Top 10 names of Nigerian nationalists and facts about them

Top 10 names of Nigerian nationalists and facts about them

Know the names of Nigerian nationalists and vital facts about them. It is impossible not to mention them when talking about the independence and democracy in this country. Nationalists in Nigeria were willing to die for the sake of their people.

Names of Nigerian nationalists and facts about them
Photo: (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Herbert Macaulay and Nnamdi Benjamin Azikiwe initiated the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) in 1944. It was later changed to the National Convention of Nigerian Citizens and Nigeria's main nationalist political party from 1944 to 1966. Black people's political parties formed later, such as the Movement of the People, upheld NCNC's agenda.

List 10 nationalists in Nigeria

Nigerian nationalists promoted unity countrywide and emphasized intra-cultural connection among Nigerians. The NCNC movement promoted a sense of identity and pride among the people. These accomplishments helped the movements and the nationalists to bring freedom to Nigeria in 1960. Below are the most notable nationalists in Nigeria:

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1. Obafemi Awolowo

10 Nigerian nationalists
Obafemi Awolowo. Photo: @flo949fm, @Moses Ojo, @Nesting Media Gh (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Born: March 6, 1909
  • Birthplace: Ikenne, Nigeria
  • Died: May 9, 1987
  • Spouse: Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo (1937–1987)
  • Children: 5
  • Party: Unity Party of Nigeria

Obafemi Jeremiah Oyeniyi Awolowo is among the foremost Nigerian nationalists of the 20th century. The lawyer studied commerce and was interested in journalism. He established the Nigerian Tribune newspaper in 1949 to spread the nationalism idea countrywide.

2. Herbert Macaulay

list 10 nationalists in nigeria
Herbert Macaulay. Photo: @theafricaarchive, @TheSunNigeria (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Born: November 14, 1864
  • Birthplace: Lagos Colony
  • Died: May 7, 1946
  • Children: 2
  • Spouse: Caroline Pratt (1898–1899)
  • Party: Nigerian National Democratic Party

Olayinka Herbert Samuel Heelas Badmus Macaulay was a popular nationalist leader towards the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He was highly educated and talented. Herbert was good in engineering and music. He studied architecture, loved journalism, was a well-known politician and participated in establishing the nationalism movement in Nigeria.

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3. Nnamdi Azikiwe

Nigerian nationalist
Nnamdi Azikiwe. Photo: @face2faceafrica, @legitngnews (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Born: November 16, 1904
  • Birthplace: Zungeru, Nigeria
  • Died: May 11, 1996
  • Children: 9
  • Spouses: Uche Azikiwe (1973–1996), Flora Azikiwe (1936–1983), Ugoye Azikiwe
  • Party: National Convention of Nigerian Citizens

Nnamdi Benjamin Azikiwe earned the name "Zik" from his countrymen. People also regard him as the ‘father of Nigerian nationalism,’ because he was the first President of Nigeria. Nnamdi ruled from October 1963 to January 1966.

4. Ahmadu Bello

foremost Nigerian nationalist
Ahmadu Bello. Photo: @bakandamiya, @alamy (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Born: June 12, 1910
  • Birthplace: Rabah, Nigeria
  • Children: 5
  • Assassinated: January 15, 1966, in Kaduna, Nigeria
  • Spouses: Amiru Fadima (1936–1938), Hafsatu Ahmadu Bello (1932–1966)
  • Party: Northern People's Congress

Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello was the only premier of northern Nigeria. He served in the position from 1954 until 1966. This renowned Nigerian nationalist and Nnamdi Azikiwe fought for the British rule will all they had. Their movement successfully led Nigeria to freedom.

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5. Anthony Enahoro

who fought for Nigeria independence
Anthony Enahoro. Photo: @letstalkhistory, @Don Pedro Okojie (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Born: July 22, 1923
  • Birthplace: Uromi, Nigeria
  • Died: December 15, 2010
  • Children: 1
  • Spouse: Helen Enahoro (married 1954)
  • Party: Movement for National Reformation

Anthony Eromosele Enahoro played a significant role in helping Nigerians attain independence. He participated in politics and edited a newspaper founded by Nnamdi Azikiwe. Enahoro is among the Nigerian heroes of the mid-1940s because he was the youngest newspaper editor. He took up the job at age 21.

