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Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Sir Herbert Macaulay

Herbert Samuel Heelas Macaulay (November 14, 1864—May 7, 1946) was a Nigerian nationalist, politician, engineer, journalist, and musician and considered by many Nigerians as the founder of Nigerian nationalism. Macaulay was born in Lagos on November 14, 1864 to Sierra Leone Creole parents. He was the grandson of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther and the son of the founder of the first secondary school in Nigeria, the CMS Grammar School, Lagos. After going to a Christian missionary school, he took a job as a clerk at the Lagos Department of Public Works. From 1891 to 1894 he studied civil engineering in Plymouth, England. On his return, he worked for the Crown as a land inspector. He left his position in 1898 due to growing distaste for Nigeria's position as a British colony. Macaulay was one of the first Nigerian nationalists and for most of his life a strong opponent of British rule in Nigeria. Macaulay became very popular and on June 24, 1923, he founded the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), the first Nigerian political party. The party won all the seats in the elections of 1923, 1928 and 1933. In October 1938 the more radical Nigerian Youth Movement fought and won elections for the Lagos Town Council, ending the dominance of Macaulay and his National Democratic Party. In 1944 Macaulay founded the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) together with Nnamdi Azikiwe and became its secretary general. The NCNC was a patriotic organization designed to bring together Nigerians of all stripes to demand independence. In 1946 Macaulay fell ill in Kano and later died in Lagos. The leadership of the NCNC went to Azikiwe, who later became the first president of Nigeria.

Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe

Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe
(November 16, 1904 – May 11, 1996), usually referred to as Nnamdi Azikiwe and popularly known as "Zik", was one of the leading figures of modern Nigerian nationalism who became the first President of Nigeria after Nigeria secured its independence from the United Kingdom on 1 October 1960; holding the presidency throughout the Nigerian First Republic. Azikiwe was born on November 16, 1904 in Zungeru, Northern Nigeria. His parents were Igbo; his father Obed-Edom Chukwuemeka Azikiwe (1879–1958), a clerk in the British Administration of Nigeria and his mother was Rachel Ogbenyeanu Azikiwe. After studying at Hope Wadell Training Institution, Calabar, Azikiwe went to the United States. While there he attended Howard University, Washington DC before enrolling and graduating from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania in 1930. He obtained a Masters degree in 1933 from the University of Pennsylvania. He worked as an instructor at Lincoln before returning to Nigeria. After teaching at Lincoln, Azikiwe, in November 1934, took the position of editor for the African Morning Post, a daily newspaper in Accra, Ghana. In that position he promoted a pro-African nationalist agenda. Smertin has described his writing there: "In his passionately denunciatory articles and public statements he censured the existing colonial order: the restrictions on the Africans' right to express their opinions, and racial discrimination. He also criticised those Africans who belonged to the 'elite' of colonial society and favoured retaining the existing order, as they regarded it as the basis of their well-being." He returned to Lagos, Nigeria, in 1937 and founded the West African Pilot which he used as a vehicle to foster Nigerian nationalism. He founded the Zik Group of Newspapers, publishing multiple newspapers in cities across the country. Azikiwe became active in the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM), the first genuinely nationalist organization in Nigeria. However, in 1941 he backed Samuel Akinsanya to be NYM candidate for a vacant seat in the Legislative Council, but the executive selected Ernest Ikoli instead. Azikiwe and Akinsanya both resigned from the NYM among accusations of discrimination against non-Lagos members, taking most non-Yoruba members with them. After a successful journalism enterprise, Azikiwe entered into politics, co-founding the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) alongside Herbert Macaulay in 1944. He became the secretary-general of the National Council in 1946, and was elected to Legislative Council of Nigeria the following year. In 1951, he became the leader of the Opposition to the government of Obafemi Awolowo in the Western Region's House of Assembly. In 1952, he moved to the Eastern Region, and was elected to the position of Chief Minister and in 1954 became Premier of Nigeria's Eastern Region. On November 16, 1960, he became the Governor General and on the same day became the first Nigerian named to the Queen's Privy Council. With the proclamation of a republic in 1963, he became the first President of Nigeria, while Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was the Prime Minister. Azikiwe and his civilian colleagues were removed from power in the military coup of January 15, 1966. During the Biafran (1967–1970) war of secession, Azikiwe became a spokesman for the nascent republic and an adviser to its leader Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. After the war, he served as Chancellor of Lagos University from 1972 to 1976. He joined the Nigerian People's Party in 1978, making unsuccessful bids for the presidency in 1979 and again in 1983. He left politics involuntarily after the military coup on December 31, 1983. He died on May 11, 1996 at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, in Enugu, Enugu State, after a protracted illness.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo

Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo (March 6, 1909 – May 9, 1987) was a Nigerian politician, trade unionist and statesman. A Yoruba and native of Ikenne in Ogun State of Nigeria, he started his career as a regional political leader like most of his pre-independence contemporaries and was responsible for much of the progressive social legislations that made Nigeria a modern nation. He founded many organizations, including Egbe Omo Oduduwa, the Trade Unions Congress of Nigeria and the Action Group political party. He was an active journalist and trade unionist as a young man, editing The Nigerian Worker amongst other publications while also organizing the Nigerian Produce Traders Association and serving as secretary of the Nigerian Motor Transport Union. After earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Nigeria from a London University through Correspondence, he went to the UK where he earned a law degree from London School of Economics. He was the first indigenous Premier of the Western Region under Nigeria's parliamentary system, from 1952 to 1960, and was the official Leader of the Opposition in the federal parliament to the Balewa government from 1960 to 1963. In addition to all this, Awolowo was also the first individual in the modern era to be referred to as the Asiwaju of Yorubaland, a title which has come over time to be automatically ascribed to his direct successors as Grand Master of Afenifere. Obafemi Awolowo was born in 1909 in Ikenne, present day Ogun State Nigeria. His father was a farmer and sawyer who died when Obafemi was only seven years old. He attended various schools, and then became a teacher in Abeokuta, after which he qualified as a shorthand typist. Awolowo was a leader who believed that the state should channel Nigeria's resources into education and state-led infrastructure development and he introduced free primary education for all in the Western Region, established the first television service in Africa in 1959,and the Oduduwa Group of which the highly lucrative cocoa industry which was the mainstream of the regional economy. Prior to independence, he was persuaded by prominent members of the Action Group to lead the party as Leader of the Opposition at the Federal Parliament, leaving Samuel Ladoke Akintola as the Western Region Premier. Serious disagreement between Awolowo and Akintola on how to run the western region led the latter to an alliance with the Tafawa Balewa-led NPC federal government. A contrived constitutional crisis led to a declaration of a state of emergency in the Western Region, eventually resulting in the Agbekoya crisis of the late 1960s. Excluded from national government, the position of Awolowo and his party became increasingly precarious. Akintola's followers, angered at their exclusion from power, formed the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) under Akintola's leadership. A constitutional crisis in the region led the federal parliament to declare a state of emergency in the Western region. The federal government suspended the elected Western Regional Assembly, and then reconstituted the body after controversial new elections that brought the NNDP in control. Shortly afterward, Awolowo and several disciples were charged and jailed for conspiring with some Ghanaian authorities under Kwame Nkrumah to overthrow the federal government. The remnants of the Action Group fought the National election of 1965 in alliance with the largely Igbo, and south-eastern NCNC. Amid accusation of fraud by the opposition, the NPC-NNDP won the election. There were violent riots in some parts of the Western region. Awolowo first introduced free health care till the age of 18 in the Western Region and also free and mandatory primary education in Western Nigeria. Although, Awolowo failed to win the 1979 and 1983 presidential election which were questionable, his polices of Free Health and Education were carried out throughout all the states controlled by his party UPN. Awolowo is remembered for building Liberty Stadium in Ibadan, the first of its kind in Africa; WNTV, the first television station in Africa, the first skyscraper in tropical Africa: The Cocoa House (Still the tallest in Ibadan) and running a widely-respected civil service in the Western Region.

