum; and
this without any security from them save their bona fides and
the crops on their farmlands. In 1959 alone £176,000 was given
out as loans to farmers producing food crops and to fishermen.
Apart from helping individual farmers in the manner already
described, one of the last acts of my regime was the establish-
ment of thirteen co-operative farm settlements and three farm
institutes under the auspices of the government. Here young
educated persons are taught and made to practise the science
and technique of modern farming, with a view to their standing
on their own as successful co-operative farmers after a short
period of pupillage. Under this scheme ten additional farm
settlements were to be established every year for the succeeding
five years.

Through one of its agencies, namely the Western Nigeria
Development Corporation, the government is also assisting
plantation development; and a great deal of progress has been
made in this field. By 1958 the Corporation already had six
plantations of its own, covering 20,517 acres. In partnership
with Co-operative Societies and Local Government Authorities,
it has eleven plantations covering 8,468 acres. The crops grown
include rubber, cocoa, oil palm, citrus, cashew and coffee.
Plans were made for expansion and the establishment of new
plantations which would bring the total acreage to about
56,000 acres in 1960.

The aim of my Government since 1952, however, has been
to promote the growth of secondary industries in the Region
pari passu with agricultural development. The pursuit of this
aim created some tricky problems for me at the early stages.
In the economic sphere, the dominant note of my regime was
that the government must ensure a never-ceasing expansion in
the economy and wealth of the Region, and an equitable
distribution of each additional unit of wealth. In this connection
I refused to be wedded to any particular ism. I had declared
at Owo that one of our guiding principles should be ‘the total
abolition of want by means of any economic policy which is
both expedient and effective’. The emphasis, as far as I am
concerned, has always been on the words ‘expedient and
effective’. From time to time, the point has been keenly urged
by a very influential body of people in the party that the Action
Group should declare itself a socialist party. My own view,
which is shared by many, is that what matters is not the label
which a party bears, but the policy which it actually pursues
either in office or opposition. In any case, in the circumstances
of Nigeria, it would be reckless and lead to economic chaos to
adopt a rigid socialist policy, or drink the cup of undiluted
capitalism. For the rapid development of our country, we need
foreign capital as well as managerial and technical know-how.
At the same time, the admission of foreign capital into the
country must be well-regulated, if our future is not to be
mortgaged for the satisfaction of present needs. I firmly believe
that the motive force behind private enterprise can be made to
serve socialist ends by means of state participation in industries,
and of legislative control of the activities of certain classes of
industrial undertaking. Downright state ownership of all the
means of production would create for us more problems than
we set out to solve. My attitude to foreign investment in the
fields of industry and plantation is that such investment should
be made in partnership with indigenous capital supplied by the
government or any of its agencies or by Nigerian businessmen.

As I said before, the need to diversify our economy through
the establishment of secondary industries is realised. But it is
also realised that the development of agricultural technique
and the increase in the farmers’ productivity is bound to lead
to a situation in which fewer men than before are required to
produce all the food we need. It is the responsibility of the
government to see to it that those who are thus displaced from
the farmlands are gainfully employed in other occupations. To
this end, not only has the government facilitated the growth of
private enterprise in the industrial field by removing all those
obstacles that tend to inhibit economic growth and by providing
basic services (including the establishment of industrial
estates), but it has also entered the field of industrialization
through its agencies, the Development Corporation and the
Finance Corporation. On its own, the Development Corpora-
tion has financed, and managed, three projects including a
rubber factory which produces crepe rubber. In partnership
with overseas investors and industrialists, it has invented funds
in nine undertakings including the gigantic West African Port-
land Cement Company Works (which has a capital of £4.5
million) at Ewekoro od the Abeokuta—Lagos road. By 1960,
it is estimated that the Corporation will have invested more
than £3 million in large-scale industrial enterprises alone.

The Finance Corporation is the Government agency for
making loan finance available to Nigerian entrepreneurs who
have sound industrial and commercial projects in hand but are
short of capital to start or expand them. The total industrial
loans at the disposal of the Corporation for 1955/60 were
estimated at £407,000; those for 1959/60 alone amount to
about £150,000. The scope of the activities of the Finance
Corporation extends to equity participation in local business, and
between 1957 and 1959 it invested £279,000 in shares and equities.

We have fostered the growth of the Co-operative Movement
in the Region in every way. The Co-operative Bank was
established in 1953 with a capital of £1 million. A Co-operative
College has been planned and the number of Co-operative
Societies has risen from 564 in 1953/54 to 926 in 1957/58. Their
activities cover producer, consumer, thrift, credit, crafts and
other aspects of the Movement.