6. Kudirat Abiola

10 legends in Nigeria
Anthony Enahoro. Photo: @premiumtimesng, @thenationonlineng (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Born: 1951
  • Birthplace: Zaria, Nigeria
  • Children: 7
  • Assassinated: June 4, 1996, in Lagos, Nigeria
  • Spouse: Moshood Abiola (1973–1996)
  • Party: Social Democratic Party (SDP)

Alhaja Kudirat Abiola is also among the fearless people who fought for Nigeria's independence. She married Moshood Olawale. Moshood won the 1993 presidential elections, but Ibrahim Babangida (the military head of state) annulled the results. Kudirat inspired millions to fight dictatorship from the military government. She was assassinated while her husband was in detention.

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7. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

past heroes of Nigeria
Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Photo: @misspetitenaijablog, @bellanaija(modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Born: October 25, 1900
  • Birthplace: Abeokuta, Nigeria
  • Children: 4
  • Assassinated: April 13, 1978, in Lagos, Nigeria
  • Spouse: Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti (1925–1955)
  • Party: Commoners' People's Party

Funmilayo Ransome Kuti is also among the celebrated past heroes of Nigeria. She was a teacher, an active member of the Movement of the People party, and a women's rights activist. The world remembers Funmilayo as the first Nigerian woman to drive a car and the first female student to attend the Abeokuta Grammar School.

8. Mallam Aminu Kano

Nigerian heros
Mallam Aminu Kano. Photo: @abebooks, @oldnaija (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Born: August 9, 1920
  • Birthplace: Kano, Nigeria
  • Died: April 17, 1983
  • Children: Hajiya Maryam Aminu Kano
  • Spouse: Hajiya Shatu Aminu Kano
  • Parties: NEPU, People's Redemption Party

Mallam Aminu Kano was a tough member of the nationalist movement in the 1940s. He led a socialist movement in northern Nigeria. Aminu suffered a stroke due to cerebral malaria. His wife, Shatu, found him dead on April 17, 1983.

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9. Gani Fawehinmi

10 Nigerian nationalists
Gani Fawehinmi. Photo: @Jason Kayode, @Femi Oshunfowora (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Born: April 22, 1938
  • Birthplace: Ondo, Nigeria
  • Died: September 5, 2009
  • Children: 14
  • Spouse: Ganiat Bukun Fawehinmi (1965–2009), Abike Fawehinmi
  • Party: National conservatism Social conservatism

Abdul-Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi was a foremost Nigerian nationalist. He was an author, publisher, philanthropist, human and civil rights activist, politician, and lawyer. Fawehinmi was passionate about journalism and national affairs. His college mates nicknamed him ‘Nation.’ He died on September 5, 2009, after a long battle with lung cancer.

10. Margaret Ekpo

list 10 nationalists in nigeria
Margaret Ekpo. Photo: @bbcnews, @abhpress (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Born: July 27, 1914
  • Birthplace: Creek Town, Nigeria
  • Died: September 21, 2006
  • Spouse: Udo Ekpo (married 1938)
  • Party: National Convention of Nigerian Citizens

Calabar Airport was named after Margaret Ekpo. She fought for the British government for not allowing Nigerian women to vote, among other issues. Ekpo died at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, and was buried at Hawkins cemetery in a mausoleum built by the state government.

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Who is the first Nigerian nationalist?

Herbert Macaulay is considered to be the founder of Nigerian nationalism. His influence began in the 1920s.

Who is the father of nationalism in Nigeria?

Nnamdi Azikiwe and Herbert Macaulay are regarded as the father of nationalism in Nigeria. They fought for establishing the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) in 1944.

Who fought for Nigeria to gain independence?

Nnamdi Benjamin Azikiwe was among those who led Nigeria to independence on October 1, 1960. He also became Nigeria's first president.

How did nationalism start in Nigeria?

Economic depression in Lagos caused unemployment, retrenchment, and economic hardships worsened in the early 1930s. Wages fell and forced people to push for reforms because the British government ignored their outcry.

These 10 full names of Nigerian nationalists gave a lot to their country. Nigeria could have had a different story if these legends could not aggressively push the British government to se their people free. Nigerians now enjoy the fruits of these heros' hardships.

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READ ALSO: Top 12 Nigerian sports heroes and heroines: Interesting details also posted the top 12 Nigerian sports heroes and heroines. Nigeria is good in football, athletics, basketball, boxing, dambe, and table tennis.

Football is the most popular sport in Nigeria. Its national football team regularly competes for international titles. Many Nigerian footballers play in Europe, especially in England.


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