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Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians - Politics - Nairaland

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Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 8:35am On Mar 27, 2012
These are some of the notable names, I think are my Nigerian heroes:

- Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther
- Herbert Macaulay
- Nigeria's Atlanta 1996 Olympic Football Team
- Chief Obafemi Awolowo
- Christopher Okigbo
- Chief Nnamdi Azikwe
- Alhaji Ahmadu Bello
- Alhaji Aminu Kano
- Prof. Wole Soyinka
- Fela Kuti
- Chief Gani Fawenhimi

I'll like to talk about our unsung hero on this list - and it's none other than the GREAT CHRISTOPHER OKIGBO (R.I.P). Christopher Okigbo was our Steven Bantu Biko - he was to Nigeria, what Bantu Biko was to South Africa - though, they had different philosophies about African nationalism. It's just a pity these brilliant and articulate Africans died young. Christopher Okigbo was ahead of his time - and I believe he would have been greater than both Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe, if he was alive.

I decided not to include Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu on my list because, while I commend him for his bravery for the Biafra war (some of tactics were myopic) - but his lack of achievements before and after the civil war, made him ineligible to be a Nigerian hero. He made the best decision at that time, due to the pogroms - though, the execution was questionable. lipsrsealed

I know some of my Igbo brothers and sisters will have some reservations about my inclusion of Chief Obafemi Awolowo on the list - but you can't deny his achievements. If I could include Sir Ahmadu Bello (a Northern oligarch, and an Islamist based on some of his utterances) - and Chief Nnamdi Azikwe (who I believed was a pseudo-Pan-Africanist, and a capitalist. Capitalism and Pan-Africanism don't mix) - then, the erudite Chief Obafemi Awolowo deserves his rightful place on this list.

Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu said it best, when he said: "Awolowo was the best president Nigeria NEVER had", enough said.

My journey to discovering my Nigerian consciousness started a couple of years ago, and I think I've made great strides towards achieving that. I love Nigeria and we've to keep the Nigerian project alive.

The quotes below show why Nigeria must not disintegrates:
- "The thing to do is to get organized; keep separated and you will be exploited, you will be robbed, you will be killed. Get organized and you will compel the world to respect you."
Marcus Garvey

- "Remain separated and you will suffer; Together we are invincible !" - Haywood Barber, Sr.

- "You're not an African (Nigerian) because you're born in Africa (Nigeria). You're an African (Nigerian) because Africa (Nigeria) is born in you. It's in your genes.... your DNA....your entire biological make up. Whether you like it or not, that's the way it is. However, if you were to embrace this truth with open arms....my, my, my....what a wonderful thing." - Marimba Ani

- "Black Consciousness is in essence the realization by the black man of the need to rally together with his brothers around the cause of their operation - the blackness of their skin - and to operate as a group in order to rid themselves of the shackles that bind them to perpetual servitude." - Steve Biko[/b]

Please feel free to add to the list!

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Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 8:37am On Mar 27, 2012

Those whom God love, so a saying goes, He leaves His mark on them before they are born. Samuel Ajayi Crowther, a Yoruba son, later to become Bishop of Western Equatorial Africa, and the first African to be so honoured, was one such man.

There came an expedition in 1841, which over-riding purpose was to bring Christianity to our shores and remove the evils of slave trade from our midst, that a stalwart Yoruba son, himself having been miraculously rescued from the hands of a slave dealer who had taken him as far as the territorial waters of Sierra Leone, was to make not only his presence felt, but leave his name as a monument in the history of Nigeria, West Africa and the world.

The name, Samuel Ajayi Crowther continues to ring like a bell today, not only in Christian churches and homes, but throughout our society. We came across it in Sunday school lessons, and drank in the written words about him in text books during very young age at school.

Having thus been removed from the hands of a slave merchant in 1822, and because of his discernable high intelligence by missionaries in Sierra Leone, he was sent to the local C.M.S. School in Freetown, for what was to become his first step in the acquisition of knowledge. This was only the beginning of things to come.

Little Ajayi, who quickly demonstrated that he would not be found wanting as far as intelligence and academic baptized and given the significant biblical name of Samuel. He however shrewdly for one so young kept his Yoruba name of Ajayi.

It soon became obvious to the group of missionaries who were his benefactors that to educate young Samuel Ajayi only in Sierra Leone would be doing the lad an injustice, as it wouldn’t be enough. For to properly educate him was outside the scope of the then West Africa teachers and institutions.

And so, he was dispatched to a parochial school in Arlington, London, where the surname, Crowther, the name of notable Church Missionary Society member was added to his other two names. From then on, he became known as Samuel Ajayi Crowther.

At the completion of his education in Britain he returned to Sierra Leone, the very place he had been taken to off a slave ship. And it was from there that the most turning point of his life and career began. For he found himself given pride of place among English missionaries and some Africans, setting out on the already mentioned expedition with the two-fold mission – bringing Christianity, and the abolition of slave trade.

Although Christianity had already taken hold in Liberia, and in the then Gold Coast, (now Ghana) and of course is Sierra Leone, it had not at all found any footing in Nigeria. Islamism and paganism were then the practiced religious. To remedy this oversight, and largely seek converts particularly among the pagans, was actually necessary among members of the expedition.

To go a step further, the inclusion and the presence of Samuel Ajayi Crowther among these enterprising gentlemen, it was hoped, would help to convert the Nigerian masses.

And it came about that in the July of the same year after having weathered sea-sickness and various other discomforts, that they reached the Niger, and began their work in earnest, and with feverish zeal.

While expounding the merits of Christianity with natural rulers, they at the same time, signed treaties on the abolition of slave trade, and in its place substituted more palatable trade agreements on the supply of legitimate goods in order that slave dealers would not incur trade deficits since their once lucrative source of livelihood, the sale of their fellow country men to foreign entrepreneurs must be made to cease perpetually.

On and on they went, in villages and hamlets until June 1842, when they felt their mission was accomplished, and the expedition therefore came to and end. The English members were instructed to return home, while the Africans among them were to be disembarked at Cape Coast in the then Gold Coast, also in Sierra Leone, and Cape Palmas.

The fruit of the labour of the distinguished Crowther, and other little known African members among the expedition were soon realized by Mr. Henry Venn, who was then the general secretary of the Church Missionary Society.

What the inclusion of Africans, particularly Crowther in the expedition Christianity would be better served if African clergy played a more prominent role since they spoke the language of the people. Not only that Henry Venn also knew that only the African clergy would understand the true African mind as well as their behaviour. And with this line of reasoning, he at once realized that in Samuel Ajayi Crowther, he had found the right man for the right job.

It therefore fell into the scheme of things that Crowther was made the head of the Anglican Church in Western Equatorial Africa. Bur before this came to pass, he was ordained a priest in London at the end of which he delivered to the congregation who had watched him so ordained such a moving sermon, that they could not help but impressed.

The result was that when the Yoruba Mission was founded at Abeokuta by Mr. Henry Townsend, Crowther was naturally included.

Crowther’s task however, was not allowed to end at Abeokuta. It spread father afield into the Niger delta. As he went along, the spreading of Christianity gained the upper hand, while the sale of his fellow Africans to foreigners diminished before his very eyes. Not a man happy to sit on his laurels, he marched on, making friends and bringing them to the fold.

Thus, it was. That Samuel Ajayi Crowther, whom God smiled upon, and who for his part, demonstrated equally through sheer handwork, that smile was not wasted on him found himself proposed by the same Mr. Henry Venn as Bishop of Western Equatorial Africa.

Typical of Crowther, he refused the honour, while Henry Venn insisted much to the anger of Henry Townsend who felt that he was better equipped and more importantly, deserved that honour better than Crowther, and bitterly opposed it.

The handwriting was however already on the wall, and the moving finger having written that Crowther should be made Bishop, had moved on, And Samuel Ajayi Crowther according to the handwriting on the wall, was in 1864, ordained Bishop in the ancient and magnificent historic Canterbury cathedral in Kent, South East England.

Nevertheless, to soothe the jealousy and ruffled feelings of European missionaries, the missions of Abeokuta, Lagos and Freetown, Sierra Leone were excluded from Crowther’s diocese.

But these, were the least of Crowther’s worries as he went from strength to strength, expended, and brought more and more souls into the fold of Christian doctrine.

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Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 8:38am On Mar 27, 2012

Herbert Macaulay (1864-1945) was a Nigerian political leader. One of the first leaders of the Nigerian opposition to British colonial rule, he was also a civil engineer, journalist, and accomplished musician.

Born in Lagos, Herbert Macaulay was the son of the Reverend Thomas Babington Macaulay, prominent Lagos missionary and educator, and the maternal grandson of Samuel Ajayi Crowther, first African bishop of the Niger Territory. Receiving his early education in the mission schools of Lagos, Macaulay in 1881 became a clerk in the Public Works Department in Lagos. He was recognized as a promising civil servant and in 1890 was awarded a government scholarship to study civil engineering in England, where he spent 3 years. Upon his return to Lagos he was appointed surveyor of crown lands for the colony of Lagos, a position he held until 1898, when he resigned the post.

Macaulay's resignation seems to have been precipitated by his growing resentment for the racial discrimination practiced by Europeans in the civil service. He established himself as a private surveyor in Lagos and slowly over the ensuing years emerged as a spokesman for opposition to British rule in Lagos and all Nigeria. Macaulay addressed himself to numerous issues, usually in articles he contributed to the Lagos Daily Times. He opposed every attempt by the British authorities to expand their administration, interpreting these developments as detrimental to the interests of indigenous Nigerians, who inevitably would be forced to pay the bills in taxes. He agitated against the payment of water rates in 1915 and, as a leader of the Lagos auxiliary of the Antislavery and Aborigines Protection Society, led the opposition against government plans to reform land tenure arrangements in Lagos and Yorubaland.

