How Nigeria Got Independence: The Epic Story of Nnamdi Azikiwe
Nnamdi Azikiwe is a Nigerian hero. He was born in Zungeru, Nigeria on November 16, 1904 and died in London on January 13, 1996. His life spanned the period of British colonial rule to Nigerian Independence. In 1922 he went to study at Lincoln University (now University) Pennsylvania and there he met his wife Marjorie who later became an educator like him. After returning from studies abroad Nnamdi Azikiwe started teaching back home in 1929 but was soon fired because of his political views that did not agree with the colonialists' ideals; however this did not stop him from continuing to fight for independence and social justice for Nigerians!
Section 1: The Early Years
Born in Zungeru, Nigeria, on November 16, 1904, Nnamdi Azikiwe was the fourth son of the family. He was born after his father had moved from Umuleri to Zungeru in 1893 and after his mother had moved from Ogbaku in 1897. The Azikiwe family were of the Umuleri ethnic group who speak in the Ubangian language in addition to Hausa. In 1911 the Azikiwe family left Zungeru to live at Yapele in the present Aniocha Local Government Area of Delta State.
In 1912 Nnamdi Azikiwe was educated for the first time when he was sent to the King's School, Calabar, as a boarder by his father who was working as an English teacher there. It was at the King's School, where he learnt about the development of European civilization and was also exposed to Christianity.
The Fight for Independence
British colonial rule in Nigeria started with the 15th of July 1914, when Britain declared war against Germany. Britain had an interest in the area as it was in its sphere of influence. Britain faced stiff competition with other European powers, such as France and Belgium, who also wanted control over the colony, and decided to annex it without significant resistance. However, in 1876, Nigeria's demand to join the union of British West Africa (BBWA) had been rejected by the British government. Nigeria wanted to join the union of British West Africa as an equal partner, along with the Cape Coast and Gold Coast colonies.
Legacy and Death
After the colonial British failed to meet the promises they made to Nigerians in 1923 and 1931, Nnamdi Azikiwe founded the Action Group (AG) in 1935 which was a pro-independence organisation. He fought for and achieved independence for Nigeria in 1960.
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Nnamdi Azikiwe was born into a very ordinary middle class family in Zungeru, a small town in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria (in present day Nigeria), although he was the only child. As a boy he struggled to survive in an environment of intense struggle. His parents were poor farmers but they had a large number of children to look after as their husband and father died in his early 20s.
Nnamdi Azikiwe studied in the Hausa division of Lincoln University where he met his wife Marjorie who later became an educator. In 1923 he went to study at Lincoln University (now University) Pennsylvania where he met a whole new world with different people and different views of the world.