150-YEAR HISTORY OF THE POLITICAL LORDS OF LAGOS : FROM SAPARA WILLIAMS TO BOLA AHMED TINUBU
Chief Christopher Alexander Sapara Williams CMG (14 July 1855 – 15 March 1915) was the first indigenous Nigerian lawyer, called to the English bar on 17 November 1879.
In addition to his legal practice, he came to play an influential role in the politics of Nigeria during the colonial era. He held the chieftaincy title of the Lodifi of Ilesha.
Chief Christopher Sapara Williams CMG. Born Christopher Alexander Sapara Williams on 14 July, 1855 in Sierra Leone.
Died15 March 1915 (aged 60). Nationality, Nigerian. Alma mater, Inner Temple. Occupation: Barrister.
Chief Sapara Williams was the elder brother of Oguntola Sapara, who became a prominent physician.
Williams was born on 14 July 1855. He was of Ijesha origin, but was born in Sierra Leone. He studied the Law in London at the Inner Temple, and was called to the English bar on 17 November 1879. Returning from the United Kingdom, he began practising law in Lagos Colony on 13 January 1888.
He had an unmatched reputation as an advocate, and had intimate knowledge of unwritten customary law.
He enrolled in the Nigerian Bar Association on 30 January 1888, and was Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association from 1900 to 1915.
Although Williams was the first indigenous Nigerian to formally qualify as a lawyer, he was not the only one to practice the law.
Due to the shortage of qualified lawyers, until 1913 it was common for non-lawyers with basic education and some knowledge of English law to be appointed to practice as attorneys.
Williams was nominated to the Legislative Council, serving as a member from October 1901 until his death in 1915.
In 1903 there was a crisis over the payment of the tolls that were collected from traders by native rulers, although Europeans were exempted.
The alternative was to replace the tolls by a subsidy.
Governor William MacGregor requested views from Williams, Charles Joseph George and Obadiah Johnson as indigenous opinion leaders.
All were in favour of retaining the tolls to avoid upsetting the rulers. In 1903 governor MacGregor nominated Williams for a knighthood, but his recommendation was turned down.
In 1904 Williams moved that “the present boundary between the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria and the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria be re-adjusted by bringing the southern portion into Southern Nigeria, so that the entire tribes of the Yoruba-speaking people should be under one and the same administration”. Sir Frederick Lugard had opposed this proposal on the grounds of administrative convenience, and the eventual decision largely followed his beliefs.
The principle applied was to group people who were at roughly the same political and social level into one province rather than to try to align the provinces on ethnic lines.
In 1905, Williams visited England. While there, he made several suggestions to the Colonial Office for changes to imperial policy.
These included establishing a teachers training college in Lagos, and having more continuity of policy by the governors of the colony.
Sapara Williams challenged the Seditious Offenses Ordinances of 1909, which suppressed press criticism of the government.
He pointed out that “freedom of the Press is the great Palladium of British liberty … Sedition is a thing incompatible with the character of the Yoruba people, and has no place in their constitution … Hyper-sensitive officials may come tomorrow who will see sedition in every criticism and crime in every mass meeting”.
Despite his plea, the bill became law. Williams encouraged Herbert Macauley to convene an inaugural meeting of the Lagos Auxiliary of the Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society on 30 August 1910, which gave Macauley a platform for producing popular opposition to colonial practices.
When Northern and Southern Nigeria were united in 1914, the new legislative council was headed by the Governor, and consisted of seven British officials, two British non-officials and two Nigerians, one of whom was Williams. He died on 15 March 1915.
Olayinka Herbert Samuel Heelas Badmus Macaulay (14 November 1864 – 7 May 1946) was a Nigerian nationalist, politician, surveyor, engineer, architect, journalist, and musician and is considered by many Nigerians as the founder of Nigerian nationalism.
Born Olayinka Badmus Macaulay
Born 14 November 1864 in the Colony of Lagos. Died7 May 1946 (aged 81).
Lagos, British Nigeria. Resting place, Ikoyi Cemetery. School, Church Missionary Society, CMS, Grammar School, Lagos.
Plymouth, England Alma mater Royal Institute of British Architects, London
Trinity College of MusicOccupation(s), politician, engineer, architect, journalist, musician.Years active1891–1946. Known for Nigerian nationalism. Political party, Nigerian National Democratic Party and National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons
Herbert Macaulay was born on Broad Street, Lagos, on 14 November 1864 to the family of Thomas Babington Macaulay and Abigail Crowther. His parents were children of people captured from what is now Nigeria, resettled in Sierra Leone by the British West Africa Squadron, and eventual returnees to present day Nigeria. Thomas Babington Macaulay was one of the sons of Ojo Oriare while Abigail Crowther was the daughter of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, a descendant of King Abiodun. Thomas Babington Macaulay was the founder of the first secondary school in Nigeria, the CMS Grammar School, Lagos.
