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Sunday, 13 March 2016

Enugu: 100 Years of Existence - 1909 - 2009

ENUGU: (1909 – 2009)

A Century In Search Of Identity



Dons Eze,
                   B.A., M.A., Ph.D


Chapter One – Enugu: The Coal City
Historical Development
Geographical Location/Climate
Early Settlement
Communal and Tribal Unions in Enugu
Second Class Township
Enugu-Ngwo Divisional Headquarters
Capital of Southern Provinces
Metropolitan Government
Democratic Elections
Seat of Biafran Government
Commerce and Industry
Transport and Communication
Education and Manpower Training
Hotel and Tourism
Chapter Two - Enugu Colliery
Brief History
Coal Exploitation
Aftermaths of Coal Prospecting
Dwindling Fortunes of Enugu Colliery
Labour Management in the Colliery
The Coal Miners’ Strike of 1949
Chapter Three - Development of Political
A Peep Into the Past
Enugu Colliery as a Theatre of War
Organized Pressure Groups
·        Enugu Aborigines Improvement Union
·        Udi District Union and Enugu Divisional Union
·        Udi-Nsukka-Awgu United Front (UNAUF)
·        Wawa State Movement
Chapter Four – Legacies of Those That
   Ruled Enugu
Chapter Five - Local Administration in
Colonial System of Local Administration
1976 Local Government Reform
Implications of the Reform
Chapter Six - Beyond the Centenary

B i b l i o g r a p h y

                  Chapter One
 Enugu: The Coal City
Each generation, out of relative obscurity, discovers its mission,
                                    fulfill it or betray it.
                            - Frantz Fanon
Historical Development
            The history of Enugu is intrinsically bound to the history of coal, which was discovered in the area in 1909 by a team of British geological explorers led by Sir Albert Kitson. Before that time, there was nothing like Enugu in the sense, as we know it today. The place was just one of those so-called “evil forests”, or at best, a farmland used by the surrounding villagers. It was the discovery of coal on top of Udi escarpment that attracted residents to the area.
Before the arrival of the Europeans, however, contacts between inhabitants of Enugu area were with the Aros who had constantly raided the surrounding villages in search of slaves, as well as with the Hausa traders, who came in with their horses, then in very hot demand by the natives for ritual sacrifice.
Some historians had however credited the Nsukka-Udi-Okigwe cuesta with the cradle of Igbo civilization. According to them, the people of the area had exported such goods as iron ore and coking materials to other parts of Igboland long before the advent of the current civilization. According to Adiele Afigbo, “…the first places of settlement and the centre around which indigenous Igbo culture was synthesized were the Nsukka-Udi-Okigwe cuesta and the Awka-Orlu uplands.” Afigbo described the two areas as the “heartland of Igbo culture” as well as the “primary migration” of the Igbo into other areas.  (Afigbo, A.E., Igbo Genesis, 2000).
On her part, Elizabeth Isichei reported that contacts between the people of Enugu area with other parts of Igboland were established long before the arrival of the white man. According to her, “…members of William Balfour Baike’s expedition team, in 1854, had described the elaborate woven cloths, which were made by the Eastern Ibo interior by some groups of the Elugu Ibo, and exported via Onitsha to the north… The most famous blacksmiths were from Awka who worked raw iron from the Agbaja towns”.
Isichei further held that “…members of the northern Ibo groups, such as the Elugu and Agbaja, often visited Onitsha, for purposes of trade and carried back reports of the new developments to their inland homes”. (Elizabeth Isichei, The Ibo People and the Europeans, 1973).
These attestations have therefore put lie to some earlier held notions that the people of Enugu area or the Wawa people were simply tabula raza or blank sheets, which did not have anything to contribute to human civilization.
ENUGU, Enu-Ugwu, which consists of two Igbo words – “Enu” (Top), and “Ugwu” (Hill), meaning “Top of the Hill”, or “Hill Top”, derived its name from a little village east of Ngwo town, situated at the top of  Udi Hills where coal was first discovered in 1909. The place was then called “Enu-ugwu Ngwo”. However, much of the European “Enugu” which we all know today, lies at the foot of Udi-Awgu-Nsukka hills, surrounded by a stretched low hills, and sits at an altitude of 240 miles above sea level.
The main indigenous people of Enugu are Ogui Nike who live in the areas surrounding Hotel Presidential and Obiagu and Ama-Igbo areas, as well as Ihewuzi and Onu-Asata areas. Other groups include the Awkunanaw people, who live mainly in the Achara Layout and Uwani areas; Enugwu Ngwo people, who live on the hilltop with their farm lands sprawling all over the valley. The discovery of coal deposit in their land gave rise to settlements around the foot of the hills and as the population grew, the city expanded into the areas of other indigenous inhabitants. It was then called Enugwu Ngwo before it was changed to just Enugu. Nike indigenes live mainly around the Abakpa, Iji-Nike, and Emene areas.
Enugu town comprises a number of areas, amongst which are Abakpa Nike, Trans Ekulu, Emene, the Government Reservation Area or GRA, Iva Valley, Ogui, Asata, Coal Camp, Uwani, Akwunanaw, Idaw River, Independence Layout, Timber Shed, Ogui New Layout, Obiagu, Artisan, New Haven, City Layout, Achara Layout, Golf Estate, Ebeano Estate, Mary Land Estate and Ugwu Eron, while the main high streets are Okpara Avenue (where most of the bank main branches are located), Chime Avenue, Ogui Road, Zik Avenue, Agbani Road, Abakpa Nike Road, Abakaliki Road, Airport Road, Emene Road, Presidential Road, as well as Rangers Avenue.

Geographical Location/Climate
          Enugu lies within the semi-tropical rain forest belt of the south and spreads towards the north with its physical features changing gradually from tropical rain forest to open woodland and then to the savanna. Apart from a chain of hills running from the east through Abakaliki in Ebonyi State, to Nsukka in the north-west, and then southwards through Udi and Awgu, the rest of the area is made up of low lands.
The mean temperature for the town is 36.20C (96.160F) in the hottest months of  February and March, and a minimum temperature of 20.30C (68.580F) towards the months of December and January. The lowest rainfall of about 0.16 cm3 is recorded in February, while the highest of about 35.7 cm3 is recorded in July. Enugu has a good soil and climate.`
Three major lithologies are encountered around Enugu area. These are shells, sandstones and conglomerates, which result in the formation of the following minerals – coal, iron ore, petroleum (oil and gas) bauxite, limestone, clay, laterites and sand.

Early Settlement
It was the discovery of coal at Enugu in 1909 that first led to human settlement in the area. The discovery, which attracted both national and international attention, also forced the then colonial administration in the country to direct all its energies at ensuring the early exploitation of the deposits. It further led to the founding of the city of Port Harcourt in 1912, which was to serve as an outlet for the shipment of the mineral overseas. The city was named after a one-time British Secretary of State for the Colonies, Mr. Lewis Viscount Harcourt.
Nigeria’s Governor-General, Frederick Lugard had, in August 1913, written the Secretary of State, that “… in the absence of any convenient local name, I would respectfully ask your permission to call this Port Harcourt”, to which the Secretary of State replied, “It gives me pleasure to accede to your suggestion that my name should be associated with the new Port.” Lugard then named the city, Port Harcourt, and the name sticks till today!
Mining of coal in Enugu began soon after the British colonial government and a number of Udi chiefs led by Chief Onyeama of Eke signed an agreement for its exploitation. By 1915, shipment of coal from the Enugu mine to the United Kingdom had begun.
          The first immigrant settlers to Enugu were an exploitation team of coalminers under a British mining engineer named William John Leck. The team was accompanied by a gang of labourers led by one Alfred Inoma from Onitsha. They all came in 1915. They were  later joined by prisoners who were brought down from Udi to the coalmine. The prisoners built their own prison yard and set to work in the mine.
However, while William Leck and the white men that came with him had settled at a place now known as Hill Top, Alfred Inoma and his group settled at the hill named after him – Ugwu Alfred. Alfred Inoma died very early, but William Leck lived in Enugu until his retirement in 1942. (P.E.H. Hair, Unpublished Study of Enugu, NAE.)
Soon after the opening of the coalmine in 1915, the Colliery management embarked on massive recruitment of labourers to work the coalfields. The first Colonial Governor of Nigeria, Frederick Lugard, had as early as 1912, declared that the Enugu coalfield should be worked as a state industry, in contrast to tin, which was then being mined in Jos as a private enterprise.
Lugard’s decision was informed by the prospects, which he believed coal would hold for the Nigerian economy, and the difficulty, which he thought, would exist in finding labour to work in the coalmine. “I understand that except by compulsion it is almost impossible to get labour in Southern Nigeria”, Lugard had stated. He therefore argued that since government would have to provide force to regiment the labour, government might as well work the coalfield itself, at least, in the early stages of development. That policy was never reversed by the colonial administration in Nigeria nor by subsequent Nigerian governments, as Enugu Colliery had continued to be mined as a state industry. 
By the first year of its operation in 1916, Enugu Colliery had in its register, about 800 daily paid labourers, who in addition to the better established technical cadre, made up of technicians, mechanics, foremen, clerks, etc. had constituted a huge influx of immigrants to the Coal City in that early stages of development. While these latter grade of workers, that is, the technical cadre, came from districts outside Enugu, in such far places as Warri, Calabar, Onitsha, Owerri, Benin, Port Harcourt, Abeokuta and Sierra Leone, most of the labourers were from the surrounding villages in the then Udi Division.
As P.E.H. Hair had informed, while people from Enugu area were employed in the Colliery as underground labourers, jobs requiring technical experience and literacy, such as foremen, mechanics and clerks, were held by men from districts outside the area. “…Owerri Province and Onitsha District were the main recruiting grounds for foremen, mechanics and clerks”, Hair had reported, pointing out that “all these ‘foreigners’ made their homes in Enugu”. 
He further informed that as late as 1951, about 62 per cent of the residents of Enugu were ‘foreigners’, while only 38 per cent came from surrounding villages of Enugu.
“These immigrants to Enugu preferred not to mix with the Udi men who lived in the Colliery camps. Onitshas and Awkas looked down on the Udi as ‘wawa’ or Bushmen. Also, they found the ‘deep Ibo’ spoken by the Udis difficult to understand. The immigrants from Owerris, took much the same  view of the Udis, though this did not prevent them from living with the Udis in the Colliery camp.
“The Abajas tended to regard the Colliery as an Abaja Colliery, and they disliked intensely the ‘foreigners’ who work there, the men from Onitsha and Owerri. Few Abajas were literate, and hence most of the better jobs went to ‘foreigners’. For instance, in 1921, the Abajas complained that  there were no Abaja boss-boys, that is, foremen. During the 1920 strike, the Abajas offered to return to work if they could ‘work by themselves’, that is, if the ‘foreigners’ were dismissed”. (Hair: Unpublished Study of Enugu, NAE.).
That was the source of the sour relationship that existed between the indigenous population of Enugu area and other immigrants to the Coal City.
Within the next couple of years, over 3,000 men were working in the Colliery, while the eastern wing of the railway line, which passes from Port Harcourt through Enugu to Kaduna in the north, had about 5,000 labourers, majority of whom had made their residences in Enugu.
These immigrant settlers who came in with their families, relations and friends, constituted a big strain on the young town, since there were yet few permanent residential structures in the area. This posed a new challenge not only to the Colliery management but also to the European colonial administrative officers posted to the town, who as an interim measure, had ordered the erection of “Colliery Villages,” to give shelter to these immigrants. That was how places like Coal Camp, Iva Valley, etc. came into existence. 

Communal or ‘Tribal’ Unions in Enugu
          Generally, the formation of communal associations or ‘tribal’ unions in Nigeria, arose from the springing up of some urban centres of administration created by the erstwhile colonial government,  which drew different individuals in search of some white-collar jobs. These associations were formed by indigenes of some particular communities, ethnic groups, or tribes, living in these urban towns, which were designed to cater for the welfare and interest of their members, or to protect them against some unforeseen circumstances.
Among the evil effects of colonialism was the creation of artificial scarcity in midst of plenty. The socio-economic amenities provided by the colonial authorities, which drew people to urban centres, such as white-collar jobs, contract services, educational opportunities, scholarships, etc., were scarce or in dire stress, resulting to stiff competition based on the survival of the fittest. As such, people from particular areas or communities, formed themselves into groups or associations. This is with a view to helping each other to gain access or secure some of these amenities. There was also the additional problem of insecurity arising from perceiving oneself as a “stranger” in a “foreign land”, which made it imperative for one to attach him or herself closely to his kith and kin.
Often identified as “Improvement”, “Progressive”, or “Development” unions, the communal associations were aimed at bringing together people of a particular community, town, tribe, or linguistic group resident in a particular locality. In other words, the communal associations were made of people residing in a particular locality outside their hometowns. Their functions were two fold – they rendered assistance to their home districts as well as to members of their group.            
          In assisting their home districts, the unions took active interest in the affairs of their communities or tribe, encouraged educational advancement of their people, built schools, hospitals, markets, roads, water supply, etc. This, they did, through monthly contributions, levies, etc., by members.
They also assisted their members (sons and daughters abroad) through regular contacts among themselves to monitor their individual performances, progress, and problems. They settled disputes between members of the union; acted as employment agencies by helping their unemployed members, children and wards, to secure employment.
          In Enugu, following the discovery of coal and the consequent setting up of various structures of administration, there was huge influx of people from different parts of the country and even beyond, who came to seek employment with the Colliery, the Nigerian Railway, or with any of the government departments and private commercial enterprises.
Thus, apart from the expatriate team, which included engineers and other technicians working in the coalfield, there were also political administrators, civil servants, agents of commercial establishments, as well as contractors and traders dealing on different kinds of goods. They came from Onitsha, Owerri, Awka, Calabar, Benin, Ibadan, Warri, Kaduna, Kano, Jos, Makurdi, Cameroun, and even as far as Sierra Leone. Those living in villages around Enugu area were also not left out. There were therefore people from different cultural backgrounds, language, and creed, living in the Coal City.
All these disparate groups, according to Hair, lived and made their homes in Enugu, and there was hardly any meeting point among them as each struggled for available scarce resources. That prevailing circumstance led to the formation of various communal associations or tribal unions in Enugu.
Specifically, members of the communal or tribal unions in Enugu, particularly the migrants, who had monopolized virtually all the best jobs in the town, had helped many people from their home districts to secure employment in the Colliery as well as in other government agencies, to the detriment of people from the host communities. These immigrants had also monopolized all the contract jobs and political activities in the town.
          Far back in 1935, we saw some of these unions engaging in political activities when the Enugu Local Authority contacted them over a proposal to set up Native Courts. Hair reported that communal unions in Enugu, were up to 1951, used by the colonial administration for the collection of taxes, and receiving ten percent commission, therefrom. He claimed that as at 1951, the Enugu Local Authority was in contact with as many as eighty-two of these unions, which acted as its agents in tax collection.
           The first of these unions was the Owerri Union, which was formed in 1917. The union built a hall in Enugu in 1933. Both the Benin Provincial Union and the Awka District Union were formed in 1928, followed by the Kalabari Union in 1930. In 1935, the Calabar Provincial Union, the Ijebu Union, and the Warri Provincial Union were formed. The Urhobo, Ijaw, Hausa, Yoruba, etc. also had their own unions in Enugu.
The Onitsha Provincial Union, which would have included elements from the old Onitsha Province, including Udi and Awka districts, was formed in 1935. But because leaders of this union were mainly from Onitsha town, indigenes from Enugu area, who obviously would have outnumbered Onitsha residents in Enugu, refused to join it.
Earlier in 1928, some indigenes of Enugu  area had formed their own union. Known as Enugu Aborigines Improvement Union, it was more or less a social club, since it was meant to cater only for the welfare and interest of its members.  

Second Class Township
Enugu was declared a Second Class Township under the Colonial Order in Council No. 19 of 1917, along with Udi, which was declared a Third Class Township. This decision was contained in a telegram by the Resident, Onitsha Province, dated September 11, 1917.
It appears, however, that there was a little mix up somewhere as the Resident was compelled to dispatch another telegram dated November 24, 1917, in which he wrote: “If my telegram 3078 did not contain Enugu as a Township, please add. It should be called Enugu Ngwo Township”. The township was laid out in four zones. These were the European Reservation Area, the Neutral Zone, the Residential and Business Area, and the Native Locations.
The colonial heritage of Enugu is evidenced by the Georgian types of buildings and the meandering narrow roads witnessed within the residential area originally reserved for the whites, an area which is today called the Government Reservation Area (GRA). Unfortunately, these landmarks have been greatly altered, in recent past, through indiscriminate land allocations at the GRA, otherwise called “carve-outs”.
Following the declaration of Enugu as a second-class township, a Township Advisory Board (TAB) was set up to take care of the political administration of the area. Members of the board on inception comprised the following:
Ø   Mr. J.G. Lawson, Acting District Officer, who was designated Station Magistrate.
Ø   Mr. J.S. Hayes, Colliery Manager.
Ø   Mr. A.B. Milliken, Assistant Engineer. (He led the team that built the Milliken Hill in 1926).
Ø   Mr. E.C. Braithwaite, Medical Officer.

Ø   Mr. W.  Reeder, Senior Superintendent of Prisons.

Enugu-Ngwo Divisional Headquarters
In February 1920, the colonial government decided to move down the administrative headquarters of Udi Division to Enugu Township, and  renamed it “Enugu-Ngwo Division”. This was however received with negative reactions by the Chiefs of Udi Division, who offered to resign their appointments if the headquarters were moved down to Enugu, as evidenced by the following telegram from the District Officer, Udi to the Resident, Onitsha Province, dated June 17, 1920:
All Udi Court Chiefs and Sub-Chiefs informed me yesterday they would resign if Udi were moved. Said roads would become unsafe. Crime be rife. They wished also inform Troops the same. I explained your letter. Report soon as I am well enough. Have being fever unlikely get up for four days”.
   This report presented a very serious security threat to the fragile colonial administration, and the Resident reacted immediately, asking the D.O. to suspend action pending his visit to the area.
However, before the Resident could make the visit, the General Staff Officer, Kaduna, sent a distress call to the Lieutenant Governor, Southern Provinces, Colonel H. D. Moorhouse, acting on a message addressed to the Military Commandant Calabar:
“At request of warrant chiefs through D.O. Udi, I attended a meeting today and forty-six chiefs returned their warrants as a protest to moving civil stations to Enugu. They stated their authority and power to assist government will cease, many towns war against each other, roads become unsafe even for Europeans. Markets will close, troops be unable to obtain food except with personnel. Earnestly request action to be delayed moving station until barracks ready Enugu when civil and military move together. Food problem already sufficiently serious even with D.O. in the station”.
The General Staff Officer further informed that the D.O was in agreement with the telegram, and requested an urgent discussion on  the issue with the Lieutenant Governor. He however cautioned that if the situation was as had been stated, the withdrawal of administration and troops from Udi would present a dismal outlook.
That was a worrisome situation for the Lieutenant Governor. He felt that there was a prior announcement to Udi chiefs regarding the movement of the station to Enugu, and asked the Resident to respond.
In his response, the Resident, Mr. R.A. Roberts, blamed the D.O. Udi, Mr. M.D.H. Lyons, and accused him of bungling the issue. “… Lyon I know dislikes Enugu” he told the governor, pointing out that although Lyon had been instructed with what to tell the chiefs, he must have messed up the issue. According to the Resident, the chiefs had probably thought that it was government’s intention to close up Udi station, thereby reanimating the old rumour that government was going. “To close up Udi is not my intention”, he stated, and explained that he was proposing to post an Assistant District Officer to Udi to oversee activities in the area.
On the alleged troops movement, the Resident described it as untrue. He however informed the governor that he was moving down to Udi immediately to have discussions with the chiefs.
After meeting with the chiefs, the Resident wrote the governor:
“Have held full meeting of chiefs this morning concerning transfer of Udi Headquarters to Enugu and among other matters. As I suspected, chiefs were under impression that government intended closing down Udi entirely right off even Native Courts. Intentions of government were not properly explained. After I explained intentions chiefs were so far as to say that the transfer to Enugu would be good. Jones has now relieved Lyons.” (See ONDIST 11/6/1).        
    That ended Mr. Lyon’s sojourn in Enugu. And that perhaps, might have ended his career in the colonial civil service.
Having succeeded in calming frayed nerves, the colonial administration proceeded to move down the administrative headquarters of Udi Division to Enugu. That was in September 1920. This however lasted for a while as the headquarters were again moved back to Udi in 1929, due to what the colonial administrative officer for the area, Mr. J.G. Lawton, considered as “several logistic problems connected with administering the division from the township”.
In a memo to the Resident, Onitsha Province, dated October 21, 1926, the District Officer, Mr. Lawton, wrote: “Having now completed twelve months as officer in charge, Enugu Division, I venture to put forward some suggestions which, would, in my opinion, facilitate the administration of this division. 
Ø   Removal of the divisional headquarters from Enugu Township.
Ø   Formation of two divisions with separate headquarters for the Abaja and Nkanu areas respectively.
The reasons, according to the District Officer were:
·        There are no indigenous population in Enugu Township as is found at Onitsha. Enugu is in a situation similar to that of Port Harcourt whose cosmopolitan inhabitants were under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Station Magistrate as the Local Authority deals with all internal and domestic concerns. There is nothing the D.O. can do at Enugu that he could not do equally as well anywhere else in the division.
·        If headquarters is outside Enugu Township, the D.O. would be in much closer contact with the inhabitants of the division.
·        The D.O. at Enugu has at least nine miles of main road to cover before start touring the division. Equally a long journey for people to come to see him.
·        At Enugu, the D.O. is out of touch with the division because of the distance from the native courts and the hinterland.”
Mr. Lawton then suggested splitting the division into Nkanu Division, with headquarters at Agbani, and Agbaja Division, with headquarters at Oghe. This, according to the D.O., was because “…the two areas had nothing in common, and were widely and clearly separated geographically”. Similarly, neither of the divisions would be very much smaller than Awgu Division, while it would be easier for the “D.O. to give personal supervision to road and bridges and other improvements that cannot obtain in a larger division”. (Confidential Memo E.7/1926 of 21/10/26, NAE.)   
Reacting to this proposal, the Lieutenant Governor, Southern Provinces, merely gave approval in principle for the moving out of the divisional headquarters from Enugu Township. He did not, however, consider other proposal of splitting the division into two due to “financial constraints”. In a memo dated August 8, 1928, and signed on his behalf by one Mr. F.H.R. Ruxton, the Lieutenant Governor gave approval “in principle of divisional headquarters moving out of Enugu”. This took effect from April 1, 1929.