One aspect of economic development which we vigorously
pursued is the provision of basic services. We recognised from
the outset that there must be electric power, a good and reliable
water supply, and efficient means of communication, if econo-
mic development is to be well founded. The Electricity Cor-
poration of Nigeria which is a Federal set-up was not up-and-
doing enough for our purpose. But under the law no other
agency could generate electricity without a licence from the
Federal Government. This was an intolerable handicap. We,
therefore, fought and succeeded in getting a provision inserted
in the Constitution that a Regional Government or its agency
could generate electricity without obtaining a licence from the
Federal Government. The result of this provision was a change
of attitude on the part of the ECN. After due negotiation, the
Western Region Government granted the ECN a loan of
£ 1.3 million free of interest for a number of years, in order
to speed up the provision of electric power in the Region both
for domestic and industrial purposes. It is planned that by
1962 electricity should be available to all the principal towns
in the Region. The pilot scheme, which is now in operation
in some smaller towns and villages, is expected to provide the
information and experience upon which to base a region-wide
rural electrification programme. Since 1952, several towns have
been supplied with pipe-borne water. Rural water supplies
have also been developed in many places in the Region and
experiments are proceeding with borehole supplies.

As regards roads and bridges, the position was, as I said
before, most unsatisfactory when we took office in 1952.
Roads were bad and were also badly maintained, whilst
bridges were narrow and were becoming inadequate for the
volume of traffic that they were expected to carry. We therefore
embarked upon the strengthening, widening and re-surfacing
of the most important roads, and the rebuilding of bridges.
Local Authorities were encouraged by means of generous
grants to construct new feeder roads. The result is that apart
from Trunk Roads ‘A’, which are the Federal Government’s
responsibility, there were by March 1959 1,600 miles of
bituminous-surfaced roads in the Western Region as against
178 miles in 1952. In the middle of 1959 and in response to the
clamour from different parts of the Region, I got the legislature
to approve a capital expenditure of £2.5 million for a special
Road Development Programme, so that by 1960 the total
mileage of bituminous-surfaced roads in the Region (excluding
Trunk Roads ‘A’) will be about 2,200 miles.

The labour policy of my Government was the most en-
lightened in the whole of the Federation. At a time when the
governments of other Regions were paying their workers as
little as 2/4d per diem per worker, the Western Region Govern-
ment decided on a minimum wage of 5/- for workers with
effect from 1 October 1954. This was raised to 5/6d with effect
from the 1 April 1959. My colleagues and I believe in a
national minimum wage, but we have advocated this cause in
vain during the past eight years. It is not disputed that the
costs of living in the three Regions are more or less the same:
slightly higher and slightly lower in the East and North
respectively than in the Western Region. As a direct result of
our wage policy and of other services which increase their real
incomes, both the morale and efficiency of our workers have
risen considerably, and are now the highest in the Federation.
The machinery for consultations between the representatives
of workers and of the government has operated smoothly and
satisfactorily throughout my period. The result of all this was
that there was not a single strike by workers in the employ of
the government during my tenure of office.

As has been mentioned, we launched a universal free pri-
mary education scheme in 1955, which has been so firmly and
successfully established that everyone now takes it for granted,
despite initial predictions of failure by many well-meaning
persons. Apart from financial handicaps, we also had initial
planning difficulties. We decided that the new schools should
be so sited that no child would have to travel more than two
miles by the shortest route to get there. We depended almost
wholly on Nigerian teachers who were elevated to the status
of Education Officers for that purpose, and partly on a number
of loyal British administrative officials, to get the siting properly
done. The work of siting commenced before the enrolment of
children. We had calculated, in accordance with the census
data compiled in 1953, that only 275,000 children would be
eligible for enrolment. But in actual fact almost half-a-million
children enrolled. Many villages and families had not been
counted during the census enumeration. All previous sitings
for schools had to be revised with the speed of summer lightning
towards the end of 1954. Our Nigerian teachers rose to the
occasion; and our united efforts have been amply rewarded.
The primary school population has risen from 429,542 in 1953
to 1,037,388 in 1959.