Macaulay started primary school in 1869 and from 1869 to 1877, he was educated at St Paul’s Breadfruit School, Lagos and CMS Faji School, Lagos. From 1877 to October 1880, he attended CMS Grammar School, Lagos for his secondary education. He was a student at the school when his father died in 1878. In 1880, he joined his maternal uncle’s trade steamer and embarked on a trade and missionary journey across the Niger River visiting Bonny, Lokoja, Gbebe and Brass. After going to a Christian missionary school, he took a job as a clerical assistant and indexer at the Department of Public Works, Lagos. Thereafter, with the support of the colonial administration, Macaulay left Lagos on 1 July 1890 to further his training in England. From 1891 to 1894 he studied civil engineering in Plymouth, England, and was also a pupil of G.D. Bellamy, a borough surveyor and water engineer in Plymouth. In 1893, he became a graduate of the Royal Institute of British Architects, London. Macaulay was also an accomplished musician who received a certificate in music from Trinity College, London and a certificate in violin playing from Music International College, London.
Upon his return to Lagos in September 1893, he resumed work with the colonial service as a surveyor of Crown Lands. He left the service as land inspector in September 1898 due to a growing distaste for the British rule of the Lagos Colony and the position of Yorubaland and the Niger Coast Protectorate as British protectorates. Other authors such as Patrick Dele-Cole have noted the abuse of office allegations (leveled by his British superiors) and pursuit of private gain controversy that clouded Macaulay’s resignation as surveyor of Crown Grants. Kristin Mann, citing British Colonial Government dispatches, notes that Macaulay behaved dishonestly, by using “his position as Surveyor of Crown Lands to help friends acquire crown grants and persecute enemies by granting their land to others”. She further writes that Macaulay “obtained crown grants under false names and then sold them at a profit”. In October 1898, he obtained a licence to practise as a surveyor. As a surveyor, his plans and valuations included E. J. Alex Taylor’s house on Victoria Street, Henry Carr’s residence in Tinubu, Akinola Maja’s house and Doherty Villa in Campos Square.
Macaulay was a great socialite in Victorian Lagos. He organized concerts and film shows (He was among the first Nigerians that brought films to Nigeria by inviting film companies to come to Lagos to exhibit films) at his residence (named “Kirsten Hall” after his German Consul friend Arthur Kirsten) on 8, Balbina Street in Yaba. Macaulay was nicknamed “Wizard of Kirsten Hall” because of his ability to obtain classified information. Macaulay ran a network of informants who he paid handsomely. Many times, minutes from colonial government meetings would be leaked in newspapers that Macaulay was associated with. Whole sections of colonial government files and telegrams can be found in the Macaulay Papers at the Africana section of the Library at the University of Ibadan.
Opposition to British rule in colonial Nigeria
Prior to the beginning of the twentieth century, Macaulay associated with many Lagos socialites, worked as a private surveyor and had a moderate outlook about colonialism. However, by the end of the 1800s, he had begun to veer from his professional and social activities to become a political activist. He joined the Anti-Slavery and Aborigines’ Protection Society. Macaulay was an unlikely champion of the masses. A grandson of Ajayi Crowther, the first African bishop of the Niger Territory, he was born into a Lagos that was divided politically into groups arranged in a convenient pecking order – the British authorities who lived in the posh Marina district, the Saros and other slave descendants who lived to the west, and the Brazilians who lived behind the whites in the Portuguese Town. Behind all three lived the real Lagosians, the masses of indigenous Yoruba people, disliked and generally ignored by their privileged neighbours. It was not until Macaulay’s generation that the Saros and Brazilians even began to contemplate making common cause with the masses.
Macaulay was one of the first Nigerian nationalists and for most of his life a strong opponent of many colonial policies. As a reaction to claims by the British that they were governing with “the true interests of the natives at heart”, he wrote: “The dimensions of “the true interests of the natives at heart” are algebraically equal to the length, breadth and depth of the whiteman’s pocket.” In 1908 he exposed European corruption in the handling of railway finances and in 1919 he argued successfully for the chiefs whose land had been taken by the colonial government in front of the Privy Council in London. As a result, the colonial government was forced to pay compensation to the chiefs.
In 1909, he came out publicly against the prohibition of spirits into Nigeria which he felt will ultimately lead to reduced government revenues and thereafter increased taxation. Macaulay also found himself in opposition to the colonial government in three major issues that were prominent in Lagos life during 1900–1930. The issues included the proposed water rate, selection of the Oba of Lagos and the Imamate of the Lagos Central Mosque. Macaulay opposed colonial taxation to fund water supply in Lagos on the grounds of taxation without representation. He was a major supporter of the House of Docemo in Lagos. Largely because Lagos was not under indirect rule, the Oba of Lagos unlike many of his counterparts in other areas of the country was stripped of many of his traditional authorities. Macaulay supported the House of Docemo in its opposition to the water rate and colonial acquisition of Lagos lands. He also galvanized the Ilu Committee composed of the Oba of Lagos and traditional chiefs in Lagos to oppose some of the colonial policies.
Macaulay’s profile in Lagos was enhanced by the Oluwa Land case. Amodu Tijani Oluwa, a traditional chief, had challenged the compulsory acquisition without compensation of his family land in Apapa. He lost his appeal at the Supreme Court and took the case to the Privy Court Council in London. Macaulay was Oluwa’s private secretary in the trip to London. Oluwa’s case was supported by the Ilu Committee and the Oba who were interested in the protection of their family lands in Lagos. In London, Macaulay presented himself as Oluwa’s private secretary and as a representative of the Oba and in the capacity he made statements which the colonial authorities felt were inimical to their interests. In 1920, the Eleko, Eshungbayi was ostracized by the British because he refused to disavow allegations against the colonial authorities made by Macaulay in London.