Capital of Southern Provinces 
 What, perhaps, might have impelled the Lieutenant Governor to acquiesce to the proposal that the divisional headquarters be moved out of Enugu Township, was another government’s decision to move out the administrative headquarters of Southern Provinces from Lagos to Enugu. This, no doubt, was to afford the colonial authorities opportunity to supervise, at close range, the exploitation of coal deposits at Enugu. The Southern Provinces then comprised of Onitsha, Ogoja, Owerri, Calabar, Ijebu, Oyo, Abeokuta, Ondo, Benin, Warri, as well as the Mandated Territory of the Cameroun. Enugu remained the capital of Southern Provinces until 1939, when the colonial government decided to split it into two – the Eastern and the Western Provinces, with headquarters at Enugu and Ibadan respectively. It was during this period that the likes of the Brodericks, the Sannis, the Ebreneyins, the Inyangs, etc., took their residences in Enugu, either as civil servants, traders, or businessmen.
In a memo to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, through Governor B.H. Bourdillon of Nigeria, dated May 19, 1937, the Chief Commissioner, Southern Provinces, Mr. W.E. Hunt, while recommending the splitting of Southern Provinces into four administrative units, wrote:
   “The present system whereby the Southern Provinces Secretariat at Enugu is the single bottleneck for the eleven Southern Provinces is too cumbersome  and dilatory, and there should be a return to the old system of three provincial commissioners for the Western, the Central and the Eastern Provinces, or something akin to it, while the Camerouns as a Mandated Territory would form a fourth commissionership; the present Provinces and the Residents would be abolished and the Provincial Commissioners or Chief Commissioners would deal with the district officers as in the days prior to 1914.”
In further justifying the proposal, Mr. Hunt deposed that:
        “It seems plainly unbusiness-like that important matters arising say at Abeokuta  or Ibadan should be discussed with a Chief Commissioner 400-450 miles away by  road and 864-924 by rail, and then submitted back to Lagos for the Governor’s information and decision. And apart from the delay, it leaves the Governor too long in the dark about the progress of events and of action taken, which may be the subject of daily comment in the press. Some of the difficulty arises from the geographical position of the capital in a corner, but even if the capital were more or less in the centre, at Kaduna, the difficulty, though diminished, would not be solved.”
  This proposal was forwarded to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, by the Governor, in a memo dated July 17, 1937. Reacting to the proposal, the Secretary of State, Mr. W.G.A. Ormsby-Gore, in a memo dated September 17, 1937, approved the re-organization of the area into two administrative units – the Eastern and the Western Provinces, with headquarters at Enugu and Ibadan respectively. While the Eastern Provinces comprised of  Onitsha, Ogoja, Owerri, Calabar and the Camerouns, the Western Provinces were made up of Oyo, Ijebu, Abeokuta, Ondo, Benin and Warri. These changes took effect from April 1, 1939. (File No. 14251 Vol.1 MINLOG 16/17/1373, NAE).
The citing of the administrative headquarters of the Southern Provinces in Enugu in 1929 had brought about the setting up of various administrative structures in the town, with civil servants recruited from different parts of the country to man these structures. These were civil servants recruited from Ibadan, Benin, Calabar, Warri, Abeokuta, Onitsha, Owerri, Aba, and even as far as Sierra Leone. And they all took residences in Enugu. Even after Ibadan had become the administrative capital of Western Provinces, many of these civil servants still elected to stay behind to work in the Coal City.

Metropolitan Government
In 1928, two Africans, were for the first time, appointed into the Enugu Township Advisory Board. The aim was to give the native population a sense of belonging and involve them in the political administration of the township. Those appointed were Messrs John Anyansi and Lawrence Onwudiwe. By 1929, European members of the board had increased to include the Station Magistrate, who also doubled as the Local Authority; the Senior Medical Officer, and the Colliery Manager as well as the Senior Executive Engineer (PWD).
Others were the Assistant Engineer, (Nigerian Eastern Railway), the Assistant Commandant of Prisons, Mr. Thomas Welch, the District Manager, UAC, who replaced Mr. W.D. Gladstone, Agent, Messrs Miller Brothers (of Liverpool) Ltd., Enugu, and Mr. Albert Durst, Agent, G.B. Ollivant.
In 1931, Mr. Lawrence Onwudiwe one of the two  African members of the board, was charged before an Enugu Assizes with offences “relating to false pretences and collecting unauthorized tax”. He was found guilty and fined ₤100 or six months imprisonment with hard labour and to pay ₤30 to Native Administration, as well as ₤17 and ₤6 in respect of two other information, which were taken into account.
As a result of this conviction, Mr. Onwudiwe was forced to resign his membership of the board. He was replaced with Mr. A.W Broderick, a prison contractor from Benin. This was followed by the appointment of one Chief Sanni, a Yoruba, to replace Mr. J.A. Macdonald, an assistant commissioner of police, who vacated the seat upon request made by the Inspector-General of Police.
 Mr. Sanni’s appointment to the board was however objected to by Mr. Anyansi, an African member, who insisted that “…the town’s people had not been consulted before the appointment was made”.
Reacting to Mr. Anyansi’s objection, the European Local Authority for Enugu wrote the Resident, claiming that Mr. Anyansi lodged his objection for the appointment of Chief Sanni “…for purely personal motives”. He stated that that was not the first time Mr. Anyansi had expressed “an opinion or made suggestions with an apparent view to personal gain. These remarks have not been set down in the minutes, but, although the matter has not been put to the vote, I am convinced that I am correct in saying that the remaining members have little confidence in this member”. He then suggested the replacement of Mr. Anyansi with another African member.
In his reaction, the Resident considered the matter “very somewhat trivial”. While agreeing that the board had administered “a very just rebuke to Mr. Anyansi”, he however advised that it would be “injudicious to dismiss him based on the allegation, but urged the Local Authority to “…henceforth keep a record of any acts of Mr. Anyansi’s either as a member of the board or elsewhere, which might justifiably be construed as being opposed to public interests, and which taken as a whole could lead to his replacement by someone more worthy”. (ONDIST 12/1/423, NAE)
Another African member, Mr. E.C. Pyne, a lawyer and chairman, Nigerian Youth Movement, Enugu branch, was appointed to the board in 1939. This followed representations made by the youth movement, because “…of the three African members of the board, only one was literate and who could contribute meaningfully to its deliberations”.
With the passing on of both Mr. Broderick and Chief Sanni, Messrs Charles Dadi Onyeama from Eke in Udi Division, and Mr. S.A. Strong, a Sierra Leonean, were on December 31, 1941, appointed to take their place. Mr. Onyeama was later to resign his membership of the board upon his movement to Lagos following his appointment as cadet in the administrative service of Nigeria. Mr. S.A. Strong, also resigned from the board on health grounds. They were replaced with Reverend Father Fox, in charge of the Catholic Mission in Enugu, and Mr. Francis W. Broderick, son of the late Mr. A.W. Broderick. In November 1944, Mr. J. Ayo Ogunbiyi, Chairman, Civil Service Union, Enugu branch, was appointed to represent the union on the board following representations made by the labour union.    
In its march towards decolonization, the colonial government of Nigeria had promulgated the Richards’ Constitution of 1944. This was however received with widespread criticisms throughout the country. On June 23, 1945, the Enugu Community League, led by Mr. John Anyansi, held a rally at the African Club Hall, Enugu, where it unanimously passed a vote of no confidence on Mr. E.N. Egbuna, a member of the Legislative Council, representing Ibo Division, who was elected to the House based on that constitution.
This provided the long awaited opportunity for the colonial government to deal with Mr. Anyansi for his “past offences”. Based on this opposition of the Richards’ Constitution by the Enugu Community League, the Resident, on August 1, 1945, announced the revocation of the appointment of Mr. Anyansi as member of both the Enugu Township Advisory Board and the Provincial Prison Ration Board for Nsukka Prison. His reasons were that “…private persons are at liberty to express their views as they wish upon a matter of this nature, but it is not a privilege that may be extended to anyone who holds an official or quasi-official position in any department or branch of government”.
This decision, no doubt, attracted negative reactions from members of the Community League. In their protest letter dated August 30, 1945, addressed to the Secretary, Eastern Provinces, they wrote:
·        That Chief Anyansi as a British citizen was free to express opinion on matters of general interests in a constitutional manner;
·        That Chief Anyansi was not a government employee and was therefore not bound by Colonial Regulations or the General Orders of the Nigerian government.
·        That it was the African community of Enugu that elected Chief Anyansi and the late Chief Lawrence Onwudiwe to look after their interests in Enugu.
·        That Chief Anyansi was selected during a mass meeting of the Enugu Community in February 1926 to represent them in the Enugu Township Advisory Board.
·        That Chief Anyansi’s appointment into the Board was made by the Lieutenant governor, and not by the Resident, Onitsha, Province. (Prior to 1928, appointment into Enugu Township Advisory Board was made by the Lieutenant Governor. This was later delegated to the Resident via a government gazette dated February 26, 1929).
·        That Chiefs, native court judges and government officials in other towns in the country took part in the discussions on the Richards’ Constitution and its criticisms of the unofficial members of the legislative council and none of them were victimized.
·        That if Chief Anyansi was to be victimized on account of a vote of no confidence passed on Mr. Egbuna by the Enugu Community, then all workers in Nigeria would have to be dismissed or victimized for passing vote of no confidence on the Commissioner of Labour, the Labour Relations Officer, and even the Governor himself.
The letter was signed by all the “tribal unions” in Enugu, including the Enugu Divisional Union, Owerri Divisional Union, Asaba Divisional Union, Awgu District Union, Urhobo Progress Union, Onitsha Divisional Union, Awka District Union, Udi District Union, Nsukka District Union, Calabar Improvement Union, among others. The protest letter did not sway the Resident, who stuck to the revocation.(ONDIST 12/1/423, NAE).
In October 1949, the Udi District Union and the Enugu Divisional Union, formerly Enugu Aborigines Improvement Union, made a combined deputation to the Resident, Onitsha Province, for representation to the township board. In response, the Resident requested the two unions to nominate only one person for appointment to the board. The two unions could not however agree on who should represent them. While the Enugu Divisional Union nominated Mr. C.D. Onyeama and Mr. Anthony Eze, the Udi District Union nominated Mr. Thomas Ozobu.
The Resident, however, approved the nomination of Anthony Eze. This was objected to by the Udi District Union, which suggested that while the board retains the nominee of the Enugu Union, the membership of the board should be increased to accommodate their own nominee. While the Resident was prepared to accede to the proposal, the Local Authority objected on the ground that “…other tribal unions might as well ask for representation”. (ONDIST 12/1/601, NAE).
That, notwithstanding, following increasing nationalist agitations, the Resident was compelled to change his mind by expanding the membership of the board to include representatives of other tribal unions in the Coal City. Accordingly, members of the Township Advisory Board as at January 1950, were Mr. G.K. Igwe, Mr. O.O. Uduma, Mr. Hermas Adigwe, Mr. Thomas Ozobu, Mr. Henry Phillip Ezekpo, Reverend Father Fox, Mr. Anthony Eze, Mr. S.O. Achara, Mr. C.D. Onyeama, Mr. Broderick and Mr. Ayomale.
From then on, appointments into the board had become the centre of political activity in the town, and the Resident was compelled to make that an annual ritual. As at January 30, 1951, apart from the British official members, the Township Advisory Board was reconstituted to include the following: Mr. P.C. Obioha, Mr. Anthony Eze, Mr. Thomas Ozobu, Mr. Gabriel Agbo, Mr.S.O. Achara, Mr. Hermas Adigwe, Mr, P.C. Peters and Dr. G.C. Mbanugo. 

Democratic Elections
The first democratic election into the newly constituted Enugu Urban District Council was held in 1953. Those elected after a keenly contested exercise dominated by the ruling NCNC were; Samuel Wilson, Dominic Oluka, Lawrence Ezechi, Samuel Anyogu, C.O. Chiedozie, Michael Ajoku, B.C.N. Okeke, Josiah Agu, John U. Okoro, D.T. Inyang, S. Odume, Walwin Ebreneyin, G.K. Igwe, Gabriel Agbo, Nelson Onwudiwe, Joseph Ogbu, Ezekiel Eze, Michael Onovo, Dennis  Nwandu, Hermas Adigwe, and Patrick Ozonu.
The councilors, sitting among themselves, later elected Mr. Walwin Ebreneyin, an Urhobo man, as chairman of the council, with Mr. Patrick Ozonu from Ngwo in Udi Division, as his deputy. Mr. Ebreneyin was however succeeded the following year, 1954, as council chairman by Mallam Umaru Altine, an Hausa/Fulani cattle dealer from Sokoto, following another election into the council. Malam Altine went further to become the first Mayor of Enugu when the city was elevated to mayoral status in 1956.
But how did a Hausa/Fulani cattle dealer, Umaru Altine, succeed in becoming the chairman of a largely dominated Igbo population of Enugu Urban Council, and thus emerging its first mayor?
First, Mallam Altine was the chairman of the NCNC youth wing in Enugu. He would not have made it to the council if he were not backed by the NCNC. He defeated Mr. D.T. Inyang, a journalist, who contested the councillorship seat with him in Asata Ward Nine. Mr. Inyang won that seat in 1953.
Second, Umaru Altine’s selection as chairman, NCNC Enugu youth wing, and later chairman, Enugu Urban Council, was a neat gesture on the part of NCNC to prove to the rest of the country that the party was a national, and not a tribal one.
Nonetheless, Altine was merely a stooge foisted on the council by some powerful cabals. He was a mere figurehead, who was controlled both in the party and in the council by those who put him there. Altine was not even supported by his people, the Hausa/Fulani in Enugu, as could be attested to by the following petition to the Lieutenant Governor, Eastern Region, dated March 30, 1954,  
“Your humble petitioners are strongly and seriously opposed to unconfirmed information received that the NCNC are planning to select its youth president, Mallam Umaru into the Urban District Council, Enugu, to represent them. Your humble petitioners would however like to point out for your information that Mallam Umaru  is not their choice, moreover, that he knows nothing practically about the Hausa community in Enugu”. (ONDIST 20/1/134, NAE)
The election had however served the purpose for which it was intended, that is to say, that the NCNC, unlike its other rivals, the Action Group and the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), was the only national party in the country.
          In 1967, a committee under the chairmanship of the then Attorney-General of Eastern Region, Dr. Graham Douglas, recommended the carving up of the region into 20 provinces and 33 divisions. Enugu, in addition to retaining its position as capital of Eastern Region, was also granted a provincial status, with Mr. Felix Iheanocho, from Owerri as Provincial Administrator. Mr. Iheanocho was however replaced with Chief Christian Onoh, following protests from indigenes of the area.

Biafran Seat of Government
          On January 15, 1966, the military struck in the country’s body politics, overthrowing the democratically elected government and usurping the position. This precipitated series of political crises, leading to massacres of Easterners, particularly Ndigbo, in different parts of Northern Region. As a result, the East decided to pull out Nigeria, and on May 30, 1967, declared itself the Republic of Biafra. Enugu was made the capital of the new republic and seat of the Biafran government.
The Biafran regime had however hardly taken off, with Enugu assuming the new role of national capital, when the federal government of Nigeria unleashed a war on the young republic and its people. With inferior military resources and equipment, but with a strong will and determination to succeed, the Biafrans failed to halt the steady advances of the federal forces. Enugu was captured on September 28, 1967.
Consequently, everybody was evacuated, including the seat of the Biafran government, the various ministries and other establishments, which were scattered to different parts of the Biafran enclave, yet to fall to the rampaging federal forces. For the next twenty-four months, Enugu was a ghost of itself, occupied by rodents and other reptiles, and of course, the occupation federal forces and their hangers on. There was therefore no form of social and economic activities in and around the area.
 At the end of the Civil War in January 1970 and the re-absorption of the secessionist Biafrans into the Nigerian federation, some half-hearted efforts were made towards rebuilding many of the private and public buildings and other infrastructures destroyed in the area during the war. In the meantime, Enugu had become the capital of East Central State, one of the 12 states created by Yakubu Gowon on the eve of the declaration of the Republic of Biafra, in 1967.
Thus, apart from the reverses suffered because of the civil war, the splitting of the country into twelve states, and Eastern Region into three, had adversely affected the growth and development of Enugu Coal City. From being as one of the four regional capitals, Enugu was reduced to just one of the “twelve state capitals”, with little or no attention paid to it.
To make matters worse, the two other states carved out from Eastern Region – Rivers and South Eastern States - were quick to severe links with the East Central State and Enugu as its capital, when they decided to pull out from companies and other establishments jointly owned by them under the defunct East Region. Among these companies were the Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation (ENDC), the Eastern Nigeria Information Service (ENIS), the African Continental Bank (ACB), the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and the Nigerian Cement Company (NIGERCEM), Nkalagu. This led to the virtual collapse of these establishments many of which had their headquarters in Enugu as the regional capital. This was contrary to the situation in the former Northern and Western Regions where all the newly created states agreed to manage jointly their establishments located in Kaduna and Ibadan respectively.
Furthermore, there appeared to be a deliberate policy by the federal authorities to “punish” Enugu for the role it played as capital of Biafra, when the government decided to turn its back on Enugu Colliery, which was not only flooded, but also vandalized during the war.

In addition, industries, which essentially relied on coal for their operations, such as the Oji River Thermal Power Station, the Nigerian Cement Company, Nkalagu, the Marines, the Nigerian Railway Corporation, etc., were either allowed to die or had their operational mechanisms changed, so that the Enugu coal would have no market. At the same time, the government also refused to  source for foreign markets for Enugu coal or allow private investors into the Colliery as a way of keeping it alive.

In 1975, the traditional area of Enugu Township was expanded to incorporate the rural communities of Nike, Ugwogo, Amechi Awkunanaw, Obeagu, Akwuke, Mary Land, Ugwuaji, and parts of Ngwo town. With the creation of new local government councils in 1991, the township was split into Enugu North and Enugu South local governments, while another local government creation exercise carried out in 1996, saw the carving out of Enugu East from Enugu North local government, bringing the total number of local governments in the metropolis to three.

Commerce and Industry
          It was Enugu Colliery that brought about the universal acceptance of  British currency in Igboland, and hence, the beginning of modern commercial activities in the whole area. Hitherto, the people had rejected any mode of economic transaction based on that currency, which was why the British colonial authorities had launched the “Aro Expedition” of 1901 - 1902. With the coalminers now being paid with British currency, the colonial government did not need any further “expedition” to force its acceptance by the people.
          The first market in Enugu was started near the coalmine where local inhabitants used to bring in their farm produce like yam and palm oil for sale to the coalminers. The market was then called Obwetti Market, named after a South African mining engineer who worked with the Colliery, Mr. Obwetti. It was this “Obwetti Market” that has today become known as “Ogbete Market”. From satisfying the needs of the coalminers, the market began to expand to accommodate the needs of other immigrants to the Coal City, which included civil servants, traders and many ordinary residents.
With time, the market began to deal with other goods, which necessitated its movement outside the coalmine. And with rapid increase in immigrants to the Coal City, several markets some of them specializing in various goods like vehicle spare parts, building materials, etc.,  began to spring up in other parts of the municipality. Apart from Ogbete Market, other regular markets in Enugu include New Market, Kenyatta, Artisan, Abakpa, Camp (Tinker), Afor Awkunanaw, and Olie Emene.       
          A branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is located in Enugu, in addition to several branches of other commercial and specialized banks in the country. All these make for easy business transactions in the town. Enugu is one of the three centres for International Trade fairs in the country. The town also hosts a number of state-owned industrial establishments like the Anambra Motor Manufacturing Company (ANAMMCO), the Nigergas, the Sunrise Floor Mills, as well as dozens of other privately owned companies.
          A virtually crime-free city coupled with a serene atmosphere, Enugu has a very good climate for both public and private investments, which is accentuated by the friendly disposition of the people of the area and the liberal policy of the state government in allocating land both for private and commercial uses.

Transport and Communication
          Enugu is strategically located with road networks that run from the south to different parts of the northern states of the country, and to the east through Abakaliki to Ogoja and up to the Republic of Cameroun. Similarly, the town has a rail line that runs from the south to the northern states, while the Akanu Ibiam Airport, currently being upgraded to international standard is also located in Enugu.
Enugu is the zonal headquarters of both the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST).
Among the television and radio stations in Enugu are the Nigerian Television Authority’s network affiliate (NTA, Enugu), the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) network affiliate station (Radio Nigeria, Enugu), the Enugu State Broadcasting Service (ESBS), with its radio and television stations, the Cosmo FM 93.5 radio station, as well as the State owned newspaper corporation, publishers of the Daily Star Group of Newspapers.

Education and Manpower Training
          As in almost everywhere in Igboland, Christian missionaries were pioneers in the establishment of educational institutions in the Coal City. The first post primary institution in Enugu is the Holy Rosary College (HRC), established in 1935 by the Holy Rosary Sisters of the Catholic Mission. This was closely followed by the College of Immaculate Conception (CIC), which was established in 1942.
 The government then came in to establish Government Trade Centre, later renamed Government Technical College, in 1945. The Women Training College (WTC) was established in 1951, while Queen’s School was founded in 1954. Since then, the number of educational institutions, at both the tertiary and post primary levels in the city, has continued to increase by leaps and bound.
          Enugu was home to the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, established by the federal government on the recommendation of the Ashby Commission on Higher Education, with branches in two other Nigerian towns of Zaria and Ibadan. The college which opened in 1955/56 academic session with a students’ population of 240, offered classes in surveying, science, higher school certificate, secretarial skills, local government, arts and mining. By 1960, the institution was transformed into the first autonomous university in the country - the University of Nigeria, which has campuses at Enugu and Nsukka.
The town also hosts the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Caritas University, Coal City University, the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), the Bigard Memorial Seminary, the Institute of Ecumenical Education, the Federal School of Dental Technology, as well as Our Saviour Institute of Science, Agriculture and Technology (OSISATECH), and several other institutions.
In addition, there are two federal government specialized agencies located in the city. These are the Project Development Institute (PRODA), and  the Science Equipment Development Institute (SEDI).   
          Among the specialized medical institutions in the town are the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), the ESUT Teaching Hospital, the National Orthopedic Hospital as well as the Federal Psychiatric Hospital.
          A branch of the National Archives of Nigeria is located in Enugu, a branch of the National Library of Nigeria as well as the British Council Library. There is also a state owned library, and several other libraries owned by the various tertiary and research institutions in the Coal City. These provide reference materials to interested researchers.        

          Residents of Enugu Municipality are predominantly Christians, with the Catholics, the Anglicans and the Methodists, in that order, clearly in the majority. Of recent, the newfound Pentecostal churches are gradually making their presence felt in the town. Any first time visitor to Enugu would therefore have no problem locating his choice of place to communicate with his Creator as many places of worship abound in the town.  

          Enugu is home to the all-conquering Rangers International Football Club, whose exploits on the national and international soccer scene had endeared it to millions of Nigerians. The town has produced sportsmen and women of international repute like ‘Chairman’ Christian Chukwu, Emmanuel Okala, Dominic Nwobodo, Dominic Ezeani, Mike Emenalo, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, Patrick Ekeji, Emeka and Ifeanyi Onyedika, Obed Ariri, all football stars, as well as acclaimed athletes like Innocent Egbunike, Paul Emordi and Beatrice Utondu.
 The city also boasts one of the best football pitches in the country in terms of playing turf – the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium. It had hosted the FIFA Under 19 Junior World Cup tournament in 1999 and billed to host the Under 17 Junior World Cup tournament in 2009.

          The issue of peace and security as necessary ingredients for development is taken serious in Enugu. Conscious of this fact, the colonial administration, had as far back as  1920, established an army barracks in the Coal City. This was transformed to the 1st Battalion of the Nigerian Army on attainment of Nigerian independence, and later, to the 82nd  Division of the Nigerian Army.
An Air Force flying unit is also located in Enugu, as well as a police command headquarters, a Police Detective College, and several police formations. These security outfits ensure that adequate security is provided for residents of the Coal City.
Furthermore, the state government, while complementing the activities of these federal government security outfits through joint sponsorship of their operations, also encourages residents of the town to organize themselves into Neighbourhood Watch Groups” with a view to knowing each other better and detecting some bad eggs among them.   

