Contributions Of Some Nigerian Nationalists

1. Nnamdi Azikiwe

1. Azikiwe studied economics and political science in the United State. He returned in 1934 and settled in Accra in Gold Coast. As the editor of the African Morning post in Accra, he launched consistent attack on imperialism.

2. He returned to Nigeria in 1937 and established a chain of newspapers such as the West African Pilot – which mobilized and enlightened the people. He preached economic determination, mental emancipation and political resurgence. His writings led to the general strike of 1945.

3. He was a member of the N.Y.M. And later formed the N.C.N.C. together with Herbert MaCauley. He led his party to London in 1947 to protest against the Richard’s Constitution and to demand for political reforms in Nigeria. In 1948 he got his party to prepare a freedom charter for Nigeria.

4. He advocated a federal system of government for Nigeria and exposed the type of federal structure he wanted in his book “The political Blue print” published in 1944. The Zikist Movement formed after his name was noted for its militant nationalism.

5. He led his party to all the constitutional conferences which culminated in the achievement of political independence in 1960.

6. He became the leader of government business and later the premier of Eastern Nigeria from 1954 to 1959 when he became the first senate president of Nigeria. On attainment of independence on October 1, 1960, he became the first – indigenous Governor General of Nigeria and on adoption of Republican form of government on October 1, 1963 he became the first ceremonial President of Nigeria.

7. He founded the University of Nigeria Nsukka and established the African continental Bank. Zik of Africa, as he was popularly known dominated not only the political scene of Nigeria but also of British West Africa from 1937 to 1947.

2. Obafemi Awolowo

1. He studied in Britain. He and a group of other Yorubas in London formed a cultural organization known as the Egbe Omo Oduduwa.

2. He returned to Nigeria in 1948 and joined the N.Y.M but later left and transformed the Egbe Omo Oduduwa into verile modern political party in 1951.

3. Through his news papers, the Nigerian Tribune, his numerous publication such as the “path to Nigerian Freedom” he helped to bring Political awareness to the people.

4. He became the Leader of Government business and later Primer of Western region from 1952 to 1959 when he became the first leader of opposition at the center.

5. His party sponsored in 1953, a motion for self government for Nigeria in 1956. He led his party to all constitutional conferences which culminated in the granting of independence to Nigeria in 1960.

6. As the premier of Western Region, he introduced free primary education in that region in 1956.

7. Throughout his political career he posed as the champion of the minorities in Nigeria and believed in the ability of Nigeria to attain a position of economic reliance. He was a strategist, a planner whose ambition to give effective rulership to Nigeria never materialized.

3. Ahmadu Bello

He was a descendant of Uthman Dan Fodio the great Jihadist of the 19th Century and therefore belong to the Fulani aristocracy.

1. He was a foundation member of the N.P.C. a political party which emerged from a cultural association known as jamiyyar Mutanen Arewa. Hw was the vice President of the party at its inception but later became its leader.

2. He was conservative and always ensured that status quo was maintained. He religiously believed in the autonomy of Northern Nigeria within a United Nigeria. He therefore opposed vehemently the fragmentation of that region.

3. He was the leader of government business and later the premier of Northern Region from 1952 to 1966.

4. He led his party to all constitutional conferences, which brought about eventual political independence for Nigeria on October 1, 1960.

5. It would be right to describe him as one of the creators of modem Nigeria. He Established secondary and post secondary institutions for Northerners to enable the North to compete effectively with their counterparts from the South. His love for his people and the determination to transform Northern Nigeria into a modem and economically buoyant region compelled him to remain as the premier of that region even though he could have ruled Nigeria as the first prime minister.

4. Eyo Ita

1. He studied in the United State. He returned to Nigeria in 1934. He believed that it was only in unity that Nigerians and Africans in general could achieve colonial emancipation.

2. He was an absolutely detribalized Nigerian who believed that the Nigerian who was born an Igbo, Efik, Yoruba etc was a matter of accident.

3. As leader of N.C.N.C. in Eastern Region, he became the leader of Government Business in Eastern Region in 1952. However his government was dismissed as a result of the eastern Nigerian crises of 1953.

4. Eyo Ita was pious and moralistic in his administration of Eastern Region when he was the leader, of Government Business.

He believed in the mental liberations of Africans as a basis for colonial emancipation. He therefore established the West African People’s Institute in Calabar which was to carry the crusade of mental emancipation of Africans and to imbibe in them the need for dignity of labour.

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