To further his political activities, Macaulay co-founded the Nigerian Daily News, a platform he used to write opinion pieces such as Justitia Fiat: The Moral Obligation of the British Government to the House of Docemo. He also wrote a piece titled Henry Carr Must Go. From 1923 to 1938, he became a prominent figure in many important political issues in Lagos including the elections into the quinquennial elections into the Legislative Council, triennial elections to the Lagos Town Council, and the headship of the House of Docemo. In his political activities, he relied on the Lagos Daily News, the Lagos Market Women Association led by his ally, Alimotu Pelewura, the House of Docemo and many uneducated Lagosians. His political opinions divided many Lagos elites as he used the Daily News to publicly vilify his opponents and former friends such as Henry Carr. On 24 June 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. Though, the party’s major function was to put candidates into the legislative council, it had a broader objective of promoting democracy in Nigeria, increasing higher Nigerian participation in the social, economic and educational development of Nigeria. Although the party wanted to be national in outlook, Macaulay’s strength of support was from the House of Docemo and therefore his preoccupation with the defence of the House and his desire to control the party limited the growth of the party.
Support for British rule in colonial Nigeria
In 1931, relations between Macaulay and the British began to improve up to the point that the governor even held conferences with Macaulay. 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.
Macaulay was barred from running for public office because of legal problems – he was convicted twice by the colonial government in Lagos; the first time for fraud, and the second time for sedition.
Misappropriation of funds
After going into private practice as a surveyor and architect, Macaulay faced some financial difficulty and misappropriated funds from an estate he served as executor for. His actions were uncovered by the authorities who tried him and sentenced him to two years in prison. The historian Patrick Dele-Cole outlines evidence suggesting that Macaulay was unfairly persecuted at his 1913 trial. The prosecuting counsel, one Robert Irving, was Herbert Macaulay’s tenant who may have pursued a private vendetta. Macaulay had obtained a court order to evict Robert Irving on 3 December 1912. Additionally, Macaulay’s lawyers encountered severe difficulties putting up a solid defense in the course of the case: as an example Macaulay’s lawyers were unable to find the police magistrate anywhere in Lagos to obtain bail. Other incidents include the acting Chief Justice fining Macaulay £100 despite the five assessors in the court returning a not guilty verdict. Cole also underscores Macaulay’s scrupulous transparency regarding the trust. According to Cole “the will of the testatrix was read in public at the request of Macaulay and the loan he obtained in order to clear the debts of the testatrix was explained to the beneficiaries of the will (Macaulay’s niece was the principal beneficiary and she certainly did not engage Irving to prosecute the case), yet he was convicted of ‘intent to defraud'”. Finally, Cole notes that Macaulay’s sentence of five years was “unusually severe”.
Macaulay’s second legal problem centered on what came to be the “Gunpowder Plot Case”. When the Privy Council decided that the exiled Oba Eshugbayi Eleko could apply for a writ of habeas corpus from one judge to another, Lagos went wild with excitement because it indicated that the popular Oba would be reinstated. Macaulay’s Lagos Daily News published a rumor that because of the Privy Council’s decision, the British colonial government in Lagos planned to blow up Oba Eleko’s vehicle. For the Gunpowder Plot Case Macaulay was sentenced to six months in prison (at Broad Street Prison) with hard labor without the option for a fine. Macaulay was sixty-four years old at the time of this conviction and the imprisonment increased Macaulay’s popularity within Nigeria.
Feud with Henry Carr
It is unclear how the fierce hatred between Macaulay and Henry Carr developed however their disputes are well documented. Carr believed that Macaulay lacked integrity and was exploiting the House of Dosunmu for personal gain. In Carr’s diaries, he writes of Macaulay “Among all human monsters with whom we have been brought into contact none has displayed the devilish ingenuity of this man”, concluding that Macaulay was a “crooked mind and dangerous fool”. Carr abhorred the political reality that Macaulay, who was barred from partaking in politics because of his criminal convictions, was a political kingmaker through Macaulay’s control of the NNDP.
The level of the strife between both men was so caustic that in 1924, Macaulay published a malicious account titled “Henry Carr Must Go”. In the slanderous publication, Macaulay falsely asserted that Carr’s father, Amuwo Carr deserted his wife to settle in Abeokuta as a polygamist. This was untrue considering Amuwo Carr died in Abeokuta of poor health and was nearly blind. Macaulay’s vicious attacks on Carr in the press framed the Lagosian public’s perception of Carr as shy, distant, and aloof.
Macaulay, on the other hand, believed Carr was behind political divisions in Lagos. He believed Carr was responsible for the government’s stubborn position on the Oba Eleko land case. In the pamphlet “Henry Carr Must Go”, Macaulay writes of Carr “He has been without any possible doubt whatsoever, the Head Centre, the King Pin, the very mainspring of what his own flatterers choose to call powerful influence or official support behind the renowned articulate minority on whose side Mr. Carr has along flung the whole weight of his official prestige, manifesting thereby an intolerable partisanship…deadly and detestable”.
