MALAM UMARU ALTINE

 Malam Umaru Altine – In 1952 he became the first elected Mayor of Enugu a post he held till 1958

Quoted from Chief Mbazulike Amechi, a nationalist who was
secretary-general of the Zikist Movement and first republic Minister of Aviation – “It will interest you to know that Malam Umaru Altine was not appointed. He was elected Mayor of Enugu two time
s. Malam Umaru Altine was the Vice Chairman of the NCNC Youth Association at Enugu. He identified with the NCNC as a political party. During elections NCNC decided to nominate him at Coal Camp where he lived. He contested and won the election in the same manner as we did that kind of thing in many places. After what happened at Ibadan and the crisis it precipitated in the East, Altine was fully involved with us. He was arrested with me as I told you, and we were imprisoned together. That was in 1952. I shared the same prison cell with him and one Ernest Obianwu and one Akunne Nwanolue, and one Okeke, a blacksmith from Awka.Later, one M. E. Ogon from Ogoja later came and joined us. When Altine won the election, we decided that this man did not see himself as a Fulani man but a nationalist. And we NCNC we believe in one Nigeria. So, let him be the Mayor of Enugu. In the same manner, John Umoru, from Etsako in today’s Edo State which was then in the Western Region, was presented by the NCNC as a candidate for the House of Assembly, and he won to represent Port Harcourt in the Eastern Nigerian House of Assembly. Later, Zik appointed him as Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier. That was the way we saw Nigeria at that time. When the Eastern House of Chiefs was constituted Malam Umaru Yushau, the Sarkin Hausawa or chief of the Hausas at Onitsha, was elected as a member of the Eastern House of Chiefs. He was there until the military coups of 1966.I must mention that a year or two before the coup, the Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of Northern Region, reciprocated our gesture by appointing one Felix Okonkwo, then known as “Okonkwo Kano”, as a special member of the Northern House of Chiefs. He was the leader of the Igbo State Union, which was very strong. It had Igbo State primary and secondary schools everywhere, including the North.”

He contested twice for the post of Mayor of Enugu against Igbo opponents and won twice. The second election was even more significant in the sense that NCNC had asked him to step down for somebody else and he refused. Instead, he resigned from NCNC, ran as an Independent candidate and beat the NCNC candidate.

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