Nnamdi Azikiwe

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe , known as Nnamdi Azikwe or popularly as Zik (born November 16, 1904 in Zungeru , Nigeria ; † May 11, 1996 in Nsukka ), was a Nigerian politician and the first president from 1963 to 1966.


Azikiwe went to the United States in 1925 , where he first attended Storer College , in Harpers Ferry , West Virginia , before qualifying for Lincoln University in Pennsylvania , where he graduated in 1930. Azikiwe returned to Nigeria in 1937 after having worked for three years in Ghana as an editor for the African Morning Post . A year later he joined the nationalist Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) party , which a few years later began to wear itself out in leadership crises. Azikiwe had meanwhile become known for his journalistic work, in which he fervently campaigned for Nigeria's emancipation from Great Britain . In 1944 he took part in a conference for the independence of Nigeria in Lagos, as a result of which the NCNC, the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons was founded. Herbert Macaulay , the founder of the NNDP , Nigeria's first political party , was elected chairman , while Azikiwe was appointed general secretary. When Macaulay died in 1946, Azikiwe became chairman. Two years later, Azikiwe also took over the chairmanship of the Igbo State Union , a cultural organization that aims to strengthen the cohesion of the Igbos in Nigeria. The fact that Azikiwe was in the chair, coupled with the fact that many NCNC members were Igbos, created the impression that the NCNC was an Igbo party, with disastrous political consequences in the years that followed.

The first regional elections in 1953, held in the three Nigerian districts North, West and East, made the NCNC the strongest party in the eastern region and thus Azikiwe as governor. Azikiwe was instrumental in leading the negotiations with Great Britain to bring Nigeria to independence. In 1959, elections to the first joint Senate took place in all districts of Nigeria, resulting in a coalition of the NCNC with Ahmadu Bellos NPC . The appointment as Senate President brought Zik only a more representative position, while the NPC faction leader Tafawa Balewa led the official business as Prime Minister. This did not change after the proclamation of the republic in 1963, where Azikiwe was only entrusted with ceremonial tasks as president. A military coup surprised Azikiwe in 1966 while abroad. Although the coup was suppressed, it marked the end of the first republic and the beginning of an initially 13-year military rule.

The Biafra crisis in 1967 brought Azikiwe to the side of the secessionists, where he appeared as the spokesman for the nascent republic, which he campaigned for international recognition. He also acted as an advisor to the leader of the secessionist Chukwuemeka Ojukwu . After the war, he taught at Lagos University from 1972 to 1976, before returning to politics in 1979, in the Second Republic. Azikiwe founded the Nigerian People's Party , with which he twice ran unsuccessfully for the presidency. In 1986 he finally withdrew from politics.


Nnamdi Azikiwe, who also held the popular honorary title The Great Zik of Africa , is one of the most important politicians not only in Nigeria, but also in West Africa in the transition phase from colonialism to independence. Passionately advocating the emancipation of Africa from the colonial powers, he later advocated friendship with Great Britain. With an imposing stature and a strong physical constitution, he was extremely athletic and, as a young man in the United States, had got by with all kinds of underprivileged jobs. This background may have contributed to the fact that many Nigerians, despite occasional resentment about his Igbo origins, saw in him a messianic figure of a free Africa. All his life he was a staunch democrat, a master of diplomacy and compromise, who advocated the development of a prosperous state based on the rule of law. Azikiwe founded five newspapers and regularly wrote columns whose influence extended well beyond Nigeria. His students at a young age included Kwame Nkrumah , Ghana's later first president.


The Michigan State University awarded him in 1959 the honorary doctorate .


It is better we disintegrate in peace and not in pieces. The quote reproduces an untranslatable play on words, which means: It is better if we part in peace and not in pieces.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Zungeru: Thrills, frills of amalgamation site, birthplace of Zik, Ojukwu
  2. List of Honorary Doctorates from Michigan State University