Hotel and Tourism
The first hotel in the Coal City is the Day Spring Hotel, located along Ogui Road. It was established in 1951. Since then, many other hotels and motels have continued to spring up almost on a daily basis, to provide enjoyment and offer relaxation to residents of the Coal City. There are no fewer than 90 hotels in Enugu metropolis, including the Nike Lake Resort Hotel, a five star resort located next to the Nike Lake and once considered one of the jewels of Nigeria.
Other hotels and restaurants in the Coal City include the Presidential Hotel, Modotel, Zodiac, Dannic, Top Rank, Burgeon Hills, Victoria Gardens, Victoria Suites, Royal Palace, Cordial, Crystal Palace, Crystal Springs, Brown & Brown Centre, Quixotel, Raya Restaurant as well as Genesis Restaurant.
To boost its tourism industry, not only in the city but in the state generally, the state government had established a tourism board, charged with the responsibility to identify and develop the tourism potentials of the area. Among the tourist attractions in the Coal City are:
·        Enugu Coal Mines: They are as old as Enugu Town itself and are accessible by road.
·        Udi and Milliken Hills: Located at the outskirts of Enugu, also accessible by road and are good for picnics.
·        Nike Lake: Situated at the outskirts of Enugu. It is a good tourist centre, with fully equipped relaxation facilities. It is easily accessible by road, and has good scenery for picnics.
·        Enugu Zoological Garden: Located within Enugu Town, it harbours various Chapter Two
Enugu Colliery
It is from the base that forces mount up which supply the summit with its
           dynamics and make  it possible dialectically for it to leap.
                                            -  Ahmed Sekou Toure

Brief History
The discovery of coal in Enugu, in 1909, was the result of several years’ efforts by the British Colonial Government to explore the rich mineral potentials of its newly acquired Nigerian territory. As early as 1903, just three years after the British Crown formally took over the administration of Nigeria from the Royal Niger Company, the Colonial Government set up the Southern Nigerian Mineral Survey Department under the direction of Professor Wyndham R. Dustain, Director of the British Imperial Institute, London. The purpose was to carry out an intensive mineral survey of Southern Nigeria. Investigations under J. Parkinson, and later, under Sir Albert Kitson, revealed exposures of lignite at Okpanam and at Ibusa in the now Delta State, and at Nnewi in Anambra State. Results of analysis of these lignite were however not encouraging, but that did not deter the investigating team.
In 1909, Kitson and his team who were on their way from Onitsha to Abakaliki in search of silver, discovered bituminous coal at Enugu. The discovery aroused much interest and attention. Between 1910 and 1911, the area of hard coal at Enugu was mapped out. This was continued by Lumb and Whitworth who worked for the Geological Department from 1911 to 1913, and by 1914, a large coalfield was located. The Imperial Institute in London analyzed samples of the coal and they were found to be a good sub-bituminous one, quite suitable for steam raising purposes. (Nwabara,  Iboland: A Century of Contact with Britain 1860-1960), 1977.
Exploration of the mineral was made possible by an agreement or treaty entered into between the Colonial Government and some chiefs of former Udi Division led by Paramount Chief Onyeama of Eke. Two agreements were executed. The first was on November 19, 1915, while the second was on March 22, 1917. The two agreements were identical in their wordings, except the dates, signatories, and compensations to the several chiefs for damages to crops and property.
It would appear that after executing the first agreement, certain terms were found to be unsatisfactory. So, the second agreement was meant to remedy such deficiencies.
The first agreement read thus:
“We, the undersigned Chiefs of the UDI DIVISION OF THE SOUTHERN PROVINCES OF NIGERIA, fully appreciating the benefits which will be derived by us and by our people by the opening of a Government Colliery at  ENUGU-NGWO in the said UDI DIVISION DO HEREBY GRANT without charge freely and voluntarily unto the Government of Nigeria all such lands as may be required by the said Government for the purposes of a Station and Colliery, for the working of all coal and other minerals, the  building of works, railways and houses, the establishment of traders’ sites, and for all and any other purposes for which the said Government may think fit to use the said lands; the said lands so required having been clearly  marked by beacons on the ground and pointed out to us as delineated and  shown on the plan attached hereto.
And we do HEREBY ACKNOWLEDGE the receipt of the sums set forth in  the Schedule attached to this Agreement in full payment of all compensation due to us, our towns and our people, and to all persons residing on or  having an interest in the said lands for damage done to all house, crops  and trees and other property on the said land”.
        Chief Ozo Eze of Ngwo                      his x mark (L.S.) (Legal Seal)
        Chief Nadi of Ngwo                                     his x mark (L.S.)
       Chief of Afo of Ngwo                          his x mark (L.S.)
       Chief Okwani of Ngwo                        his x mark (L.S.)
       Chief Ogu of Ngwo                              his x mark (L.S.)
       Sub Chief Ozugu of Ngwo                            his x mark (L.S.)
       Sub Chief Oguwakwa of Ngwo           his x mark (L.S.)
      Sub Chief Ozo Eze of Ngwo                 his x mark (L.S.)
     *Sub Chief Ajowangu of Ngwo             his x mark (L.S.)
      Sub Chief Onovo of Ngwo                             his x mark (L.S.)
      Sub Chief Ngu of Ngwo                       his x mark (L.S.)
         Chief Alum of Ogwe (Ogui)               his x mark (L.S.)
Signed and sealed at ENUGU by the said Chiefs of the UDI DIVISION  of the Southern Provinces of Nigeria in the presence of
Chief Onyeama of Eke                        His x mark
Witness to mark                     
(Sgd) N.C. Duncan, D.O.
(Sgd) J.S. Hayes, Colliery Manager
(Sgd) Reginald Hargrove, Commissioner
I hereby certify that I have truly and honestly interpreted and explained in the IBO language the terms of the foregoing Agreement to the said Chiefs of the UDI DIVISION of the Southern Provinces of Nigeria.
          (Sgd) F.A. Okwesa
          Sworn Interpreter.
          Signed by the said Interpreter in the presence of
          (Sgd) N.C. Duncan, District Officer, Udi
          (Sgd) Reginald Hargrove,
          This instrument was proved before me by the oath of the written name Reginald Hargrove, Commissioner, to have been duly executed on Nineteen November 1915 by the within named chiefs, Ozo-Eze, Nadi, Afo, Okwoani and Ogu, and Sub Chiefs Ozugu, Oguwakwa, Ozo-Eze *Agawangwa, Onovo and Ngu, all of the town of Ngwo in Udi Division of the Southern Provinces of Nigeria, and Chief Alum of Ogwe (Ogui), also in the Udi Division of the Southern Provinces of Nigeria.
          (Sgd) R.L. Archer
          Acting District Officer
          and Stations Magistrate
          20th November, 1915.
      Chief Ozo Eze of Ngwo
      for damage to yams near Prison farm    -       £3
     Chief Ozo Eze
     his x mark
     Head Chief Ozo Eze of Ngwo
     for general damage to crops, property, etc.    
     £50 on the land referred to.                                     
     Received on behalf of the town of Ngwo
     Ozo Eze his x mark
     Head Chief Alum of Ogwe (Ogui)
    for general damages done to crops,  property etc. on the land
     referred to   £20
    Received on behalf of the town of Ogwe (Ogui)        
    Alum his x mark
    (Sgd) F.A. Okwesa
   (Sgd) Reginald Hargrove
This Instrument was delivered to me for Registration by Samuel Owen Jaisimi of Lands Office Lagos at 11.45 O’clock in the forenoon this 6th day of February, 1918.
          (Sgd) C.W. Alexander, Registrar.
          It seems that this agreement was not satisfactory in terms of the amount of compensation, and the fact that the head Chief (Onyeama), was not signatory to it. This defect appears to have been remedied in another agreement signed on March 22, 1917. The two agreements were identical in their wordings except the dates, signatories, and compensations to the several chiefs for damages to crops and property.   
Part of this Second agreement reads as follows:
As witness our hands and seals this 22nd day of March 1917.
    Head Chief Onyeama of Eke                            His x mark (L.S.)
    Chief Okalafor of Eke                                      His x mark (L.S.)
    Chief Nadi of Ngwo                                His x mark (L.S.)
    Head Chief Ofo of Ngwo                       His x mark (L.S.) 
    Chief Ukwuani of Ngwo                         His x mark (L.S.)
    Chief Ozo-Eze of Ngwo                          His x mark (L.S.)
    Head Chief Ngu-Agu of Abbaw (Abor)  His x mark (L.S.)
    Head Chief Ozo-Eze of Nsudi (Nsude)   His x mark (L.S.)
Signed and sealed at Enugu by the said Chiefs of the Udi Division of the Southern Provinces of Nigeria in the presence of
          (Sgd) J.S. Hayes
                   Colliery Manager – Udi Colliery
          (Sgd) Reginald Hargrove – Resident.
          I hereby certify that I have truly and honestly interpreted and explained in the Ibo language the terms of the foregoing agreement to the said Chiefs of the Udi Division of the Southern Provinces of Nigeria.
                     (Sgd) F.U. Okwudile
                    Sworn Interpreter.
 Signed by the said Interpreter in the presence of
                   (Sgd) J.S. Hayes
                   Colliery Manager.
                   (Sgd) Reginald Hargrove – Resident.
Chief Onyeama of Eke
Received on behalf of the town of Eke                 £50
          (Sgd) Chief Onyeama              His x mark (L.S.)
  Chief Ofo of Ngwo
Received on behalf of the town of Ngwo              £50
          (Sgd) Chief Ofo                       His x mark (L.S.)
Chief Ozo Eze of Nsudi
Received on behalf of the town of Nsudi              £50
          (Sgd) Chief Ozo Eze                          His x mark (L.S.)
Chief Ngu-Agu of Abaw                                      £50
          (Sgd) Chief Ngu-Agu                        His x mark (L.S.)
Witness to above marks
(Sgd) J.S. Hayes
          Colliery Manager
(Sgd) F.U. Okwudile     
(Sgd) Reginald Hargrove
          I, Reginald Hargrove, Resident, 2nd Class, make oath and say that on the twenty-second day of March, 1917, I saw the eight within named Chiefs of the Udi Division duly execute the instrument how produced to me and that the said instrument was read over and interpreted to them by Francis Okwudile at the time of its execution and that all of them appeared to understand its provisions.      
(Sgd) Reginald Hargrove
          Sworn at Udi this 27th day of March, 1917.
(Sgd) N.C. Duncan.
          District Officer, Udi.
This instrument was proved before me by the Oath of the within named Reginald Hargrove to have been duly executed by the within named eight Chiefs of the Udi Division on the twenty second day of March 1917.   
                   (Sgd) N.C. Duncan
                   District Officer.
Penalty for late registration remitted under 39 of the Land Registration Ordinance. (M.P.A. 2318/15. Min. 56)              
(Sgd) C.W. Alexander – Registrar.
          In the opinion of the Commissioner of Stamp Duties the within instrument is not chargeable with Stamp Duty.
                             (Sgd) W.C. Huggard. 21.5.17
                             Commissioner of Stamp Duties.
(See Dillibe Onyeama, Chief Onyeama: The Story of an African God;/S.N Nwabara,  Iboland: A Century of  Contact with Britain 1860-1960) See also Dons Eze et al, The Wawa Struggle).
          The agreement ceded to government, ten square miles for the Colliery, the railway, and the development of Enugu Township. The acquisition of this large parcel of land, which hitherto had been lying fallow, as well as subsequent acquisitions for both government and commercial establishments and private residential homes, no doubt, dramatically raised the value of land in Enugu. The consequence was the many land disputes, which had erupted among various neighbouring communities in the area. For instance, the Ngwo, the Ogui Nike and the Amechi Awkunanaw communities, had for long been involved in litigations over who owns which parcel of land within  and around the Coal City.
At any rate, one could reasonably question the credibility or authenticity of the so-called agreement entered into between the colonial administrators and the chiefs of Udi Division, where a large parcel of land was parceled out to the government for mining and development purposes. This is because the agreement appears to be at best one-sided, or on an unequal terms, as they contain many pitfalls as could be seen below.
First, the so-called chiefs who signed the agreements were not, as the British had thought, autocratic rulers who could dispose of village land as they saw fit. The chiefs were, in fact, traditional representatives imposed on the people by the colonial government and therefore had very limited powers.
Second, the chiefs were not empowered to “grant” any land; and in fact, the native land was in general, inalienable. Again, the people who these chiefs were representing had no idea that their land was being disposed of, and it is very likely that many of these chiefs themselves did not quite grasp the situation.
Similarly, the “Chiefs of Udi” met a white man for the first time in 1909 and therefore could not have appreciated any benefit to be derived from either the coal or the railway in 1915. Since none of the chiefs understood English language, the documents were supposed to have been read to them in Igbo, the Igbo translation of these strange concepts and legal terminology could not have been very clear to them.
Lastly, the casualness of the cession is underlined by the fact that part of the land ceded belonged to other towns outside Udi whose chiefs were not invited to sign the document, nor even consulted. Therefore, the signing of the agreement was a farce or a comedy of errors.
In denouncing the agreement, a former member of the Federal House of Representative for Udi Division, Mr. D. A. Nnaji, commented as follows:
“As a result of coal mining which started in 1916, the people of Ngwo, Akegbe, Ogui, Nike, Eke and Abor, were forbidden to farm on the areas of land affected. The people asked for money, and on May 19, 1915, twelve illiterate chiefs secretly signed an agreement with government in respect of the land so acquired. At a point, when  the people resisted, a dog was brought which threatened to bite the  natives. They gave in. The agitation had continued since then, but  government had yet to pay any compensation.” (The West African Pilot, March 23, 1954.)

Coal Exploitation
Notwithstanding the shortcomings contained in the above agreements, exploitation of the mineral began in 1915 under a British mining engineer named William John Leck. However, due to the view wrongly held by Governor Frederick Lugard that except by compulsion it would not be easy to find labour in Southern Nigeria, the government decided that the Enugu Coal field should be worked as a state industry. This was in contrast to tin, which was then being mined in Jos as a private enterprise. Lugard’s decision was informed by the view “that except by compulsion it is almost impossible to get labour in the Southern Nigeria”. He therefore argued that since government would have to provide force to regiment the labour, government might as well work the coalfield itself, at least, in the early stages of development. Later it might be opened to private enterprise. 
Similarly, because of a wrong belief that the local population might be unwilling to work in the mine, William Leck brought with him to Enugu, a gang of labourers from Onitsha. As P.E.H. Hair had reported:
“When the first manager of the Colliery, Mr. W.J. Leck, arrived the site of the mine late 1914, labour represented a serious problem as the wild Ngwos and Abajas were afraid to work underground. Mr. Leck had however brought with him, a gang of Onitsha men, under the brother of an Onitsha Warrant Chief who became the first Colliers”.(Hair, Unpublished Study of Enugu, NAE). 
That “Onitsha gang” leader was one Alfred Inoma, who with his men had built a range of mud houses on a spur about 200 feet up the ridge, at a place now called “Ugwu Alfred”. The place currently inhabits a proportion of residents of Enugu Coal City. This, therefore, means that Alfred Inoma and his group were the first inhabitants of what is today known as Enugu metropolis.
By November 1915, doubts about the local population agreeing to work in the Colliery were dispelled as the Chief Engineer of the Colliery had reported that about 800 men were at work at the mine, two-thirds of them, underground, and that there was no difficulty in securing labour. Indeed,  there was competition for employment at the mine. From that time onwards, the mine was staffed mainly by the local population who were brought in by the local chiefs, acting as recruiting agents for the Colliery Management. About 60 percent of these miners came from the surrounding Udi Division, while the number increased to 75 per cent in 1938, and 78 per cent in 1953.
Hair however reported that the Nkanu people who formed the other part of Udi Division were reluctant working in the coalmines, thus leaving the stage for the supply of local labour to the Agbaja group. According to him, the Nkanu people were content tilling their land rather than accept to work in the mines. Even when they were  forcibly conscripted to work in the mines, many of them later deserted and went back to their farms. Quoting W.G,R. Horton, Hair further reported that:
 “In 1923, the Ohu (slaves) of several village groups immediately to the south of Nike revolted against the Amadi (freemen) who were attempting to conscript them forcibly for work in the neighbouring Enugu mines and to export the wages which they earned”.
Moreover, he continued, in 1919, the Colliery Manager was ordered to sack all men from the Nkanu village group of Akegbe and to take no more from there because all Akegbe men were required to act as carriers on the Abakaliki road, while the District Officer at Udi had decided that no recruit should come from Nkanu because an attempt was being made to increase the production of palm oil in the area. (Hair: Unpublished Study of Enugu, NAE).
The Traditional Ruler of Ogui Nike Community in Enugu Urban, Igwe Anthony Ojukwu, concurred with this observation. While claiming that the Ogui Nike people were the “original owners of Enugu”, Igwe Ojukwu in an interview, held that his people did not accept to work in the Colliery because they believed that it was abnormal for “a human being to enter into a hole”!
 This reluctance by the Nkanu people to embrace the Colliery at its inception, had no doubt, accounted for the marked difference in political consciousness and education between the Agbaja and Nkanu cultural groups of the former Udi Division. This was because the latter did not have the privilege to interact and learn from various cultural groups and individuals that worked in the Colliery.      

Aftermaths of Coal Prospecting
The discovery and mining of coal in Enugu had two immediate effects. The first was the building of the Eastern Railway line, which was initially designed to run from the head of the Imo Estuary (Port Harcourt), to the North across the Benue River, and to join the Lagos-Kano main line at Kaduna. The second effect was the creation of vast employment opportunities for the teaming population of the area.
The Railway scheme was modified financially as a result of the First World War in favour of a line from Port Harcourt to the “Udi Coalfields”, as it was then called. Since the area of the projected line bristled with wooded hills and ravines, a topological survey was conducted to select the best location at the least expense.
While the survey was in progress, it encountered a great deal of hostility from the people, and a government force was called up to prevent them from attacking the working parties. This led to the so-called “Udi Patrol” of 1914, and the “Awgu-Nenwenta Escort” of 1916. Once this initial difficulty was overcome, construction work proceeded uninterrupted. By the end of 1915, there was 170 kilometers of rail track, and in May 1916, the remaining 72 kilometers of rail track were laid. Then, exactly on May 28, 1916, the rail line from Port Harcourt to Enugu was declared open with the arrival of the first train to the Coal City.
The Colliery and the Railway, combined, had created a vast employment opportunity for the local population. The spread of British coin currency was also increased as a result. By 1916, close to 800 labourers were already working in the Enugu Colliery, while the number of labourers employed for the railway increased to 17,687, and all these people were being paid with British currency, then widely rejected by the local Igbo population.
For long, the British authorities had tried unsuccessfully to convince the people of the usefulness of the coin currency. In fact, it was the rejection of coins by the people, who preferred their own local currency (ona) that was responsible for the several “expeditions” carried out by the colonial administration in many parts of Igboland. Thus, what force and legislation had failed to achieve, had been smoothly carried out through the Colliery and the Railway. Governor Lugard, was very much pleased with this development. “A mob of naked savages of the lowest type was transformed into willing labourers working on a piece-work tasks and cheerfully doing a fair day’s work”, he enthused.           
Ever since its inception, Enugu Colliery had remained a government monopoly, which refused to admit private entrepreneurs. This had made coal prices too high, and led to agitations for the opening up of the company to private investors. In 1923, Elder Dempsters, one of the few private consumers of coal, complained of high prices of the mineral. This instigated a demand in the British Parliament for the denationalization of the Enugu Coal Mine.
In response, the then Colonial Governor, Sir Hugh Clifford, while addressing the Legislative Council in Lagos in 1924, contended that:
“…when the quantity of coal required by public department has increased  to a figure which will enable Colliery to be worked to their full capacity in an economical manner; when the Government has thus been rendered  independent of the revenue derived… and when the market for West African coal has shown some sign of real development, I have no sort of doubt that the Nigerian coal field will be thrown open to private enterprise”. (Hair, Unpublished Study of Enugu, NAE.)
The demand for Enugu coal grew with the years. Before the Second World War, exports of coal ran between 12 and 18 per cent, Ghana being the only external buyer. During the war, however, the number of foreign demands for Nigerian coal increased by an additional 42 per cent. The peak of export was reached in 1944/45 following purchases by some Franco-phone West African countries. The end of the war adversely affected the export of the mineral, but internally its demand was appreciable. During the year ending March 1947, for example, about 636,000 tons of coal were distributed to various parts of the country.   
Until 1937, Enugu Colliery was nominally part of the Railway Department. In practice, however, the Colliery Manager was more or less allowed a free hand in the management of the mine and its labour. Viewing that situation as unsatisfactory, the government decided to make the Colliery a separate department, and for a little while, placed it under the charge of an official called the Director of Transport. However, in 1938, the responsibility for the supervision of labour affairs at the Colliery was transferred to the Administration Department, while in 1942, it was again transferred in an attenuated form to a newly constituted Labour Department.
In 1944, the last connection with the Nigerian Railway Department was severed when the accounts of the Colliery, which had been retained by the Railway Department, was transferred to the Colliery itself. By 1949, government was again dissatisfied with the scheme of management of the company. According to Hair: “As senior manager in a very small department, the Colliery Manager was something of an autocrat, second opinions at top level were lacking”.  
Consequently, the government decided to set up a board of management for the Colliery with a full time Chairman, a retired senior official, and six part-time members, including three Nigerians. The first chairman of that board was Dr. C. Raeburn, who also became the first chairman of the Nigerian Coal Corporation when it was made a corporation in 1950. On his retirement in 1953, Raeburn was succeeded by Mr. C.C. Emmet.
Prior to the Nigerian civil war in 1967, the Nigerian Coal Corporation had operated four mines in Enugu, with a labour force of 4,423. However, following the declaration of the Republic of Biafra, and the consequent outbreak of hostilities in the country, the Nigerian Coal Corporation was renamed the Biafran Coal Corporation, and placed under the Statutory Bodies Council, established under the Statutory Bodies Edict of 1967.
With the invasion and consequent capture of Enugu by the Nigerian federal forces in 1967, the corporation was turned into a mobile agency. The management of the Biafran Coal Corporation evacuated and opened offices, first at No. 84 Okigwe Road, Aba, later at St. Joseph’s School, Umana, Orlu, and then at Onumiri, Ihioma, also in Orlu.
Since mining was no longer possible at the Enugu mines due to the disturbed nature of the area, the management of the corporation, early in 1969, opened a new coalmine at Ihioma in Orlu. However, since most of the workers were left behind in areas around Enugu, the corporation’s management was forced to introduce some incentives to its newly recruited workers in order to make appreciable impact in the mining of the mineral. - (NIGCOAL 2/1/19 and 20/1/10, NAE)            
At the same time as the outbreak of the civil war had forced the Biafran regime to abandon the Enugu coal mines and to open a new coalmine at Ihioma in Orlu, so also was the Northern Nigerian Development Corporation (NNDC) compelled to open a coalmine at Okaba in the present Kogi State. At the end of the war, the Okaba Mine was taken over by the Nigerian Coal Corporation, while mining was discontinued at the Ihioma mine.
At the end of the civil war in 1970, about 4,332 employees of the Nigerian Coal Corporation reported back to work at Enugu. These were made up of 64 senior staff, 1,011 junior staff, and 3,257 daily rated staff. However, following the flooded mines, the board of the corporation decided to re-open only one of the four mines. Consequently, only 579 employees were re-absorbed while 3,753 others were asked to go, with effect from July 1, 1970.  By then, only 15 tons of coal was produced, but production increased to 5,789 tons in March 1971. - (1970/71 Annual Report, NCC). 

Dwindling Fortunes of Enugu Colliery
          Several reasons were responsible for the reverses suffered by the Enugu Colliery. The first was the discovery of oil in commercial quantity in the country in the 1950s. Up until this period, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) was the largest consumer of coal in Nigeria. However, following the discovery of oil, the Railway Corporation began to replace its coal burning trains with diesel-powered engines.
          An additional negative effect on coal was when the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN), began converting its power generating equipment from coal to diesel and gas as well.
          The Nigerian civil war further impacted negatively on coal production. Many mines were abandoned during the war. As a result of the war, production never completely recovered and coal production levels were erratic. Attempts at mechanizing production ended badly, as both the implementation and maintenance of imported mining equipment proved troublesome, and hurt production. Since after the war, the coal industry has not been able to return to its peak production in the 1950s. Below is the yearly production level of coal in tones.

