Virtual Kollage: The demands of the National Congress of British West Africa

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The demands of the National Congress of British West Africa



THE DEMANDS OF THE NATIONAL CONGRESS OF BRITISH WEST AFRICA
Introduction
The national Congress of British West Africa was formed in 1917 through the initiatives of Mr. J.E. Casely Hayford of the Gold Coast. Another founding member was Dr. Akinwade Savege, a Nigerian then resident in the Gold Coast.

DEMANDS OF THE CONGRESS
Self-government
One of the demands of the National Congress of West Africa was that they wanted to be given the opportunity to take charge of their own affairs. In other words, they wanted to be participants in the political process of their respective countries.

Independent judiciary
The Congress also demanded for the judicial system to be independent of the Executive Council. They also wanted African judges and magistrates to be appointed and a West African Court of Appeal be created as the highest court of appeal in the British West African sub-region.   

Only African kingmakers to appoint chiefs
Another demand of the Congress was that the selection, enstoolment and deposition of African chiefs must the sole preserve of the African kingmakers and not be interfered with by the governor or his assigns.

Elective principle
The Congress demanded that in the selection of representatives into the Legislative and Executive councils, the elective principle must be used. They felt that this could give the Africans the opportunity to elect the people who should rule over them.

Provision of social amenities
It was the demand of the Congress that improved social facilities must be provided for the people of West Africa. This included educational and medical facilities in the four British colonies. This, they demanded, must include the establishment of a West African University.

Equal economic opportunities
The Congress demanded that the Africans must also be allowed to participate in the economic activities in the colonies which by that time was dominated by the Europeans, Syrians, Indians and the Lebanese. 

SAMPLE QUESTIONS
1. a. What is the National Congress of British West Africa?
    b. Highlight five demands of the Congress.

2. Explain six demands of the National Congress of British West Africa.

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