National idea is strong in Nigeria. Despite tribalism and divisions this country remains united and has managed to become the Giant of Africa. Learn its history and bios of its heroes.
As any other country, Nigeria faces many different problems. However, it still tries to stay strong and preserve its national identity and idea. The government does everything to promote patriotism, especially among the youth in Nigeria. People of this country have plenty of things to be proud of. However, they also can be proud of themselves. We are going to observe 5 Nigerian nationalist leaders, who have managed to become very prominent.
It is impossible to say who are theheroes of Nigeria straight away. To do it we need to find out more information about history of state and its development.
As you know, Nigeria has not been independent from the very beginning. However, people of this country tried to fight for independence. Concerning this issue, it's essential to understand the term “nationalism”. It usually describes two kinds of phenomenon:
• attitude, which members of nation have when they care of their national identity,
• actions, which they take when looking for self-determination.
Thus, we may consider the following meaning: it is kind of devotion to a certain nation, a special sense of national consciousness, in which one nation is above all the others. Nationalists also place principal emphasis on promoting their culture and interests (opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups). Such term might be applied either for country in general or for particular tribes (as in Nigeria all of them are different and possess their traditions and identity). This issue always involves patriotic feelings and love to particular country.
Nationalism may be of various types. The most common ones include:
• Civic. In this case, state usually derives political legitimacy from active participation of citizenry. It also represents will of people. This kind is compatible with democratic values, tolerance, individual rights, and equality.
• Ethnic. This type defines the whole nation in terms of ethnicity. It means that the members of such society share values, culture, language, customs, and ideal. Political legitimacy of the state comes from its status as homeland of particular group.
Its main obligation's protection of the group and their interests.
• Left-wing/Socialist. It is based upon social equality, national self-determination, along with the popular sovereignty. It promotes anti-imperialism as well.
• Protonationalism. It is the earlier notion, which refers to the sense of belonging to a certain group.
• Ultra-nationalism. It is connected with extremist support of nationalist’s ideas. It includes authoritarianism, efforts to stop immigration, to support expulsion/oppression of non-native populations on the territory of nation, etc.
• Diaspora. It refers to nationalistic feeling among the people of one diaspora (such as, for example, Jews). It involves those, who are beyond the ethnic territory.
• Anti-colonial. It is experienced during decolonization. This very type was seen in Nigeria.
Nigerian independence movement started in 1900s. There was a struggle against the colonization by British Empire. There were several wars and, finally, few colonies were created. During those times, there were several prominent individuals, who wanted to preserve their ancestors’ culture and traditions. They are often called the heroes of Nigeria.
5 Nigerian nationalist heroes
- Edward Wilmot Blyden.
He was educator, politician, and writer. He's considered father of Pan-Africanism. His writings were very influential. He was fighting against slavery and the US and British expansion. He claimed Islam was more unifying for Africans than Christianity and more appropriate for them.
- Bishop James Johnson.
He was actually proto-nationalist. Author and diplomat, he demonstrated deep concern of black subsequently and life in his writings and activities. He advocated evangelization of Africa by native Africans and under their leadership. He also was leader of the educated Africans in Lagos. He also promoted educational opportunities for all Africans, and autonomous, self-supporting church. Johnson took part in the Niger Mission and did a lot to end the dependency from England.
- Mojola Agbebi.
He was Nigerian Yoruba Baptist Minister. He was advocate of indigenous leadership for African churches and started the evangelistic work in Niger Delta. He established Yoruba Baptist Association as well.
- John Payne Jackson. As a very influential journalist in Lagos (capital of Nigeria), he edited and published Lagos weekly Record newspaper until his death. Position of the paper was anti-colonialist and African nationalist.
- James Bright Davies.
He was also an editor. He was one of the founders of Nigerian Times in 1910. He was also Lagos Auxiliary of the Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society member.
It's necessary to say about founding fathers of Nigeria, who are also thought to be notable Nigerians. They are:
• Herbert Macaulay,
• Al-Haji Aminu Kano,
• Al-Haji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa,
• Professor Eyo Ita,
• Al-Haji Sir Ahmadu Bello,
• Alvan Ikoku,
• Dennis Osadebay,
• Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe,
• Sir Egbert Udo Udoma,
• Chief Obafemi Awolowo,
• Joseph Tarka,
• General Murtala Mohammed.
The three most prominent of them were Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, and Nnamdi Azikiwe. They personally participated in negotiations for the independence from Britain.
Other important people in Nigeria
Speaking about prominent individuals, it's necessary to mention the birth of democracy as well as the first president of this country.
As you already know, Nigeria received independence in 1960. Since then, there have been several presidents. According to the constitutional law, in 1963, country became republic. Thus, the Queen (who had been head of state from 1960 to 1963) and her representative were replaced by the president.
A bit later, in 1979, according to the Constitution, the President got executive powers and was announced to be the head of both state and government.
Nnamdi Azikiwe became the first one to have the place. He ruled from 1963 to 1966. It is also important to say, he served as the last representative of the Queen. He occupied the office during the period of the First Republic. He was held the office for about 2.5 years. Then, there came a period of Military rule, which was provoked by the coup. It took about 30 years to finally stabilize the situation (after the period of Civil War and some other armed conflicts).
The life story of Nigeria is very complicated and full of struggles. However, there have been many people, who were very strong and fought for the independence of this state. Now you know more about their biographies. Every citizen should be familiar not only with key historical events, but also with heroes, who have helped the country to develop. It is our legacy and we must remember it.