Nigeria can be traced back to the prehistoric settlers, that is, Nigerians living in the area as far back as 1100BC. In 1900, the northern Protectorate and the southern protectorate were merged together into one entity in 1914 after Governor Frederick Luggard urged the British Government to do so.
In 1925, a new movement began. Nigerian students studying abroad, especially in the United kingdom joined forces with other students from the west African sub- region to form the West African Union. This union focused in criticising the British government and advocating for self rule. They formed and organized together various association like the Nigerian Union of teachers, the Nigerian Law Association, Nigerian Produce Traders Association and their likes started coming up during the 1920s
Some of these individuals were Herbert Macaulay who was the grandson of Bishop Ajayi Crowther , Dr Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello and Chief Anthony Enahoro.
Similarly, each participated actively in the pursuit of the independence, Herbert Macaulay who is Known as the founder of Nigerian Nationalism started the nationalist movement because of his belief that people of different backgrounds living in the British Colony of Nigeria needed to come together as one. After his return in 1893, he joined the Colonial civil service and this exposed him to the ills and irregularities of the colonial government which inspired him to join politic in order to fight for the rights of the Nigerians. His first move was to create the Daily News in order to promote the nationalist movement. He then went further to establish a political party in 1922 known as the Nigeria National Democratic Party
Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe, born on 16th November, 1904 was at the fore front in the fight. He was the former editor of the renowned African Morning Post in Ghana, he later founded the West African Pilot which was a powerful tool he used in promoting the cause of Nigerian Nationalism. He founded the National Council of the Nigerian and the Cameroon(NCNC)in 1944 and was made the secretary general in 1946. In the following years he was elected to the legislative council of the Nigeria and later became Nigeria first president.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a barrister, born on march 6,1909 and studied abroad was one of the Brains behind the Independence. During his studies in London, he wrote a first book “Path to Nigeria’s Freedom” in which he thoroughly criticised the British administration and advocated for self governance. He founded a political party known as Action Group in 1950, this party caller for the termination of the British rule in Nigeria and solidly pushed for self governance.
Nigerian independence would have been incomplete without Sir Ahmadu Bello who was born on June 12, 1910. He alongside Abubakar Tafawa belewa took active role in the struggle, he became the first Premier of the Northern Nigerian in 1954 and in 1959 independence election. His party NPC formed am alliance with Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe’s NCNC to form the first indigenous federal government which led to independence from the colonial master
Chief Anthony Enahoro, one of the Nigeria’s foremost anti-colonial and pre- democracy activist was born on 22nd July,1923. He became Nigeria’s youngest editor ever at the age of 21 when he became the editor of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe’s Newspaper. He joined the fight in the early 1940s as a student leader and so leading many protests. He was on two occasion jailed by the colonial government for sedition and writing satiric articles. In 1953, he became the first to move the motion for Nigeria’s independence and is usually referred to as the father of “Nigeria state”, his motion was rejected until a successful motion was moved by chief Kani Kayode in 1958 which led to independence on 1st October
A free man was once referred to as a happy man, though the struggle of independence came through many thick and thin but today we welcomes and celebrates the Independence with open arm and happiness remembering that we received it from our heroes who never lost their Vision.
About the author
Stephen is A 200 level Law student of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University. Anambra state.