Nigerian nationalism asserts that Nigerians are a nation and promotes the cultural unity of Nigerians. Nigerian nationalism is a territorial nationalism, emphasizing a cultural connection of the people to the land — in particular the Niger and Benue rivers.
More than half a century ago Nigeria attained her independence from Britain. And there was a bunch of brave men, who fought for it’s independence for the last drop of blood. Here is the list of 5 heroes who helped fighting for independence of Nigeria:
Chief Anthony Enahoro
Anthony Eremosele Enahoro (1923-2010) was one of Nigeria’s foremost anti-colonial and pro-democracy activists. Enahoro had a long and distinguished career in the media, politics, the civil service and the pro-democracy movement.
The Edo-born politician was an accomplished journalist, who served as editor in the newspaper empire of Nnamdi Azikiwe. In 1953, he became the first to move the motion for Nigeria’s independence, which was eventually granted in 1960, after several political setbacks and defeats in parliament. Enahoro is regarded by academics and many Nigerians as the father of the Nigerian State.
He was prominent in politics at a time of rapid change. He was twice jailed for sedition by the colonial government for an article allegedly mocking a former governor, and then for a speech allegedly inciting Nigerian troops serving in the British Army.
Sir Ahmadu Bello
In the year 1954, Bello became the top Premier of Northern Nigeria. His efforts to unify the different tribes of Nigeria received good response from different parts of the country. On 15th January 1966, he was assassinated.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo
While he was in London, Awolowo moved to a position of prominence in the struggle for Nigerian independence. In 1945 he wrote his first book, Path to Nigerian Freedom, in which he was highly critical of British policies of indirect administration and called for rapid moves toward self-government and Africanisation of administrative posts in Nigeria. He also expressed his belief that federalism was the form of government best suited to the diverse populations of Nigeria, a position to which he consistently adhered.
He died on May 19, 1986.
Macaulay was one of the first Nigerian nationalists and for most of his life a strong opponent to British rule in Nigeria. As a reaction to British claims that they were governing with “the true interest of the natives at heart”, he wrote, “The dimensions of ‘the true interest of the natives at heart’ are algebraically equal to the length, breadth, and depth of the white man’s pocket.” In 1908, he exposed the corruption in the handling of railway finances and in 1919, argued successfully for the chiefs whose lands had been taken by the British, in front of the Privy Council in London and they were compensated. In retaliation for his uncompromising posture, he was jailed twice by the British.
On June 24, 1923, he founded the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), the first Nigerian political party. He was an integral part of the constitutional development that later saw Nigeria actualising her dream of independence on October 1, 1960.
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe
After losing successive elections to Chief Obafemi Awolowo-led Action Group, Zik became the leader of the opposition to Awolowo’s government in the Western Region in 1951. He however became the Chief Minister and then Premier of the Eastern Region in 1952 and 1954 respectively. With these key positions, Zik’s prominence grew, just like his quest for national unity. Zik died on May 11, 1996 at the age of 91.
On his death, the New York Times noted that “As a lawyer, political scientist, journalist, political activist, President and for many years Nigeria’s elder statesman, Dr. Azikiwe 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.”