National Party of Nigeria

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The National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was the dominant political party in Nigeria during the Second Republic (1979-1983).



The party's beginning could be traced to private and sometimes secret meetings among key Northern Nigerian leaders after the proscription of political parties in 1966 by the military regimes of Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi and General Yakubu Gowon. A few members of the proscribed parties based in the Northern section of Nigeria began to organize to form a northern party to prepare for a return to democracy, the group also approached southern Nigerians about the prospect of a truly national party. A constitutional assembly organized in 1977 to prepare a constitution for a new democratic government proved to the best avenue for members of the burgeoning group to meet and discuss plans for their regions and nation. On September 20, 1978, the National Party of Nigeria was formed, comprising members of the constituent assembly or referred to as the National Movement of Nigeria and the Council of National Unity, the party was headed by Makaman Bida, an old NPC member. A month later the party adopted zoning to elect party officials. The party then adopted a new chairman, Augustus Akinloye, a Yoruba man, paving the way for the presidential candidate to go to the core base of the party: the Hausa-Fulani states. The party's presidential primary resulted in the election of Shagari over Maitama Sule, Adamu Ciroma, Joseph Tarka and Olusola Saraki. Kam Salem and Ibrahim Tahir were originally mentioned as potential presidential candidates.


The NPN presented candidates for two major elections, the 1979 elections and the 1983 elections. The party won 36 Senate seats out of 95 Senate seats and 168 seats out of 449 seats of the House of Representatives. On August 16, 1979, the party's candidate for presidential election was declared the winner of what became a disputed election. The party entered into a shaky alliance with the Nigeria Peoples Party to earn majority votes in the National Assembly, the alliance later hit the rocks in 1981. To gain support among Ndi' Igbo's, the party allowed the return of Odumegwu Ojukwu, the Biafra leader.


The motto of the party was 'One nation, one destiny' and its symbol, a house and a maize represented shelter and food. The party also promised to commit time and resources to an agricultural revolution and the presidential candidate in 1979 promised the same for housing. Shagari also went on to promise to introduce qualitative and functional education, oriented towards modern technology and a speedy movement of the capital from Lagos to Abuja.

According to its protem chairman the initial aims of the party were:

  • Social justice and social welfare
  • Equality of Opportunity
  • Personal liberty and fundamental rights and freedom of the citizens
  • Supremacy of the will of the people democratically expressed
  • Self respect and self reliance
  • Unity of Nigeria

State personalities and candidates (1978-1979)


  • "AROUND THE WORLD National Party takes lead", The Globe and Mail (Canada), July 20, 1979
  • Shehu Shagari, Beckoned to Serve: An Autobiography, Heinemann Educational Books, 2001