Through his antigovernment activities Macaulay rose to preeminence in Lagos politics. In 1921 he was sent to London by the eleko, or king, of Lagos to represent him in the legal appeal of a local land tenure case. In London, Macaulay proclaimed that the British colonial government was eroding the power and authority of the eleko, who, he said, was recognized by all Nigerians as the rightful king of Lagos. This episode embarrassed the British, although it did not deter their activities, and established Macaulay as a leading advocate of the rights of traditional leadership in Lagos.

In 1922 a new Nigerian constitution was introduced providing for limited franchise elections in Lagos and Calabar. In order to contest the three elective seats in Lagos, Macaulay organized the Nigerian National Democratic party (NNDP). The platform of the NNDP sought self-government for Lagos, the introduction of institutions of higher education into Nigeria, compulsory primary school education, the Africanization of the civil service, and nondiscrimination in the development of private economic enterprise.

Macaulay's political activities were limited to Lagos affairs until the very end of his life, when the quest for independence began to pervade all Nigeria. He presided in 1944 at the meeting of the Nigerian Union of Students, from which ultimately emerged the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC), Nigeria's first national political party. Macaulay was elected president of the NCNC and was engaged in a national tour for the party in 1945, when he was taken ill. Returning to Lagos, he died in the same year.

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Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 8:41am On Mar 27, 2012

Abiodun Obafemi, Augustine Okocha, Celestine Babayaro, Daniel Amokachi, Emmanuel Amuneke, Emmanuel Babayaro, Garba Lawal, Joseph Dosu, Nwankwo Kanu, Kingsley Obiekwu, Mobi Obaraku, Uche Okechukwu, Sunday Oliseh, Taribo West, Teslim Fatusi, Tijani Babangida, Victor Ikpeba, and Wilson Oruma
Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 8:43am On Mar 27, 2012

Chief Obafemi Awolowo (1909-1987) was a Nigerian nationalist, a political leader, and a principal participant in the struggle for Nigerian independence.

Obafemi Awolowo was born in Ikenné, Western State, Nigeria, on March 6, 1909. He received his early education in the mission schools of Ikenné, Abeokuta, and Ibadan. Often he worked at odd jobs to raise money for tuition fees, and his entrepreneurial spirit continued to express itself in the various careers which he subsequently sampled: journalist, teacher, clerk, moneylender, taxidriver, produce broker. His organizational and political inclinations became evident as he moved to high-level positions in the Nigerian Motor Transport Union, the Nigerian Produce Traders' Association, the Trades Union Congress of Nigeria, and the Nigerian Youth Movement, of which he became Western Provincial secretary.

Despite his interest in business ventures, Awolowo wanted to continue his formal education. In 1944 he completed a University of London correspondence course for the bachelor of commerce degree. His greatest ambition, however, was to study law, which he undertook in London from 1944 to 1946, when he was called to the bar. Returning to Nigeria in 1947, he developed a thriving practice as a barrister in Ibadan.

Political Career

During his residence in London, Awolowo moved to a position of prominence in the struggle for Nigerian independence. In 1945 he wrote his first book, Path to Nigerian Freedom, in which he was highly critical of British policies of indirect administration and called for rapid moves toward self- government and Africanization of administrative posts in Nigeria. He also expressed his belief that federalism was the form of government best suited to the diverse populations of Nigeria, a position to which he consistently adhered. Also in 1945 in London, he helped found the Egbe Omo Oduduwa (Society of the Descendants of Oduduwa, the mythical ancestor of the Yoruba-speaking peoples), an organization devoted to the study and preservation of Yoruba culture.

In 1950 Awolowo founded and organized the Action Group political party in Western Nigeria to participate in the Western Regional elections of 1951. The Action Group's platform called for immediate termination of British rule in Nigeria and for development of various public welfare programs, including universal primary education, increase of health services in rural areas, diversification of the Western Regional economy, and democratization of local governments. The Action Group won a majority, and in 1952 Awolowo as president of the Action Group became leader of the party in power in Western Nigeria. In 1954 he became the first premier of the Western Region, on which occasion he was awarded an honorary chieftaincy. During his tenure as leader and premier, he held the regional ministerial portfolios of local government, finance, and economic planning. He was also chairman of the Regional Economic Planning Commission.

In 1959, confident of an Action Group victory in the federal elections, Awolowo resigned the premiership to stand for election to the federal House of Representatives. About that time he published his second book, Awo: An Autobiography of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, in which he once more endorsed federalism as the most appropriate form of government for Nigeria. He also outlined the successful history of the Action Group and was optimistic of Nigerian independence.

Power Struggle

However, the 1959 elections were to become an important turning point in Awolowo's career, for the Action Group was decisively defeated, and Awolowo found himself leader of the opposition in the Federal House of Representatives, while the deputy leader of the Action Group, Chief S. L. Akintola, remained premier of the Western Region. This situation led to a power struggle within the party which ultimately erupted in 1962 in disturbances in the Western Region House of Assembly. The federal government intervened and suspended the regional constitution. When normal government was restored, the Akintola faction had won; Akintola and his followers withdrew from the Action Group to form the Nigerian National Democratic party, which governed Western Nigeria until 1966.

In 1963 Awolowo was found guilty of conspiring to overthrow the government of Nigeria and was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment. In 1966, however, an attempted coup d'etat led to the suspension of the Nigerian federal constitution and the empowerment of a military government which promised a new constitution. That year, while in prison, Awolowo wrote Thoughts on the Nigerian Constitution, in which he argued for the retention of a federal form of government composed of 18 states. Later, in 1966, he was released from prison and the following year was invited to join the Federal Military Government as federal commissioner of finance and as vice chairman of the Federal Executive Council.

In 1968 Awolowo published his fourth book, The People's Republic, calling for federalism, democracy, and socialism as the necessary elements in a new constitution which would lead to the development of a stable and prosperous Nigeria. Although he praised the Federal Military Government for creating a 12-state federal system in 1967, he predicted further political difficulties because these states had not been based on ethnic and linguistic affinities.

Awolowo continued to serve the government as commisioner of finance and vice chairman of the Federal Executive Council throughout the years of Nigeria's civil war with Biafra (1967-1970). In his 1970 book, The Strategy and Tactics of the People"s Republic of Nigeria, he implied a position which he would state more firmly in subsequent years: that the government's post-war spending should be devoted to development rather than to the military. He resigned in 1971 to protest the government's continuation of military rule, and in 1975, following the overthrow of the Gowon government, issued a press release questioning the country's military spending. In 1979 and 1983 he ran for president as the candidate for the Unity Party of Nigeria, losing to Shehu Shagari. Awolowo returned to private life upon the overthrow of the Shagari government in December 1983. He died in Ikenné on May 9, 1987

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Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 8:45am On Mar 27, 2012

Sir Ahmadu Bello (June 12, 1910 – January 15, 1966) was a Nigerian politician, and was the first premier of the Northern Nigeria region from 1954-1966. He was the Sardauna of Sokoto and one of the prominent leaders in Northern Nigeria alongside Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, both of whom were prominent in negotiations about the region's place in an independent Nigeria. As leader of the Northern People's Congress, he dominated Nigerian politics throughout the early Nigerian Federation and the First Nigerian Republic. His assassination in a coup on January 15, 1966 ultimately precipitated into the Nigerian civil war.

Early life

He was born in Rabbah, Sokoto State. The son of a district head and heir to the Sokoto Caliphate, his great-grandfather was Sultan Bello, the founder of Sokoto and son of the revered Shaykh Usman Dan Fodio. Ahmadu Bello received his education first at the Sokoto Provincial School, the only modern school at the time in the Sokoto province. Then, he proceeded to the Katsina Teacher's Training College. After spending five years at Katsina, he was appointed by the Sultan to become a teacher at the Sokoto Middle School, his former school which had undergone rapid transformation. In 1934, he was made the district head of Rabbah, four years later, he was promoted and sent to Gusau to become a divisional head. In 1938, he made an unsuccessful bid to become the new Sultan of Sokoto. The successful sultan immediately conferred upon Sir Ahmadu Bello the traditional, now honorary, title of Sarduna, alternatively spelled Sardauna, and elevated him to the Sokoto Native Authority Council. In 1948, he was offered a scholarship to study local government administration in England. Ahmadu Bello took the scholarship sensing he needed to shore up his knowledge about the process of governance.
Nigerian politics

After returning from England, he was nominated to represent the province of Sokoto in the regional House of Assembly. As a member of the assembly, he was a notable voice for northern interest and embraced a style of consultation and consensus with the major representatives of the northern emirates: Kano, Bornu and Sokoto. In the first elections held in Northern Nigeria in 1952, Sir Ahmadu Bello won a seat in the Northern House of Assembly, and became a member of the regional executive council as minister of works. Bello was successively minister of Works, of Local Government, and of Community Development in the Northern Region of Nigeria.

In 1954, Bello became the first Premier of Northern Nigeria. In the 1959 independence elections, Bello led the NPC to win a plurality of the parliamentary seats. Bello's NPC forged an alliance with Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe's NCNC (National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons) to form Nigeria's first indigenous federal government which led to independence from Britain. In forming the 1960 independence federal government of the Nigeria, Bello as president of the NPC, chose to remain Premier of Northern Nigeria and devolved the position of Prime Minister of the Federation to the deputy president of the NPC, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.

Bello's greatest legacy was the modernization and unification of the diverse people of Northern Nigeria. He was assassinated by Igbo officers on 15 January 1966 military coup which toppled Nigeria's post-independence government. He was still serving as premier of Northern Nigeria at the time.

