Nnamdi Azikiwe – Rough and Strong-armed Nigeria Politician
Dr. Nnnamdi Aziliwe, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was born on 16th Novermber, 1904 at Zungeru, Northern Nigeria, of Ibo parents from Onisha in Eastern Nigeria.
After primary and secondary education in Nigeria, he studied history and political science in the United States. Returning to Africa in 1934, he spent 3 years as editor of the African Morning Post in Accra, Ghana. He settled in Lagos in 1973 and founded a chain of newspapers, the most notable among which was the West African Pilot.
He entered politics and was a foundation member of the National Council for Nigerian Citizens (N.C.N.C.) of which he was first secretary-general, becoming its president in 1946. After holding various political and ministerial appointments. he became the first premier of Eastern Nigeria in 1954.
First president of the national senate, he became at independence in 1960 governor-general and commander-in-chief of the Federation of Nigeria. Following further constitutional change, he became president of the new Republic of Nigeria in 1963, a post he held till the military coup in January, 1966.In the confusion and insecurity which follow the coups and massacres of 1966, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe fled to his home in Eastern Nigeria where he was overtaken by the secession of Biafra. Never an enthusiast of secession, he served reluctantly in an undefined capacity on a number of missions abroad for the Biafra regime.
Breaking with Ojukwu on the question of a negotiated settlement, he went into voluntary exile in London in September, 1968. A year later, he came out openly for a peaceful settlement on the basis of a united Nigeria.
Blending academics with politics, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe is a very learned man who published many books on African history and politics. He is the founder of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Eastern Nigeria. Popularly known as Zik of Africa, Azikiwe’s career from the start was marked by a strong Pan-African flavour. It is perhaps this continental vision, more than anything else, that ultimately decided his
adherence to the principle of preserving one Nigeria.
A convinced and scrupulous constitutionalist, a democrat,Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe is a rare bird in the rough and strong-armed politics of today’s Africa.