Yearly Production of Coal in Tons
Source: Prof. A.S. Sambo, Director General, Energy Commission of Nigeria, November 2008.  
          With the loss of its largest domestic consumption, the Nigerian Coal Corporation began exporting coal to Italy and the United Kingdom, as its low sulfur content is desirable. In 1999, the Nigerian Corporation lost its monopoly over the Nigerian coal industry as the Obasanjo administration allowed private companies to begin operating coalfields in joint ventures with the Nigerian Coal Corporation, with an eventual goal of completely selling of the corporation’s assets to private investors. The government planned to sell 40 per cent to private investors and 20 per cent to the Nigerian public, while retaining 40 per cent.

Nigerian Coal Corporation Headquarters, Enugu.
… Under lock and key

In 2002, work stopped at the Nigerian Coal Corporation operated mines, while in 2003, the government announced plans to create a technical advisory committee that would be tasked with reviving the coal industry.
By 2004, however, the technical committee was still to issue their report, and the NCC found itself almost bankrupt. To raise funds, it began to sell off some of its assets in an attempt to pay off its mounting debts, including salary owed to its workers.  
Additionally, the Enugu State Government protested the planned privatization of Nigerian Coal Corporation, and demanded the ability to consult with the federal government on any planned sale. While references are made in the news media to a possible sale of the corporation, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the government body tasked with selling government companies, still lists the NCC as an asset for sale on the website as of April 2008.

Mining Sites of Nigerian Coal Corporation
          Coalmines                                                  Location
Ø   Amansiodo Coalfield                                Enugu State
Ø    Ezimo Coalfield                                       Enugu State
Ø   Inyi Coalfield                                            Enugu State
Ø   Obwetti Coalfield                                     Enugu State
       (This mine was closed down due to low production in
        the late 1950s).
Ø   Ogbete Mine                                             Enugu State
(The mine was opened in 1915, but was closed and flooded
during the civil war It was reopened in 1972, and became
the country’s largest coal mining operation until its closure).
Ø   Okpara Coalfield                                               Enugu State
Ø   Onyeama Coalfield                                   Enugu State
Ø   Ogboyaga I Coalfield                                Kogi State
Ø   Ogboyaga II Coalfield                              Kogi State
Ø   Okaba Coalfield                                       Kogi State
Ø   Ogwashi-Azagba Lignite Field        Delta State
Ø   Owukpa Mine                                 Benue State
Ø   Ribadu Mine                                   Benue State

Labour Management in the Colliery
From the onset, those responsible for management of the Nigerian coal industry barely had any definite labour management policy. Their interest was how to put the industry to maximum use without caring much about those who work there. Nigeria’s first colonial governor, Frederick Lugard, as early as 1912, had concluded that it was only through forced labour that the Nigerian coal could be exploited. “I understand that except by compulsion, it is almost impossible to get labour in Southern Nigeria”, he had stated. He then concluded that government would have to work the coalfield itself in order to be able to provide force to regiment its labour.
It was this conclusion, perhaps, that informed the labour policy of the Nigerian Colliery Management, at least, in its early stages. This, no doubt, was based on a wrong premise as labour came in voluntarily. Except for the periods, of “political recruitments”, that is, between 1918 and 1921, when labour was in short supply, recruitments into the Colliery were more or less voluntary.   
   The first workers in the Enugu Colliery, as was earlier reported, were a gang of labourers from Onitsha, led by one Alfred Inoma. They were complemented by prisoners who were then moved down to the Coal City from Udi. Each of these two groups had first to provide their different accommodations before settling down to work at the mine, as there were then no houses in Enugu. While the labourers from Onitsha built their houses at a location now known as Ugwu Alfred, the prisoners set up their prison yard inside the town itself.
Soon after the opening of the Colliery in 1915, there was huge influx of labourers for recruitment, contrary to the earlier held view that it would not be possible to find labour to work the coalfield. By November 1915, there were no fewer than 800 men working at the mine, two-thirds of them underground.
What, however, had resembled a labour policy for the Colliery Management was the preponderance of its labour force coming from the nearby Udi Division.  In 1925, for example, about 60 per cent of the miners came from the division; in 1938, the percentage rose to about 75 per cent, while in 1953, it came to about 78 per cent. These were against the 18 per cent that came from the old Owerri Province in 1925; 11 per cent in 1938; and 12 per cent in 1953. For the other parts of the old Onitsha Province, excluding Udi Division, the percentages were 19 per cent in 1925; 10 per cent in 1938; and nine per cent in 1953. (Hair, Unpublished Study of Enugu) 
The reason for this apparent lopsided recruitment policy by the Colliery Management was not far-fetched. Apart from proximity, there was also the fact that there were few houses in Enugu then. As such, since the Colliery Management was not in a position to provide accommodation for its work force, the alternative was to recruit majority of its unskilled labour from the nearby Udi Division as these workers were expected to come to the coalmines from their individual homes.
While labour for the Colliery came freely and even in excess for most of the time, between 1918 and 1921, however, there was a shortage of labour force, which resulted to turning to the chiefs to supply it. As part of the process of “opening up” a newly conquered district, the British authorities would often require its inhabitants to perform a certain amount of forced labour, usually in the form of building roads and rest houses. In the early years of the Colliery therefore, many villagers around Udi Division were doing forced labour, but it was not until 1918 that the Colliery began to rely essentially on forced labour for its operations.
From then onwards, the Colliery regularly appealed to the District Officer for the division to send in labour. Much of the labour that was sent in came very unwillingly. Some sort of it was straightforward forced labour - men from villages, which were being punished for some acts of disobedience. Others came on the orders of their chiefs, who from 1920 were paid a commission or “bringing-in fees” based on the number of labourers recruited from their various villages. Minor chiefs were at first paid ₤15 per month per 100 men. Later, only the Paramount Chiefs, that is, Chief Onyeama of Eke and Chief Chukwuani of Ozalla, were paid. While Onyeama received ₤500 per annum, Chukwuani was paid ₤400 per annum. (ONDIST 12/1/1562, NAE)
That the recruits did not come on their own freewill was shown by the fact that most of them later ran away after only a short period of employment at the mine. Many recruits came in only because of pressures from their chiefs who gained in wealth and prestige but unpopularity among the people.
Several factors were responsible for the shortage of labour in the Colliery between 1918 and 1921, which resulted in turning to the chiefs to supply them. First, in 1918, there was an outbreak of influenza, which killed about 11,000 men in Udi Division alone. Second, there was a competition between the Colliery and the Railway for available labour. Third, food supplies for the population settling around the mine were inadequate, and the cost of food shot up. Thus, more hands were required at the farms, which led to short supply of labour.
As P.E.H. Hair had reported, the Colliery Management had no settled policy of recruitment. No one among the management staff had any interest in where the recruits to the mine came from. Except during the “political recruitment” period mentioned above (1918-1921), the recruits came in willingly, and because they came voluntarily and in large numbers, the management of the Colliery did not concern itself with their provenance. This fact was confirmed by the testimony of the Colliery Manager himself, who told the Fitzgerald Commission of Inquiry that investigated the 1949 gruesome murder of 21 coal miners at the Iva Valley Coal Mines in Enugu that he and his staff had no information about the provenance of the miners.
In the same vein, the Colliery was not known to maintain a stable labour force. Majority of its employees were casual labourers or daily rated staff that could be hired or dispensed with as the need arose. Between 1915 when the Colliery was opened, and 1944, about 40,000 men had worked with the industry. During the depression years of the 1930s, large number of men had often been retrenched at very short notice.
However, when in 1938 it was proposed that 700 men of the company would be retrenched, all the workers came out in sympathetic strike, and the retrenchment was cancelled. Retrenchment however resumed in 1940, when 600 workers who were engaged between 1937 and 1938, were dismissed, and the labour force reduced to 2,500.
   In 1941, a few hundred workers were recruited, but in 1942, when the demand for coal increased with the progress of the Second World War, recruitment began on a very large scale. About 800 men were employed in 1942; 1,000 in 1943; and 2,000 in 1944. Majority of these new recruits were those who had earlier been dismissed in 1940. At the end of 1944, the Colliery had in its employment record, about 6,000 men, and at the end of 1945, the figure rose to 7,500.
The responsibility for the recruitment of labour in the Colliery was, as from 1938, handled by the newly appointed Staff Welfare Officer. However, from 1946 to about 1949, as a result of demobilization of some soldiers at the end of World War II, the Colliery Management was forced to draw up a recruitment policy, which would give priority to (a) Ex-service men (b) Retrenched miners (c) Sons of miners, whether working or retired. No doubt, it was these new category of recruits that brought into the Colliery a new consciousness which perhaps had ignited the fire that led to the 1949 Coal Miners’ Strike.
The European management of the Nigerian coal industry had equally introduced class distinction among the Nigerian Colliery workers. There were those who could rightly be classified as the privileged class. These were the better-educated workers who were employed as foremen or supervisors, as well as tally clerks. They received better pay and better treatment at the hands of the Colliery management. Majority of this class of workers came from the more developed parts of Igboland, such as Onitsha, Awka, and Owerri.
There were also the general duty labourers who worked the coalmine itself. These were divided into four categories - the hewers or pick boys, the tub men, the special labourers, as well as the labourers on the surface. Majority of this group of people came from Agbaja areas of former Udi Division and the surrounding villages.
There had always been intense hostility between these two groups of employees. While the former would usually look down on the latter as “wa-wa”, bushmen or the nothing-do-goods, the latter would refuse to suffer double humiliation by submitting to the highhandedness of the “boss-boys”. This hostility showed itself during the 1920 Colliery Strike when the Agbaja labourers downed tools and refused to work under these local exploiters.
Hair claimed that corruption and exploitation were rife in Enugu Colliery, particularly among the privileged class. According to him, uptil 1938 when recruitment of labourers for the coalmines was at the hands of the foremen, the recruits had to bribe them before they were recruited. Similarly, tally clerks had always looked down on these labourers as “arrogant” and took bribes from them before offering any help. 
At the very beginning of coal mining activities in Enugu, new recruits were set to work as underground labourers without any preliminary training, while many of them had never handled European style tools before. The labourers were divided into four groups as follows:
Ø The Hewers or Pick Boys: They were those who cut and fill coal at the coalface. Workers in this category were made up of between 20 and 25 per cent of the entire workforce.
Ø The Tub men: They push full and empty tubs underground. The percentage of these workers was also between 20 and 25 per cent.
Ø Special Labourers: They performed various ancillary tasks underground, such as setting props and ripping roadways. They constituted about 30 per cent of the workforce.
Ø Labourers on the Surface: They were made up of between 20 and 30 per cent of the Colliery workers. 
The hewers’ work was the hardest, because it involved working in the less well-ventilated parts of the mine. In terms of remuneration, they however earned the highest. In 1950, for instance, the average earnings per man shift of hewers, underground workers, as well as surface workers, were roughly in the proportion of 100:60:48. Overall, the conditions of service of Colliery workers were for most of the time, intolerable, and this had resulted to incessant strikes by the workforce.
          Below is the various labour forces for Colliery for different years between 1921 and 1954.
Labour Forces in Enugu Colliery
Labour Force
Source: Hair: Unpublished Study of Enugu, NAE.

The Coal Miners’ Strike of 1949
          Before examining in details the 1949 Coal Miners’ Strike, which was a watershed in the struggle by Nigerian coal miners for enhanced wages and better conditions of service, it may be necessary to examine series of other strikes, embarked upon by the miners as build-ups to that historical landmark.
Even in its early years, the management of the Nigerian coal industry was never known to maintain good industrial relations, as the history of the Colliery was replete with series of labour crises occasioned by autocratic management. Because of the physical exertion involved, coupled with low wages and poor conditions of service, the work was usually uninteresting resulting to desertions by many labourers. The situation was made worse by the fact that these labourers, initially, did not come on their own, but through compulsion from their chiefs who were paid commissions based on the number of recruitments made.
          In 1916, just one year after the opening of Enugu Colliery in 1915, the management of the coal industry decided to reduce wages for the labourers, from nine pence a day to six pence a day. This forced 150 of the labourers to promptly withdraw their services. The next year, 1917, witnessed the first general strike by the miners. This was also due to low wages and poor conditions in the mine.  
          In February 1920, another labour unrest took place principally due to the high proportion of paper currency paid to the miners over that of silver currency. The January 1920 salary payment constituted of 75 per cent paper currency, and 25 per cent silver. Since the villagers who supplied food to the Colliery had considered the paper currency “useless” and could not sell their yams based on that currency, there was shortage of food in Enugu. Therefore, the miners decided to lay down their tools because they could not afford to work on empty stomach
          The government could not, however, afford to close the mine due to the very high demand for coal. As a way out, the District Officer for Udi Division, Mr. M.D.H. Lyon, promptly intervened on behalf of the Colliery Management. He sent distress calls to all the chiefs both within and outside the division, asking them to supply him with yams, which he paid for with silver currency. He later re-sold the yams to the striking miners, collecting back from them, their paper currency. This temporarily cooled off the situation, and the miners returned to work.  
          The miners had hardly gone back to work when there was yet another shortage of yams in the market. This time, it was due to huge influx of people into the Coal City. The number of coal workers and their dependants had become so large that the very few hands left in the farms could not produce enough food for the increasing number of urban dwellers. The situation was made worse by the conscription of labourers from the nearby villages for the construction of the Port Harcourt-Enugu rail line.
          The strike was so intense that it was no longer a matter for the District Officer and the Colliery Manager to handle alone. They contacted the Resident, Onitsha Province, who in turn, sent distress calls to various districts in the region, asking them to supply yams to Enugu. While some consignments were received from Abakaliki, Awgu and Nsukka, there was none from Owerri as the District Officer for the Division claimed that he was already supplying food to Port Harcourt, which was practically in the same situation with Enugu.
In addition to shortage of food, the Agbaja labourers, (those from Udi Division who constituted the largest number of labourers in the mine), had refused to continue to work under the high-handedness of the “boss boys”, that is, the foremen, most of who were from the southern parts of Igboland – Owerri, Onitsha and Awka, to be specific. Their problem was the maltreatment, which they claimed, they had been suffering under these “foreign” foremen. They offered to return to work only if they were allowed to work on their own, or if Agbaja foremen were appointed.
          As the crisis assumed a national dimension, the Lieutenant Governor for the Southern Provinces, Col. H.D. Moorhouse, intervened and in an interview with the “Agbaja headmen” arranged that:      
·        Three hundred boys who were previously working at the Colliery should return on Monday the 22nd and work as night shift in the Iva Valley Mine;
·        That as other boys come in to the number of six hundred, they should be employed on general work at the Colliery until such a time as the Colliery Manager could arrange to transfer all the Agbaja boys from Iva Valley Mine;
  • And that as long as they kept up the numbers required for the Iva Valley,that is to say, nine hundred boys – no other boys would be put in that mine. Those boys who had worked in the Colliery previously were to get back any war bonus due to them. (ONDIST 12/1/1562, NAE)
That was exactly what the men were demanding – to be left alone to work on their own. Moorhouse also met with Chiefs Onyeama of Eke and Chukwuani of Ozalla, who had agreed to continue to supply the Colliery with labour, receiving fifteen pounds (₤15) a  month for every one hundred boys supplied and who worked the mines throughout the month. The chiefs, on their part, also offered to feed “the boys for three pence (3d) a day”, but as Moorhouse later revealed, this did not appear to meet the wishes of the “Agbaja boys” following his  meeting with them. He however suggested that the boys should be induced to accept the arrangement “until the supply of yams is plentiful and the new token currency introduced.”
There was yet another strike in January 1925, this time, not necessarily connected with shortage of food, but with low wages and poor conditions of service at the mine. Payment in the Colliery was on a daily basis and on each worker’s potential earning, as illustrated by the following table.
Specimens of Hewers’ Potential Earnings (1949)

₤  S   d
₤    S  d
₤   S   d
₤   S    d
₤  S    d
9  1    1
10  4  6
 8    1  1
11   8   0
 9  14   8
11  6   7
11  2  0
11 18  4
11  10   8
12  5    0
8  15  10
 8   4  0
11  9 10
11   3   3
11  9    7
11 19   7
11 15 8
9   9    7
11   6   7
  5  8    1
 7  7   10
 5  13 8
8  6   11
11  15  4
11  19  6
 8  11   4
9  12  6
11  9   2
11   4  11
11   6   3
 9   0    2
 9  7   2
10 13  3
14   7  10 
13   0   2
11  8   7
8  17  7     
9  8     2
13  15  11
13   9  6
Source: Nwabara: (Iboland: A Century of Contact with Britain 1860-1960)

After the March 1937 Strike, the Colliery Management was forced to agree on a fixed day wage to hewers of over 10 years in service in addition to approving a piece work rate for them. The wage cut of one penny in the shilling, which was imposed during the trade depression, was restored to the remainder of the Colliery workers.
Uptil 1938, there was no formal labour union in Enugu, and the various strikes by Colliery workers were organized by informal groups, while petitions or complaints were signed by “The Workers of the Colliery”. In effect, it was not until 1942 that a “Coal Miners’ Union” was organized, but it was not long before it got into trouble with the Registrar of Trade Unions in Lagos because of what the authorities had alleged as its inability to produce a “correct statement of its finances”. (Hair, Unpublished Study of Enugu).
During the 1944-1945 “Long Award”, the Union had put forward series of demands, which the Colliery Management had considered “unreasonable” and thus proceeded to proscribe it as a recognized body representing the workers. The chairman of the union was dismissed from service. A very influential union leader, he promptly entered into journalism and became an embarrassment to the Colliery Management through his incisive reports published in the media. 
Notwithstanding the proscription of the union, the workers had themselves, in 1945, begun to demand, without success, improvements in their working conditions, higher wages, health amenities as well as free housing. Majority of the coal miners, even those who started at inception, were daily paid labourers, and this had created a great deal of uncertainty and economic insecurity among them.
In 1947, the Nigerian government had set up the Harragin Commission, which dealt with only the established staff. Later on, the government appointed the Miller Commission to also deal with the working conditions of unestablished staff, which of course, included Colliery workers. Following the outcome of its report, many of the miners were paid arrears, effective from January 1, 1946, to March 1948. This, notwithstanding, some Colliery workers were later to complain that they were not paid the complete amount due to them. While the Workers’ Union pressed the demand, the management argued a difference of interpretation.
On December 8, 1948, the union ordered “a go slow” strike. A conciliator was appointed by the government, who seemed to have managed the crisis. This was followed by another “go slow” strike ordered by the union in July 1949, when the Colliery Management reneged on the earlier agreement. This necessitated the setting up by the government of the Whitely Council to again deal with the situation.      
In November 1949, the Colliery Workers’ Union again ordered another “go slow” strike, principally because of the non-upgrading of hewers’ pay. Specifically, the Union was demanding a basic wage of five shillings ten pence (5/10d) a day for hewers. The bulk of the hewers were getting between three shillings (3/-) to four shillings six pence (4/6d) a day. There was also the issue of non-payment of a bonus already promised them in an earlier agreement with the Colliery Management.
The government reacted to these demands by issuing a press release from the regional public relations office, in which it affirmed that the Colliery Management had reached its economic limit. According to the release, “…management had stated on Monday that they were quite unable to meet the men’s demands for either increase of salary or in respect of certain sums of money allegedly due to them. The Colliery Management is standing firm”, it stated. On their part, the workers would also not go back on their demands. They refused to shift grounds and insisted that their demands must be met. There was therefore no compromise between the two.
On the morning of November 18, the miners went on a sit-down strike at the Obwetti Mines, Iva Valley. About 1,500 of them were milling around the premises. In desperation, however, the government decided to bring in armed police officers into the premises of the coalmine. Fearing that the workers might enter the magazine “to use the explosives in a manner dangerous to the public”, the heavily armed white policemen opened fire on them and gunned down twenty-one of them, and wounding several others.
Two European police officers, Senior Superintendent of Police R.S. Phillips, with 75 heavily armed policemen under his command; and another Senior Superintendent of Police, E.J.R. Orminston, with another batch of 50 policemen, did the havoc. The two officers ordered their men to open fire on the defenceless coal miners. At the end of the holocaust, 21 coal miners were counted dead, while 47 others received various degrees of gunshot wounds.
          The tables below show the list of the 21 coal miners who lost their lives as well as the 47 others who were wounded during the shooting. Unfortunately, the Colliery Management did not bother to publish the full identities of these fallen heroes. They were merely identified by their tally numbers, ranks, and the villages they hailed from. Only two of them were said to be married with children, while no such record exists for the 19 others.      
                List of 21Coalminers Who Died at Iva Valley Shooting in 1949
Tally No.
Obazu Mberi
No Record
No Record
Ajakwu, Ebe, Udi

Owa, Udi

Tub man
Enugwu Ngwo
Umabi, Udi
Mach. Man




Rail man
Uboji Ngwo


Mach Man


No Record
No Record
Amorie Agbani





Ubaha Mbutu


Enugwu Ngwo


Ihe Awgu
Screen Laborer



Engine Driver


Amuzi Bende

Clip Operator


Amauwani Ukana Udi




Akpugo Agbani


Amankwo Ngwo


Mach Man

Mbaha Okigwe



List of 47 Wounded Workers During the Incident
Tally Number
Eze Agunkpa Eneh
Okechukwu Onyi
Unabunwa ESE
Machine Man
Peter Ogwulabi
     “           “
Chikele Eluke
General Labour
Thomas Chukwu
Token Collector
Christopher Ezeji
Machine Man
Nathaniel Oyia
      “          “
Simeon Arieri
Dier-tele Labour
Okafor Ani
Ekwuole Nwigwe
Machine Man
Ndubisi Onyia
Peter Eneje
Building Labour
Agu Ogbodo
Rail man
William Ubajiuka
Machine Man
Onyia Chime
Building Labour
Chime Agu
Haulage man
Agu Ugwuagu
Ani Nwokwo
Emmanuel Okafor
John Ozo Ude
Ogbonna Onyia
Anieke Uzoigwe
Raymond Anigbo
Machine Man
Edward Ohanyerenwa
Alfred Ani
Onovo Onoh
Machine Man
Odo Nwafor
Nlem Chukwu
Machine Man
Richard Ugwu
Rail man
David Ozoude
Sidney Oji
Source: Nigerian Coal Corporation, 1951 Annual Report 
This gory incident shook the nation to its foundation. It was a re-enactment of a similar incident at Aba, twenty years earlier, where 50 defenceless women protesting the imposition of the white man’s tax were equally shot dead and several others severely wounded. As was the case following the 1929 Aba shooting, the entire nation almost went up in flames as different groups and individuals from all works of life protested the Iva Valley killings. Violent reactions came from Port Harcourt, Aba, Onitsha and Calabar, and police used teargas to disperse them.