The Ahmadu Bello University is named after him. His portrait adorns Nigeria's 200 naira note, and he is survived by three daughters, one of which died in 2008.

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Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 8:47am On Mar 27, 2012

Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe (November 16, 1904 – May 11, 1996),[2] usually referred to as Nnamdi Azikiwe and popularly known as "Zik", was one of the leading figures of modern Nigerian nationalism who became the first President of Nigeria after Nigeria secured its independence from the United Kingdom on 1 October 1960; holding the presidency throughout the Nigerian First Republic.

Early life

Azikiwe was born on November 16, 1904 in Zungeru, Northern Nigeria. His parents were Igbo; his father Obed-Edom Chukwuemeka Azikiwe[3] (1879–1958), a clerk in the British Administration of Nigeria[4] and his mother was Rachel Ogbenyeanu Azikiwe.[3] Nnamdi means "My father is alive" in the Igbo language.[5] After studying at Hope Waddell Training Institute, Calabar,[6] Azikiwe went to the United States. While there he attended Howard University, Washington DC[7][8] before enrolling and graduating from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania in 1930. He obtained a masters degree in 1933 from the University of Pennsylvania.[9] He worked as an instructor at Lincoln before returning to Nigeria.
Newspaper career

After teaching at Lincoln, Azikiwe, in November 1934, took the position of editor for the African Morning Post, a daily newspaper in Accra, Ghana. In that position he promoted a pro-African nationalist agenda. Smertin has described his writing there: "In his passionately denunciatory articles and public statements he censured the existing colonial order: the restrictions on the Africans' right to express their opinions, and racial discrimination. He also criticised those Africans who belonged to the "elite" of colonial society and favoured retaining the existing order, as they regarded it as the basis of their well being."[10]

As a result of publishing an article on May 15, 1936 titled "Has the African a God?" written by I.T. A. Wallace-Johnson he was brought to trial on charges of sedition. Although he was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to six months in prison, he was acquitted on appeal. He returned to Lagos, Nigeria, in 1937 and founded the West African Pilot which he used as a vehicle to foster Nigerian nationalism. He founded the Zik Group of Newspapers, publishing multiple newspapers in cities across the country.[citation needed] Azikiwe became active in the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM), the first genuinely nationalist organization in Nigeria. However, in 1941 he backed Samuel Akinsanya to be NYM candidate for a vacant seat in the Legislative Council, but the executive selected Ernest Ikoli instead. Azikiwe resigned from the NYM amid accusations of discrimination against Ijebu members, taking all Ibo and most Ijebu members with him.[11]
Political career

After a successful journalism enterprise, Azikiwe entered into politics, co-founding the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) alongside Herbert Macaulay in 1944. He became the secretary-general of the National Council in 1946, and was elected to Legislative Council of Nigeria the following year. In 1951, he became the leader of the Opposition to the government of Obafemi Awolowo in the Western Region's House of Assembly. In 1952, he moved to the Eastern Region, and was elected to the position of Chief Minister and in 1954 became Premier of Nigeria's Eastern Region. On November 16, 1960, he became the Governor General and on the same day became the first Nigerian named to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom.[6] With the proclamation of a republic in 1963, he became the first President of Nigeria, while Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was the Prime Minister.

Azikiwe and his civilian colleagues were removed from power in the military coup of January 15, 1966. During the Biafran (1967–1970) war of secession, Azikiwe became a spokesman for the nascent republic and an adviser to its leader Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. After the war, he served as Chancellor of Lagos University from 1972 to 1976. He joined the Nigerian People's Party in 1978, making unsuccessful bids for the presidency in 1979 and again in 1983. He left politics involuntarily after the military coup on December 31, 1983. He died on May 11, 1996 at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, in Enugu, Enugu State, after a protracted illness.

His time in politics spanned most of his adult life and he was referred to by admirers as "The Great Zik of Africa". His motto in politics was "talk I listen, you listen I talk."

The writings of Azikiwe spawned a philosophy of African liberation Zikism, which identifies five concepts for Africa's movement towards freedom: spiritual balance, social regeneration, economic determination, mental emancipation, and political resurgence.[12]

Places named after Azikiwe include the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu, the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka, Anambra State, Nnamdi Azikiwe Press Centre, Dodan Barracks, Obalende, Ikoyi, Lagos. His portrait adorns Nigeria's five hundred naira currency note.

Five hundred Naira

History reveals Zik as the only individual whose name appeared in a democratic constitution. The Nigeria's 1963 Republican Constitution which was an amendment of the 1960 Independent Constitution has the following words: “Nnamdi Azikiwe shall be deemed to have been elected President and Commander in-Chief of the Armed Forces,” as submitted by then Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa who posited that, “Nigeria can never adequately reward Dr. Azikiwe” for his nationalism.[13]

He was inducted into the prestigious Agbalanze society as Nnayelugo in 1946, a customary recognition for men of significant accomplishment. Then, in 1962, he became a second-rank red cap chieftain or Ndichie Okwa as the Oziziani Obi. In 1970, he was installed as Owelle-Osowa-Anya, making him a first-rank, hereditary red cap nobleman or Ndichie Ume.

In 1960, Queen Elizabeth II appointed him to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. He was conferred with the highest national honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR)[14] by the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in 1980. He has received fourteen honorary degrees from Nigerian, American and Liberian universities, which include Lincoln University, Storer College, Howard University, Michigan State University, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University of Lagos, Ahmadu Bello University, University of Ibadan, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, and University of Liberia.

Azikiwe was actively involved in sports at every stage of his life, and he was successful in many of the events that he participated in. They include Welterweight Boxing Champion Storer College (1925–27); High Jump champion, Howard University Inter-Scholastic Games (1926); Gold Medalist in Cross Country, Storer College (1927); Back-stroke Swimming Champion and No. 3 swimmer in Freestyle Relay team, Howard University (1928); Captain, Lincoln University Soccer Team (1930); Winner Two Miles Run, Central Inter-Collegiate Athletic Association Championships at Hampton Institute Virginia (1931); Bronze Medalist, Richmond Cross Country Marathon (1931); Gold Medalist in the 1,000 yard run, One Mile Run and Three Mile Run, Catedonian Games in Brooklyn, NY (1932); Silver Trophy winner in the Half Mile race, and Silver Cup winner in the One Mile Race, Democratic Field Day Championships, New Haven, Connecticut (1933); Runner-up (with G.K. Dorgu) at the Lagos Tennis Men’s Double Championships (Division B 1938); anchor man for the ZAC team which won the 50 yards Freestyle Relay at the Lagos Swimming Championships (1939).

He won letters in athletics (Lincoln University) and cross country (Storer College and Lincoln University), swimming (Howard University), and football (soccer) (Lincoln University); entered to compete in the Half-Mile Race and One-Mile run at the British Empire Games to represent Nigeria, but was rejected by the A.A.A. of Great Britain on technical grounds (he dropped his English Christian name, “Benjamin”); and founded (with M.R.B. Ottun) of the Zik’s Athletic Club to promote athletics, boxing, cricket, football, swimming and tennis in Nigeria.

During his lifetime, he held several political posts, especially in Nigeria. They include Executive Committee Member of Mambili Party, Accra (1935–37); General Secretary of National Council of Nigerian and the Cameroons (1944–45); President of the NCNC (1946–60); Vice-President of the Nigerian National Democratic Party (1947–60); Member for Lagos in the Legislative Council of Nigeria (1947–51); Member for Lagos and Leader of the Opposition in the Western House of Assembly (1952–53) Member for Onitsha in the Eastern House of Assembly (1954–60); Minister of Internal Affairs (Jan.–September 1954); Minister of Internal Affairs, Eastern Region (1954); Member of His Excellency Privy Council, Eastern Nigeria (1954–59); Primer of Eastern Nigeria (1954–59); President of the Senate of the Federation (Jan.-November 1960); Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria (1960–63); President of the Republic of Nigeria (1963–1966); and Chairman and Presidential candidate of the Nigeria People’s Party (1978–83).
Professional world

He made a name for himself in the professional world. He was a Third-class Clerk, Treasury Department, Lagos (1921–1924); Recruit, Gold Coast Police Force (Jul.-September 1924); Solicitor Clerk to the late Mr. Justice Graham Paul at Calabar (Jan.-Aug. 1925); Instructor in Political Science, Lincoln University (1931–34); University Correspondent for the Baltimore Afro-American (1928–34); General and Sports Correspondent for the Philadelphia Tribune (1928–34); Editor-in Chief of the West African Pilot (1937–45); Correspondent for the Associated Negro Press (1944–47); Correspondent for Reuters (1944–46); Managing Director of Zik’s Press Limited printers and publishers of the West African Pilot (Lagos), Eastern Guardian (Port Harcourt), Nigerian Spokesman (Onitsha), Southern Nigeria Defender (Ibadan), Daily Comet (Kano), and Eastern Sentinel (Enugu); Managing Director of Comet Press Limited (1945–53); Chairman of West African Pilot Limited and the Associated Newspapers of Nigeria Limited and six other limited liability companies (1952–53); Chairman, Nigerian Real Estate Corporation Limited (1952–53); etc.
Societies and organizations

He was a member of many organizations and societies, including Anti-Slavery Society for the protection of Human Rights; Phi Beta Sigma fraternity (Alpha Chapter and Mu Chapter); West African Students' Union; Onitsha Improvement Union; Zik’s Athletic Club; Ekine Sekiapu Society of Buguma, Kalabari; St. John’s Lodge of England; Royal Economic Society; Royal Anthropological Institute; British Association for the Advancement of Science; American Society of International Law; American Anthropological Association; American Political Science Association; American Ethnological Society; Amateur Athletic Association of Nigeria; Nigerian Swimming Association, Nigerian Boxing Board of Control; Nigerian Cricket Association; Ibo State Union; Nigerian Table Tennis Association; Nigeria Olympic Committee and British Empire and Commonwealth Games Association.


Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 8:49am On Mar 27, 2012

Chief Anthony Enahoro (22 July 1923 – 15 December 2010) was Nigeria’s foremost anti-colonial and pro-democracy activists. He was born the eldest of twelve children in Uromi in the present Edo State of Nigeria. His Esan parents were Anastasius Okotako Enahoro (d. 1968) and Fidelia Inibokun née Ogbidi Okojie (d. 1969). Chief Enahoro has had a long and distinguished career in the press, politics, the civil service and the pro-democracy movement. Educated at the Government School Uromi, Government School Owo and King's College, Lagos, Chief Enahoro became the editor of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s newspaper, the Southern Nigerian Defender, Ibadan, in 1944 at the age of 21, thus becoming Nigeria’s youngest editor ever. He later became the editor of Zik’s Comet, Kano, 1945–49, also associate editor West African Pilot, Lagos, editor-in-chief Morning Star from 1950 to 1953.

And In 1953, Chief Anthony Enahoro became the first to move the motion for Nigeria's independence and consequences,he has been regarded by academics and many Nigerians as the father of "Nigeria State" Though his motion was rejected by Parliament and the northern MP's staged a walkout as a consequence of the attempt. The actual successful movement of the motion for Nigeria's independence did not take place until 1958. After Enahoro's initial attempt in 1953, Chief S.L. Akintola attempted to move the second motion for Nigeria's independence in 1957 and though his motion was passed by Parliament it was not acquiesced to by the British colonial authorities and it therefore failed. The successful moving of the motion for Nigeria's independence did not take place until August 1958 and this was done by Chief Remi Fani-Kayode. Fani-Kayode's motion was not only passed by Parliament but it was also acquiesced to by the British. His motion had called for independence to be granted to Nigeria on April 2, 1960 and though it was passed by Parliament and acquiesed to by the British a slight amendment proposing that the month of independence should be moved from April 2 to October 1 was proposed by a fourth motion to Parliament by Sir Tafawa Balewa in 1959 and it was passed.As a consequence of that Nigeria gained her independence in 1960.


Chief Enahoro is survived by his wife Helen (née Ediae),their five children and several grandchildren. None of the children have as yet followed their father's footsteps into mainstream national politics, although his first son, Ken,was chairman of the National Minority Rights Movement and his third son, Victor, was a prominent activist with the American branch of the NADECO movement. His youngest child, Gabriel, has helped in the work of Amnesty International and worked with local government in England. It is expected that the death of the patriarch will see the emergence of one, if not all of his children to carry his mantle.

The five children; Kenneth Enahoro, Eugene Enahoro, Victor Enahoro, Annabella Enahoro and Gabriel Enahoro; are all University graduates and currently pursue careers in both Nigeria and abroad. They have each showed an interest in following their father into public service in Nigeria, but it is not known whether they share their late father's independent stance, or whether they will declare for and actively support any of the existing political parties in Nigeria.

The nature of Nigerian politics is such that it is widely expected that each of them will be approached to see whether they will indeed follow their father into the political arena.

Through his children, Chief Enahoro has many grandchildren, with Eugene, Victor and Gabriel being married. The latter has been married for almost 15 years to a Polish citizen, with whom he has 3 children. They currently live in London, England. Eugene and his wife are resident in Benin City and Abuja, with Victor and his wife splitting their time between The USA and Abuja.
Early life

He was born the eldest of ten children in Onewa village, Uromi, in the present Edo State of Nigeria. His Esan parents were Anastasius Asuelinmen "Okotako" Enahoro (d. 1968) and Fidelia Inibokun née Ogbidi Okojie (d. 1969). Chief Enahoro has had a long and distinguished career in the press, politics, the civil service and the pro-democracy movement. Educated at the Government School Uromi, Government School Owo and King's College, Lagos, Chief Enahoro became the editor of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s newspaper, the Southern Nigerian Defender, Ibadan, in 1944 at the age of 21. AS a student then at the famous Kings College, Chief Enahoro plunged into the Nigerian turbulent liberation struggle against colonial rule in the early 1940s, leading to student revolts at the college, in Lagos where he was a student leader. He was prominent in politics at a time of rapid change. He was twice jailed for sedition by the colonial government, for an article mocking a former governor, and then for a speech allegedly inciting Nigerian troops serving in the British army. The British marked him as a firebrand, but even as he was jailed for a third time, he was beginning to reassess his position.

During the Nigerian crisis that followed the 1966 coups, Chief Enahoro was the leader of the then Mid-West delegation to the Ad HocConstitutional Conference in Lagos. He later became Federal commissioner (Minister) for Information and Labour under the General Yakubu Gowon Military Government, 1967–74; Federal Commissioner for Special Duties, 1975. He later became member of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, 1978–83. He was the president, World Festival of Negro Arts and Culture, 1972–75.

Chief Enahoro was the chairman of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a pro-democracy group that fought dictator Sani Abacha till Abacha’s death.

Chief Enahoro was conferred with the national honour of Commander, Order of the Federal Republic, CFR, in 1982, and is the chairman of the Movement for National Reformation, MNR; as well as the Pro-National Conference Organisation, PRONACO. He was awarded honorary DSC by the University of Benin in 1972. Among his publications include the treatise Fugitive Offender. Chief Enahoro played golf and followed cricket ardently. [1][2][3] Chief Enahoro was a delegate to most of the constitutional conferences leading to the independence of Nigeria in 1960.
Crisis in Western Nigeria

During the 1962 crisis in the old Western region, he was detained along with other Action Group members. Accused of treason during the Awolowo alleged coup trial, Chief Enahoro escaped via Ghana to the United Kingdom in 1963, Nigeria requested Enahoro's extradition under the 1881 Fugitive Offenders Act, preventing his application for political asylum. Early in 1963, the new leader of the Labour party, Harold Wilson, detected the embarrassment caused by Enahoro's arrest and imprisonment. Labour went on the attack in the Commons, with support from some Tories, backed by a media furore. He was once one of the best-known Nigerians in Britain. He was the "fugitive offender" who triggered days of debate in the House of Commons in 1963 as he battled against extradition.

"The Enahoro affair" became an issue of human rights versus the government's pusillanimous wish not to offend Nigeria, and put the Tory prime minister, Harold Macmillan, and his home secretary, Henry Brooke, in a difficult position.

He was extradited from the UK and imprisoned for treason. In 1966, he was released by the Military Government.

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Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 8:50am On Mar 27, 2012

Chinua Achebe was born in Ogidi, Nigeria, the son of Isaiah Okafor Achebe, a teacher in a missionary school, and Janet Ileogbunam. His parents, though they installed in him many of the values of their traditional Igbo culture, were devout evangelical Protestants and christened him Albert after Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. In 1944 Achebe attended Government College in Umuahia. Like other major Nigerian writers including Wole Soyinka, Elechi Amadi, John Okigbo, John Pepper Clark, and Cole Omotso, he was also educated at the University College of Ibadan, where he studied English, history and theology. At the university Achebe contributed several stories and essays to its magazine, University Herald. Rejecting his British name Achebe took his indigenous name Chinua. In 1953 he graduated with a BA. Before joining the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS, later changed to Nigerian Broadcasting Corporarion, or NBC) in Lagos in 1954 he travelled in Africa and America, and worked for a short time as a teacher at a local school in Oba. For a period in the 1960s he was the director of External Services in charge of the Voice of Nigeria. In 1961 he married Christie Chinwe Okoli, who came from Umuokpu village in Awka. They had four children. Christie Achebe, a psychologist, took her degree in London, and was a visiting professor of psychology at Bard College.

Backing Biafra in the Nigerian Civil War (1967-70) Achebe worked for the government as an ambassador. In 1967 Achebe cofounded the publishing company Citadell Press at Enugu with Christopher Okigbo, a gifted poet and close family friend.Ogibo joined the army and was killed in action in August 1967 and the operation of the press was terminated. Achebe's writings from this period reflect his deep personal disappointment with what Nigeria became since independence. His pregnant wife suffered a miscarriage, and Achebe himself narrowly escaped death. Many of his poems written during the war were collected in BEWARE, SOUL BROTHER (1971), which won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize.

When the Biafra struggle ended in defeat, Achebe rejoined the African Studies department at University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In 1971 Achebe began editing Okike, the leading journal of Nigerian new writing. While holding the post of Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, he met there James Baldwin, also a faculty member. Returning to Nigeria in 1976, Achebe was appointed research fellow at the University, and after serving as professor of English, he retired in 1981. Since 1985, Achebe has been a professor emeritus. In the 1990s Achebe taught literature to undergraduates at Bard College, a liberal arts school.

Achebe wrote his first novel, THINGS FALL APART (1958), while working as the head of NBS. The story of a traditional village "big man" Okonkwo, and his downfall has been translated into some 50 languages. Okonkwo is an ambitious and powerful leader of an Igbo community, who counts on physical strength and courage. His life is good: his compound is large, he has no troubles with his wives, his garden grows yams, and he is respected by his fellow villagers. When Okonkwo accidentally kills a clansman, he is banished from the village for seven years. But the vehicle for his downfall is his blindness to circumstances and the missionary church, which brings with it the new authority of the British District Commissioner. The story is set in the 1890s, when missionaries and colonial government made its intrusion into Igbo society. In this process Okonkwo is destroyed, because his unwillingness to change set him apart from the community and he is fighting alone against colonialism. Achebe took the title of the book from William Butler Yates's The Second Coming- "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."

