BREAKDOWN OF THE MACPHERSON CONSTITUTION
We have seen that under the Macpherson Constitution there was no country-wide political party commanding a majority of all the three regions of Nigeria.1 Unlike the Gold Coast where the Gold Coast Peoples' Convention Party (hereafter referred to as C.P.P.) captured a country-wide electoral victory, three different political parties were in power in the various regions of Nigeria in 1951. The only political party which had effectively extended its activities beyond one region was the N.C.N.C. The party had its stronghold in the Ibo-dominated Eastern Region where it controlled the regional government. Counter-balancing its lack of large-scale support in the north, it had the intimate and effective alliance of the N.E.P.U. In the Western Region, however, its influence and prestige were diminished by the success of the Action Group party which controlled the Western Regional House of Assembly and consequently provided the Western regional government. While in the Northern Region, the regional government was formed by the N.P.C. -- which was rather an alliance of leaders sharing the same religion and support of the powerful rulers of the well-established emirates of the north, than a political party in the normal sense. Thus, each of the three regions of north, east and west was controlled and run by a different political party mainly supported by the major linguistic group of that region.
While it would be wrong to suppose that Nigerians have a congenital inability to rise above tribal politics, it has been justifiably contended that the cause of this lack of an emergence of a truly national political party may be due mainly to 'internal forces, other than communal factors, which have created an adverse____________________