Twilight years and death
In 1944, Macaulay co-founded the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) together with Nnamdi Azikiwe and became its president. 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. Macaulay’s reported last words were:
“Tell the National Council delegates to halt wherever they are for four days for Macaulay and then carry on. Tell Oged to keep the flag flying”
The leadership of the NCNC went to Azikiwe, who later became the first president of Nigeria. Macaulay was buried at Ikoyi Cemetery in Lagos on May 1946. Nnamdi Azikiwe delivered a funeral oration at Macaulay’s burial ceremony and Isaac Babalola Thomas, editor and proprietor of the Akede Eko, was executor of Macaulay’s Last Will and Testament.
“Azikiwe” and “Zik” redirect here. For other uses, see Nnamdi Azikiwe and Zik.
Nnamdi Benjamin Azikiwe, GCFR PC (16 November 1904 – 11 May 1996), usually referred to as “Zik”, was a Nigerian statesman and political leader who served as the first President of Nigeria from 1963 to 1966.
Considered a driving force behind the nation’s independence, he came to be known as the “father of Nigerian Nationalism”.
The Right Honourable Nnamdi Azikiwe GCFR PC
1st President of Nigeria In office from 1 October 1963 – 16 January 1966. Died 11 May 1996 (aged 91)
Enugu, Enugu State, NigeriaPolitical party
National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons
Nigerian People’s Party
Born to Igbo parents from Anambra State, Eastern Nigeria in Zungeru in present-day Niger State, as a young boy he learned to speak Hausa (the main indigenous language of the Northern Region). Azikiwe was later sent to live with his aunt and grandmother in Onitsha (his parental homeland), where he learned the Igbo language. A stay in Lagos exposed him to the Yoruba language; by the time he was in college, he had been exposed to different Nigerian cultures and spoke three languages (an asset as president).
Azikiwe travelled to the United States where he was known as Ben Azikiwe and attended Storer College, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania and Howard University.
He contacted colonial authorities with a request to represent Nigeria at the Los Angeles Olympics. He returned to Africa in 1934, where he began work as a journalist in the Gold Coast. In British West Africa, he advocated Nigerian and African nationalism as a journalist and a political leader.
Early life and educationEdit
Azikiwe was born on 16 November 1904 in Zungeru, Northern Nigeria. His first name means “my father is alive” in the Igbo language, as his parents were Igbo. His father, Obed-Edom Chukwuemeka Azikiwe(1879–3 March 1958), a native of Onye Onicha, was a clerk in the British Administration of Nigeria, who traveled extensively as part of his job. Azikiwe’s mother was Rachel Chinwe Ogbenyeanu (Aghadiuno) Azikiwe (1883–January 1958), who was sometimes called Nwanonaku and was the third daughter of Aghadiuno Ajie. Her family descended from a royal family in Onitsha, and her paternal great-grandfather was Obi (Ugogwu) Anazenwu. Azikiwe had one sibling, a sister, named Cecilia Eziamaka Arinze.
As a young boy, Azikiwe spoke Hausa, the regional language. His father, concerned about his son’s fluency in Hausa and not Igbo, sent him to Onitsha in 1912 to live with his paternal grandmother and aunt to learn the Igbo language and culture. In Onitsha, Azikiwe attended Holy Trinity School (a Roman Catholic mission school) and Christ Church School (an Anglican primary school). In 1914, while his father was working in Lagos, Azikiwe was bitten by a dog; this prompted his worried father to ask him to come to Lagos to heal and to attend school in the city..
He then attended Wesleyan Boys’ High School, now known as Methodist Boys’ High School, Broad Street Lagos. His father was sent to Kaduna two years later, and Azikiwe briefly lived with a relative who was married to a Muslim from Sierra Leone. In 1918, he was back in Onitsha and finished his secondary education at CMS Central School. Azikiwe then worked at the school as a student-teacher, supporting his mother with his earnings. In 1920, his father was posted back to southern Nigeria in the southeastern city of Calabar. Azikiwe joined his father in Calabar, beginning tertiary education at the Hope Waddell Training College. He was introduced to the teachings of Marcus Garvey, Garveyism, which became an important part of his nationalistic rhetoric.
After attending Hope Waddell, Azikiwe was transferred to Methodist Boys’ High School in Lagos and befriended classmates from old Lagos families such as George Shyngle, Francis Cole and Ade Williams (a son of the Akarigbo of Remo). These connections were later beneficial to his political career in Lagos. Azikiwe heard a lecture by James Aggrey, an educator who believed that Africans should receive a college education abroad and return to effect change. After the lecture, Aggrey gave the young Azikiwe a list of schools accepting black students in America. After completing his secondary education, Azikiwe applied to the colonial service and was accepted as a clerk in the’ treasury department. His time in the colonial service exposed him to racial bias in the colonial government. Determined to travel abroad for further education, Azikiwe applied to universities in the U.S. He was admitted by Storer College, contingent on his finding a way to America. To reach America, he contacted a seaman and made a deal with him to become a stowaway. However, one of his friends on the ship became ill and they were advised to disembark in Sekondi. In Ghana, Azikiwe worked as a police officer; his mother visited, and asked him to return to Nigeria. He returned, and his father was willing to sponsor his trip to America.