Striking Coalminers

In Lagos, reactions were equally stormy. The Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) took the lead, and sent a delegation to Enugu to get a first hand information on the tragic incident. A National Emergency Committee was formed to coordinate their activities. Branches of the organization were opened in Ibadan, Kano, Kaduna, Jos, Enugu, Onitisha, Aba, Port Harcourt, Benin, and other major cities in the country, as a mark of solidarity with the Enugu coalminers. All over the country, the call for “self-government” for Nigeria rent the air.
Elsewhere, across the globe, negative reactions also poured in, condemning the Iva Valley shooting. The incident opened the eyes of the international community as well as the ‘civilized’ world to the evil effects of colonialism. As a mark of solidarity with the miners, the Scottish Miners sent in a donation of ₤500 to the Colliery Workers. The  American Negroes also came up in support, while the youths of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), offered 25 scholarships in German universities to the children of the coalminers.
          It was principally due to these negative reactions that the colonial government was forced to set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the incident. Known as the Fitzgerald Commission of Inquiry, the commission sat in Enugu between December 17, 1949, and January 5, 1950, and took both written and oral evidences from the public. The National Emergency Committee, which was organized in the wake of the crisis, engaged the services of two prominent Nigerian lawyers – Chief Rotimi Williams and Chief Hezekiah Olu Davis, to represent it before the commission.
The Onitsha branch of the National Emergency Committee, in particular, in a memorandum to the Fitzgerald Commission, expressed “…a general spirit of resentment against British administration in the country, especially against European companies”. It argued that the companies were vitiating the economic structure of the economy. They not only demanded that the British police men who did the shooting be brought to book immediately, but also that Nigeria should be granted independence from colonial rule without further delay. Several other groups and individuals equally sent in their memoranda in which they not only called for maximum punishment for the police officers who carried out the shooting, but also for immediate independent of the country from Britain.            
In his testimony before the Fitzgerald Commission, one of the police officers who led the shooting, Mr. R.S. Phillips, a senior superintendent of police, declared  that:
“The men were becoming a menace and indulging in a war of dance. Their attitude was definitely hostile to the police. The crowd was in an excited and hysterical state. A lot of them were jumping up and down and their eyes propping out of their heads and they were jerking their bodies in a dangerous move. One had a matchet and was dancing and circling round and round. Simultaneously, I saw three policemen outside the magazine being attacked. They were wrestling with the people”. (Fitzgerald Commission Report, 1951).  
He then ordered his men to open fire on them. What a cowardly act!
          In its report published in June 1950, the Fitzgerald Commission while acknowledging an “error of judgment” on the part of the police officers who ordered the shooting of the defenceless coalminers, however, blamed the miners’ agitation for better condition of service “on the pawns of local politics”.
          “The lesson that appears to us to be learnt from Enugu and which stands out from our inquiry is the paramount necessity in West Africa of isolating industrial disputes from political agitation”, the commission said in its report.
In their reaction, the National Emergency Committee, after a thorough study of the commission’s report, deplored the “…untenable conclusions and astonishing, even insulting remarks which abound” in that report. It demanded the immediate dismissal from service of the Chief Commissioner for Eastern Provinces, Sir James Pyke-Nott, as well as the Colliery Manager, Mr. Bracegirdle, who was found guilty by the commission of “a grave lack of foresight and planning”.
The committee further demanded that the police officers who led the shooting of the coalminers, Senior Superintendent of Police R.S. Phillips, and Senior Superintendent of Police E.J.R Orminston, be brought to trial for murder, while the dependants of each of the deceased coalminers should be granted an ex-gratia award of ₤720. And as a mark of honour to the fallen coalminers, the committee declared July 4, 1950, as “a day of national mourning”.
While not detracting from the general mood of the country for self-government, the committee unequivocally called on the colonial government to grant Nigeria self-rule.  “We believe that self-government for Nigeria NOW is both opportune and imperative”, it concluded. 
In spite of the activities and the plethora of demands by the National Emergency Committee, what however was conceded to them by the colonial government was the retirement of the two police officers, Mr. Phillips and his colleague, Mr. Orminston, who had earlier been spirited home to England immediately after the shooting. They were never brought to trial, but had continued to draw their pensions from the funds of the Nigerian government. To make matters worse, the Colliery Manager, Mr. Bracegirdle, was even brought back to Nigeria to continue to head the coal industry. As sort of a soothing balm, a paltry sum of ₤400 was however approved as ex-gratia payment for the dependants of each of the deceased miners. Thus, ended the chapter of these 21 coalminers!. But they did not die in vain, as the incident was to hasten Nigerian independence.
 kinds of animals. It however needs more fortifications to perform as a tourist centre.
·        National Museum: Set up by the National Commission for Museum and Monuments for the preservation of antiquities and monuments, the museum has a wide variety of antiquities in its collections and is open to visitors.
·        Polo Park Relaxation Spots: Located at the centre of Enugu Metropolis, it is fully equipped with modern relaxation facilities.
·        Masquerade or Mmanwu Festival: Found in various parts of Igboland, but graduated into a cultural carnival and exhibited in Enugu in November of every year.   

Chapter Three
     Development of Political Consciousness
 It is the intellectual elite who supplies the catalyst for social revolution, the brain-trust of society, and the light that guides its progress.
                                            - Mokwugo Okoye
A Peep Into the Past
Enugu and its surrounding districts were the last parts of Igboland visited by the Whiteman during his “civilization mission” to Nigeria. The implication was that indigenes of Enugu area were late in embracing western education, and by extension, in taking up responsible positions in government and its agencies in the Coal City. Elizabeth Isichei reports that the first European to come into contact with the people of Enugu area, was one Dr. W.B. Baike, who in 1854 wrote:
“In Igbo each person hails, as a sailor would say, from the particular district where he was born, but when away from home all are Igbos. And yet, considerable differences exist between different parts of this extensive country, and the dialects spoken also vary greatly. Those of which we heard during our voyage as being well marked are the Abo, Elugu, Isuama and Aro, of which that of Isuama is the most widely diffused, the softest, the best adapted for the lingual standard. Elugu is in the North, close to Igara, and near to it, to the eastward, are two small districts, Isielu, and Isiago”. (Isichei, The Ibo People and the Europeans, 1973).
No doubt, this contact with the Whiteman did not last long as to make any meaningful impact with the people, since Dr. Baike and his team seemed to be merely on an exploratory voyage.    
 P.E. H. Hair however informed that the Udi District was one of the last parts of Southern Nigeria to pass under effective British administration. According to him, no white man had ever set foot in Udi District before 1905. It was  the discovery of coal in Enugu in 1909 that brought white interests there. As a result, he explained, the people of the area had lagged behind educationally, and hence, had had the poorest jobs in Enugu. (Hair: Unpublished Study of Enugu, NAE).
To attest to this fact, the first school in Igboland was opened in Onitsha, in August 1857, by one Reverend J.C. Taylor of the Church Missionary Society (CMS), now Anglican Communion. Taylor started the school with only 30 boys, using Crowther’s primer as the medium of instruction. By April 24, 1858, when the missionary house was completed, the pupils had done remarkably well in so short a time that they had acquired the elements of alphabet, and could spell two letters ‘b-a - baa’. Later, four other teachers were employed to assist Taylor. With these, the CMS was able to start a girls’ school on November 15, 1858, with an initial intake of 14 pupils, all females. By March 1859, the number had risen to 42, while the boys’ school had gone up to 61 pupils by December 1859.
Following on the heels of the CMS was the Roman Catholic Mission (RCM), which through Reverend Father Joseph Lutz, accompanied by Reverend Brothers John and Mermas, all of the Holy Ghost Fathers Congregation, opened its own school at Onitsha. Father Lutz had landed in Onitsha on December 5, 1885, sought and got audience with the Obi of Onitsha, who granted him a piece of land, where he built his own mission house in 1886, a privilege which the Obi had denied the CMS when they first arrived in 1857. From Onitsha, western education began to spread out to other parts of Igboland and beyond.
It was however not until July 9, 1914, that the first school was opened in Udi, following the closure of the Government School at Onitsha on June 14, because “a lot of mission schools are already there”. That was a clear 57 years after the first school was opened in Onitsha in 1857. Other interior towns in and around Udi, even had their own schools established very much later. 
Thus, because indigenes from around Enugu area were late in acquiring western education, when the Enugu coalfield was opened in 1915, they were excluded from the ‘juicy’ positions meant for Africans. Instead, they were considered only for jobs requiring physical exertion such as hewing of coal, surface and underground labour, general duty works, and such other jobs that were from time to time required of them by their white and black masters. 
On the other hand, indigenes from other parts of Igboland and beyond, due to their relative educational advantage, took up all the best jobs in the Colliery, such as foremen, mechanics and clerks. As next in position to the Whiteman, they usually lorded it over the indigenes who they considered as “primitive” and backward people. This extended to every other lucrative position in the Coal City, which was equally occupied by people from outside Enugu area, leaving the indigenes to pick only the crumbs that fell from the master’s table such as cleaners, security guards, gardeners, drivers and stewards. 
The master-servant relationship, which this situation engendered, had led to sour relationship or hostility between the indigenes of Enugu area and the ‘native foreigners’, that is,  these other Igbo who came from outside the district. For the ‘foreigners’, they had always looked down on the indigenes as wa-wa, (bushmen) or the never-do-wells, whose particular brand of Igbo language had clearly marked them out as inferior and backward people.
The indigenes, on the other hand, while at first, developing an attitude of inferiority complex and self-hate, had come out later to regard these other Igbo as parasites and arrogant, who must be fought to a standstill no matter the cost. For years, the two groups had been at each other’s throats, with Enugu as the main theatre of the battle, until finally, the two groups were able to attain their separate autonomies. 
Dillibe Onyeama captured this state of affair, thus:
“…The expression ‘Wawa’, was employed by the ‘Ijekebes’, as reference to the bush-dwellers of northern Igboland – from Oji River to Nsukka, including Abakaliki – and is directed specifically at the inhabitants of Enugu and Agbaja … ‘Wawa’ is fraught with ugly connotations. It derives its use from the natural tendency of the northern Igbos to say ‘wa’ (no); and when re-emphasizing, will declare ‘wawa!’ To the ‘Ijekebes’, who are the southern Igbos, in this case, notably the dwellers of the area between Ugwuoba and the River Niger at Onitsha – ‘slave-dealing, kingdom-associated peoples’ – the significance of this term was that it sounded the sort of Igbo spoken by the ignorant and backward – as opposed to their own more refined version ‘mba’. In fact, they considered ‘wawa’ to be worse than merely bad Igbo; it seemed to befit the ‘primitiveness’ of the northern Igbos, whose uninhibited disposition often included near nakedness in day-to-day activities – a sharp contrasts to the modesty of ‘Ijekebe’ folk. In short, the Igbos of the south saw those of the north as inferior ruffians. In counter to this slur, the northern Igbo has taunted the blatant inquisitiveness of his southern counterpart in his predilection for asking Where are you going?’ – (Ijekebe?).
As to the effectiveness of insults, it was apparent, until recent years, that the ‘Ijekebe’ man was triumphing. For more than four decades, the blatant shout of ‘wawa’ had for the victim the same effect as the slur of ‘Nigger’ to the black man in America. It filled the victim with humiliation and self-consciousness, resulting ultimately in a tacit acceptance that he might be inferior to the southern Igbo. (Dillibe Onyeama: Chief Onyeama, The Story of an African God).
It was this superiority complex, where the Southern Igbo, always see themselves as next to God, that made the Obi of Onitsha, Okosi I, to come all the way from Onitsha to Enugu, and thought he could be allowed to occupy the seat meant for the Head Chief of the land. That was in 1928, at the Enugu Secretariat, during the reception organized for the newly appointed Lieutenant Governor for the Southern Provinces, Captain W. Buchanan-Smith. Of course, the Obi met a challenge from Chief Onyeama of Eke, who threatened to rain down brimstone and fire if Okosi did not vacate the seat. The imposter had no answer than to vacate the seat immediately, for Onyeama to take over.
Okosi was persuaded to think that because the colonial administrators had put Enugu under Onitsha Province, he had automatically become the chief of entire Igboland. That was a mistaken belief, because as was later pointed out to him that Onyeama was equally a colonial recognized chief.   
In sum, “wawa” was not just an ordinary language of the inhabitants of Enugu area and beyond. It was a derogatory term used to describe inhabitants of this area for their “backwardness and primitiveness”. At first, the term had infused on the people the attitude of self-hate, inferiority complex, and self-rejection. Later on, the people accepted the epithet and turned it into an ideological campaign used in fighting for a separate state of their own.

Enugu Colliery as a Theatre of War
The colonial managers of Enugu Colliery never put the local inhabitants into reckoning when they decided to open the mines for production in 1915. That was why they imported the first set of labourers from Onitsha. It was principally due to some logistic problems, associated with not meeting up with the required labour force as well as not having enough residential accommodation in Enugu to take care of the influx of people there that compelled the Colliery Management to start looking inwards for labourers. In consequence, they turned to the local chiefs, who supplied them with labour from the surrounding villages. Hair reports that up to 1953, about 78 per cent of coalminers in Enugu were people from Udi area, who did not live in Enugu, but came mostly from their homes.
However, while the bulk of the labourers were drawn from districts around Enugu, the supervisors and other technical cadre came from districts outside the Coal City. And there was an uneasy relationship between the two. According to Hair, it was the foremen, invariably the foreigners, who recruited labour for the Colliery, and the recruits had to bribe them before they were recruited. He also informed that the clerks had always looked down on the labourers and took bribes from them before they could offer any help.   
In the same vein, “the Abajas”, according to Hair, “tended to regard the Colliery as an Abaja Colliery, and they disliked intensely the ‘foreigners’ who work there, the men from Onitsha and Owerri. Few Abajas were literate, and hence most of the better jobs went to ‘foreigners”, he explained. The Agbaja labourers also hated the autocratic tendencies of the supervisors. (Hair: Unpublished Study of Enugu, NAE).
The matter got to its climax during the 1920 coalminers’ strike, when the “Agbaja boys” decided to down their tools because, according to them, “there were no Abaja boss-boys”, that is, no Agbaja foremen or supervisors. They offered to return to work only if they could work by themselves, in other words, if the ‘foreigners’ were dismissed and Agbaja foremen appointed to take their place.
This necessitated urgent government intervention if the Colliery were not to be closed down, thereby depriving government of its badly needed revenue. The acting Lieutenant Governor, Colonel H.D. Moorhouse, after going into the matter, informed the Colliery Manager that:
“At an interview with the Abaja Headmen, it was arranged that 300 boys who were previously working at the Colliery should return on Monday, the 22nd, and work as a night shift in the Iva Valley Mine, that as other boys came in to the number of 600, they should be employed on general work at the Colliery until such time as the GM could arrange to transfer all the Abaja boys from the Iva Valley Mine, and that as long as they kept up the numbers required for the Iva Valley Mine, that is to say, 900 boys, no other boys would be put in that mine. Those boys who had worked in the Colliery previously were to get back war bonus due to them”.
That was exactly what the men were asking for - freedom to work on their own, and fair wages for their services. That was the beginning of the development of political consciousness by indigenes of the area, a development that led to the springing up of other pressure groups in the area.
Moorhouse also met with Chiefs Onyeama and Chukwuani, two head chiefs who were responsible for the recruitment and supply of labour to the Colliery. According to him:
“It was arranged that any chief bringing 100 boys should receive ‘bringing in’ fee of ₤15 a month for every month that the numbers were kept up  and the boys worked. The chiefs offered to feed the boys for three  pence a day, but this does not appear, from the meeting with the Abaja boys, to meet their wishes. If however the boys can be induced  to accept  that arrangement, it should be done, if possible at all events,  until  the supply of yams is more plentiful and the new token currency  is introduced”. (OP 2361 ONDIST 12/1/1562).
          But that decision did not quite please the General Manager of the Nigeria Railway, Mr. E.M. Bland, whose office was supervising the Colliery. And he reacted thus:
          “The payment of ₤15 per month per hundred boys employed on the Colliery is much too large a sum and will in future entail very heavy expenditure for which we do not obtain equivalent advantages. At the present moment, this payment is being made to some 25 or 30 sub chiefs including Onyeama and Chukwuani themselves. The former has since April drawn ₤128 and the later during the month of July drawn ₤30.18 pence, and now vide Resident Onitsha Province’s telegram to Lieutenant Governor Southern Provinces, it is suggested that the two latter chiefs are to be  paid an extra ₤10 per month so long as they carry out their  work satisfactorily.
“Under the present arrangement, we estimate that a sum of ₤5,000 will be required during 1921 to meet these payments to the various chiefs. On an estimated output of 200,000 tons the charge will amount to six pence per ton and if adhered to will with time come to an even greater amount. In my opinion the payment of the large sum is altogether wrong; it must be borne in mind that construction work for the Railway is about to continue and similar arrangements will probably be necessary to secure labour for this work “I must also draw attention to the fact that the Owerri chiefs who send labour to P.H. have never asked nor have they required any such amounts as those now being paid to Onitsha chiefs.
“The Colliery Manager informs me that one of the results of these payments has been that all voluntary labour which was employed in the Colliery amounting to 60 per cent of the total was withdrawn by the chiefs concerned and not allowed to go to the mines unless sent there by the latter, who are thus enabled to the bringing in money they are entitled to. There is no doubt the sum of ₤15 per month is altogether out of proportion to the work of the chiefs and I consider it should be reduced to ₤5; of this I would pay ₤3 per hundred men per month to Chukwuani and Onyeama as paramount heads and the sum of ₤2 among the minor chiefs.
“It will be readily observed that the present position is an impossible one if the mines are to be worked economically and even the payment of ₤5 per month should be done away with as early as possible”.
          No doubt, the “Wawa” chiefs had succeeded in dividing the rank of the colonial masters, as the Divisional Officer for Enugu was also to openly disagree with the Railway General Manager. In a memo addressed to the Resident, Onitsha Province, the D.O. wrote:
          “With regard to the question of payments to the chiefs for recruiting, I am very strongly of opinion that should these recruiting fees be discontinued within the next few months, whilst the Railway is calling for construction labour, the chiefs will very naturally divert as much labour as they can control from the Colliery to the Railway construction work, where chiefs are being paid on a basis of four pence per man for recruiting and rationing the labours, whereas the ₤15 per month per 100 men now paid by the Colliery works out to about one penny per man per day.
          “The GM’s proposal to reduce the bonus to ₤5 per 100 men per month, of which the Paramount Chiefs Onyeama and Chukwuani draw ₤3, would if adopted, create an impossible situation”.
          The controversy stoked by the Railway General Manager’s proposal to abolish or reduce ‘bringing in’ fees paid to the chiefs, lasted quite for sometime, among the colonial officials, until the Lieutenant Governor put a final seal on it. In his ruling, dated December 9, 1920, the governor declared:
          “With regard to the question of payment to chiefs for recruiting, I was never consulted before this scheme was started, and having once been started, it is difficult to stop, and I am strongly of the opinion that should these recruiting fees be discontinued at this juncture, that is, while the Railway is calling  for construction labour, the chiefs will naturally divert as much labour as they can control from the Colliery to the Railway construction work where     chiefs are naturally being paid on a basis of four pence per man per diem for recruiting and rationing the labourers, whereas at ₤15 per month per 100 men would only work out at one penny per man per diem, but as a matter of fact, I was informed by Mr. Wilson, (the Acting Colliery Manager), that he is not and has never paid more than about ₤12 per 100 men.
          “The GM’s proposal to reduce the bonus to ₤5 per 100 men per month of which the so-called Paramount Chiefs Onyeama and Chukwuani draw ₤3, would if adopted, create an impossible situation.
          “Onyeama and Chukwuani would do well if the present labour supply was maintained, but no chief is likely to take the trouble to keep 50 men from his town – and that is about the usual number from a fair size town in Enugu Division – working full time in the Colliery for the sake of drawing ₤1 a month; it would not be worth the while of chiefs from outlying towns to come in to draw this sum. I consider that so long this recruiting scheme is in vogue the present scale cannot be appreciably lowered, especially in view of the probable large demands at no distant date for Railway work.
          “With regard to my telegram No. 967, referred to by the GM in which I asked for ₤10 per month for out of pocket expenses to be paid to Chiefs Onyeama and Chukwuani, they informed when at Udi that the Lt. Gov. had in the presence of the D.O. definitely promised them extra payment apart from the bringing in money as they were put to considerable expense in having to keep several messengers to send to chiefs and towns in connection with this labour, the D.O. confirmed their statements”. (OP 2361 ONDIST 12/1/1562).
          Onyeama and Chukwuani had as far back as 1920, demanded and got approval from the District Officer, Udi, the payment of “subsidy in recognition of our positions as Paramount Chiefs and also in recognition of our abilities in carrying out an intended task, which he was to lay on us, which was the working of Udi-Port Harcourt railway line, as far as our sections are concerned, and the Enugu coal fields. These tasks we have performed, not without great difficulties, to the satisfaction of the authorities.” (MINLOG 16/1/153, NAE).  

            Onyeama N’Eke                                     

The personal dispositions of Chiefs Onyeama and Chukwuani, who had insisted on getting what was due to them, and which eventually had set the white camp at war with itself, shows that on the average, the Wawa man could hold his own anywhere, and was never inferior to anybody. The only problem was that he saw the White man late, and so, was not able at first, to meet his expectations. Thus, even when, in the face of global economic difficulties, which resulted to the declining price of coal in the international market, the Railway General Manager, again proposed the reduction or outright scrapping of the ‘bringing in’ money paid to the chiefs, Onyeama, a shrewd businessman, fired back:
“As a matter of fact, we do not know that the agreement is changing  as per years, but as the matter is referred to the government, we will not refuse their demand, and the only thing we should have done is to less the amount, something like ₤10 or ₤30 as the work does not approve any succession as previously.
          “Remember that as a trader does every year, but some years should be misery and others unmisery, (sic) therefore the misery of this year did not refer to our side as we are in readiness to supply labourers for our          work whenever we are wanted.
          “Probably there should be time in future when the price of coal  should increase to the highest values, but at that time we will not ask  you to give us more than what is in the agreement paper.
          “Therefore the time for its approval will appear, sometimes the labourers could not agree to leave their farming and come to the work as some of them are got by compulsory. Therefore, if you are still claiming for the reduction of the fee during this period of misery, we also have to claim that our money should be increased when the good time might prevail for it”. 
          In response, the government upon the expiration of the prevailing agreement, decided to enter into another agreement with Onyeama, in which he would be paid ₤250 per annum on condition that he would guarantee the supply of Agbaja labour to the Colliery. Even when labour started coming voluntarily and in excess, the government continued to pay Onyeama as “ a political subsidy”, due to his influence on the Agbaja clan, and because of the fear that he could sabotage the government in future. Chukwuani was excluded from this new package because “he has no  influence outside Ozala”.

