Nigeria gained independence on October 1, 1960 through constitutions that were legislated by the British government. The new Constitution established a federal government system with an elected Prime Minister and a ceremonial head of staff.
With independence looming in 1959, an election was held to elect a leader; however, no party won a majority. The National Population Commission of Nigeria (NPC) combined with the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) to form a government suitable for its citizens. They elected Abubakar Tafawa Balewa of the NPC as prime minister and Azikiwe of the NCNC as governor-general. When Nigeria was made a republic in 1963, Azikiwe was made its president.
The first few years of Nigeria's independence saw great turmoil and conflict between the Nigerian regions. In 1962, the western region had a part of the Action Group, another political party, split off under S. I. Akintola to form the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP). In 1963, the mid-western Edo region was formed from part of the western region. The 1964 elections were hotly contested, and the NPC-NNDP coalition (called the National Alliance) was victorious. Coups led by Hausa army officers 1966 were responsible for the death of Ironsi. Later that year, many Igbo living in the north were massacred.