Sir Ahmadu Bello

Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello (June 12, 1910 – January 15, 1966) was a Nigerian politician, and was the first premier of the Northern Nigeria region from 1954-1966. He was one of the prominent leaders in Northern Nigeria alongside Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, both of whom where prominent in negotiations about the region's place in an independent Nigeria. As leader of the Northern People's Congress, the party was able to win the 1959 parliamentary elections. However, he was assassinated on January 15, 1966. He was born in Rabbah, Sokoto State. The son of a district head and heir to the Sokoto Emirate. His great-grandfather was Sultan Bello, the founder of Sokoto and son of the revered Usman Dan Fodio. Ahmadu Bello received his education first at the Sokoto Provincial School, the only modern school at the time in the Sokoto province. Then, he proceeded to the Katsina Teacher's Training College. After spending five years at Katsina, he was appointed by the Sultan to become a teacher at the Sokoto Middle School, his former school which had undergone rapid transformation. In 1934, he was made the district head of Rabbah, four years later, he was promoted and sent to Gusau to become a divisional head. In 1938, he made an unsuccessful bid to become the new Sultan of Sokoto. The successful sultan immediately conferred upon Sir Ahmadu Bello the traditional, now honorary, title of Sarduna, alternatively spelled Sardauna, and elevated him to the Sokoto Native Authority Council. In 1948, he was offered a scholarship to study local government administration in England. Ahmadu Bello took the scholarship sensing he needed to shore up his knowledge about the process of governance. After returning from England, he was nominated to represent the province of Sokoto in the regional House of Assembly. As a member of the assembly, he was a notable voice for northern interest and embraced a style of consultation and consensus with the major representatives of the northern emirates: Kano, Bornu and Sokoto. In the first elections held in Northern Nigeria in 1952, Sir Ahmadu Bello won a seat in the Northern House of Assembly, and became a member of the regional executive council as minister of works. Bello was successively minister of Works, of Local Government, and of Community Development in the Northern Region of Nigeria. In 1954, Bello became the first Premier of Northern Nigeria. In the 1959 independence elections, Bello led the NPC to win a plurality of the parliamentary seats. Bello's NPC forged an alliance with Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe's NCNC (National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons) to form Nigeria's first indigenous federal government which led to independence from Britain. In forming the 1960 independence federal government of the Nigeria, Bello as president of the NPC, chose to remain Premier of Northern Nigeria and devolved the position of Prime Minister of the Federation to the deputy president of the NPC, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. Bello's greatest legacy was the modernization and unification of the diverse people of Northern Nigeria. He was assassinated during a 15 January 1966 military coup which toppled Nigeria's post-independence government. He was still serving as premier of Northern Nigeria at the time.

H.O. Davies
Hezekiah Oladipo Davies was a Nigerian politician during the nation's movement towards independence. He was a founding member of the Lagos Youth Movement in 1934 and after returning from studies abroad along with Nnamdi Azikiwe, the movement was renamed Nigerian Youth Movement when both individuals became prominent contributors and members with large followings. The Youth Movement was one of the earliest political associations to encourage active participation by Nigerians in the political and socio-economic development of the country. However, he left the movement in 1951 and founded his own party, the Nigerian People's Congress. He later joined the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons after negotiations for a formidable alliance with Nnamdi Azikiwe was inconclusive. H.O. Davies was one of the earliest Nigerians to utilize the University of London's distance learning program, passing the London Matriculation Examination in 1925 along with Eyo Ita. He also attended the London School of Economics where he was a pupil of Harold Laski. While in the United Kingdom, he was the president of the West African Student Union and was also a representative of the University of London on the executive committee on British Universities. He later studied Law and was made Queen's Counsel in 1959.

