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Nnamdi Azikiwe

Azikiwe.jpg 1st President of Nigeria In office

November 16, 1960 – October 1, 1963

October 1, 1963 – January 16, 1966

Succeeded by Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi

Preceded by James Robertson

Political party

National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons; Nigerian People's Party

Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe (November 16, 1904 – May 11, 1996), usually referred to as Nnamdi Azikiwe, or, informally and popularly, as "Zik", was the founder of modern Nigerian nationalism and the first President of Nigeria, holding the position throughout the Nigerian First Republic.

Azikiwe was born on November 16, 1904 in Zungeru, northern Nigeria to Igbo parents.[2] After stydying in Nigeria, Azikiwe went to the United States. While there he attended Howard University, Washington DC [3] before enrolling in and graduating from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania in 1930. He subsequently obtained a masters degree in 1933 from a prestigious Ivy League institution, the University of Pennsylvania [4].

Azikiwe had a stint as an instructor at Lincoln before moving to Accra, Ghana, where he became the founding editor of The West African Pilot. He later returned to Nigeria to found the Zik Group of Newspapers, publishing multiple titles in cities across the country. Some of the renowned post-independent journalists in Nigeria got their training from working with Azikiwe, whose newspapers were generally anti-colonialism.


He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1933 and accepted a position as the editor of the African Morning Post, a daily newspaper in Accra, Ghana, which he used to promote a pro-African nationalist agenda. He returned to Lagos in 1937 and founded the West African Pilot which he used as a vehicle to foster Nigerian nationalism.

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, and in 1954 became Premier of Nigeria's Eastern Region. Very soon after the granting of Nigeria's independence in 1960 he gained the office of Governor-General, and 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 Igbo republic and an adviser to its leader Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu; in 1969, however, he switched to the side of the Nigerian government.[2] 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 sickness.

His time in politics spanned most of his adult life and he was referred to by admirers as "The Great Zik of Africa". His motto in politics was "talk I listen, you listen I talk".

The writings of Azikiwe spawned a philosophy of African liberation Zikism, which identifies five concepts for Africa's movement towards freedom: spiritual balance, social regeneration, economic determination, mental emancipation, and political resurgence.


   * Zik (1961)
   * My Odyssey: An Autobiography (1971) — ISBN-10: 0900966262 [2]
   * Renascent Africa (1973) — ISBN-10: 071461744X
   * Liberia in World Politics (1931) — ASIN: B000NP68D0
   * One hundred quotable quotes and poems of the Rt. Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (1966) — ISBN-10: 9782736090


  1. [1].
  2. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. [2]
  3. [3]