Organized Pressure Groups
          The colonial society was as hostile as it was suffocating. Access to basic social services and infrastructure was based on cut-throat competition, or the survival of the fittest. In that circumstance, indigenes of Enugu area who were late in embracing western education did not have any chance to compete for available opportunities in Enugu with their better educated southern Igbo counterparts. They were therefore totally excluded from all the good positions in the town. This had resulted to general apathy, alienation, and frustrations on the part of the people who had now come to see themselves as foreigners in their own land.
          Individual protests either by labourers in the coalmine, or by the local chiefs, had only led to the isolated cases complained about being treated on the spur of the moment, while the circumstances that originally brought these problems remained unattended to. Consequently, this had necessitated the coming together of people of like minds to look holistically at these problems with a view to presenting a united front for tackling them. Chief among these pressure groups were:

(i) Enugu Aborigines Improvement Union: The Aborigines Union was formed in Lagos on May 29, 1928, by some Wawa elites, under the inspiration of Mr. Leo Nkedife, a staff of the defunct Post and Telegraphs Department, who hailed from Iwollo Oghe. Its aim was to “promote social and educational advancement of, goodwill and cooperation in the interest of the people of Udi Division of the Onitsha Province”.
The Union’s emblem was “an African coalminer carrying a pick and shovel on the right shoulder and a lantern in the left hand, going from his house near a palm tree to the coal mine”. It had branches in Lagos, Zaria, Kafanchan, Aba and Port Harcourt, with Enugu as its headquarters. The Aborigines Union was more of a social club since membership was confined to people of some social standing like workers, businessmen and big time traders.
The union’s trustees as at June 2, 1939, when it applied for Certificate of Incorporation under the Land (Perpetual Succession) Ordinance No. 32 of 1924, were Messrs Joseph Oke Nwankwo, a First Class Clerk with the Eastern Provinces; Phillip Henry Ezekpo, Second Class Clerk, Prisons Headquarters, Enugu; Felix Ihemakwulu Onodugo, Sales Agent, SCOA, Enugu; and Okeke Nnamani Agwu, Registered Money Lender, Enugu.
On June 17, 1936, the union applied to Enugu Township Advisory Board (TAB) for two plots of land to build a hall for its meetings. The board approved it on condition that “full rent was paid for them”. In protest, the Aborigines Union through it Secretary, Mr. J. O. Nwankwo, wrote the Resident, Onitsha Province:
 “Whereas such comparatively well to do bodies as the African Club, the Railway African Club, the Colliery Club and the Owerri Union,have with all the social amenities to boot, been granted plots with nominal annual rental only, my Union is asked to pay the full rental even as the members are natives of the soil, in other words, the landowners”.
In his reaction, the Resident, Mr. N.H. Lloyd, while informing that the government would soon take a general decision on unions and clubs applying for leases in Enugu, ruled that:
 “As to the present application is from natives of the Nkanu and Abaja area of Udi Division, whose fathers gave the land to government, I consider they should receive preferential treatment and be granted a lease at a nominal rent”. 
Based on that ruling, the Enugu Township Advisory Board, at its meeting of October 20, 1936, approved for the union, two (alternative) plots of land at Asata Layout, measuring together 100 feet x 100 feet, the particular land applied for having been refused. The union then decided to circulate the plan for the building to all its branches, but this was rejected by members for reasons of design and dimension, which thus made the land at Asata unsuitable. Consequently, it applied for alternative site along Ogui road, but this was also rejected by the Enugu Local Authority, because the site applied for was included in the “non-building zone as it is too near European dwelling”. Every other site applied for by the union, was turned down by the Local Authority, for one reason or the other.
At a stage, African members of the Township Board were to portray the union financially incapable of building a hall, since, according to them, they were “Udi people who were in extreme poverty”.  As a result, the union was asked by the board to deposit ₤100, in addition to its building plan, which must be forfeited if it failed to complete the building within five years from the end of World War II, a condition that the Aborigines Union out-rightly rejected .
The controversy lasted till 1942, when the union was forced to fire a protest to the Lieutenant Governor, Eastern Provinces. In his response dated January 27, 1942, through the Secretary for the Provinces, the governor ruled that:
 “Though it may be undesirable to grant the Union a lease of the triangular  plot, His Honour considered that we should do all we can to help them  secure a suitable alternative site and to grant them a lease on favourable term”.
The Advisory Board had no other option than to comply with the governor’s directive by approving a new site without stringent conditions to the union. That was how the Enugu Aborigines Improvement Union managed to secure the site for its present hall situated at No. 1 Owerri Road, Asata. (OP 1943 ONDIST 12/1/1303).
Not deterred by the raging controversy that dogged its application for a piece of land to build a hall, the union at its meeting held on February 27, 1939, resolved to communicate the Resident, Onitsha Province:
“Its long and ardent desire to be allowed representative at every important  meeting, temporary or permanent, which, allowing African representation, has for its object the interest of the native population both in the township of Enugu and in the Udi Division”.
It  further demanded that:
 “No important general discussion in the township of Enugu affecting the native inhabitants should in fairness exclude the views of the people of Udi Division, seeing that apart from the fact that many of them are themselves house-owners, they form the overwhelming majority of the more, if not the only, permanent sections of the community  who alone regard Enugu as a real home. Unfortunately, Enugu is a non-commercial centre and the greater number of the other sections of the community can only be compared to a bird of passage and naturally show but a scanty interest in, if not altogether indifferent to what  is happening in a place to which as an individual he is brought by accident of employment and from which he expects to be transferred away at any time.
“As regards the Division as distinct from the Township, we have always cherished the hope that, as a single unit from all the different clans and native court areas in the division which, so far, failed to cooperate for the public good in so far as the Abaja area is concerned, it will not be impossible for us to influence the ‘Isianis’ for good if we are given the opportunity to be present at their meetings indeed in an advisory capacity to the council”  
      The Resident was, however, not willing to accede to the request, this well marshaled argument, notwithstanding. He told the union via a memo dated May 2, 1939, that:
“All the councils have agreed that the two representatives of Enugu Aborigines Improvement Union shall be allowed to attend future meetings of the Agbaja Clan Council and any future Udi Divisional Conference, but as to the Township Advisory Board, I do not consider it necessary to add to the number of its member. It should be perfectly possible for you to present your views through the African members for discussion by them in due course at board meetings”. (ONDIST 12/1/706).
Indigenes of Enugu area would therefore continue to contend as strangers in their own land since the so-called African members of the Enugu Township Advisory Board were even worse than their European counterparts as could be seen above, by the role, which they played when the Aborigines Union was searching for a piece of land to build a hall.
Internal crisis however led to the demise of the Aborigines Union, when, in 1945, it split into two rival unions – the Udi District Union and Enugu Divisional Union. That, notwithstanding, the Aborigines Union had made its mark as the first organization in Wawaland to assert its identity as Wawa. The Wawa man had found himself in between two evils – the European colonialists, who had monopolized everything and appropriated all his resources, as well as his southern Igbo brothers, who had refused him a share in the crumbs that fell from the master’s table. They both had treated him as a non-being, or at best, made him a stranger in his own land. He was called “Wawa”, bush man, and declared that Enugu had no owners, but simply “a strangers’ town”.
The Enugu Aborigines Improvement Union rejected these ugly notions. It asserted that the Wawa man was neither physiologically, nor intellectually inferior to any other homo sapiens, and that Enugu belonged to some people, after all, the white men who had acquired the area for purposes of coal exploitation, signed agreement with some individuals, and these people, together with their descendants, were the real owners of Enugu.

(ii) Udi District Union and Enugu Divisional Union: The two unions were the outcome of the internal crisis that led to the disintegration of Enugu Aborigines Improvement Union in 1945. Membership of each of the two unions cut across individuals from the same Enugu or Udi area.
In spite of their differences, the two unions, had in October 1945, presented a request to the colonial government, for appointment of each of their members into the Enugu Township Advisory Board. The government, this time acquiesced, but gave them only one position, which they must jointly make nomination. This resonated the differences  between the two unions as none of them was prepared to let its own candidate step down for the other. For instance, while the Enugu Divisional Union chose Mr. Anthony Eze and Mr. C.D. Onyeama, Udi District Union had Mr. T.N. Ozobu as its own candidate. The Resident, however, chose Mr. Anthony Eze. This was objected to by Udi Union, on the ground that it was not a joint nomination as directed by the Resident. Besides, they continued, Mr. Eze who had been residing at Oturkpo had put in only five months residence in Enugu
These points did not make the Resident to change his mind as he stuck to Mr. Eze’s appointment. The Udi Union wrote back suggesting that while Mr. Eze kept his position, the Resident should increase the allotment to accommodate its own nominee. The Resident refused to acquiesce.
The two unions were later to realize the negative effects of their disagreement, when they decided to present another joint petition to the government demanding the appointment of three of their members into the Township Advisory Board.
“In view of the fact that Enugu Township is the native place of the people of this division and for the fact that they deserve special right to their soil, as such, the Enugu Divisional Union and the Udi District Union, deem it just that three representatives be specially allowed to represent the interest of the people of this division living in the villages on the Enugu Township Advisory Board. We made friendly enquiries from some personalities in such places like Port Harcourt, Calabar, Warri, Sapele, Onitsha, Aba, and even in Lagos, and found that native interests are always respected and represented in the executive local councils, such as the Township Board. Sometimes we are told that Enugu has no real inhabitants and that the populations were drawn up from working classes. No Government station is without such circumstances, i.e., the Onitsha Town is not nearer to the government station as Ngwo, Nike and the Ogui villages are today to Enugu Township, yet Onitsha is granted ninety-nine per cent of complete interest of their Government township. We feel that since our ANCESTORS were regarded legitimate to negotiate with Government for settlement in Enugu Township vide Deed of Grant No. 7 of 2nd May 1918, hereby with hand, we their DESCENDANTS should not be considered dirty and in all that concern Enugu Township.
“Some of our native laws and customs were often violated in the Township which today is the centre of the natives of Udi Division, but we have no medium through which we could fight their protection, since government always respects customs that are not in any way injurious. Equally, the Enugu Township Advisory Board and the police used to make certain rules, which do not affect only those in the Township, but also the people coming from the surrounding villages. As ignorant of the law has always been inadmissible in defence, the people of the division had often been punished when they failed to comply with the rules and or regulations made by the Township Board. Many a time, palm wine sellers had been fined for not observing the rules of which they were ignorant. With the approval of the concession, our natives would be in a better position to be afore-guarded by way of warnings against any violation for the Township Standing Orders.
“In the good old days of the chiefs, we may proudly say that there were more friendly relations between us (the natives) and those we may term ‘native foreigners’ chiefly because of our chiefs’ official wands, which we have not today been privileged to wield. Complete interest in the Township Board was part and parcel of our chiefs’ authority before the transfer of the Divisional Native Court from Enugu and finally the District Office to Udi. Had these offices existed here today, it would hardly be possible to treat us otherwise. On the other hand, we sometimes felt that government has our sympathy hence the suggestion of the District Officer, Udi, to be chairman of the Town Planning Authority which the ‘native foreigners’ had opposed, knowing that such would protect our interest as natives of this division. The opposition is enough to expose our fear and what indeed those people think about us.    
“It may be pertinent to mention that these ‘native foreigners’ usurping authority of Enugu Township have right of membership of their home townships irrespective of their studied claims to this township. In spite of their opposition, we strongly maintain that the appointment of District Officer, Udi, as chairman of Township Planning Authority,Enugu, is well thought of and is cheerfully appreciated by the people of this Division”.                        
         The petition was signed on behalf of the Udi District Union by Mr. D.A. Nnaji and Mr. Phillip Ezekpo, President and Secretary respectively, while Mr. E.A. Chime and Mr. T.N. Ozobu. President and Secretary, signed on behalf of Enugu Divisional Union. (ONDIST 12/1/601).
          This powerfully worded petition showed the extent to which Wawa consciousness had developed since the Enugu Aborigines Improvement Union set the tone in 1928. The Resident appeared to have given in to their argument as he delayed response, but after a few days, he changed his mind with a promise to re-visit the issue more genuinely when the need arises. In his words:
          “I had overlooked the fact that the people were already represented on the Township Board by Mr. A.N. Eze, who was appointed in 1945, an appointment which still holds and will continue to hold unless and until I see good to make a change.
          “In these circumstances, I do not think I am called upon to make any         further pronouncements at present since all appointments to the Township Advisory Board are made at the discretion of the Resident. It is true that I am attempting to broaden unofficial representation at the board of the residents in Enugu by a system of elections in different wards, that is, if such a system should have proved satisfactory, but until experiments in that direction have been concluded it is impossible to say to what extent I shall be guided by the result.
          “I am glad to note, however, that the two unions favour a system of elections and hope they will do everything in their power to make them a success and acceptable to all the inhabitants of Enugu as a whole, and not only to the members of their own unions. I say this in all confidence, which I feel sure that the more progressive members of these unions are sufficiently alive to the need for a fair basis of representation and for the creation of corporate spirit among the town dwellers of Enugu whatever their tribal origins may be. If after the election, it should appear that there are any special interests which are not adequately represented, the matter can again be reviewed.
          Hardly had the Resident finished disposing of the petition by the two unions, than other protest demands came from Ngwo people “the real owners of Enugu Coal City”, and from the Enugu Township Improvement Council, represented by Messrs J.E. Johnson and A.B.C. Okagbue, president and secretary respectively, asking for representation on the board. The Resident gave them the same answer – wait until the proposed election.
      On August 14, 1948, the much talked about election took place throughout Enugu Township, but in an unprecedented manner, the Local Authority for Enugu unilaterally annulled the entire results, unofficially believed to have been won by  candidates of Enugu origin.
          The Udi District Union reacted angrily, and in a petition to the Resident, dated August 22, 1948, wrote:
          “Your Honour will undoubtedly remember that you graciously granted us an interview in the Local Authority’s office on the 12th of May, 1948, during which we submitted a petition to Your Honour with a request that approval should be given for at least three representatives from Udi Division to serve in the proposed re-organized Enugu Township Advisory Board. This request was turned down by Your Honour in favour of a more democratic system of election. To abide by this ruling our prospective candidates were advised to make applications accordingly, which they did. The election was later scheduled by the Local Authority to take place on the 14th of August, 1948.
          “It is interesting to mention at this stage that our political opponents accused us right from the start that it was quite possible for us to arrange for the transportation of men from the surrounding villages to vote for our candidates on that day. The Local Authority thereby ruled that all voters MUST produce their Enugu Township Tax Tickets for 1948 on that day, any voter who failed to produce his own would be automatically disqualified.
          “The crux of the matter Your Honour, was that on the election day our men swept the polls in their respective wards. At Asata where we have our bitterest opponents, hence the Local Authority’s decision to conduct election in that ward himself, it is regretful to say that when our opponents   realized that our candidate, Mr. E.A. Chime, had a  far greater majority of voters, there was a deliberate attempt to dislodge the election. Finally, they did succeed in persuading the Local Authority, irrespective of the efforts of the police  to order, to abstain from counting the number of  voters for individual candidates, thus no decision was taken.
“We beg to say something about the various allegations made by our opponents. The first was that voters from other wards streamed down to Asata to vote for our candidate.
“As far as we are aware, at Ogui, we took the first position; at Iva Valley, first; and Construction, second. How can this overwhelming success in all wards, Your Honour, be possible if all our men had flooded to Asata?
“To disprove the second allegation that men were transported from the neighbouring villages, how was it possible for these men to produce Enugu Township receipts?
“To further prove to Your Honour that our opponents at Asata are determined to leave any stone unturned in order to flout our newly awakened political ambition, it is now being alleged that that they are engineering the unsuccessful candidates and their supporters in other wards particularly Coal Camp, to raise strong protests against our successful candidates in those wards. (ONDIST 12/1/601).
This petition was signed by Mr. T.N. Ozobu, Secretary, Udi District Union. The Resident was no doubt, very much up set by the weighty allegations contained in the petition, and he reacted promptly, asking the Local Authority to urgently respond to them.
In his reply, the Local Authority wrote:
“I abandoned proceedings as it proved impossible to deal with the objections to persons voting for Mr.Ojiyi; those standing behind Mr. Chime were therefore not examined, but I find it hard to believe that such a large crowd had all come from Asata. I might add that I noticed an unusual number of empty lorries in the vicinity and also heard that some voters came from so far that they had to spend the night in Enugu.”
Responding to another query from the Resident on why he did not examine the tax receipts of Mr. Chime’s supporters, the Local Authority again wrote:
“With regard to the statement that I should have examined tax receipts to prove whether or not Mr. Chime’s supporters came from Udi, I should have been very glad to do so had it been possible, but the confusion was that I considered the only wise course was to abandon proceedings”.
As unconvincing as the Local Authority’s defence was, the Resident still went ahead to uphold the nullification of the results of the election. He could therefore not afford to do otherwise, after all, it was an issue that concerned black people, and no white man should be made to lose his hair no matter the blunder that was committed.
Addressing candidates for that election later at a meeting in Enugu, on September 6, 1948, the Acting Resident, Mr. E. R. Chadwick, said:
“My object in coming here this evening is to confirm what the Local Authority has already said, namely that the so-called elections must now be considered null and void – there was no legal sanctions for them and they have no legal standing. It must now be obvious to all  that election without an electoral roll, and without definite electoral qualifications cannot be considered further.
“The question of the early appointment of additional members to the Township Advisory Board is the one that I have under consideration at the Moment. The names of the people appointed by me will be announced as  early as possible.”
There were many critical reactions from several quarters against this blatant rape of democracy by the Resident and his Local Authority in annulling an election that was peacefully conducted. Why must they now plead alibi of the absence of legal backing and electoral roll as if they did not know about these before ordering for the election? In spite of these criticisms, however, the Resident went ahead to announce the reconstitution of the Township Advisory Board as follows:
The Personnel Manager (Colliery);
T.N. Ozobu, Secretary, Udi District Union;
P.H. Ezekpo, Secretary, Enugu Divisional Union;
S.N. Osuji, Secretary, Civil Service Union;
G.K. Igwe, Accounts Clerk, Railway, and Secretary, Owerri Union;
O.O. Uduma, Market Committee, Ogui Urban Area;
C.D. Onyeama, Lawyer, representing the professional class;
S.O. Achara, Technician (Railway), Secretary, Youth League;
O. Ojiyi, Secretary, Colliery Workers Union;
H.I. Adigwe, President, Railway Workers Union. (ONDIST 12/1/601).
These appointments, no matter how widely representative they might seem to be, did not satisfy many inhabitants of Enugu. They were not happy that those who had the people’s mandate were dropped for unpopular candidates. They still demanded a system of election for the selection of membership of the board.  
That, notwithstanding, even if the Wawa leaders that made up members of the Udi District Union and the Enugu Divisional Union did not succeed in installing their preferred candidates through a democratic election, they had however succeeded in announcing their arrival on the political scene. They had therefore sent a clear and unmistakable signal to whoever that cared, that their people would henceforth no longer be a pushover in Enugu politics.

(iii) Udi-Nsukka-Awgu United Front (UNAUF): The widening political field, which followed the gradual disengagement by the colonialists from the political administration of the country, required more involvement of people of like minds. This is in addition to maintaining unity of action, if the people were to benefit maximally from the system.
Leaders of the Enugu Divisional Union and the Udi District Union were to realize this necessity after their quest for greater involvement in the Enugu Township Advisory Board was rejected. The need for this unity was reinforced, however, by the intervention, in 1953, of the Udi Youth League led by its patron, Dr. Simeon Onwu, first Igbo medical doctor, which decried the continued bickering between the two unions, and later brokered peace between them. Consequently, members of the two groups, together with other notable political leaders within the ruling NCNC, agreed to form a vanguard movement with their counterparts from Nsukka and Awgu, to form the Udi-Nsukka-Awgu United Front (UNAUF). This was due to government’s emphasis on divisions as basis for the 1954 elections. 
Then led by Chief Charles Aniweta Abangwu and Chief G.I. Okoh, UNAUF, which started as a pressure group within the ruling NCNC, soon became a common platform for the people of Wawa origin to articulate and ventilate their political views and aspirations. With time, membership of the group was no longer limited to politicians, but expanded to include workers, traders and artisans. This was due to vigorous mass mobilization and political education embarked upon by leaders of the front.
Their efforts handsomely paid off during the 1954 Eastern House of Assembly election when UNAUF candidates from the three divisions effortlessly sailed through. Those elected were for Udi Constituency - (E.A. Chime, D.A. Nnaji, D.O. Anu and D.A. Akilo); Awgu Constituency - (G.I. Okoh and B.C. Okwu); Nsukka Constituency - (J.U. Nwodo, D.C. Ugwu, M. Obayi, R.O. Ukuta and B.O.M. Edoga). This success was extended to the Enugu Municipal Council election, where for the first time, in 1957, an indigene of Enugu, L.B.C. Ezechi, won its chairmanship hitherto held by Mallam Umaru Altine, even though the latter was to reclaim it the following year. (Interview with Chief Charles Abangwu, 1994).
UNAUF’s successes were as stunning, as they were embarrassing to its opponents. Therefore, in order to put a halt to such “embarrassing” situation and checkmate its activities, they began to sponsor some fifth columnists to infiltrate the organization, with a view to dismembering it.
Their efforts paid off. In the 1958 Enugu Municipal Council election, UNAUF lost most of its candidates, which enabled Umaru Alltine to bounce back as chairman. Similarly, in the Federal House of Representatives election held the same year, Mr. Francis Mbadiwe defeated UNAUF candidate for the only seat for Enugu Municipality. However, when the seat became vacant in 1959, following the death of Mr. Mbadiwe, Mr. Christian Onoh from Ngwo, was elected to the position.
A similar scenario played itself out when the military government of Colonel Odumegwu-Ojukwu, in 1967, appointed Mr. Felix Iheanocho from Owerri, as Administrator of the newly created Enugu Province, an appointment that was to be reversed in favour of Onoh, following protests by Wawa leaders.
Explaining why he did not join UNAUF (later changed to Enugu Indigenous Elements Union), on his return to the country from his overseas studies in 1957, the irrepressible Christian Onoh, later to become a dogged fighter for Wawa cause, said he joined the Enugu Stranger Elements Association, in protest, because he found it odd that an Amawbia man, C.O.C. Chiedozie, as Secretary-General of UNAUF, could effectively champion Wawa interest.
Besides, explained Onoh, all the leaders of UNAUF, except Abangwu, were prepared to sell out at anytime. He recalled how the organization had backed Mr. Francis Mbadiwe from Arochukwu, against Wawa candidates during the 1954 House of Representatives Election for Enugu/Udi Federal Constituencies. (Interview with Chief Christian Onoh, 1994).   
The division within the rank and file of Wawa leaders in Enugu, therefore, suggested the urgent need to return to the drawing board if the people were to survive the renewed onslaught against them by their opponents. With the arrival to the scene, the likes of Barristers Christian Onoh, Anthony Aniagolu, Enechi Onyia, Augustine Nnamani as well as Dr. Godwin Odenigwe, amongst others, together with their newly acquired western education, the need for mapping out new strategies became imperative.
They started with mass mobilization and creation of awareness by organizing UDI DAY celebration, which was held for the first time in 1959. With time, the frenzy caught up with the people and UDI DAY celebration became an annual event. They then used the platform to enlighten and educate the people on their political rights and responsibilities. The strategies paid off handsomely, since by the first half of the 1960s, the people had proudly begun to assert their identity and were no longer shy of being called “Wawa”. (Interview with Chief Enechi Onyia, 1994).