Ernest Ikoli

Ernest Ikoli (1893 – 1960) was a Nigerian nationalist and pioneering journalist. He was the president of the Nigerian Youth Movement and in 1942, represented Lagos in the legislative council. He was sometimes called the Laski of Lagos for the intellectual aloofness in partisan journalism sometimes evident in his writings. In the 1940s and 1950s, he was a resident correspondent of the London Times. He was born at Nembe in present day Bayelsa State in 1893. He was educated at Bonny Government School, Rivers State and King's College, Lagos where he emerged as a bright student. After completing his studies at King's College, he became a mathematics and science tutor at the school - a post which he left to pursue a career in Journalism after a perceived racial slight from one the school's teachers. Ikoli is remembered today as one of the pacesetters of Nigerian journalism and the independence struggle. He was the first editor of the Daily Times of Nigeria and the publisher of the now defunct African Messenger. Prior to joining the Daily Times and publishing, he worked as an editorial assistant at the Lagos Weekly Record (another paper which has since disappeared). In 1942 he was elected onto the Legislative Council and was re-elected in 1946. In the 1930s he was one of the founders of the Nigerian Youth Movement and was once the movement's president. During this period, the movement was engaged in an intense power struggle with Herbert Macaulay's NNDP. Ikoli later left the Daily Times and founded the weekly Service in 1934 prior to which he had started his own paper, the Daily Telegraph. Ernest Ikoli started the Nigerian Youth Movement with other prominent Nigerians like H.O Davis, J.C. Vaughn and Oba Samuel Akinsaya (aka General Saki). The movement originally started as the Lagos youth movement, it was partly formed to voice concerns about the lackluster colonial higher education policy. The movement was largely Lagos based but as varied members entered the organization, it metamorphosed to become the Nigerian Youth Movement; a political action group with a nationalistic flavor and outlook. Nnamdi Azikiwe, an important political personality joined the group in 1936 and brought in a large followership. In 1941, when Sir Kofo Abayomi, a Lagos leader of the movement, resigned his position at the legislative council, an election was held among NYM members to select a candidate to contest the seat. In the primary election, Samuel Akinsanya collated the most votes, second was Ernest Ikoli, but with the support of H.O Davis, Awolowo, Akintola and a few others, the central committee of the organization which had the right to review the results presented Ernest Ikoli as the movement's candidates. Though, Oba Akinsanya immediately congratulated Mr Ikoli, he later reneged and contested but lost the seat as an independent candidate with the support of his primary backer, Nnamdi Azikiwe. The loss of Akinsanya in the election led to his exit from the movement, Azikiwe also left the movement, both took away most of their supporters.

James Churchill Vaughan

James Churchill Vaughan
(30 May 1893 - 1937) was a Nigerian doctor and a prominent political activist. Vaughan was born in Lagos on 30 May 1893, the son of James Wilson Vaughan. His father was a prosperous Lagos merchant. He was among the first set of scholars at King's College, Lagos when it was founded in 1909. Vaughan and Isaac Ladipo Oluwole were the two first Nigerian students at the University of Glasgow, studying medicine there from 1913 to 1918, when they graduated with medical degrees. Returning to Nigeria in the early 1920s, Vaughan set up a private clinic. He also provided free medical services for the destitute. Vaughan became an outspoken critic of the British Colonial Administration, and was one of the founders of the Lagos Youth Movement in 1934. Along with other leading activists including Dr Kofo Abayomi, Hezekiah Oladipo Davies, Ernest Sissei Ikoli, and Samuel Akinsanya. Vaughan was the first president of the movement. The Lagos Youth Movement originally had improvement of higher education as its goal, but within four years had become the most influential nationalist organization in the country. It was renamed the Nigerian Youth Movement in 1936 to emphasize its pan-Nigerian objectives. One of the early issues was the curriculum of medical teaching at the Yaba Higher College.

Chief Anthony Enahoro

Chief Anthony Enahoro, (22 July 1923-15 December 2010) was Nigeria’s foremost anti-colonial and pro-democracy activists. He was born the eldest of twelve children in Uromi in the present Edo State of Nigeria. Chief Enahoro has had a long and distinguished career in the press, politics, the civil service and the pro-democracy movement. Educated at the Government School Uromi, Government School Owo and King's College, Lagos, Chief Enahoro became the editor of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s newspaper, the Southern Nigerian Defender, Ibadan, in 1944 at the age of 21, thus becoming Nigeria’s youngest editor ever. He later became the editor of Zik’s Comet, Kano, 1945–49, also associate editor West African Pilot, Lagos, editor-in-chief Morning Star from 1950-53. And In 1953,Chief Anthony Enahoro became the first to move the motion for Nigeria's independence and consequences, he has been regarded by academics and many Nigerians as the father of "Nigeria State" Though his motion was rejected by Parliament and the northern MP's staged a walkout as a consequence of the attempt. The actual successful movement of the motion for Nigeria's independence did not take place until 1958.

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