Also ARROW OF GOD (1964) concerned traditional Igbo life as it clashed with colonial powers in the form of missionaries and colonial government. Set in the 1920s, it tells of Ezeulu, priest, who sends one of his sons to missionary school and gains in some respect the approval of the English district superintendent. However, Ezeulu is doomed, because when defending the traditions of his people he is unyielding, unable to reach a compromise, and afraid of losing his authority.

A MAN OF THE PEOPLE (1966) was a satire of corruption and power struggles in an African state. The central characters are the Minister of Culture, Nanga, the man of the people, and teacher Odili, an African Lucky Jim, who tells the story. Odili stands against the government, but not because of ideological reasons. He has personal interests: Nanga has seduced his girl friend. Their political confrontation becomes violent, Nanga's thugs inflict havoc and chaos, and the army responds by staging a coup.

Among Achebe's later works is ANTHILLS OF THE SAVANNAH (1987), a polyvocal story with multiple narrators, which was set in an imaginary West African state of Kangan, a thinly veiled Nigeria. Sam, a Sandhurst-trained military officer, who has become President. The tragic hero Chris Oriko, modelled after Okigbo, and Ikem Osodi, his friends, die when resisting brutal abuse of power, and eventually a military coup eliminates Sam. Beatrice Okah - Chris's London-educated girl friend - is entrusted with her community of women to return the political sanity.

Achebe has also written collections of short stories, poetry, and several books for juvenile readers. He has received a Margaret Wrong Prize, the New Statesman Jock Campbell Prize, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, and the 2007 Man Booker International award. In 1983, upon the death of Mallan Aminu Kano, Achebe was elected deputy national president of the People's Redemption Party. As the director of Heineman Educational Books in Nigeria, he has encouraged and published the work of dozens of African writers. He founded in 1984 the bilingual magazine Uwa ndi Igbo, a valuable source for Igbo studies. An automobile accident on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway in 1990 left Achebe confined to a wheelchair, permanently.

Achebe's own literary language is standard English blended with Pidgin, Igbo vocabulary, proverbs, images and speech patterns. An example of his skills as a storyteller is 'The Madman', a richly layered narrative, in which the social customs of the Ibo-speaking people are strongly present. Nwibe, an honored member of a distant town Ogbu, plans to go to the market, where he has once chased a madman out of his hut and sent his children to throw stones at him. As he washes by the river, the madman snatches his cloth. Nwibe runs Unclad after him, shouting stop the madman. The thief with the cloth disappears in the crowd, and Nwibe is taken to a medicine-man, but he has lost his social position. "For how could a man be the same again of whom witnesses from all the lands of Olu and Igbo have once reported that they saw today a fine, hefty man in his prime, stark Unclad, tearing through the crowds to answer the call of the market-place. Such a man is marked forever."

As an essayist Achebe has gained fame with his collections MORNING YET ON CREATION DAY (1975), HOPES AND IMPEDIMENTS (1988) and his long essay THE TROUBLE WITH NIGERIA (1983). In his pathbreaking study 'An Image of Africa' (1975), Achebe knocks down one of the most famous Western narratives, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, by revealing its darker side, which has not been addressed: "... Joseph Conrad was a thoroughgoing racist. That this simple truth is glossed over in criticisms of his work is due to the fact that white racism against Africa is such a normal way of thinking that its manifestations go completely unremarked." (Massachusetts Review, 18, 1977) Though attacking European critics who have failed to understand African literature on its own terms, he has defended the use of the English language in the production of African fiction, insisting that the African novelist has an obligation to educate.

Achebe has defined himself as a cultural nationalist with a revolutionary mission "to help my society regain belief in itself and put away the complexes of the years of denigration and self-abasement." But Achebe has not stopped criticizing postcolonial African leaders who have pillaged economies. During the military dictatorship of Gen. Sani Abacha he left Nigeria several times. When the 70th birthday of the patriarch of the modern African novel was celebrated at Bard College, on November 2000, Wole Soyinka said: "Achebe never hesitates to lay blame for the woes of the African continent squarely where it belongs."

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Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 8:51am On Mar 27, 2012

Christopher Okigbo was born in Ojoto in eastern Nigeria, which at that time was still Britain's colony. He was the fourth child of James Okigbo, a primary-school teacher, and Anna Onugwalobi, daughter of Ikejiofor, priest of the Ajani shrine of Ire, Ojoto. James was a Roman Catholic convert, who taught in many new mission schools. Anna achieve great success in trading clothes and jewelry; she died in 1935, and James married Elizabeth, Okigbo's step-mother. His early education Okigbo received at Umulobia Catholic School. In 1945 he went for his secondary education to Umuahia Government College. Like many other major Nigerian writers, such as Wole Soyinka, Elechi Amadi, John Pepper Clark, and Cole Omotso, he also entered the University College of Ibadan. Okigbo first planned to study medicine, but changed his major to Greek and Latin, graduating in 1956. He edited the University Weekly and translated Greek and Latin Verse. From the university days on he was a close friend of Chinua Achebe.

Okigbo tried first to start a career at the Nigerian Tobacco Company and the United African Company, but he never turned his fascination with big business into a money making enterprise. Between 1957 and 1958 he served as private secretary to the Federal Minister of Information in Lagos. On his first visit to the United States, Okigbo was involved in negotiations which led to the establishment of the Nigerian Mission in the United Nations in New York. However, Okigbo had little patience with bureaucracy, and he failed to secure a position in the Foreign Service. "Chris always struck one to be in the wrong place in those years," one of his colleagues recalled. "He had an amazing energy, a brilliant and acute mind and a real capacity to generate laughter." Before taking a job as the West Africa representantive for Cambridge University Press in 1961, Okigbo was employed as a teacher at Fiditi Grammar School, near Ibadan, and then as Assistant Librarian at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he participated in the founding of the African Authors Association.

In Ibadan, Okigbo became a central figure of the Mbari Club. In the 1960s, this diverse and cosmopolitan city, largest in West Africa, was a haven for scholars, intellectuals, political exiles, artists, writers and bohemians. "Ibadan was a huge village and lived at the leisurely pace of the village; avoided the speed and neuroses of the city," wrote Nkem Nwankwo in his book of memoir Shadow of the Masquerade (1994). "That meant that life was easy and everything – especially sexual gratification – was available with minimum effort, at minimum cost." The great love of Okigbo's life was Judith Safinat Attah, an Igbira princess, the daughter of one of the most powerful monarchs in Northern Nigeria. They eventually married, but he did not give up his Bohemian ways, and turned her back to Yola in the North of Nigeria, if she came to see him without informing beforehand. To a friend Okigbo confessed, that he could not imagine living in the same house with a woman as his wife. When his daughter was born in 1964, Okigbo wrote the poem, 'Dance of the Painted Maidens' in celebration of her birth.
with the armpit dazzle of a lioness,
she answers,
wearing white light about her;
and the waves escort her,
my lioness,
crowned with moonlight.
(in 'Water Maid', The Penguin Book of Modern African Poetry, 1998)

Okigbo published his first poems in the student literary journal Horn, which was edited by J.P. Clark. As a poet Okigbo made his breakthrough in 1962, when his works appeared in the literary magazine Black Orpheus. In the same year he also published pamphlet, entitled Heavensgate, and a long poem in the Ugandan cultural magazine Transition, which was published in Kampala. Okigbo's early poems reflected the divided cultural heritage of his country, although first influences from Virgil, Ovid, Eliot, and Pound seem to be stronger than the oral literature of the Igbo. He knew Keats's 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' by heart, as well as Shelley's 'Ozymandias'. Heavensgate marked his return to the African part of his heritage and self-renewal through the goddess of the earth: "Before you, mother Idoto, Unclad I stand / before your watery presence a prodigal / leaning on an oilbean / lost in your legend".

The 1960s was a period of great political upheavals in Nigeria. The country became an independent republic in 1963 and four years later the eastern Ibo tribal region attempted to secede as the independent nation of Biafra. Although Okigbo followed keenly the social and political events in his country, his early poems moved on a personal and mythical level. Path of Thunder (1968) showed a new direction – its attack on bloodthirsty politicians ("POLITICIANS are back in giant hidden steps of howitzers, / of detonators"wink and neocolonial exploitation ("THE ROBBERS descend on us to strip us our laughter, of our / thunder"wink was also in tune with the rise of radical movements of the decade. Okigbo won in 1966 the poetry prize at the Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, Senegal, but he refused the prize because he did not believe that art should not be judged on racial basis. At the outbreak of the civil war Okigbo was working for an Italian business organization called Wartrade. With Chinua Achebe he founded a publishing company Citadell Press at Enugu.

Okigbo joined in July 1967 the Biafran army as a major, refuring more secure posts behind the lines. He was killed in action near Nsukka in August, in one of the first battles of the civil war. He was posthumously decorated with the Biafran National Order of Merit. The poems Okigbo wished to preserve were published posthumously by Heinemann as Labyrinths in 1971, with Path of Thunder, added. Okigbo left behind a wife and daughter, for whom he dedicated Labyriths. Forebodingly he had written in 'Elegy for Alto:' "O mother mother Earth, unbind me; let this be / my last testament, let this be / The ram's hidden wish to the sword the sword's / secret prayer to the scabbard –." According to some sources, Okigbo was working on a novel before his death, but the manuscript has not been found. The tragic hero Chris Oriko in Achebe's novel Anthills of the Savannah (1987) was modelled after Okigbo. Achebe and Dubem Okafor edited a volume of poems, Don't Let Him Die (1978), which commemorated the life and poetry of Okigbo.

