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Tuesday, March 30th 2021, 11:58am

23rd December
The newly formed newspaper, The Nigerian Tribune hit the news stands of Ibadan in Nigeria with bold headlines advertising the forthcoming Conference on West African Economic Development. He had only just learned of the event himself, and for the proprietor of the paper, the politician Obafemi Awolowo, certainly intended on being there. He had even heard rumour that people like Kenyatta and Limbani would be there, ideal people who to discuss his populist welfare programmes and federalist policies.
Elsewhere in Nigeria, the leading lights of the political party Egbé Ọmọ Odùduwà, including Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Oni Akerele, Chief Akintola Williams, Professor Saburi Biobaku, Chief Abiodun Akinrele and Chief Ayo Rosiji were thinking of attending, a couple of them planning to fly from London after the Christmas season.

Among the colonial government there was bafflement about who had organised the event. It was put down to being the work of the Pan African movement or local politicians trying to make a big name for themselves and stoke debate about the European colonies. Torn between a desire to forcibly close the event or let it run, the latter course was decided upon given the big names rumoured to be attending. It was better for prestige to try and get some of their own economists on the panel and steer the debate, and the Foreign Office felt that if a few high-level dissidents left London, that would not be a bad thing - something the authorities in Lagos didn't necessarily agree on.