iv Wawa State Movement: The Wawa had never regarded themselves as distinct from the larger Igbo nation, nor did they perceive their destiny to lie elsewhere. They saw themselves as part of the historical Igbo struggle for a better place on the surface of the earth.
All that the Wawa had wanted was for greater say and participation in the affairs that concern them, based on proper understanding of their peculiar situation. That was why, during the Willinks Commission set up by the colonial government to determine the fate of the minorities in a future Nigeria, the Wawa,  not considering themselves as minorities, did not submit any memorandum, nor did they appear before the commission. The Wawa only began to agitate for a separate state of their own when they realized that they were being systematically denied of their rights even in their own land!
The matter came to a climax during the Nigerian civil war, when the fate of the entire Igbo nation was hanging in the balance and the future of Wawa people uncertain. Many of the Wawas were living as refugees in a foreign land, as the rampaging federal forces had earlier overrun their towns. Besides, several of their youth had died either in the war front, or through starvation. Worse still, the Biafran leadership did not reckon with them as no Wawa person was considered qualified for appointment into the Biafran cabinet. With such a bleak future, the people decided that the only option was to take their destiny into their hands.   
Then, in the early hours of Saturday, September 6, 1969, when the guns were still booming, and the bombs flying around the air, Wawa leaders from different parts of what had remained of the war-ravaged Biafra, converged at a technical school in the small village of Okohia, Mbano local government area of the present day Imo State, which was used as headquarters of Oji River Province, to deliberate on their future and those of their people.
After reviewing the progress of the war so far, and how it had affected them, the group resolved to meet the Biafran leadership to request that their youths be crossed over to the other side of the war, to serve in the unconventional army as guerrillas, so that all of them would not perish in the warfront,. That was how the idea of Rangers and the Biafran Organization of Freedom Fighters (BOFF), came about.
The group further resolved that in the event of the war ending either way, they would request for a separate state of their own. That was the first time the Wawa people were making such move, and it had the trapping of a mutiny, happening as it were, in a war situation and under a military dictatorship. And this could spell doom for the ringleaders. Present at the meeting were the likes of Christian Onoh, Enechi Onyia, Eze Ozobu, Samuel Mgbada, Frank Onyeke, D.O. Nnamani, Godwin Odenigwe, among other notable personalities. There were about forty distinguished Wawa sons at that meeting. (Interview with Professor Godwin Odenigwe, 1994).
The proposal was yet to be properly articulated and clearly packaged when the war ended on January 15, 1970. The dust of the war had hardly settled when the Wawa leaders again met at the Law Chambers of Chief Charles Abangwu, No. 1 Ogui Road, Enugu, to articulate in details proposal for the creation of Enugu (Wawa) State. The meeting which was attended by the likes of Chief Charles Abangwu, Enechi Onyia, Christian Onoh, Petrus Agballah, Onyiba Aja Nwachukwu, Chiefs B.C. Okwu, J.U. Nwodo, P.A. Onwe, P.C. Ndu, D. O. Nnamani, S.N. Alo, M.U. Obayi, Edward Nnaji and several other traditional rulers, led to the formation of “Enugu State Movement”, with Abangwu as Chairman and Enechi Onyia as Secretary. The mandate given  to the movement was clear and straight-forward mandate -  to champion and promote the creation of Enugu (Wawa) State. 
On March 20, 1970, the committee petitioned the then Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, General Yakubu Gowon, requesting the creation of Enugu (Wawa) State, out of the East Central State. In the memorandum ESMI/1, dated March 20, 1970, the people wrote:
“We the people of  Abakaliki, Afikpo, Awgu, Eha-Amufu, Enugu, Ezzikwo, Igbo-Eze, Nkanu, Nsukka and Udi Divisions of the East Central State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria being desirous of having a separate state within the Federation of Nigeria do hereby convey to Your Excellency facts in support of our case for the creation of a state to be known as” ENUGU STATE.” This we believe and feel will be the surest safeguard to ensure for our people, like other loyal Nigerian citizens, equal rights and opportunities to life, property, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.
Giving the historical background to the request, the people lamented:
“Our story is a simple but sorrowful one. Among the Ibos, East of the Niger, there are two ethnic groupings – the Southern or the Forest Ibos, and the Grassland or Northern Ibos. As fate would have it, the Southern Ibos were the first to see the light of modern education and Western culture among us. They had schools, and colleges long before these institutions of learning were brought into the Grassland Ibo areas. The two cultures of the Northern and the Southern Ibos were distinct and
divergent. Though both sections speak the Ibo language, their dialects are poles apart. This divergence led our Southern Ibo brothers to disparage and refer to us, their Northern brothers – the ‘WAWA’ – a term contemptuously symbolizing
backwardness. Our people of the North have become among their Southern kiths and kins social pariahs with whom social and political contacts have become a matter of condescension and rebuff.
The four million people of the Northern Iboland have for long been treated as social and political outcasts in the area now known as East Central State and accordingly, educational, cultural, social and economic developments have been for long deliberately denied them, their fault being geographical and anthropological accidents of history; nothing else!”   
After enumerating the catalogue of woes and marginalization suffered by Wawa people over the years at the hands of their more advanced Southern Igbo brothers, the group pleaded with the Gowon administration “not to regard our memorandum as premature, but punctual and therefore to give it protective thoughts and favourable consideration”. (See Petition to the Head of State, ESMI/1 of 20th March, 1970).
A copy of the petition, which was signed by representatives of all the divisions mentioned above, was copied to the Administrator of the East Central State, Mr. Ukpabi Asika.
Though Gowon did not react positively to the request, the petition nevertheless sent jitters down the spin of the authorities in the East Central State, who resorted to blackmail and open intimidation of leaders of the movement, some of whom were hounded into detention on spurious charges. But that did not deter the leaders of the movement as they kept tenaciously to the demand.
In 1975, following the setting up by the Murtala Muhammed Military administration of the Ayo Irikefe Committee on Creation of new states, Wawa leaders again  rallied round and forwarded a very powerful memorandum to the committee. They followed it up by setting up a high-powered lobby team, which met with all those that mattered with a view to ensuring that Enugu (Wawa) State was included among the new states recommended for creation.
The Wawa people however lost the proposed state by whiskers due to manipulations and backstabbing by some prominent Igbo leaders who felt that their interest would be greatly injured if Enugu State was created. Instead, Anambra and Imo states were created out of the East Central State, with Enugu as capital of the newly created Anambra State.
Another states’ creation exercise carried out in 1987 also did not favour the Wawa, in spite of the fact that Enugu State was one of the six states recommended for creation in 1986 by the Political Bureau set up by the federal government. This also was in spite of the fact that Enugu (Wawa) State had the longest history, and was the best packaged of all the demands.
However, by 1991, the entire Igbo race had become wiser, and had realized what they had been losing by being lumped together into just two out of the then twenty-one states in the country. Thus, rather than continuing to pose as stumbling block to the Wawa cause, they joined the lobby team which saw to the creation of Enugu State on August 27, 1991 – the  culmination of a 63-year old struggle which began with the formation of Enugu Aborigines Improvement Union on May 29, 1928.       

Chapter Four
       Legacies of Those Who in Ruled Enugu
The annals of history are full of heroes who carved for themselves great and heroic roles and played them on momentous occasions on the stage.
                                                - Gamal Abdel Nasser
When the British military expedition led by Major H.D. Moorhouse left Asaba on November 17, 1904, to bring under subjugation, those parts of Igboland yet to acknowledge the authority of the colonial administration, little did they know that they were embarking on a mission that would soon revolutionalize the Nigerian political landscape. Marching through Adani, Ogurugu, Ibeagwa, Omasi, Adaba, Umulokpa and Amandim, the expedition got to the ridge of Udi escarpment, which we now call Enugu, conquered all the surrounding villages, and set up an administration at a nearby town of Udi. That was in January 1905.
Four yeas later, in 1909, Albert Kitson, a British geological explorer, and his team, while searching for silver, hit a black gold, called coal, which for over four decades, was to become the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. From then on political and economic activities began to reverberate in and around Enugu.
Enugu was, at different times, made a station magistrate for the British colonial field officers, the divisional headquarters for Enugu Ngwo Division, the provincial capital for the former eleven provinces of Southern Nigeria, capital of erstwhile Eastern Region, capital of the defunct Republic of Biafra, and capital of former East Central State, Anambra State, and now capital of Enugu State. It was indeed a very long journey, which spanned one hundred years, and which had witnessed different political leaders at its helm of affair.   
Between 1900, when the British government formally took over the administration of Nigeria from the Royal Niger Company, and 1952, when the people of Eastern Region were made to begin to learn the ropes of political leadership under the Macpherson Constitution, the political administration of the region rested squarely on the shoulders of appointed British officials. Therefore, whoever had occupied whatever position in the Coal City, was there on mere posting by the British Colonial Office in London, and as such, was accountable only to that office.
However, following the coming into effect of the Macpherson Constitution in 1952, the mantle of political leadership fell on Nigerians, either elected or appointed. Accordingly, we shall hereunder examine the performances of these privileged Nigerians who had held the mantle of political leadership in Enugu, to see their achievements or legacies they left behind.

Eyo Ita (1952 – 1954):  In January 1952, Professor Eyo Ita, as deputy leader of the National Convention of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC), which won the Eastern Regional election conducted under the Macpherson Constitution, mounted the saddle as Leader of Government Business. He was the first Nigerian to occupy such an enviable position in Enugu. But the administration could not take any definite action to actualize the wishes of the people since it had to contend with the ubiquitous presence of the colonial Governor who still called the shots as the head of government.
          Eyo Ita’s regime was however short-lived as its boat was rocked by an internal crisis in the leadership of the NCNC, the party that brought him to office. Following his forced resignation, Eyo Ita was succeeded by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the party’s leader, who made a detour following his ill-fated political adventure to the Western Region.     

Nnamdi Azikiwe (1954 – 1959): Dr. Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe who mounted the saddle as Premier of Eastern Region, laid a solid foundation for the development of the region. He took bold decision for the social, political, and economic well-being of the people of the area. With a booming agricultural sector, Dr. Azikiwe’s government sowed the seed for the future industrialization of Eastern Region. He founded the African Continental Bank (ACB), set up the Nigerian Cement Company (NIGERCEM) at Nkalagu, and constructed some network of roads in the region.
The administration established the Eastern Nigerian Development Corporation (ENDC) that embarked on aggressive industrial and agricultural development of Eastern Region, such as the Oghe Cashew Industry, the Obudu Cattle Ranch as well as a rubber plantation at Calabar. Dr. Azikiwe’s administration also founded the Eastern Nigeria Information Service (ENIS), which established the Eastern Nigerian Outlook and Cameroun Star newspaper, and later, the Eastern Nigeria Broadcasting Service (ENBS).
          On human development, the administration of Dr. Azikiwe established the first autonomous university in the country, the University of Nigeria, with campuses at Nsukka and Enugu, and awarded scholarships to deserving indigenes.

Michael Iheonukara Okpara/Francis Akanu Ibiam (1959 – 1966): Following the appointment of Dr. Azikiwe as Governor General of Nigeria on the eve of Nigeria’s independence, he relinquished the leadership of the NCNC to Dr. Michael Okpara, who in 1959, became the Premier of Eastern Region. At the same time, Dr. Akanu Ibiam was appointed Governor of the region, though in a non-executive capacity.
          As a pragmatist, Dr. Okpara took bold steps to actualize the lofty programmes of his party – the NCNC. He embarked on an aggressive agricultural policy by setting up farm settlements at different parts of the region, such as  Adani, Ohaji and Igbariam. He also  established a number of industries and hotels like the Asbestos Company, Emene, the Niger Steel and Nigergas companies, also at Emene, the Modern Ceramics Industries at Umuahia, as well as Textile Mills at Aba and Onitsha.
          Dr. Okpara’s regime also established the Hotel Presidential at Enugu and Port Harcourt, built the present House of Assembly Complex in Enugu, the present Government House (Lion Building), the National Orthopedic Hospital, then known as the Governor’s Lodge, the Ministers’ (Commissioners’) Quarters in Enugu, the Real Estate, Uwani as well as many other public and residential buildings, across the region.
          The intervention of the military in the country’s body politics in January 1966, halted Dr. Okpara’s progressive efforts towards the full industrialization of the region.

Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu (1966 – 1970): Lieutenant Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, as he then was, was appointed military governor of Eastern Region in January 1966, following the military take over of the political administration of the country. Ojukwu’s radical programmes aimed at uplifting the socio-economic well-being of the people of the East, were still in their embryonic stages when a political crisis erupted in May 1966 to disrupt them. The crisis later culminated into a civil war in July 1967.
          By then, Enugu had assumed a new status. It was no longer a regional capital, but the capital of the Sovereign State of Biafra! For the next three years, all efforts were geared towards the protection of  not just the Capital City and its inhabitants, but also the Biafran nation itself.
          In January 1970, the war ended with the capitulation of Biafra. It was then that it dawned on the people that Eastern Region had been fragmented into three semi-autonomous units, called states.

Anthony Ukpabi Asika (1967 – 1975): In May 1967, Mr. Anthony Ukpabi Asika was named Administrator of  the newly created East Central State. Asika was simply an  “administrator in exile”, since for the next thirty months, the bulk of the people he was supposed to govern were on the other side of the Nigeria/Biafra conflict. He only assumed full responsibility of the state at the end of the civil war in January 1970.
Battling a credibility crisis with a people who at first had disowned him and called him a “renegade”, Asika embraced the federal government’s post civil war policy of “reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction” of the war-ravaged areas of East Central State.
          Aside of these, Asika had his own ideas. He introduced the government take-over of schools, later to be embraced by all the government’s in the country, both states and federal, but which, at that time, was considered a punitive action against Christian missionaries who had supported Biafra during the war.
          Asika also broke up the East Central State into thirty-five administrative divisions and 640 community councils for effective administration under his Divisional Administration Department (DAD) programme. He introduced “Otu Olu Obodo,”  which he thought could  be used to indigenize the civil service and strip it off its colonial mentality.

Anthony Aboki Ochefu (July 1975 – October 1975): The July 29, 1975 military change of guards at the centre, led to the removal of Ukpabi Asika as Administrator of East Central State and his replacement with Colonel Anthony Ochefu as military governor. But Ochefu had hardly assumed office when the military authorities that appointed him, realized that they had made a “wrong choice”, and decided to shuffle him out.

John Atom Kpera (1975 – 1978): It was during Atom Kpera’s tenure as governor of East Central State that the state was split into Anambra and Imo States. As military governor of the newly created Anambra State, Atom Kpera worked hard to ensure a harmonious co-existence among the people of the new state.
It was during the regime that the Federal Government introduced the local government reforms, and Atom Kpera ensured that the reform programme was faithfully implemented in the state, which resulted to the break up of Anambra State into twenty-three local government areas.
Similarly, it was Atom Kpera’s regime that accorded official recognition to the first set of traditional rulers in the state after a government’s commission had visited their various communities and ascertained the views of the people. The regime also embarked on a number of developmental projects, including rural road construction, housing and agricultural production.

Datti Sadiq Abubakar (1978 – 1979): Colonel Sadiq Abubakar who took over from John Atom Kpera had one straight-forward mandate, and that was to ensure a peaceful transition from military to civil rule slated for October 1979, and he faithfully carried out that assignment to the satisfaction of all.

Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo (1979 – 1983): Chief Jim Nwobodo assumed office as first civilian governor of Anambra State after over thirteen years of military dictatorship. Desirous to ensure rapid socio-economic transformation of the state, Nwobodo adopted what he termed a “mass attack” approach to development aimed at rebuilding the dilapidated infrastructure of the state. He founded the then Anambra State University of Technology (ASUTECH), with campuses at Enugu and Awka; established Colleges of Education at Eha Amufu and Nsugbe; the Anambra Television (ATV); Sunrise Flour Mills, Emene; Nike Lake Resort Hotel, Enugu; Aluminum Manufacturing Company, Ohebe Dim; Building Materials Industry, Ezzamgbo; as well as a host of other industries.
The administration also embarked on the ambitious programme of electrifying several rural communities and undertook many road construction, schools and health centres. 

Christian Chukwuma Onoh (October 1983 -  December 31, 1983): Chief Onoh took over from Chief Nwobodo after a controversial election, which ended at the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Before Onoh could settle down to unfold his package, the military once again broke loose from the barracks to sack the civilian politicians nationwide. But it was not before Onoh showed that some road projects could be executed by direct labour, instead of leaving everything to contractors. Onoh also mapped out two days every week for civil servants to go to farm to help increase food production.

Allison Amaechina Madueke (1984 – 1985): Navy Captain Allison Madueke, as he then was, assumed office as military governor of the state in January 1984. While struggling to clear huge arrears of salaries owed civil servants by the ousted civilian administrations, Madueke also embarked on the completion of many abandoned projects in the state These included the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu and the Nike Lake Resort Hotel. He also sought to consolidate the Anambra State University (ASUTECH) and the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu, into one institution, for efficient and proper management, based on available financial, human and material resources. Madueke lasted only twenty months in office before he was redeployed to Imo State.

Sampson Emeka Omeruah (1985 – 1987): The first action taken by Group Captain Emeka Omeruah when he assumed office as military governor of Anambra State in August 1985, was to de-merge ASUTECH and the IMT, which his predecessor  had sought to merge. A firm believer in culture and tradition, Omeruah also introduced the annual Mmanwu Cultural Festival, and encouraged the wearing of traditional dresses in government offices and other public places. He also embarked on the beautification of the Coal City with flowers and various artifacts mounted at strategic locations. Omeruah equally sought to re-enact the Okpara agrarian revolution by embarking on “Operation Palm to Palm” project, which was designed to sensitize the people on the need to embark on planting of palm trees.

Robert Nnaemeka Akonobi (1987 – 1990): Colonel Robert Akonobi rode a stormy weather as Governor of Anambra State, particularly in his handling of the relationship between the so-called Wawas and the Ijekebes, then known as the North/South Dichotomy. It was Robert Akonobi, who excised the Ayamelum Clan from Uzo Uwani local government and transferred it to Oyi local government.
That, notwithstanding, Akonobi executed some road projects, such as the IBB Airport Link Road, the Okwuosa-Obiagu Link Road, as well as the Trans Ekulu-Abakpa Fly-over and the Abakpa Nike Link Road.

Herbert Obi Eze (1990 - 1992): When Colonel Herbert Obi Eze was appointed military governor of Anambra State in September 1990, he came to meet a restive population agitating for states’ creation. Rather than frown at the activities of these agitators, Herbert Eze allowed the agitation to continue, and even lent his support to it. In the end, Anambra State was split into two – Enugu and Anambra states, and Eze became governor of Enugu State.

Emmanuel Kenneth Okwesilieze Nwodo (1992 – 1993): Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo who took office in January 1992, as first civilian governor of the newly created Enugu State,  introduced the twin policy of “Triangular Equilibrium and Meritquotacracy”, by which he sought to ensure equitable distribution of both human and material resources among the three zones of the state. Nwodo further sought to re-enact the Okpara agricultural revolution by promising to establish farm settlements in different parts of the state. He commissioned a number of study groups made of experts in their own fields to help chart the course of his administration. The administration’s programmes were still in their incubation when the military once again, struck in November 1993

Temison Ejoor (1993 – 1994): Navy Captain Temison Ejoor, who promised to re-unite the people of the state, torn apart by zonal politics, however, got himself involved in the controversy over land allocations at the Government Reserved Area (GRA), Enugu. Nine months into his tenure, he was re-deployed to Abia State.

Lucky Mike Torey (1994 – 1996): The main achievement of Colonel Mike Torey was the decisive action he took against the land “scandal” at the GRA, Enugu, even if he was to back-pedal thereafter. 

Sule Ahman (1996 – 1998): It was Colonel Sule Ahman who introduced the controversial “non-indigenes”, policy by which civil servants who hailed from outside Enugu State were asked to return to their states of origin. The administration also embarked on the fencing of some empty government lands in Enugu metropolis.  

Benson Adewunmi Agbaje (1998 – 1999): Navy Captain Benson Agbaje who assumed office in August 1998, merely held forte for the incoming civilian administration slated for May 1999. He however ensured that the transition to civil rule programme went on smoothly.

Chimaroke Ogbonnia Nnamani (1999 – 2007): The first action taken by Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani when he mounted the saddle of the state administration, was to cancel the “non-indigenes” policy introduced by Colonel Sule Ahman administration. He however disengaged from service, about 5,000 public servants of the state origin. And this raised a lot of dust.
This, notwithstanding, Nnamani took headlong, the devastated and dilapidated infrastructure of the state caused by several years of neglect. Accordingly, he rehabilitated several roads at both the rural and urban areas, built the Ebeano and Golf Housing Estates in Enugu; “Ebeano Tunnel Bye-pass”; a campus of the Nigerian Law School at Agbani; the Air Force Comprehensive College, Agbani, as well as the permanent sites of the State University of Science and Technology at Agbani, and the ESUT Teaching Hospital, Park Lane, Enugu.
The administration also built the permanent site of the Judiciary Headquarters at Independence Layout, to complete the “Three-Armed Zone” in the Coal City, where the three arms of government – the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary, are located in one area.
Sullivan Iheanacho Chime (2007 - ): Under his Four-point Development Agenda, Sullivan Iheanocho Chime began a total overhaul of all departments of the state administration. A lawyer by profession, Chime laid the main plank of his administration on due process and good governance. To this effect, he promptly recalled all the public servants who were disengaged from service by the immediate past administration in the state. At the same time, he restored the glory of the civil service through enhanced salaries and prompt payment of their entitlements. 
In the area of social and physical infrastructure, the administration  embarked on construction of housing estates for both the low and middle-income earners to ease the accommodation problems confronting the state. These include the Coal City Gardens Estate, the Mary Land Estate, the Liberty Estate, and the Ekulu East Estate.
The administration further designed a Master Plan for Enugu Capital Territory, to give the City a new face-lift. Under his Urban Renewal Programme, Chime embarked upon the general resurfacing of all the roads in Enugu Metropolis. He cleared the mountains of refuse that had for decades, almost swallowed up the town, and installed street-lights along all the major roads in the city. To ease the acute transportation problems confronting residents of the Coal City, the Chime administration bought hundreds of taxi cabs and buses for urban mass transit scheme. For the first time in its one hundred years history, the administration established an Enugu Capital Development Authority, backed by law, and charged with the responsibility for the physical planning and development of the metropolis. 
The administration also introduced free maternal and child healthcare scheme, whereby pregnant women and children below the age of five received free medical treatment in government hospitals and health centres in the state. To ensure renewed interest in agriculture and boost agricultural production, the administration established a College of Agriculture at Iwollo, and bought tractors and other farm implements, which were put at the disposal of interested farmers. 
At the grassroots level, the Chime administration while restoring the autonomy of the local governments by ensuring that they got all their statutory allocations, also embarked on the construction of some rural roads in the state.

The Legislature
Complementing the work of the Executive is the legislature, which makes laws for good governance in accordance with the democratic set up. For the first time in the political history of Eastern Nigeria, a legislative assembly was created in 1951, following the promulgation of the Macpherson Constitution. This consisted of the Lieutenant Governor as President, 80 elected members, five officials, and three members nominated to represent interests of communities not adequately represented. While this could be regarded as a progressive march towards self-rule, the ubiquitous presence of the colonial governor who was both the head of the Executive and the Legislature, made independent action by Nigerian politicians virtually unattainable.
The 1954 Lyttleton Constitution, which was an advance from the 1951 Macpherson Constitution provided for an eighty-four member legislature, who unlike the 1951 exercise, were directly elected by the people. It also provided for a Speaker, who was to be appointed by the Governor after consultation with the leaders of the majority and opposition parties. 
In 1956, Eastern Nigeria was granted self-rule. This led to the reconstitution of the legislature, with a Speaker directly elected by the House. However, due to frequent incursions of the military in the country’s body politics, the legislature was always made the weeping baby each time the military strikes. The implication is that the legislature had not made the necessary impact on governance as the other two arms of government. Below are the Speakers of the Legislature who served in Enugu from 1956 to date, as well as the corresponding civilian regimes listed against them.  

Speakers of Legislature in Enugu
Premier /Governor
E.N. Egbuna
1957 -1959
Nnamdi Azikiwe
D.E. Okereke
1960 – 1963
M.I. Okpara
Moses Onwuma
1964 -1966
        “  “
Ifeanyi Enechukwu
1979 -1983
Idenmili South
Jim Nwobodo
Benjamin Ekwealor
Anambra North
C.C. Onoh
Anthony Agbo
1992 – 1993
Okwesilieze Nwodo
Jonathan Nwonumah
     “                “
Cletus Enebe
1999 – 2000
Awgu North
Chimaroke Nnamani
F.S.A. Uzor
2000 -2001
      “                “
K.I.K. Ogbozor
Udi North
      “                “
Abel Chukwu
2001 – 2007
      “                “
Eugene Odo
2007 -
Igbo Etiti
Sullivan I. Chime
Source: Research Compilations
The Judiciary
 The administration of justice in Eastern Nigeria dates back to 1901 when Native Courts of the former Niger Protectorate were constituted by Proclamation No. 26 of that year. These courts exercised a jurisdiction concurrent with that of the Supreme Court whose jurisdiction was limited to the trading centres and the coast towns such as the Old Calabar. In 1914, Governor Frederick Lugard extended to Southern Nigeria the judicial system, which had operated in the Northern Protectorate since 1900. The aim was to establish a uniform judiciary throughout Nigeria.
Consequently, Provincial Courts were established throughout the Southern Provinces, which replaced the Protectorate Courts. Native Courts were also established, which were subject to supervision by political officers. In the same vein, the Supreme Court was constituted as a Court of Appeal from the Provincial Courts in civil matters. The Supreme Court Bill of March 1914 limited the jurisdiction of the Court to the Colony and areas where there were large numbers of non-natives and "native-foreigners".
 Under the Provincial Court system, the Resident of the Province exercised full powers of the court. Up to 1956, the Legal Department was placed under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In 1957, the Ministry of Justice was created and the judicial functions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were transferred to the new Ministry.
It was however not until 1961, that the Eastern Region got its first indigenous Chief Justice or Chief Judge. Unlike the other two arms of government, the Executive and the Legislature, which suffered interruptions at the hands of the military, the Judiciary has maintained its stability. Here is the list of the Chief Judges who served in Enugu from 1961 to date.