Okigbo used often repetition, the rhythm is songlike, and the words flow melodiously, as if the poet were listening and interpreting distant sounds. In an interview he said that he stopped writing music when he began writing poetry seriously. Once he accompanied Wole Soyinka on the piano in his first public appearance as a singer, playing 'Amabola'. He also accompanied Fransisca Pereira. Nothing has survived of his written music. Okigbo occasionally portrayed himself as a singer-musician, who speaks with the ancient, pre-literate language of drums: "I have fed out of the drum / I have drunk out of the cymbal..." Recurring images are dance ("dance of death", "iron dance of mortars"wink, thunder ("thunder of tanks", "the thunder among the clouds"wink, and the sound of drums ("the drums of curfew", "lament of the drums"wink. In 'Overture' (1961) Okigbo was a "watchman for the watchword / at heavensgate" and in 'Hurrah for Thunder' a "town-crier, together with my iron bell" (from Paths of Thunder, 1968). With T.S. Eliot he shared a vision of a spiritual quest, which takes the poet to the realm of ancient myths and to his spiritual self. From the four elements Okigbo chose water, the dwelling place of Idoto: "Under my feet float the waters: / tide blows them under."

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Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by naptu2: 8:57am On Mar 27, 2012
Cool! I think I'm really going to like this thread. Can I nominate people to that list?

(Note that some may want to create controversy on your thread. Although most people have someone they consider a hero, nobody's perfect. Some may want to focus on the negative side of our heroes).
Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by naptu2: 9:13am On Mar 27, 2012
Chief Abdul-Ganiyu "Gani" Oyesola Fawehinmi (SAN)

Gani Fawehinmi was born on April 22, 1938 into the prominent Tugbolo Fawehinmi family in Ondo. His father, a timber magnate, was fully responsible for his education and welfare. His hope of becoming a lawyer was almost dashed when he lost his father while he was a law student in London. All efforts to raise a loan to enable him to complete his university education proved abortive. So he had to fend for himself.

Although he eventually succeeded in becoming a lawyer, Gani decided to dedicate his entire life to struggle for the establishment of a society where every needy child would be educated at the expense of the State. Chief Fawehinmi and his estates have given scholarship to many indigent undergraduates on an annual basis since 1976.

Having identified law as a tool of oppression in the hands of the ruling class Gani provided legal services, on pro bono publico basis, to thousands of workers, students and other victims of social injustice, abuse of power and oppression.

Gani made most of his money from publishing the Nigerian Weekly Law Reports (NWLR). Before his revolutionary intervention in law reporting only a handful of privileged lawyers who had access to cyclostyled copies of the judgments of the appellate courts were winning cases in our Courts. Chief Fawehinmi sent his lawyers to courts around the country to obtain such judgments but decided to popularise legal knowledge by embarking on regular publication of law reports.

Upon the completion of his legal education in London Gani returned home and was called to the Nigerian Bar in January 1965. Barely a year later, the first republic was sacked by the armed forces. The Constitution was suspended while draconian decrees were imposed on the Nigerian people. In 1969, he took up the case of a factory worker whose wife had been snatched by a powerful permanent secretary in the service of the Benue Plateau State Government. Not withstanding that he was a rookie lawyer, he defeated the late Chief Rotimi Williams, QC, who was the counsel to the permanent secretary.

For daring to challenge the corrupt establishment the Yakubu Gowon regime arrested and detained him without trial for several months. Instead of cowing him into submission, the brutal experience strengthened him as Gani resolved to wage a decisive battle against injustice in all its ramifications.

For instance, in the Garba v. University of Maiduguri (1986) 2 NWLR (PT 18 ) 559, the fundamental right of students to fair hearing before rustication or expulsion was upheld.

The injustice in the Legal Practitioners Act which made the Attorney-General of the Federation the accuser and the prosecutor with respect to allegations of misconduct involving lawyers was highlighted by the Supreme Court in the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee v. Fawehinmi (1985) 3 NWLR (PT 7) 300. The decision led to the amendment of the Act.

The dismissal of the case of Fawehinmi v. Nigerian Bar Association (1989) 2 NWLR (PT 107) 558 by the Supreme Court on the ground that the respondent was not a juristic personality led to the registration of the Nigerian Bar Association under the Companies and Allied Matters Act.

In Balarabe Musa v. INEC (2003) 10 WRN 1, the political space was liberalised when the Supreme Court struck down the stringent conditionalities imposed by INEC on new political parties.

In Fawehinmi v. Akilu (1987) 2 NWLR (PT 67) 767 the Supreme Court relaxed the anachronistic doctrine of locus standi so as to permit the private prosecution of criminal offences by concerned individuals on the ground that “we are all our brothers’ keepers”.

Since the Attorney-General of the Federation has never sued the Federal Government as a defender of public interest, the locus standi of Gani to challenge the violations of the Constitution and other illegalities was upheld in the case of Fawehinmi v. The President (2007) 14 NWLR (PT 1054) 275.

In Abacha v. Fawehinmi (2001) 51 WRN 29 the Supreme Court held that since the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights has been domesticated by the National Assembly, our domestic courts have the jurisdiction to construe and apply its provisions whenever there are allegations of human rights infringement.

In Fawehinmi v. Inspector-General of Police (2002) 23 WRN 1 it was declared by the Supreme Court that the public officers covered by the immunity clause in Section 308 of the Constitution can be investigated while in office.

However, one of Gani’s post-humous rewards for his contribution to the legal system in Nigeria is the enactment of the Fundamental Procedure Rules 2009. Under the new human rights regime in Nigeria, concerned individuals and public spirited organizations can now file actions in courts challenging the violation of the human rights of other citizens.

In 1986, while Chief Gani Fawehinmi was Dele Giwa's Lawyer, the latter was killed in a bomb blast under suspicious circumstances.

Again, in 1995, Chief Fawehinmi served as counsel to Ken Saro-Wiwa when Saro-Wiwa was being tried for murder, but Fawehinmi withdrew from the case, branding the tribunal a Kangaroo court.

As a result of his activities chief Gani Fawehinmi had been arrested, detained and charged to court several times. His international passport was seized on many occasions and his residence and Chambers were searched several times. He was beaten up time after time and was deported from one part of the country to another to prevent him from being able to effectively reach out to the masses among whom he was popular. His books were confiscated by the Federal Military Government and his library at Surulere, a suburb of Lagos, were set ablaze. His law Chambers at Anthony Village, Lagos State, were invaded by persons suspected to be agents of the government. The guards were shot, two of them seriously wounded.
Gani died in the early hours of 5 September 2009 after a prolonged battle with lung cancer. He was 71 years old.

Gani had been locked up in the following police and security cells between 1969 and 1996:

* Police Headquarters, Kaduna , 1969.
* Jos Police Station, 1969
* Ilorin Police Station, 1969
* Police Headquarters, Lagos, 1969
* Police Headquarters, Lagos 1972 (twice)

* C. I. D. Alagbon, Lagos, 1978
* Inter-Centre Detention Outpost, Lagos, 1978

* Ikoyi Police Station,1978
* Panti Police Station, Lagos, 1987
* Panti Police Station, Lagos, 1988 (three times)
* Police Station Ikeja, 1988
* Panti Police Station, Lagos, 1989 (twice)
* Ikoyi Police Station, 1989
* State Security Services (SSS) Cell Maiduguri, 1989
* State Security Services (SSS) Cell Awolowo Road, Ikoyi 1991
* C. I. D. Police Station Ikoyi, 1992
* Police Station Wuse Abuja, 1992
* Inter-Centre Cell, Lagos 1993
* State Security Services (SSS) Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, 1993
* C. I. D. Police Station Ikoyi, 1993
* Police Station Wuse Abuja, 1993
* Police Headquarters, Abuja, 1993
* Panti Police Station, Lagos, 1994
* F. I. I. B. Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos 1994 (Once)
* Panti Police Station, Lagos, 1995 (Twice)
* State Security Services Shangisha Cell Lagos, 1995 (Once)
* State Security Service Shangisha Cell Lagos, 1996 (Once)

In all these arrests and detentions, he was treated sometimes cruelly, sometimes crudely and sometimes with some civility.

He had also been detained in the following federal prisons by various Military Governments from 1969 to 1996:

* Kaduna Prison, 1969
* Gombe Prison, 1969 - 1970
* Ikoyi Prison, 1978
* Gashua Prison, 1989
* Nigerian Prison Ikoyi, 1990
* Nigerian Prison Kuje, 1992
* Nigerian Prison Kuje, 1993 and
* Nigerian Prison, Bauchi 1996

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Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 10:03am On Mar 27, 2012

Aminu Kano (1920—April 17, 1983) was a Muslim politician from Nigeria. In the 1940s he led an Islamic movement in the north of the country in opposition to British rule.[1] The Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport and the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, both in Kano, Kano State, are named after him.

Life and early career

Aminu Kano was born to the family of an Islamic scholar, Mallam Yusuf of the scholarly Gyanawa fulani clan, who was a mufti at the Alkali court in Kano. He attended Katsina College and later went to the University of London's, Institute of Education, alongside Tafawa Balewa. He earned his teaching certificate after completing his studies at Katsina College and subsequently became a teacher; he started teaching at the Bauchi training College.

While in Bauchi, he spoke freely on political issues and extended his educational horizon by engaging in some various political and educational activities beyond his formal teaching duties. He wrote a pamphlet, 'Kano, Under the Hammer of the Native Administration, and along with Balewa, was a member of the Bauchi General Improvement Union. He was also a secretary of the Bauchi Discussion Circle, a group whose activities were later constricted as a result of an attack on indirect rule by Aminu Kano.[2] In 1948, he became the head of the teacher training center in Maru, Sokoto and was also the secretary of the Northern Teachers Association.