Azikiwe attended Storer College’s two-year preparatory school in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. To fund his living expenses and tuition, he worked a number of menial jobs before enrolling in Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1927 to obtain a bachelor’s degree in political science. In 1929, he transferred from Howard University to Lincoln University to complete his undergraduate studies and graduated in 1930 with a BA in political science. Azikwe took courses with Alain Locke. Azikiwe was a member of Phi Beta Sigma. He then enrolled at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and in the University of Pennsylvania simultaneously in 1930, receiving a master’s degree in religion from Lincoln University and a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1932. Azikiwe became a graduate-student instructor in the history and political-science departments at Lincoln University, where he created a course in African history. He was a candidate for a doctoral degree at Columbia University before returning to Nigeria in 1934. Azikiwe’s doctoral research focused on Liberia in world politics, and his research paper was published by A. H. Stockwell in 1934. During his time in America, he was a columnist for the Baltimore Afro-American, Philadelphia Tribune and the Associated Negro Press. Azikiwe was influenced by the ideals of the African-American press, Garveyism and pan-Africanism.
Personally, I believe the European has a god in whom he believes and whom he is representing in his churches all over Africa. He believes in the god whose name is spelt Deceit. He believes in the god whose law is “Ye strong, you must weaken the weak”. Ye “civilised” Europeans, you must “civilise” the “barbarous” Africans with machine guns. Ye “Christian” Europeans, you must “Christianise” the “pagan” Africans with bombs, poison gases, etc.
— Excerpt from May 1936 African Morning Post article which led to sedition trial
He applied as a foreign-service official for Liberia, but was rejected because he was not a native of the country. By 1934, when Azikiwe returned to Lagos, he was well-known and viewed as a public figure by some members of the Lagos and Igbo community. He was welcomed home by a number of people, as his writings in America evidently reached Nigeria. In Nigeria, Azikiwe’s initial goal was to obtain a position commensurate with his education; after several unsuccessful applications (including for a teaching post at King’s College), he accepted an offer from Ghanaian businessman Alfred Ocansey to become founding editor of the African Morning Post (a new daily newspaper in Accra, Ghana). He was given a free hand to run the newspaper, and recruited many of its original staff. Azikiwe wrote “The Inside Stuff by Zik”, a column in which he preached radical nationalism and black pride which raised some alarm in colonial circles. As editor, he promoted a pro-African nationalist agenda. Yuri Smertin described his writing there: “In his passionately denunciatory articles and public statements he censured the existing colonial order: the restrictions on the African’s right to express their opinions, and racial discrimination. He also criticized 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.” During Azikiwe’s stay in Accra he advanced his New Africa philosophy later explored in his book, Renascent Africa. The philosophic ideal is a state where Africans would be divorced from ethnic affiliations and traditional authorities and transformed by five philosophical pillars: spiritual balance, social regeneration, economic determinism, mental emancipation and risorgimento nationalism. Azikiwe did not shy away from Gold Coast politics, and the paper supported the local Mambii party.
The Post published a 15 May 1936 article, “Has the African a God?” by I. T. A. Wallace-Johnson, and Azikiwe (as editor) was tried for sedition. He was originally found guilty and sentenced to six months in prison, but his conviction was overturned on appeal. Azikiwe returned to Lagos in 1937 and founded the West African Pilot, a newspaper which he used to promote nationalism in Nigeria. In addition to the Pilot, his Zik Group established newspapers in politically- and economically important cities throughout the country. The group’s flagship newspaper was the West African Pilot, which used Dante Alighieri’s “Show the light and the people will find the way” as its motto. Other publications were the Southern Nigeria Defender from Warri (later Ibadan), the Eastern Guardian (founded in 1940 and published in Port Harcourt), and the Nigerian Spokesman in Onitsha. In 1944, the group acquired Dusé Mohamed Ali’s The Comet. Azikiwe’s newspaper venture was a business and political tool. The Pilot focused less on advertising than on circulation, largely because expatriate firms dominated the Nigerian economy. Many of Azikiwe’s newspapers emphasized sensationalism and human-interest stories; the Pilot introduced sports coverage and a women’s section, increasing coverage of Nigerian events compared with the competing Daily Times (which emphasized expatriate and foreign-news-service stories). The Pilot’s initial run was 6,000 copies daily; at its peak in 1950, it was printing over 20,000 copies. Azikiwe founded other business ventures (such as the African Continental Bank and the Penny Restaurant) at this time, and used his newspapers to advertise them.
Before World War II, the West African Pilot  was seen as a paper trying to build a circulation base rather than overtly radical. The paper’s editorials and political coverage focused on injustice to Africans, criticism of the colonial administration and support for the ideas of the educated elites in Lagos. However, by 1940 a gradual change occurred. As he did in the African Morning Post, Azikiwe began writing a column (“Inside Stuff”) in which he sometimes tried to raise political consciousness. Pilot editorials called for African independence, particularly after the rise of the Indian independence movement. Although the paper supported Great Britain during the war, it criticized austerity measures such as price controls and wage ceilings. In 1943 the British Council sponsored eight West African editors (including Azikiwe), and he and six other editors used the opportunity to raise awareness of possible political independence. The journalists signed a memorandum calling for gradual socio-political reforms, including abrogation of the crown colony system, regional representation and independence for British West African colonies by 1958 or 1960. The memorandum was ignored by the colonial office, increasing Azikiwe’s militancy.
