Less than a month after Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed self-government for Eastern and Western Nigeria, the tropic Federation got its first Prime Minister and installed its first all-Nigerian Cabinet in the capital of Lagos, beside the tepid green waters of the Bight of Benin.* Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, a Northern Moslem, became Nigeria’s first Prime Minister.
In a graceful speech opening Parliament, Balewa paid tribute to British statesmanship and the service of Christian missionaries, spoke of the “tremendous good will” that existed between Britain and Nigeria, but emphasized that he and his ministers are” “irrevocably committed” to complete independence for Nigeria.
He was actually very intelligent and well spoken with a strong British accent. He studied abroad at the University of London’s Institute of Education, which today forms part of University College London. Upon returning to Nigeria, he became an Inspector of Schools for the colonial administration and later entered politics.