THE NIGERIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT (NYM) 1936
Origin of NYM
The Nigerian Youth Movement began as the Lagos Youth Movement in 1933. It was a protest movement to challenge the domination of Lagos politics by the Nigerian National Democratic Party. The party was renamed as Nigerian Youth Movement in 1936.
The headquarters of the NYM was in Lagos and it had branches in several Nigerian cities. At the peak of its influence in 1938, the NYM had about twenty provincial branches in several Nigerian towns and cities such as Ibadan, Aba, Benin City and Abeokuta. The structure of the party was similar to that of the NNDP but, unlike the NNDP, its president was elected.
Leadership and Support
The leadership of the party comprised H.O. Davies, Nnamdj Azikiwe, Ernest Ikoli, Obafemi Awolowo, Oba Samuel Akinsanya (Odemo of Ishara), Samuel Ladoke Akintola, Dr. Ma]a and Dr. Kofo Abayomi. Most of its supporters were southerners and by 1938, it had more than 10,000 members.
Aims and Objectives of NYM
The party aimed to achieve complete autonomy for Nigeria within the British Empire.
Sources Of Income
The party derived its income mainly from
- Donations by party members
- Party levies
Assessment of Performance
The NYM’s candidates won the three Lagos seats in the legislative council in the 1938 elections.
The NYM won the 1938 legislative elections largely because of the party active support for Nigerian traders who were protesting the “Cocoa Pool” agreement which gave ten European companies the right to buy and export 90 percent of the cocoa from Nigeria. The NYM rode on the crest of its popularity in this case to win the 1938 Lagos legislative council elections.
The party was the first genuine national party in Nigeria although most of its members were from the southern part of the country. By so doing, the party became a good training ground for future Nigerian leaders. People like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo who later played important roles in the struggle for Nigeria’s independence passed through the crucible of the party.
Although the NYM attempted to build a pan-Nigerian party platform its demise was hastened by allegations of discrimination in the nomination of candidates to contest a Lagos seat in the 1941 Legislative Council elections. This dealt a fatal blow to the unity of the party and eventually led to its disintegration. By 1943, it had become moribund.