During this period, he established an organization to improve the quality of Koranic schools in the north.
Pre-Independence and first republic

While in Sokoto, he became a member of Jam'iyyar Mutanen Arewa, a Northern Nigeria cultural association that later evolved into a political party and became the dominant party in Northern Nigeria during the Nigerian First Republic. However, in 1950, he led a splinter group of young radicals from Jam'iyyar Mutanen Arewa, and formed the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU). Notably, a few years earlier, an Igbira man and trader, Habib Raji Abdallah had founded an organization called the Northern Elements Progressive Association in Kano. The organization was founded along the nationalistic political thoughts of Nnamdi Azikiwe.[3] In 1949, a few of Azikiwe's supporters were jailed including Abdallah, leading to the breakup of the organization

Nevertheless, a new progressive union led by Aminu Kano and composed of progressive leaning teachers and some radical intellectuals such as Magaji Dambatta, Abba Maikwaru and Bello Ijumu emerged to fill any vacuum in political radicalism in the region. The members were largely connected together in their opposition to the management style of the native administration in Northern Nigeria. In 1951, the party contested for seats in the Kano primary elections and was fairly successful. However, with the formation of the Northern People's Congress, Mallam Aminu began to face formidable challenges especially in two federal elections. In 1954, Aminu lost a federal House of Representative seat to Maitama Sule and in 1956, he failed to clinch enough votes to win a seat on the Northern Regional Assembly. It wasn't until the 1959 parliamentary election that he succeeded in gaining a major regional seat. He won the Kano East federal seat as a candidate of NEPU, which was already in alliance with the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons.[4] While in the Federal House of Representative, he was a deputy Chief Whip.

After the first republic was cut short by a military coup. Aminu Kano later served in the military government of General Yakubu Gowon as a federal commissioner for health.
Second republic

After 12 years, the military government in September 1978, lifted its proscription of political parties. In the following months, five newly formed parties began to emerge: the Nigerian People's Party, the Unity Party of Nigeria and three others. Among them was the People's Redemption Party, led by Aminu Kano and Sam Ikoku. The party leaned towards a populist framework and enjoyed the support of prominent labor leaders such as Michael Imoudu.[5] In 1979, the party presented Aminu Kano as its presidential candidate but he could not muster enough votes to win. Nevertheless, the party won two gubernatorial seats.
Reformist ideas

Aminu Kano co-founded the Northern Elements Progressive Union as a political platform to challenge what he felt was the autocratic and feudalistic actions of the Native Northern Government. He geared his attack on the ruling elite including the emirs, who were mostly Fulanis. The potency of his platform was strengthened partly because of his background. His father was an acting Alkali in Kano who came from a lineage of Islamic clerics, Aminu Kano also brought up Islamic ideas on equity in his campaign trails during the first republic. Many talakawas (commoners) in Kano lined up behind his message and his political stature grew from the support of the Kano commoners and migratory petty traders in the north.[6] Many of the tradesmen later manned the offices of NEPU. He also sought to use politics to create an egalitarian Northern Nigerian society.

Another major idea of his in the prelude to the first republic was the breakup of ethnically based parties. The idea was well received by his emerging support base of petty traders and craftsmen in towns along the rail track. The men and women were mostly migratory individuals searching for trade opportunities and had little ethnic similarities with their host communities. He also proposed a fiscal system that favors heavy taxation of the rich in the region and was notably one of the few leading Nigerian politicians that supported equal rights for women.

Mallam Aminu Kano is highly respected politician in Northern Nigeria.He symbolized democratization, women empowerment and freedom of speech. A college in Kano and a major street are also named after him in Kano. His house where he lived and died and buried has been converted to Centre for Democratic Research and Training under the Bayero University Kano.
Political quotes“

1. That the shocking state of social order as at present existing in Northern Nigeria is due to nothing but the Family Compact rule of the so-called Native Administrations in their present autocratic form.

'2. That owing to this unscrupulous and vicious system of Administration by the Family Compact rulers, there is today in our Society an antagonism of interests manifesting itself as a class struggle, between the members of the vicious circle of the Native Administration on the one hand and the ordinary "talakawa" on the other.

'3. That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the "talakawa" from the domination of these conduits, by the reform of the present autocratic political Institutions into Democratic Institutions and placing their democratic control in the hands of the "Talakawa" for whom alone they exist.

'4. All parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the talakawa (commoners) is diametrically opposed to the interest of all sections of the master class, a party seeking the emancipation of the talakawa must naturally be hostile to the party of the oppressors."


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Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 10:07am On Mar 27, 2012

Akinwande Oluwole "Wole" Soyinka (born 13 July 1934) is a Nigerian writer, poet and playwright. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, where he was recognised as a man "who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence",[1][2] and became the first African in Africa and in Diaspora to be so honoured. In 1994, he was designated UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of African culture, human rights, freedom of expression, media and communication.

One of the most prominent members of the eminent Ransome-Kuti family, his mother Grace Eniola was the daughter of Rev. Canon JJ Ransome-Kuti, sister to Olusegun Azariah Ransome-Kuti and Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, making Soyinka cousin to the late Fela Kuti, the late Beko Ransome-Kuti, the late Olikoye Ransome-Kuti and to Yemisi Ransome-Kuti.[3]

Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta, specifically, a Remo family from Isara-Remo on July 13, 1934. His father was Christian Clergy, Canon SA Soyinka (aka "Teacher pupa" (light skinned teacher)). He received a primary school education in Abeokuta and attended secondary school at Government College, Ibadan. He then studied at the University College, Ibadan (1952–1954) where he founded the pyrates confraternity (an anti-corruption and justice seeking student organization) and the University of Leeds (1954–1957) from which he received a First class honours degree in English Literature. He worked as a play reader at the Royal Court Theatre in London before returning to Nigeria to study African drama. He taught in the Universities of Lagos, Ibadan, and Ife (now [[Obafemi Awolowo University[[, Ile-Ife). He became a Professor of Comparative Literature at the then University of Ife in 1975. He is currently an Emeritus Professor at the same university.

Soyinka has played an active role in Nigeria's political history. In 1965, he made a broadcast demanding the cancellation of the rigged Western Nigeria Regional Elections following his seizure of the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service studio. He was arrested, arraigned but freed on a technicality by Justice Esho. In 1967, during the Nigerian Civil War he was arrested by the Federal Government of General Yakubu Gowon and put in solitary confinement for his attempts at brokering a peace between the warring Nigerian and Biafran parties. While in prison he wrote poetry on tissue paper which was published in a collection titled Poems from Prison. He was released 22 months later after international attention was drawn to his unwarranted imprisonment. His experiences in prison are recounted in his book The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka (1972).

He has been an implacable, consistent and outspoken critic of many Nigerian military dictators, and of political tyrannies worldwide, including the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. A great deal of his writing has been concerned with "the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the colour of the foot that wears it". This activism has often exposed him to great personal risk, most notable during the government of General Sani Abacha (1993–1998), which pronounced a death sentence on him "in absentia". During Abacha's regime, Soyinka escaped from Nigeria via the "Nadeco Route" on motorcycle. While abroad, he visited parliaments and conferred with world leaders to impose a regime of sanctions against the brutal Abacha regime. These actions and his setting up of the Radio Kudirat helped immensely in securing Nigeria's return to civilian democratic governance. Living abroad, mainly in the United States, he was a professor first at Cornell University and then subsequently taught at Emory University in Atlanta, where he was appointed Robert W. Woodruff Professor of the Arts in 1996. When civilian rule returned in 1999, Soyinka returned to a hero's welcome back in Lagos, Nigeria. He accepted an Emeritus Professorship at Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) on the condition that the university bar all former military officers from the position of chancellor. Soyinka is currently the Elias Ghanem Professor of Creative Writing at the English department of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the President's Marymount Institute Professor in Residence at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, US.[4]

On February 6, 2012 Soyinka stated he and other prominent Nigerians are on a list of targets marked for assassination by Boko Haram

Early life

Soyinka was born on 13 July 1934, in the city of Abeokuta, Ogun State in Nigeria's Western Region (at that time a British dominion), as the second of six children of Samuel Ayodele Soyinka and Grace Eniola Soyinka. His father, whom he often refers to as S.A. or "Essay" in literalized form, was the headmaster of St. Peters School in Abẹokuta. Soyinka's mother, dubbed by him as "Wild Christian", owned a shop in the nearby market and was a political activist within the women's movement in the local community. His mother was Anglican, although much of the community followed indigenous Yorùbá religious tradition. Soyinka grew up in an atmosphere of religious syncretism, with influences from both Christianity and his culture's traditional beliefs. The home of the Soyinka family had electricity and radio (chiefly thanks to his father).

In 1940, after attending St. Peters Primary School, Soyinka went to Abẹokuta Grammar School, where he won several prizes for literary composition. In 1946 he was accepted by Government College in Ibadan, at that time one of Nigeria’s elite secondary schools. After the completion of his studies there, Soyinka moved to Lagos where he found employment as a clerk. During this time he wrote some radio plays and short stories that were broadcast on Nigerian radio stations. After finishing his course in 1952, he began studies at University College in Ibadan, connected with University of London. During this course he studied English literature, Greek, and Western history.

In the year 1953-1954, his second and last at University College, Ibadan, Soyinka commenced work on his first publication, a short radio broadcast for Nigerian Broadcasting Service National Programme called "Keffi's Birthday Threat," which was broadcast in July 1954 on Nigerian Radio Times. Whilst at university, Soyinka and six others founded the Pyrates Confraternity, the first confraternity in Nigeria.