He had a controlling interest in over 12 daily, African-run newspapers. Azikiwe’s articles on African nationalism, black pride and empowerment dismayed many colonialist politicians and benefited many marginalized Africans. East African newspapers generally published in Swahili, with the exception of newsletters such as the East African Standard. Azikiwe revolutionized the West African newspaper industry, demonstrating that English-language journalism could be successful. By 1950, the five leading African-run newspapers in the Eastern Region (including the Nigerian Daily Times) were outsold by the Pilot. On 8 July 1945, the Nigerian government banned Azikiwe’s West African Pilot and Daily Comet for misrepresenting information about a general strike. Although Azikiwe acknowledged this, he continued publishing articles about the strike in the Guardian (his Port Harcourt newsletter). He led a 1945 general strike, and was the premier of East Nigeria from 1954 to 1959. By the 1960s, after Nigerian independence, the national West African Pilot was particularly influential in the east. Azikiwe took particular aim at political groups which advocated exclusion. He was criticized by a Yoruba faction for using his newspaper to suppress opposition to his views. At Azikiwe’s death, The New York Times said that he “towered over the affairs of Africa’s most populous nation, attaining the rare status of a truly national hero who came to be admired across the regional and ethnic lines dividing his country.”
Azikiwe became active in the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM), the country’s first nationalist organization. Although he supported Samuel Akisanya as the NYM candidate for a vacant seat in the Legislative Council in 1941, the NYM executive council selected Ernest Ikoli.
Azikiwe resigned from the NYM, accusing the majority Yoruba leadership of discriminating against the Ijebu-Yoruba members and Igbos. Some Ijebu members followed him, splitting the movement along ethnic lines. He entered politics, co-founding the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) with Herbert Macaulay in 1944. Azikiwe became the council’s secretary-general in 1946.
Conspiracy allegations and Zikist movementEdit
As a result of Azikiwe’s support for a general strike in June 1945 and his attacks on the colonial government, publication of the West African Pilot was suspended on 8 July of that year. He praised the striking workers and their leader, Michael Imoudu, accusing the colonial government of exploiting the working class. In August, the newspaper was allowed to resume publication. During the strike, Azikiwe raised the alarm about an assassination plot by unknown individuals working on behalf of the colonial government. His basis for the allegation was a wireless message intercepted by a Pilot reporter. After receiving the intercepted message, Azikiwe went into hiding in Onitsha. The Pilot published sympathetic editorials during his absence, and many Nigerians believed the assassination story. Azikiwe’s popularity, and his newspaper circulation, increased during this period. The allegations were doubted by some Nigerians, who believed that he made them up to raise his profile. The skeptics were primarily Yoruba politicians from the Nigerian Youth Movement, creating a rift between the factions and a press war between Azikiwe’s Pilot and the NYM’s Daily Service.
A militant youth movement, led by Osita Agwuna, Raji Abdalla, Kolawole Balogun, M. C. K. Ajuluchukwu and Abiodun Aloba, was established in 1946 to defend Azikiwe’s life and his ideals of self-government. Inspired by his writings and Nwafor Orizu’s Zikism philosophy, members of the movement soon began advocating positive, militant action to bring about self-government. Calls for action included strikes, study of military science by Nigerian students overseas, and a boycott of foreign products. Azikiwe did not publicly defend the movement, which was banned in 1951 after a failed attempt to kill a colonial secretary.
Opposition to Richards constitutionEdit
In 1945, British governor Arthur Richards presented proposals for a revision of the Clifford constitution of 1922. Included in the proposal was an increase in the number of nominated African members to the Legislative Council. However, the changes were opposed by nationalists such as Azikiwe. NCNC politicians opposed unilateral decisions made by Arthur Richards and a constitutional provision allowing only four elected African members; the rest would be nominated candidates. The nominated African candidates were loyal to the colonial government, and would not aggressively seek self-government. Another basis of opposition was little input for the advancement of Africans to senior civil-service positions. The NCNC prepared to argue its case to the new Labour government of Clement Attlee in Britain. A tour of the country was begun to raise awareness of the party’s concerns and to raise money for the UK protest. NCNC president Herbert Macaulay died during the tour, and Azikiwe assumed leadership of the party. He led the delegation to London and, in preparation for the trip, traveled to the US to seek sympathy for the party’s case. Azikiwe met Eleanor Roosevelt at Hyde Park, and spoke about the “emancipation of Nigeria from political thralldom, economic insecurity and social disabilities”. The UK delegation included Azikiwe, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Zanna Dipcharima, Abubakar Olorunimbe, P. M. Kale, Adeleke Adedoyin and Nyong Essien. They visited the Fabian Society’s Colonial Bureau, the Labor Imperial Committee and the West African Students’ Union to raise awareness of its proposals for amendments to the 1922 constitution. Included in the NCNC proposals was consultation with Africans about changes to the Nigerian constitution, more power to the regional House of Assemblies and limiting the powers of the central Legislative Council to defense, currency and foreign affairs. The delegation submitted its proposals to the colonial secretary, but little was done to change to Richards’ proposals. The Richards constitution took effect in 1947, and Azikiwe contested one of the Lagos seats to delay its implementation.
