James Lawson Nsima was a member of the Nigerian House of Representatives during the nation's pre-independence and independence period when he represented Eket district in the house. Nsima was also known for his affiliation with the Ibibio State Union; he was one of the original students given scholarships to study abroad by the union and he later served the union as national secretary. Nsima also contributed greatly to the development and growth of the Ibibio State College, equipped with an education from the U.S., he became the principal of the state college and was affiliated with the college for a while.
Nsima was born to the family of Lawson E. Nsima. He attended Government School, Eket, Hope Waddell Training Institute, and the went abroad to study at Storer College, West Virginia and Hampton Institute. He also earned a journalism diploma at Columbia University. In the early 1950s, he was the editor of the Daily Success.