Nigerian People’s Party (NPP) – Like the other parties registered for the 1979 elections (except the UPN), the NPP had its origin in the Northern part of Nigeria. The party was an offshoot of the Council for Understanding and Solidarity(CUS), which was formed by some members of the Constituent Assembly in 1977.
The Council for Understanding and Solidarity was the creation of young politicians from the Middle Belt who were opposed to the continued domination of the Northern minority areas by the Hausa-Fulani establishment. Most of these Young Middle Belt politicians, except SolomonLar, did not take part in the politics of the First Republic.
As the group could not muster enough support to single-handedly challenge the Hausa-Fulani political establishment in the north, it entered in to a tactical alliance with the Waziri Ibrahim’s group and some other groups in the south including the Igbo-dominated National Union Council to form the NigerianPeople’s Party in September 1978.
Conflicts over power sharing and the nomination of Dr.Nnamdi Azikiwe as the presidential candidate of the party forced a faction of the party led by Ibrahim Waziri to pull out to form the GNPP.
Dr. Azikiwe was the leader of the party and its presidential candidate and ChiefAdeniran Ogunsanya was its Chairman. Other leading members of the party were Solomon Lar, Paul Unongo, JimNwobodo and Sam Mbakwe.
Aims & Objectives of the Nigerian People’s Party (NPP)
The main aims and objectives of the Nigerian People’s Party (NPP) were stated as follows:
To win political power and preserve the constitution of Nigeria,
To promote and sustain the unity of Nigeria and uphold her territorial integrity and defend her independence and sovereignty;
To work for the integration of peoples of Nigeria;
To work for equal opportunity for all Nigerians to participate in every aspect of national life;
To work towards a viriIe and self-reliant economy, emphasise industrialization, and to promote the just and equitable distribution of fruits of economic development among persons and states of Nigeria;
To protect every person lawfully living in Nigeria and enable him to enjoy the fundamental human rights and freedom of the individual;
To work towards free and high quality education at all levels;
To work towards the full employment and efficient development of Nigeria’s manpower;
To work for a secular state which upholds democracy and guarantees freedom of worship and association;
To fight relentlessly against poverty, disease, ignorance, intolerance, indisciplinc, feudalism, racism, neo-colonialism and unjust exploitation of man by man.
To make the rule of law the bedrock of all aspects of life in Nigeria.
The Nigerian People’s Party (NPP) came third in all the elections held in Nigeria in 1979 and 1933, In the presidential election of 1979, the party’s flagbearer, Dr. Azikiwe scored 16.7 percent of the total votes as against 33.8 and 29.2 percent of Shehu Shagari and ObafemiAwolowo respectively.
It also won the gubernatorial elections in Anambra, Imo and Plateau states in 1979 and the House of Assembly elections in those states. In the other elections, the Nigerian People’s Party secured 16 Senate seats and 78 seats in the House of Representatives.
As in the First Republic when the NCNC formed a coalition government with the NPC, the NPP entered into a power-sharing alliance with the NPN in 1979. Under the accord the party was given some ministerial portfolios. The political arrangement, however, collapsed in 1981 by which time the Nigerian People’s Party (NPP) had consolidated its control on government.
The landslide victory of the NPN in the 1983 elections also resulted in the routing the NPP even in its stronghold in the Igbo heartland. It only managed to hold Imo and Plateau states in the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections. The loss of Anambra State to the NPN in the gubernatorial elections was indeed humiliating as it was the home state of Dr.Nnamdi Azikiwe.
Problems of the Nigerian People’s Party (NPP)
The party lacked a clear-eut ideology. As a result, it was fond of going‘into alliance with any party that suited its fancy. During the Second Republic, it joined the NPN in an accord, which collapsed in less than two years after its formation. At other times, it was part of the Progressive People’s Party and the Progressive Parties Alliance (PPA) but in all cases, it was remarkably inconsistent.