Under the Richards constitution, Azikiwe was elected to the Legislative Council in a Lagos municipal election from the National Democratic Party (an NCNC subsidiary). He and the party representative did not attend the first session of the council, and agitation for changes to the Richards constitution led to the Macpherson constitution. The Macpherson constitution took effect in 1951 and, like the Richards constitution, called for elections to the regional House of Assembly. Azikiwe opposed the changes, and contested for the chance to change the new constitution. Staggered elections were held from August to December 1951. In the Western Region (where Azikiwe stood), two parties were dominant: Azikiwe’s NCNC and the Action Group. Elections for the Western Regional Assembly were held in September and December 1951 because the constitution allowed an electoral college to choose members of the national legislature; an Action Group majority in the house might prevent Azikiwe from going to the House of Representatives. He won a regional assembly seat from Lagos, but the opposition party claimed a majority in the House of Assembly and Azikiwe did not represent Lagos in the federal House of Representatives. In 1951, he became leader of the Opposition to the government of Obafemi Awolowo in the Western Region’s House of Assembly. Azikiwe’s non-selection to the national assembly caused chaos in the west. An agreement by elected NCNC members from Lagos to step down for Azikiwe if he was not nominated broke down. Azikiwe blamed the constitution, and wanted changes made. The NCNC (which dominated the Eastern Region) agreed, and committed to amending the constitution.
Azikiwe moved to the Eastern Region in 1952, and the NCNC-dominated regional assembly made proposals to accommodate him. Although the party’s regional and central ministers were asked to resign in a cabinet reshuffle, most ignored the request. The regional assembly then passed a vote of no confidence on the ministers, and appropriation bills sent to the ministry were rejected. This created an impasse in the region, and the lieutenant governor dissolved the regional house. A new election returned Azikiwe as a member of the Eastern Assembly. He was selected as Chief Minister, and became premier of Nigeria’s Eastern Region in 1954 when it became a federating unit.
Presidency and later life
Azikiwe became governor-general on 16 November 1960, with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as prime minister, and became the first Nigerian named to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. When Nigeria became a republic in 1963, he was its first president. In both posts, Azikiwe’s role was largely ceremonial.
He and his civilian colleagues were removed from office in the 15 January 1966 military coup, and he was the most prominent politician to avoid assassination after the coup. Azikiwe was a spokesman for Biafra and advised its leader, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, during the Biafran War (1967–1970). He switched his allegiance back to Nigeria during the war, and appealed to Ojukwu to end the war in pamphlets and interviews. The New York Times said about his politics, “Throughout his life, Dr. Azikiwe’s alliance with northerners put him at odds with Obafemi Awolowo, a socialist-inclined leader of the Yoruba, the country’s other important southern group.”
After the war, Azikiwe was chancellor of the University of Lagos from 1972 to 1976. He joined the Nigerian People’s Party in 1978, making unsuccessful bids for the presidency in 1979 and 1983. He left politics involuntarily after the 31 December 1983 military coup.
Azikiwe died aged 91 on 11 May 1996 at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu after a long illness, and is buried in his native Onitsha.
Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Oyeniyi Awolowo GCFR (Yoruba: Ọbáfẹ́mi Oyèéníyì Awólọ́wọ̀; 6 March 1909 – 9 May 1987) was a Yoruba nationalist and Nigerian statesman who played a key role in Nigeria’s independence movement (1957-1960). Awolowo founded the Yoruba nationalist group Egbe Omo Oduduwa, and was the first Leader of Government Business and Minister of Local Government and Finance, and first Premier of the Western Region under Nigeria’s parliamentary system, from 1952 to 1959. He was the official Leader of the Opposition in the federal parliament to the Balewa government from 1959 to 1963.
Premier of Western NigeriaIn office
1 October 1954 – 1 October 1960
RelationsYemi Osinbajo (grandson-in-law)
Oludolapo Osinbajo (granddaughter)
Segun Awolowo Jr. (grandson)Children5Alma materUniversity of LondonProfessionJournalist, lawyer
As a young man he was an active journalist, editing publications such as the Nigerian worker, on top of others as well. After receiving his bachelors of commerce degree in Nigeria, he traveled to London to pursue his degree in law. Obafemi Awolowo was the first premier of the Western Region and later federal commissioner for finance, and vice chairman of the Federal Executive Council during the Nigerian Civil War. He was thrice a major contender for his country’s highest office.
A native of Ikenne in Ogun State of south-western Nigeria, he started his career, like some of his well-known contemporaries, as a nationalist in the Nigerian Youth Movement in which he rose to become Western Provincial Secretary. Awolowo was responsible for much of the progressive social legislation that has made Nigeria a modern nation. In 1963 he was imprisoned under the accusations of sedition and was not pardoned by the government until 1966, after which he assumed the role as Minister of Finance. In recognition of all of this, Awolowo was the first individual in the modern era to be named as the leader of the Yorubas (Yoruba: Asíwájú Àwọn Yorùbá or Asíwájú Ọmọ Oòduà).
Obafemi Awolowo was born Jeremiah Obafemi Oyeniyi Awolowo on 6 March 1909 in the Remo town of Ikenne, in present-day Ogun State of Nigeria. He was the only son of David Shopolu Awolowo, a farmer and sawyer, and Mary Efunyela Awolowo. He had two sisters and one maternal half-sister. Awolowo’s father was born to a high chief and member of the Iwarefa, the leading faction of the traditional Osugbo group that ruled Ikenne. In 1896, Awolowo’s father became one of the first Ikenne natives to convert to Christianity. Awolowo’s paternal grandmother, Adefule Awolowo, whom Awolowo adored, was a devout worshipper of the Ifá. Adefule, Awolowo’s grandmother, believed that Obafemi was a reincarnation of her father (his great-grandfather). Awolowo’s father’s conversion to Christianity often went at odds with his family’s beliefs. He often challenged worshippers of the god of smallpox, Obaluaye. His father ultimately died on April 8, 1920, of smallpox when Obafemi was about eleven years old. He attended various schools, including Baptist Boys’ High School (BBHS), Abeokuta; and then became a teacher in Abeokuta, after which he qualified as a shorthand typist. Subsequently, he served as a clerk at the Wesley College Ibadan, as well as a correspondent for the Nigerian Times. It was after this that he embarked on various business ventures to help raise funds to travel to the UK for further studies. Following his education at Wesley College, Ibadan, in 1927, he enrolled at the University of London as an External Student and graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.). He went to the UK in 1944 to study law at the University of London and was called to the Bar by the Honorable Society of the Inner Temple on 19 November 1946. In 1949, Awolowo founded the Nigerian Tribune, a private Nigerian newspaper, which he used to spread nationalist consciousness among Nigerians.
Awolowo was Nigeria’s foremost federalist. In his Path to Nigerian Freedom (1947) – the first systematic federalist manifesto by a Nigerian politician – he advocated federalism as the only basis for equitable national integration and, as head of the Action Group, he led demands for a federal constitution, which was introduced in the 1954 Lyttleton Constitution, following primarily the model proposed by the Western Region delegation led by him. As premier, he proved to be and was viewed as a man of vision and a dynamic administrator. Awolowo was also the country’s leading social democratic politician. He supported limited public ownership and limited central planning in government. He believed that the state should channel Nigeria’s resources into education and state-led infrastructural development. Controversially, and at considerable expense, he introduced free primary education for all and free health care for children in the Western Region, established the first television service in Africa in 1959, and the Oduduwa Group, all of which were financed from the highly lucrative cocoa industry which was the mainstay of the regional economy.
From the eve of independence, he led the Action Group as the Leader of the Opposition in the federal parliament, leaving Samuel Ladoke Akintola as the Western Region Premier. Disagreements 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 constitutional crisis led to the declaration of a state of emergency in the Western Region, eventually resulting in a widespread breakdown of law and order.
Excluded from national government, Awolowo and his party faced an increasingly precarious position. Akintola’s followers, angered at their exclusion from power, formed the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) under Akintola’s leadership. Having previously suspended the elected Western Regional Assembly, the federal government then reconstituted the body after manoeuvres that brought Akintola’s NNDP into power without an election. Shortly afterwards Awolowo and several disciples were arrested, charged, convicted (of treason), and jailed for conspiring with the Ghanaian authorities under Balewa to overthrow the federal government.In 1979 and 1983, he contested under the Unity Party’s platform as a presidential candidate,but lost to the northern-based National Party of Shehu ShagariLegacy.
In 1992, the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation was founded as an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organisation committed to furthering the symbiotic interaction of public policy and relevant scholarship with a view to promoting the overall development of the Nigerian nation. The Foundation was launched by the President of Nigeria at that time, General Ibrahim Babangida, at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan. However, his most important bequests (styled Awoism) are his exemplary integrity, his welfarism, his contributions to hastening the process of decolonisation and his consistent and reasoned advocacy of federalism-based on ethno-linguistic self-determination and uniting politically strong states-as the best basis for Nigerian unity. Awolowo died peacefully at his Ikenne home, the Efunyela Hall (so named after his mother), on 9 May 1987, at the age of 78 and was laid to rest in Ikenne, amid tributes across political and ethno-religious divides.
Lateef Kayode Jakande ￼Listen (23 July 1929 – 11 February 2021) was a Nigerian journalist and politician who served as governor of Lagos State from 1979 to 1983, and later Minister of Works under the Sani Abacha military regime.
Governor of Lagos StateIn office
1 October 1979 – 31 December 1983
Lateef Kayode Jakande
Lateef Kayode Jakande was born in the Epetedo area of Lagos Island, Lagos State on July 29, 1929. Both parents are from Omu-Aran, Kwara State. He studied at the Lagos public school at Enu-Owa, Lagos Island, then at Bunham Memorial Methodist School, Port Harcourt (1934–43). He studied at King’s College, Lagos in 1943, and then enrolled at Ilesha Grammar School in 1945, where he edited a literary paper called The Quarterly Mirror.
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