The origin of the Peoples Redemption Party goes directly back to the establishment of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) on 26th August, 1944. The NCNC was the first political party to attempt to mobilise ordinary people in all parts of Nigeria, and to organise and channel their grievances against British colonial domination.
The establishment of the NCNC in 1944 was followed by the General Strike of 1945, which lasted for 44 days. This strike was led by Michael Imoudu, who was a member of the NCNC’s executive council, and who later became the Deputy National President of the Peoples Redemption Party, in 1976-1983.
The NCNC led the nation-wide campaign tour of 1946 to mobilize and obtain the mandate of ordinary Nigerians to lead a delegation to London to protest against certain provisions of the Richard’s Constitution considered to be obnoxious. This led to the emergence of the Northern Elements Progressive Association (NEPA), in Kano, on 1st December, 1946 as-the first political party from Northern Nigeria.
The emergence of a political party with such a radical outlook as NEPA in Kano, whose leaders (like Habib Raji Abddalah, Abubakar Zokogi and Abdulrahman Bida) were openly associated with the Zikist Movement, shocked the British. The British moved swiftly to disband NEPA by dismissing those of its leaders, and members who were government workers. Consequently, most of the NEPA leadership moved to Lagos and joined the ranks of the Zikist Movement where they intensified their nationalist activities.
It was in this context that the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) emerged and was launched in Kano, on Tuesday, 8th August 1950. The party took off as a Northern-based political party, with a deeply Nigerian nationalist outlook. It was rooted in the peasantry, the working class, and in such other suppressed strata as craftsmen, nomads, tradesmen and other petty producers.
The NEPU won elections into councils, regional legislatures and the Federal legislature in the North during the period 1950 to 1966. The onset of the civil war and the attempt to balkanise Nigeria in 1966-70 was a major setback to these efforts.
However, on resumption of party politics in 1978 the old NEPU re-emerged as the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), and was launched on 28th, October, 1978, under the leadership of Mallam Aminu Kano. The twenty one who attended the inaugural meeting of the PRP included S. G. Ikoku, Una Akpan, Dr. Kolabogbe, Balarabe Musa, A. D. Yahaya and others.
The Military coup of December 1983 did not terminate this political movement, which by then had been engaged actively in almost four decades of struggle for independence, unity and democracy, and had got deep roots in the country. During the period 1978 to 1999, the PRP won elections into local government councils, state Houses of Assembly, Governorships, Federal House of Representatives, and the Senate.
The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) is today Nigeria’s longest surviving political party. The Party and the political movements which it represents have survived many military proscriptions and civilian oppression and exploitation. And it is still going strong.