Chief Judges Who Served in Enugu
Hon. Justice Sir Louis Mbanefo
Chief Justice, Eastern Region

1961 – 1970
Hon. Justice Anthony Aniagolu
Chief Judge, East Central State

1970 – 1975
Hon. Justice Emmanuel Araka
Chief Judge, Anambra State

1976 – 1985
Hon. Justice Paul Nwokedi
Chief Judge, Anambra State

1985 – 1991
Hon Justice Eze Ozobu
Chief Judge, Enugu State

1991 – 1997
Hon. Justice Jacob Ugwu
Chief Judge, Enjugu State

1998 – 2004
Hon. Justice Innocent Umezulike
Chief Judge, Enugu State

2004 -
Source: Research Compilations

Chapter Five
Local Administration in Enugu
The interaction between the alteration of social circumstances  and the
content of consciousness is  not one-sided, for circumstances can be
changed by revolution and revolutions  are brought about by men
who think  of action and act as men of thought.
                                  - Kwame Nkrumah

Colonial System of Local Administration
A significant feature of local administration in Nigeria during the colonial era was the so-called Indirect Rule system, whereby some favoured individuals were selected and imposed on the people as warrant chiefs. These warrant chiefs were charged with the responsibility for the day-to-day running of the local communities subject, however, to the overall control of the colonial officials sitting at the remote centres of the administration. The colonial government had either lacked qualified personnel or was unwilling to spend in a colonial territory and so had decided to make use of trusted allies to run the affairs of the local administration, subject to their overall control and supervision.
In many parts of the Eastern Provinces where the chieftaincy institution was strange or virtually unknown, the Indirect Rule system was grossly abused as the warrant chiefs turned against the very people they were supposed to protect, or to serve. Resistance against the autocratic tendencies of the warrant chiefs led to the discontinuance of the Indirect Rule system by the colonial authorities. This was in keeping with the earlier recommendation by Mr. G.M. Grier, Secretary for Native Affairs, who had advised against the introduction of direct taxation in the Eastern Provinces, and suggested the reform of the structure of local government administration, including the scrapping of Lugard’s Indirect Rule system.  
The Indirect Rule system was substituted with the Native Administration system, whereby both the executive and judicial powers at the local level were vested on the councils of each sub-clan, consisting of the Isi-anis or heads of families with a paramount or head chief as its president. This body formed the Native Authority and an Appeal Court for the area, but still under the supervision of European district officers.
Between 1906 and 1919, the Igbo nation was divided into thirteen administrative units spread across four provinces. They were named districts, but later elevated to divisional status in 1924. These divisions were ba, Ahoada, Bende, Degema, Okigwe, and Owerri, in the then Owerri Province; Awka, Onitsha, Udi, and Okwoga, in Onitsha Province; Abakaliki and Afikpo in Ogoja Province; while Abor and Asaba, across the Niger, were in Warri Province.
Awgu (Anofu) was carved out from Udi and Okigwe Divisions in 1919, while Nsukka (Obolo) was carved out from Okwoga Division in the same 1919.
          These divisions were mere administrative conveniences designed by the colonial administration to facilitate the collection of taxes from the rural communities as well as for the mobilization of able-bodied men who were used in opening up new roads and rail lines, rather than real centres for community development.
          It was the discovery that the government measures to rule the people by the existing pattern of Native Courts and Native Authorities were unsatisfactory to both the ruler and the ruled, that led to the promulgation of the Eastern Region Local Government Ordinance No. 16 of 1950, whereby a three-tier structure of administration was introduced. This comprised of County Councils, Urban District Councils as well as Local or Village Councils. The system was designed to accord the people their rightful place in government scheme of administration and to equip them for political autonomy.
          However, as independence approached, one more administrative machinery was introduced. Under Ordinance 18 of 1959, a Provincial Administration was established to achieve efficient execution of government policy in each province and for securing satisfactory discharge of the duties and responsibilities of the divisions and counties within each province. At the head of each province was a Provincial Commissioner, an indigene appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Premier. He was assisted by a Provincial Secretary, senior officers of certain regional ministries, administrative officers or staff necessary for carrying into effect the intentions and purposes of the law. In addition, there were provincial members elected by local councils in the province as well as ex-officio members consisting of members of the House of Assembly and of the House of Chiefs in the Province.
          On the eve of Nigerian independence in 1960, the provincial and local administrative set-ups in Igboland were as follows:

Local Administration System in Igboland in 1959
District Councils


 Achi and Awgu,
Igbo-Etiti, Isi-uzo, Igbo-Eze and Uzo-Uwani.
Agbaja/Ngwo, Enugu Municipality, Ezeagu and Nkanu


Abakaliki, Izzi, Ezzikwo and Isielu

Afikpo and Edda

Obubura and Ugep

Aguata, Njikoka and Orumba.
Onitsha, Ogbaru,
Onitsha North, Onitsha South and


Ikeduru, Mbaise, Mbaitolu, Ngor-Okpala, Oguta, Ohaji, Oratta and Owerri.
Etiti, Mbano and Okigwi North.
Port Harcourt
Port Harcourt

Port Harcourt
Abua, Ekpeya-Engenni, Etche, Ikwere and Ogba-Egbema.
Eleme and Khana.
Port Harcourt Municipality.

Aba, Asa, Eastern Ngwa, Southern Ngwa, and Ndoki.
Ala-Ala, Aro-Ibo, Elu-Elu, Odida-Anyanwu, Owuwa-Anyanwu and Umuahia.
Source: (Nwabara, Iboland: A Century of Contact with Britain 1860-1960)
In 1967, a committee under the chairmanship of the then Attorney General of Eastern Nigeria, Dr. Graham Douglas, recommended the creation of 33 divisions and 20 provinces, among which were Enugu, Nsukka, Oji River and Abakaliki Provinces. Beyond these administrative innovations, however, the local administration in Igboland, as in other parts of the country, still proved a disaster, because most of these councils were unwieldy, corrupt and inefficient.
          At the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970, the East Central State government embarked on the re-organization of the local government system in the area. The outcome was the introduction of a local government system known as the Divisional Administration Department (DAD), which was a fusion of divisional administration and government field administration. The state was carved into 35 divisions and 640 community councils. The system sought to integrate indigenous social community organizations into the state administrative framework.
           Among the 35, and later 40 divisions created were Abakaliki, Awgu, Enugu Urban, Ezeagu, Ezzikwo, Igbo-Eze, Ishielu, Izzi, Nkanu, Nsukka Urban, Udi and Uzo-Uwani. Others were Afikpo, Aguata, Idemili, Njikoka, Ihiala, Awka, Nnewi, Oguta, Nkwerre, Mbano, Mbaise, Bende, Arochukwu, Orlu and Okigwe. The rest were Oru, Etiti, Mbaitolu/Ikeduru, Ohafia, Northern Ngwa, Owerri, Aba and Ukwa.

1976 Local Government Reform
          A far-reaching local government reform throughout the country was carried out in 1976. This coincided with the creation of new states in which Nigeria was divided into nineteen states. The primary objective of the reform programme was to update the existing local government structure and to bring it in line with what was obtainable elsewhere, as well as to bring about uniformity in the country’s local government administration. Hitherto, each of the four regions that existed in the First Republic had operated different local government systems in line with the prevailing political climate of its area.
          Consequently, a model statutory instrument together with general guidelines was applied nationwide in the restructuring process, and for the first time in the country’s political history, a uniform local government system was introduced. Population, cultural identity, and administrative viability were the three main criteria employed in the delimitation of the new councils. Under this general guideline, the population principle allowed for a minimum of 150,000 and a maximum of 800,000 persons per local government. Only in the case of cities/urban areas could population exceed 800,000, and only in very exceptional cases could the population of a local government fall under 150,000. Within this broad framework, each state embarked on the reorganization exercise.
          In Enugu State as presently constituted, only two new councils, which fell within that broad guideline, were created. These were Igbo Etiti and Oji River local government councils.
Each of the councils were composed of elected and nominated members, with the latter constituting less than twenty per cent. The members included a chairman, secretary and supervisory councilors as well as other councilors without portfolio. The main source of the councils’ finance, apart from internally generated revenue, were from both the federal and state governments, made up of five and ten percent of their statutory revenues respectively.
          To complement this generous funding, the new local government reform equally introduced generous conditions of service to attract qualified and high-level man-power to the councils. A local government service commission was set up in each state to oversee the recruitment, promotion, discipline and posting of all local government staff in the state. Likewise, the councils were charged with clearly defined functions, making them third-tiers of government, exercising legislative duties at the local level. (Peter E. Ekeh et al, (ed.) “Nigeria Since Independence: the First Twenty-Five Years”, Vol.V.)

Implications of the Reform
One implication of the 1976 local government reform was that it stripped state governments of the right to create local government councils in their areas, and made that exercise a national or constitutional issue. As a result, no state government could single-handedly create any local government without incurring the wrath of federal authorities. It was for that reason that the Muhammadu Buhari military administration, when it came to power in 1983, wasted no time in canceling all local government councils created by various state governments across the country during the Second Republic. This therefore puts to question the structure of federal administration operating in Nigeria
          In 1989, the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida, without any known criteria, thought it necessary to create new local government areas nationwide, with none from the present Enugu State. That was the genesis of the present lopsidedness or imbalance in the number of local government councils among states in the country.
It was, perhaps, in order to remedy that defect that Babangida, again in 1991, carried out another local government creation exercise, this time, with only two local governments created in the present Enugu State. The two new local governments were Enugu local government, which was split into Enugu North and Enugu South; and Igbo Eze local government, split into Igbo Eze North, and Igbo Eze South.
Another local government creation exercise, this time, by the General Sani Abacha regime, took place in 1996. This brought the total number of local government areas in the country to 774, as against 300 local governments when the reform programme started in 1976. This exercise saw only four local governments created for Enugu State. These were Aninri, Nkanu East, Enugu East and Udenu, which brought the total number of local government areas in the state to seventeen.
Curiously, like the issue of states creation, since after the 1976 local government reform, no democratic government in Nigeria had been able to carry out any successful local government creation exercise. This had been monopolized by the military, and they did it according to the dictates of their whims and caprices, to favour their acolytes.
Worried by the imbalance in the number of local governments, and what they believe they were been losing therefrom, many state governments, particularly those from the South, began to create new councils in their areas of jurisdiction. Later re-christened “development areas” when they were challenged by the federal authorities, this devise was a mere exercise in nomenclature, since no additional revenues were allotted to them from the federal government. As such, both the “new” and the “old” local governments, or “development centres” would continue to  “feast” on the same revenue allocated by the federal government for the “recognized” local governments.
In Enugu State, in particular, the state government in 2004, divided the state into 56 development centres, which included the original 17 local government councils recognized by the federal government. This created confusion and conflict of authority as the new development centres fought for supremacy against their parent local councils. This defect was, however, rectified in another exercise carried out in 2007, which while retaining the original 17 local councils recognized by the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, carved out into 57 new development centres. This assuaged the situation since the development centres no longer fight for supremacy with their parent local councils. 
These, notwithstanding, there is no doubt that some remarkable improvements have been made in the structure, organization and administration of local councils in the state from the colonial era. With practically the same geographical location as the present Enugu State, the number of local councils (divisions) in the state has risen to seventeen as against one in 1914, when the exercise began. In the same vein, the degree of autonomy of these local councils had equally increased. From fledgling political units, which were no more than administrative centres for exploiting the rural populace, the local councils grew into full autonomous third-tier government with clearly defined functions and responsibilities.

Local Government Councils in Enugu State (2009)
Local Council
Year Created
 Walter  Oji
Awgu (Anofu)
 Uche Anioke
Nsukka (Obolo)
Daniel Ugwuja
Enugu (North)
Herbert Orji
Nkanu (West)
Nnaemeka  Nnamani
Isi-uzo (Eha Amufu)
Sam Ugwu
Igbo Eze (North)
Chijioke Ugwu
Uzo Uwani
James Ademu
Aguobu Owa
Julius Ogbuke
Igbo Etiti
Ogbonna Idike
Oji River
Oji River
Robert Ugwu
Enugu (South)
Sam Ngene
Igbo Eze (South)
Christopher Omeje
Mathias Ekweremadu
Nkanu East
Ejike Ani
Enugu East
Nkwo Nike
Matthias Anike
Obolo Afor
Ignatius Eze
Source: Research Compilations
Thus, whereas during the early stages of colonial administration in the country, the local councils were content with serving as tax and rate collection centres without rendering corresponding services to the rural population, this time around, the councils now have the constitutional responsibility to provide certain services to the people at the grassroots of administration.
Specifically, the local governments in Enugu State are now actively involved not only in sensitizing the rural population for community development, but also in providing infrastructural facilities in the rural areas. They construct roads and bridges, build schools, health centres, market stalls and motor parks as well as help to maintain law and order in the communities. In addition, they assist in the preservation of natural monuments and other cultural artifacts within their areas of authority.

Chapter Six
Beyond the Centenary Celebration
A revolution is not a diner party, or writing an essay, or  painting a picture, or doing embroidery;  it cannot  be so refined, so leisurely and gently,  so temperate, kind,  courteous, restrained  and  magnanimous.
 A revolution is an insurrection, an act  of violence by which one class overthrows another.          - Mao Tse Tung  
The Enugu Centenary Celebration is the celebration of Enugu itself, an obscure farmland one hundred years ago, which has now metamorphosed into a metropolitan city, and which later became the seat of various layers of government – from divisional administration to provincial and regional governments, to a Sovereign State of Biafra, and then, to different state governments. It is the celebration of those who, through forced labour, had toiled under the scorching sun, to make Enugu what it is today. It is the celebration of a town, which has emerged from the ruins and rubbles of war.
The centenary celebration is the celebration of coal, which was discovered in Enugu one hundred years ago, and which for over five decades had borne the economic burden of Nigeria. It is the celebration of those who died inside the coalmines while excavating the mineral. It is the celebration of the twenty-one coalminers who were brutally murdered by the colonial police at the Iva Valley mine for demanding a marginal increase in their salaries.
The centenary celebration is the celebration of the Patriarchs – Chief Onyeama of Eke and Chief Chukwuani of Ozalla, and their colleagues, great patriots, who in spite of their limited educational background and exposure, had looked the White man in the face and demanded what they believed was their right. It is the celebration of Leo Nkedife and his compatriots, who back in 1928, had formed the Enugu Aborigines Improvement Union that was to become the standard-bearer of Wawa consciousness. 
The Enugu Centenary Celebration is the celebration of leaders of Wawa State Movement, who not minding the blackmail, intimidation, harassment and denial of their rights and entitlements, had kept tenaciously to the cause until Enugu State was created in 1991. It is the celebration of all those who held forte in Enugu either as administrators, legislators, judicial officials, traditional rulers, civil servants, etc. It is the celebration of all those who had passed through Enugu – politicians, academicians, various professionals, sports men and women – and later became what they were in life. It is indeed an event worth celebrating, which must be done with all the pomp and pageantry.
Beyond this landmark celebration, the clicking of glasses, and toasting of champagne, however, lay several challenges ahead. Right from inception, Enugu was regarded as a “Civil Service Town”. This was because the first migrants to the town were employees who worked with the Colliery, the Railway, and the civil service itself. Private entrepreneurship was secondary, or took a back seat. One hundred years thereafter, the situation has not substantially changed. With the near collapse of the coal industry and the railway, the civil service was left as the sole organ that employs labour in the town.
The consequence was that Enugu had refused to grow or to move with the time. Enugu still remained a sleepy, sluggish town that continued to beacon on the government for almost everything. This should no longer be so. Serious and urgent efforts should therefore be made to change this situation.
The trend all over the world is that the private sector has become the engine of development and economic activities. It drives the developmental process, while government would  be there just to render services or to ensure the provision of conducive environment and infrastructural backup for such activities. Experience has shown that government cannot, and has not been able to run a successful business enterprise. Accordingly, its role should be limited to the  provision of policy formulation and guidance. 
The Enugu Centenary Celebration should therefore be an opportunity for soul-searching. It should be an occasion to shop for private entrepreneurs and other developers to invest and help to develop the city, to enable it to move with the time. This would be the only way to make Enugu throw overboard its age-old toga of  “Civil Service Town”.
Happily, the present administration in the state has appreciated this need when it signaled its intention to concession to private entrepreneurs some of its parastatals, which for long had been lying dormant. This is a welcome development. There is no way any state can move forward under a system that does not put seriousness to the running of its agencies, as most of these parastatals are currently being run.
Akin to this, is the problem of poor internally generated revenue in the town. Majority of the small business enterprises operating in the town and their owners, pay next to nothing as taxes. Even the so-called big ones hardly pay anything. This accounts for government’s poor revenue base to enable it carry out its statutory functions. The centenary celebration should therefore be an opportunity to drum into the citizenry, the need to be alive to their civic duties, in particular, for them to promptly  pay their taxes as when due, as well as to pay for services rendered by other government agencies.
On its part, the government should initiate urgent action to fix the dilapidated social infrastructure in Enugu, to keep the town in tune with other modern cities. One hundred years after the town was founded, residents of the city have continued to grapple with dry water taps, epileptic power supply, filthy environment as well as poor network of roads. Though the present state administration has taken bold steps in trying to fix most of the roads in Enugu metropolis and clearing the mountains of refuse, which for decades had threatened to swallow up the city, serious efforts should however be made to address the issue of erratic power supply in the town. Continued dependence on the national grid for power supply has become unrealistic. This remains a disincentive for entrepreneurs who could invest in the town. Many state governments have since embarked on their own independent power projects. Enugu should not be an exception.
With its abundant mineral deposits, efforts should be made to embark on an independent power project that could utilize the huge mineral deposits in the state. While this will no doubt attract investors to the area, many residents of Enugu will equally be greatly relieved of the erratic power supply they currently experience. 
Furthermore, efforts should be intensified towards realizing the much talked about Greater Enugu Water Project. Successive administrations had always made this  issue part of their development agenda, yet most parts of Enugu metropolis have continued to depend on water tankers to supply them with their water needs, even when the sources of such water have remained very doubtful.          
Enugu should remain home for all Easterners, and all Igbo in particular, irrespective of their state of origin. Just as every notable northerner has made Kaduna his home, every Igbo man, nay every easterner, should be encouraged to make Enugu his home. The centenary celebration should be an opportunity to rally Ndigbo and remind them that as Enugu belongs to them all, they should equally contribute to its development.
In the order of priority as a colonial capital city, Enugu ranks only after Lagos, yet the town has nothing to show for it in terms of industrial development, commercial establishments, and social infrastructure. In spite of the enormous contributions of coal towards the development of the Nigerian economy, particularly during the colonial era, there is no single industry sited in Enugu for the utilization of coal products.
The state government should therefore impress it upon the federal government that it was not fair the way it had abandoned Enugu after exhaustively using its mineral, and that it owes it a duty to site at least one industry that utilizes coal in Enugu. It should further demand from the federal government, the payment of a special compensation for the destruction and ruins caused to its land and environment as a result of coal prospecting.
The much talked about upgrading the Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu, to international status remains only in name since there is nothing yet on the ground to justify this. Surely, Enugu deserves a better deal than what it is presently getting from the federal government.   

Afigbo, Adiele (2000) Igbo Genesis, Uturu: Abia State University Press.
Afigbo, Adiele (1981) Ropes and Sand; Studies in         Igbo History and
          Culture, Ibadan: University Press.
Afigbo, Adiele (1987) The Igbo and Their Neighbours, Ibadan: University
          Press Limited.
Amoury, Talbot (1926) The Peoples of Southern Nigeria, London: Frank           Cass and Co. Ltd.
Hair, P.E.H. Unpublished Study of Enugu, National Archives, Enugu.
Isichei, Elizabeth (1973) The Ibo People and the Europeans, London: Faber       & Faber.
Ekeh, Peter E. et al, (ed.) (1990) Nigeria Since Independence: the First
          Twenty-Five Years, Vol.V.)
Eze, Dons et al, (1999) The Wawa Struggle, Enugu: Delta Publishers.
Eze, Dons (1995) Legacies of Those Who Ruled in Enugu, in Okanga:
A Magazine of Enugu State Council of Arts and Culture.
Eze, Dons (1999) This is Enugu, in Okanga: A Magazine of Enugu State
          Council of Arts and Culture.  
Madiebo, A., (1980) The Nigerian Revolution and the Civil War, Enugu:
          Fourth Dimension Press.
Nnoli, O., (1978) Ethnic Politics in Nigeria, Enugu: Fourth Dimension
Nwabara, S. N. (1977) Iboland: A Century of Contact with the British
          (1860-1960), London: Hodder and Stoughton.  
Onyeama, Dillibe (1982) Chief Onyeama: The Story of an African God 
Enugu: Delta Publishers.

Archival Materials
NAE, (1926) Confidential Memo E.7/1926 of 21/10/26, Memo from District
          Officer Enugu to Resident, Onitsha Province.  
NAE, (1937) File No. 14251 Vol.1 MINLOG 16/1/1373. Memo from
          Resident, Ogoja Province to  Chief Commissioner, Southern
NAE, (1949) OP 2881/82 ONDIST 20/1/1342, Memo from Resident,
Onitsha Province to District Officers of Awka, Awgu, Nsukka
          and Udi.
NAE, (1917) OP 905 ONDIST 12/1/599 Creation of Enugu Ngwo
NAE, (1929) ONDIST 12/1/423, Intelligence Report on Agbaja Clan.
NAE, (1954) ONDIST 20/1/134, Petition by Hausa Community in Enugu
          Against the Election of  Mallam Umaru Altine.
NAE, (1924) File No. C8/1924, Udi Colliery and Railway Lands.
NAE, (1920) ONDIST 11/6/1, Enugu-Ngwo Township.
NAE, (1926) ONDIST 12/1/460, Removal of Udi Divisional Headquarters
          from Enugu.
NAE, (1929) OP 2361 ONDIST 12/1/1562, Strikes at Enugu Colliery.
NAE, (1943) File 3146 ONDIST 20/1/1342, Local Government Reform,
Enugu Township
NAE, (1937) ONDIST 12/1/600 Creation of Enugu Township and
          Appointment of Advisory Board (1917-1947).
NAE, (1948) ONDIST 12/1/600, Appointment of Advisory Board
NAE, (1948) ONDIST 12/1/601, Enugu Township Advisory Board
NAE, (1921) CSE/1/86/148, Agreement with Udi  Chiefs.
NAE. (1970) NIGCOAL 2/1/19 and 20/1/10, Annual Report on the Nigerian
          Coal Corporation.NAE, (1928) OP 1449 ONDIST 12/1/1020, Enugu
 Aborigines Improvement Union.
NAE, (1920) OP 2361 ONDIST 12/1/1562, Memo from the Resident,
          Onitsha Province, to the Lt. Governor, Southern Provinces..
NAE, (1921) MINLOG 16/1/153 Onyeama and Chukwuani, to District
          Officer, Udi.
NAE, (1939) OP 1943 ONDIST 12/1/1303, Enugu       Aborigines Improvement
NAE, (1939) ONDIST 12/1/706, Enugu Aborigines Improvement Union,
 to Resident, Onitsha Province.
NAE, (1951) Nigerian Coal Corporation, 1951 Annual Report 

Note: *NAE – National Archives, Enugu.
          *MINLOG – Military Governor’s Office.
          *OP – Onitsha Province.
          *ONDIST – Onitsha District

Other Materials
The Fitzgerald Commission Report on the Iva Valley Coalminers’ Strike, 1951.
The West African Pilot Newspaper, March 23, 1954
Petition to the Head of State, ESMI/1 of 20th March, 1970).
The Wawa Memorandum to the Ayo Irikife Commission on the Creation of More States in Nigeria, 1975.

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