The figures for secondary education are equally impressive.
Our policy was to provide secondary education for at least 10
per cent of the pupils who have successfully completed their
primary school course and in consequence, many secondary
grammar schools have been opened. The total is now 139
instead of only 25 in 1952. In addition, there are 363 secondary
modern schools in the Region providing places for over 50 per
cent of the primary school-leavers. Thus while there were
6,775 pupils in secondary schools in the Region in 1952, our
secondary school population in January 1959 stood at 84,374.
This is far larger than the combined population of all the
secondary schools in other parts of Nigeria. We recognised the
pre-eminent place which teacher training must occupy in our
educational programme. The number of teacher training
colleges has doubled since 1952 and we had about 11,000
trainees in them in 1959. We have also improved the salary
scales and employment conditions of teachers considerably
since 1952 in order to retain good men in this important
service. We resolutely tackled the problem of technical educa-
tion. If our development programmes are to succeed we need
skilled labour. In order to produce the requisite number of
technicians, skilled workers and managers, therefore, two
technical schools were opened. In addition, the existing Trade
Centre at Sapele in Urhobo Division has been considerably
expanded, and five more are being established. The provision
of post-secondary scholarships tenable in Nigeria and overseas
has soared; over 1,200 were awarded during my time.

As regards medical and health services, the government has
fully implemented its policy of establishing at least one hospital
in every Administrative Division in the Region, and has
proceeded to provide hospitals for some of the more important
towns. Ten such additional hospitals had either been completed
or were in the process of completion by the end of 1959. A
number of mobile dispensaries take hospital and other medical
facilities to remote parts from bases in Ibadan, Abeokuta and
Benin Provinces. For the riverine areas, touring launches do
the work of mobile dispensaries, and ambulance launches take
patients to hospitals. Grants have been given to Local Authori-
ties to enable them to provide Rural Health Centres in their
areas, and there were 14 such centres in 1959 as against only i
in 1952. From 1952 to 1959 the number of dispensaries has risen
from 200 to 365 and that of maternity centres from 122 to 239.

A big expansion in these fields was launched on the eve of my
departure from the Region. The government’s policy of pro-
viding free medical treatment to young persons up to eighteen
years of age, which is unique and without a parallel in Nigeria,
has been maintained.

In order to ease the general shortage of houses in the Region,
particularly in large urban areas and to encourage house
ownership, the government established the Western Housing
Corporation. The Corporation has set up a 350-acre housing
estate at Bodija in Ibadan with well-drained roads and modern
sewage disposal. More than 200 houses had already been
constructed there by 1959—less than one year after its incep-
tion. Another 750-acre estate is being laid out at Ikeja; of
this, 200 acres are earmarked for industrial estates and the
remainder will be residential. The Housing Corporation also
pants loans to borrowers who want to build their own houses.
Loans totalling about £380,000 have been granted on mortgage
to borrowers by the end of 1959. Members of the public are
encouraged to deposit their savings with the Corporation
against future housing transactions: more than £12,000 has
been so deposited in the short time since the facility became

In the sphere of public relations, we advanced beyond
recognition from the puny efforts of the Public Relations
Department which we inherited in 1952. We have carried
enlightenment and entertainment to remote areas through the
Government Free Cinema Scheme, and through the publica-
tion of a weekly paper (Western News) and a monthly illustrated
magazine (Western Nigeria Illustrated) both of which are objec-
tive and non-partisan. In 1959 there were in use 40 cinema vans
and 6 cinema barges. We established our own film production
unit, and one of its outstanding achievements is the 85-minute
film in colour which covers all aspects of our self-government
celebrations and the visit of Her Royal Highness the Princess
Royal. Of all the governments in Africa, the Western Region
Government is the largest film producer, having the largest
government cinema audience as well.

Our Nigerianisation policy is the boldest and the best in the
whole of the Federation. Even when we did not have the power
directly to influence Nigerianisation, we had initiated the
brilliant device of the ‘frigidaire policy’. We have not looked
back since then. Our post-secondary scholarships were mainly
geared to our Nigerianisation policy. We were determined
that there should be no 1owerii~ of standards, and there has
been none. Many of our scholars have returned to take their
places in the public service of the Region; and a large number
of Nigerian civil servants have been given the facilities of in-
service training; with the result that at the time of my departure
the number of Nigerians in the higher rungs of the civil service
in the West was 1,275, that is 75 per cent of the total actual
strength of senior officers as against 18 per cent m 1952.

My last act in the Western Region was the provision of a
television service which is the first of its kind in the whole of
Africa. Television service is a complicated project. But it was
one of the boldest conceptions in the Action Group’s endeavour
to bring the latest in entertainment and, above all, enlighten-
ment to the people of the Region. Owing to technical difficulties
the scheme is at present limited to the Ibadan and Ikeja areas
of the Region; but it will in course of time be extended to the
other parts of the Region. When the official transmission of the
Television Project was launched at the end of October 1959,
it proved to be the crowning climax of the achievements of the
Western Region Government under my direction, and it once
more proclaimed and confirmed the Action Group as the ‘pace-
setter’ in the Federation of Nigeria.

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