Coker Commission

Coker Commission was set up on 16 June 1962 by the Nigerian Federal Government of Tafawa Balewa to investigate Western Region’s six statutory corporations since 1 October 1954. In that year, the crisis within the regional ruling party caused by attempts by dissenters and the federal government to undermine its stronghold in the Western region had degenerated into violence in which the burning of persons and houses became common. A State of Emergency had been declared barely a month before this three-man commission was set up.

The Coker Commission found Awolowo guilty of gross financial misappropriation and of diverting funds totaling N4.4 million in cash and N1.3 million in overdraft from government-owned corporations to finance political activities. This report, published on 31 December 1962, also absolved Akintola, the premier of the region and former lieutenant of Awolowo who had now become an ideological opponent. The Coker Commission is widely believed to be motivated by an enduring desire to discredit the Action Group administration in the West, which stood opposed to the federal government.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer