Nigeria’s first president was Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe. He was the second and last Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria, as well as the first Nigerian nominated to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, before becoming President. He began his career as a teacher at Lincoln University, where he taught political science. He was a principled and well-liked politician. He’d always had a strong interest in politics and was a gifted writer. He wrote several publications expressing his pan-African ideas, including a “Syllabus for African History.” He eventually rose through the ranks of the media industry, where he supported a pro-African nationalist ideology. He was fiercely independent and never shied away from expressing his ideas and beliefs. Nigeria was still under British authority at the time, therefore he started a journal named “The West African Pilot” to campaign for freedom from the colonial power. He became a member of the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM), one of Nigeria’s early nationalist organizations, and entered politics. During his successful political career, he held a number of positions before becoming the first President of Nigeria in 1963, when the country became a republic. In 1966, he was deposed by a military coup, and he narrowly evaded assassination attempts.
Childhood and Adolescence
Obed-Edom Chukwuemeka Azikiwe and Rachel Ogbenyeanu Azikiwe had him on November 16, 1904. His father worked for the British Administration of Nigeria as a clerk. He attended the Methodist Boys’ High School and the Hope Waddell Training Institute. By the time he finished high school, he was fluent in the languages of Nigeria’s three major ethnic groupings.
He was a healthy and athletic young guy who excelled in several sports as a student, including running, swimming, and boxing. Between 1921 through 1924, he worked as a clerk in the Nigerian Treasury in Lagos before deciding to continue his education in the United States.
In 1925, he moved to the United States and studied at Howard University in Washington, DC, before enrolling at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1927 and his master’s degree in 1930. He worked part-time jobs while in college to help pay for his tuition. In 1933, he earned a second master’s degree in Anthropology and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania, after which he taught at Lincoln University before returning to Africa.
Career of Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe
In 1934, he moved to the Gold Coast (now Ghana) and created the ‘African Morning Post,’ a daily newspaper. Through this periodical, he supported a pro-African nationalist ideology. In 1937, he went to Nigeria and founded the ‘West African Pilot,’ a journal that he used to promote nationalism in the country. He founded the Zik Group of Newspapers and produced many newspapers in cities around the country during the next few years.
He became active in politics as a result of this and joined the Nigerian Youth Movement. He later founded the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) and was elected to the Nigerian Legislative Council with the support of this council. In 1952, he relocated to the Eastern Region and was chosen as the Chief Minister. He became the Premier of Nigeria’s Eastern Region a few years later.
In the 1959 federal elections, he led the NCNC to victory and was able to create a provisional government with the Northern Peoples Congress, whose leader, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, became Nigeria’s Prime Minister after the country’s independence in October 1960. Following the country’s independence, he was appointed Governor General by Balewa, as well as a member of the United Kingdom’s Privy Council.
Nigeria became a republic in 1963, and Azikiwe became the country’s first president on October 1, 1963. His job, on the other hand, was mostly ceremonial. In January 1966, he was deposed by a military coup, and he narrowly avoided assassination attempts on his life. He became a spokesperson for the newly formed country during the Biafran conflict (1967-70) and traveled extensively seeking assistance from other African countries.
From 1972 until 1976, he was the Chancellor of the University of Lagos, and in 1978, he joined the Nigerian People’s Party. He stood for president in 1979 and again in 1983 in an attempt to re-enter politics, but both times he was unsuccessful. After the military coup in December 1983, he was forced to leave politics.
Achievements & Awards
In 1946, he was accepted into Onitsha’s famous Agbalanze society as Nnayelugo in appreciation of his major achievements. In 1960, Queen Elizabeth II appointed him to the United Kingdom’s Privy Council, making him the first Nigerian to do so. Several Nigerian, American, and Liberian universities bestowed honorary degrees on him.
Personal History and Legacy
In 1936, he married Flora Ogboegbunam. The couple has three sons and one daughter. Flora died in 1983, and Azikiwe was devastated for a long time after her death. He has had several more spouses, including Uche Azikiwe, a University of Nigeria instructor. He had a large number of children with both his marriages and the other women with whom he had been connected. He lived a long life and died in Enugu, Nigeria, on May 11, 1996, at the age of 91.
Estimated Net Worth
The estimated net worth of Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe is not available.