Wednesday, February 21, 2018

1959: "Minorities not in support of C-O-R Movement"—Eyo Ita, leader of C-O-R Movement steps down

Written by Chibuzo Ihuoma

The late Professor Eyo Ita has been the bud of many arguments in relation to the false claim of domination of eastern minorities by the Igbo. Some of these arguments being hatched by overemotional, brainwashed, and beggarly individuals, mostly of Igbo extraction, who refuse to read and learn the history. These otherwise beggarly individuals do so in order to bow to minorities of the former Eastern Region Nigeria so as to lull them into a Biafra project. Such act is anything but honorable.

A little insight on the late Chief Eyo Ita, Ita was the Leader of Government Business of the Eastern Region Nigeria from 1951-1953. The Leader of Government Business position was a quasi-Premier position. Quasi for the fact that under the constitution at the time, the McPherson Constitution, even though the regions were given more administrative independence from the British Empire, the regions were still run by British administrators. The British lieutenant governors of Eastern Nigeria during Ita's rule as Leader of Government Business were:
  • 1951-1952: James Greenville Pyke-Nott
  • 1952-1954: Clement John Pleass
Apart from the fact that the Eastern Region had a British governor, the Leader of Government Business was the highest position, and it was an elected position. The position was regarded as a figure-head position, in some instances taking on full duties of the lieutenant-governor. As said, this was an elected position, meaning both Igbo and minority members of the ruling party elected him. His removal in 1953 came as a result of a political strong-arm by the Zik of Africa, late Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe. Zik had lost out in his Lagos bid then returned to the East, used his clout, newspaper, and his charming charisma to cause a deadlock in the regional government which eventually led to him clinching the newly created political position introduced to Nigeria under the 1954 Lyttleton Constitution: Premier. In my opinion, the move was a little too ambitious; however, the fact remains that this is politics and NCNC members, which consisted of both Igbos and minorities, aided Zik in the unseating of Ita. There was never a time where it was majority against minority. What there was was Zik loyalists and Ita loyalists, both groups cut across ethnic backgrounds.

To conclude, below is the leader from the Calabar-Ogoja-Rivers (COR) movement himself, Professor Eyo Ita, denouncing the COR movement and his opposition party. He admits that collectively minorities and people of the various provinces did not support the proposed state creations and that it was ill-advised. After all, it was a hatch job by the Western Regional Government, more precisely the Action Group (AG), employed to seize the opportunity provided by the Ita "overthrow" to cause an Igbo vs. minority rift to hasten a breakup of the Eastern Region to weaken its political power. It failed. Anyway, hear from the leader of the movement himself and let this be on record for those of the school of lies and those too lazy to do their bit of research:

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