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Editorial News of Saturday, 4 June 2022


S.G Ikoku: The ‘amateur’ politician who defeated his father in an election

Alvan Ikoku(L) and Dr. Samuel Goomsu Ikoku (R) Alvan Ikoku(L) and Dr. Samuel Goomsu Ikoku (R)

MyNigeria Feature

Dr. Samuel Goomsu Ikoku was only 34-years-old when he defeated his 56-year-old father in an election. Born in Calabar to Alvan Ikoku, whose image is on the ten naira note, and Grace Ikoku, his political life was scripted, and played out in the most unique manner.

A trade unionist and politician, he was exposed to politicking at a tender age due to the clout his father had built in that arena. Ikoku graduated from Southampton University College in 1946 after a stint at Achimota College. During his college, he wrote news articles that aligned with his imagination of what Nigeria should be and should look like.

This mindset led him to take an interest in the independence movement of Nnamdi Azikwe. Ikoku sometimes spoke on national issues with a sense of candor, this style led to him being called a controversial figure by former Science and Technology Minister, Sam Momah.

He started writing several articles in Azikiwe's West African Pilot criticizing the Legislative Council, in which his father was a nominated member.

He argued ferociously that the council which was appointed by the colonial masters was imposed on the Nigerian people. At the time, Azikwe pushed for immediate independence.

All through his political life, Ikoku’s ideology was tailored towards stopping imperialism. To tackle the menace, he joined Action Group in 1950, one of the mainstream parties with an organized structure. Immediately after he joined, he was handed the position of organizing secretary.

He held that position until 1957 when decided to run for political office. Being the preferred candidate following his victory at the regional House of Assembly election, he became a representative of the AG serving as opposition leader against the United National Independent Party (UNIP) which his father belong too.

During the campaigns ahead of the national elections, both father and son clahsed - contesting the Eastern Assembly seat. Alvan, Samuel father lost the election to his son. He ran on the ticket of the UNIP.

Samuel remained a member of the AG’s socialist faction whose focus like his, believed imperialism was a pressing danger. In 1960, the party adopted democratic socialism as an Ideology but the party's national executive and the Western regional premier leaned towards capitalism.

His political sojourn includes joining Aminu Kano’s People’s Redemption Party (PRP) during the second republic where he was appointed General Secretary. He ended up as Aminu Kano's running mate in the 1979 presidential election which was won by Shehu Shagari.

However, beginning during the twilight of the republic, Ikoku began to shift away from his socialist ideas. He left PRP and became an adviser to Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria.

He spoke of elongating the role of the military in Nigeria's political affairs during the administration of Ibrahim Babangida and later served as deputy chairman of the Transition Implementation Committee during Sani Abacha's regime.

As the deputy chairman, Ikoku argued that Abacha was free to succeed himself if the political parties agree to draft him as their presidential candidate.

He died in 1997, months before the demise of General Sani Abacha.

This article was written by Novieku Babatunde Adeola||Twitter: @NoviekuA