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By P. Deveney

An account of the way one Labour occasion flesh presser, after anguish the most important setback of his political occupation, used the anti-Vietnam struggle demonstrations in Grosvenor sq., the conflict over exchange union reform and the concerns in Northern eire to propel himself to No 10.

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8 PRO, PREM 13/2825. Telegram to Foreign Secretary Stewart from the Prime Minister, 30 March 1969. The Prime Minister rejected General Yakubu Gowon’s original suggestion that the meeting take place after the OAU meeting in midApril. He told Gowon “it would be far better to make the meeting only an incident in [the] present visit to Africa than give it separate and special status . . ” 7 A Political Opening: The NEC and Nigeria 41 a breakthrough for peace talks ahead of the conference of the Organisation of African Unity, which was planned in Monrovia for mid-April.

In doing so, however, he undermined any chance of Wilson succeeding in his effort to break the logjam and advance the cause of peace in one of most tragic episodes in Africa’s history. Nigeria’s independence from Britain was less than a decade old, when its political system unravelled amid the troublesome exclusivity of its major political parties, which were organised along ethnic and regional lines. After an initial coup in January 1966, followed by a countercoup six months later, the Igbo people in the eastern region, which housed two-thirds of the nation’s oil reserves, seceded in May 1967 and established the republic of Biafra.

Both men had worked closely with Crosland at the Department of Economic Affairs and later at the Board of Trade and confirm his indecisiveness. 117 3 A Political Opening: The NEC and Nigeria Transport House, for much of the twentieth century, was located in Smith Square, a short walk from the Houses of Parliament. It was the home of the Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU), the most powerful trade union in England, and the Labour Party had its offices in rented space on the upper floors of the building.

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