Appraisal of the Role of Organized Labour in the Struggle for Nigeria’s Independence, 1945-1960.

By Institute Of African Studies, University Of Nigeria, Nsukka.


A modest acquaintance with the history of colonialism in Nigeria will show that from the onset it had provoked resistance from the citizens. Colonialism nullified dissent and political freedom hence it aroused attack from not just the politicians but also trade unionists who remained steadfast and unbowed all through the period it lasted. The various labour crises during our period of study, though economic in outlook had some political undertone; a rejection of the colonial system .The Trade Union Ordinance was one of the measures employed by the colonial authorities to whittle labour from de-colonization process. Labour leaders were also incarcerated to intimidate them from joining forces with the nationalist movement. Although there is a growing literature on labour movement, it does not seem to have sufficiently addressed labour’s role towards the attainment of independence. This paper intends not only to interrogate such a role but to also put it in historical perspective so as to fill the noticed gap. Since the topic cuts across other disciplines such as political science, economics, sociology, public administration etc, the paper used inter – disciplinary approach for self-enrichment. It affirms that there was a synergy between nationalists and labour which gave rise to independence in 1960. It also avers that while the 1945 General Strike sowed the seed of labour independence struggle the blood of the colliery workers stain in 1949 watered it into fruition .From 1945 through 1960 witnessed a combative nationalism and aggressive labour activism which wrestled power from the colonial rulers on October 1, 1960.
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About the Author

Institute Of African Studies, University Of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Institute Of African Studies, University Of Nigeria, Nsukka.



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