Soyinka gives a detailed account of his early life in Aké: The Years of Childhood, which chronicles his experiences until about the age of ten.
Studies abroad and at home

Later in 1954 Soyinka relocated to England, where he continued his studies in English literature, under the supervision of his mentor Wilson Knight at the University of Leeds. He became acquainted then with a number of young, gifted British writers. Before defending his B.A., Soyinka successfully engaged in literary fiction, publishing several pieces of comedic nature. He also worked as an editor for The Eagle, an infrequent periodical of humorous character. In a page two column in The Eagle, he wrote commentaries on academic life, often stingingly criticizing his university peers. Well known for his sharp tongue, he is said to have courteously defended, affronted and insulted female colleagues.[citation needed]

After completing his degree, he remained in Leeds with the intention of earning an M.A. Influenced by his promoter, Soyinka decided to attempt to merge European theatrical traditions with those of his Yorùbá cultural heritage. In 1958 his first major play emerged, titled The Swamp Dwellers. One year later, he wrote The Lion and the Jewel, a comedy which received interest from several members of London's Royal Court Theatre. Encouraged, Soyinka left Leeds and moved to London, where he worked as a play reader for the Royal Court Theatre. During the same period, both of his plays were performed in Ibadan.

However, by 1960, Soyinka had received the Rockefeller Research Fellowship from his alma mater in Ibadan, and returned to Nigeria. In March he produced his new satire The Trials of Brother Jero. One of his most recognized plays, A Dance of The Forest, a biting criticism of Nigeria's political elites, won a contest as the official play for Nigerian Independence Day. On 1 October 1960, it premiered in Lagos as Nigeria celebrated its sovereignty. Also in 1960, Soyinka established an amateur ensemble acting company which would consume much of his time over the next few years: the Nineteen-Sixty Masks.

In addition to these activities, Soyinka published various works satirizing the "emergency" in the Western Region of Nigeria, as his Yorùbá homeland was increasingly occupied and controlled by the federal government. This had usurped the democratically-elected, Yorùbá-based Action Group (AG) political party by installing the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), an amalgamation of conservative Yoruba interests backed by the largely Northern-dominated federal government. The increasingly militarized occupation of the Western Region eventually led to a disequilibrium in power, placing the more left-leaning Action Group and the Igbo-centric National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) in tenuous positions, as national politics began catering exclusively to more conservative interests. This imbalance eventually led to a coup by military officers under Major Kaduna Nzeogwu.

With the money gained from the Rockefeller Foundation for research on African Theater, Soyinka bought a Land Rover and began traveling throughout the country as a researcher with the Department of English Language of the University College in Ibadan. In an essay published at this time, he criticized Leopold Senghor's Négritude as a nostalgic and indiscriminate glorification of the black African past that ignores the potential benefits of modernization. "A tiger does not shout its tigritude," he declared, "it acts."

In December 1962, his essay "Towards a True Theater" was published, and he began working for the Department of English Language at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ifẹ. Soyinka discussed current affairs with "negrophiles," and on several occasions openly opposed government censorship. At the end of 1963, his first feature-length movie emerged, Culture in Transition. In April 1964 The Interpreters, "a complex but also vividly documentary novel",[6] was published in London. That December, together with other scientists and men of theater, he founded the Drama Association of Nigeria. This same year he resigned his university post, as a protest against imposed pro-government behavior by authorities. A few months later, he was arrested for the first time, accused of underlying tapes during reproduction of recorded speech of the winner of Nigerian elections, but he was released after a few months of confinement, as a result of protests by the international community of writers. This same year he also wrote two more dramatic pieces - Before the Blackout and the comedy Kongi’s Harvest - aas well as a radio play for the BBC in London called The Detainee. At the end of the year he was promoted to headmaster and senior lecturer in the Department of English Language at Lagos University.

Soyinka's political speeches at that time criticized the cult of personality and government corruption in African dictatorships. April 1965 brought a revival of his play Kongi’s Harvest at the International Festival of Negro Art in Dakar, Senegal, where another of his plays, The Road, was awarded the Grand Prix. In June, Soyinka produced his play The Lion and The Jewel for Hampstead Theatre Club in London.
Civil war involvement and imprisonment

The coup led by Major Chukwuma K Nzeogwu in January 1966 was counteracted by another coup in July of the same year, this time led by a cabal of largely Northern officers, placing General Yakubu Gowan in the position of head of state. Immediately following the coup, sectarian violence erupted as many Igbo living outside of their homeland in the southeast were subjected to violent retaliatory action, which many considered to be of genocidal proportions. Droves of Igbos were forced to return home, where calls for secession from the Nigerian state increased under military governor Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.

After becoming chief of Cathedral of Drama at University of Ibadan, Soyinka who had gained considerable respect within Nigeria would involve himself in the destabilizing political situation. In August 1967, he secretly and unofficially met Ojukwu in the Southeastern town of Enugu, with the aim of averting civil war. For his attempts at negotiating a peaceful solution to the conflict, Soyinka was forced to commence living underground.

However, his involvement in the developing national crisis did not end here. Wọle returned to Ẹnugu to meet with Victor Banjọ, a Yorùbá who had been swayed to the Biafran side. Banjọ intimated to Soyinka a message of critical importance in regards to Biafra's goals, which he claimed were "national liberation" for the whole of Nigeria. For these efforts, Banjọ sought the support of Western military leaders; in particular, he delivered Banjo's message directly to Lieutenant Colonel Olusegun Obasanjo, who had recently been appointed to commanding officer for the Western Region. Four evenings after Soyinka returned to the West, Biafran forces invaded the Midwest region, an area which previously maintained de facto neutrality; this altered the terms and conditions of the war drastically, as the Biafrans had turned into both secessionists and expansionists.

Following the occupation of the Midwest, Soyinka met Obasanjo face-to-face to relay the goals of the Biafrans to the man in control of the West. Unfortunately Ọbasanjọ's decision to side with the Nigerian federation had already been made. The invasion of the Midwest eventually sparked counter-attacks into the Midwest by federal government forces, signaling the commencement of civil war. Ọbasanjọ disclosed his meeting with Soyinka to his superiors, who declared the writer a traitor and convened search parties to obtain Soyinka for arrest, which they eventually did. Soyinka was then incarcerated until the end of the unfolding civil war.

He endured imprisonment for 22 months [7] as his country slid into civil war between the federal government and the Biafrans. Though he was refused basic materials, such as books, pens, and paper, for continuing his creative work during much of his imprisonment, he did manage to write a significant body of poems and notes criticizing the Nigerian government. Despite his imprisonment, in September 1967, his play The Lion and The Jewel was produced in Accra, and in November The Trials of Brother Jero and The Strong Breed were produced in the Greenwich Mews Theatre in New York. He also published a collection of his poetry entitled Idanre and Other Poems. Idanre was inspired by Soyinka’s visit to the sanctuary of the Yorùbá deity Ogun, whom Soyinka regards irreligiously as his companion deity, kindred spirit, and protector.[8]

In 1968, also in New York, the group Negro Ensemble Company showed Kongi’s Harvest. While still imprisoned, Soyinka translated from Yoruba a fantastical novel by his compatriot D. O. Fagunwa, called The Forest of a Thousand Demons: A Hunter's Saga.
Release and literary productivity

In the late 1950s, Soyinka completed his first two important plays, "The Swamp Dwellers" and "The Lion and the Jewel," both tackling the uneasy relationship between progress and tradition in Africa.[9] His play "The Invention" was staged in 1957 at the Royal Court Theatre. At that time his only published works were poems such as "The Immigrant" and "My Next Door Neighbour," which appeared in the magazine Black Orpheus.[10] In October 1969, when the civil war came to an end, amnesty was proclaimed, and Soyinka was released from prison. For the first few months after his release, Soyinka stayed at a friend’s farm in southern France, where he sought solitude after the period of mental stagnation. From this experience emerged The Bacchae of Euripides, a reworking of the Pentheus myth.[11] He soon published out of London a tome of his poetry based on his experience in prison, Poems from Prison. At the end of the year, he returned to his office of Headmaster of Cathedral of Drama in Ibadan, and cooperated in the founding of the literary periodical “Black Orpheus”.

In 1970 he produced the play Kongi’s Harvest, while simultaneously creating a film by the same title. In June 1970, he concluded another play, called Madman and Specialists. With the intention of gaining theatrical experience, along with the group of fifteen actors of Ibadan University Theatre Art Company, he went on a trip to the famous Eugene O'Neill Memorial Theatre Center in Waterford, Connecticut in the United States, where his latest play premiered. In 1971 his poetry collection A Shuttle in the Crypt was published. While Madmen and Specialists was exposed afresh in Ibadan, Soyinka took the lead role as the murdered first Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo, Kinshasa, in the Paris production of Murderous Angels. His powerful autobiographical work The Man Died, a collection of notes from prison, was issued the same year. In April, concerned about the political situation in Nigeria, Soyinka resigned from his duties at the University in Ibadan, and began a few years of voluntary exile. In July, in Paris, fragments of his famous play “The Dance of The Forests” were performed.

In 1972 he was declared an Honoris Causa doctorate by the University of Leeds. Soon thereafter, another of his novels, Season of Anomy, came out, in addition to his Collected Plays, published by the Oxford University Press. In 1973 the National Theatre, London, which commissioned the play, premiered The Bacchae of Euripides in a "reputedly misconceived" production.[11] In 1973 the plays Camwood on the Leaves, and Jero's Metamorphosis were first published. From 1973-1975, Soyinka devoted himself to scientific activity. He underwent one year's probation at Churchill College of Cambridge University, and gave a series of lectures at a number of European universities.

In 1974 Collected Plays, Volume II was issued by Oxford University Press. In 1975 Soyinka was promoted to the position of editor for Transition, a magazine based in the Ghanaian capital Accra (where he moved for some time). Soyinka utilized his columns in Transition to once again attack the “negrofiles” (in his essay “Neo-Tarzanism: The Poetics of Pseudo-Transition”), and military regimes, protesting against the military junta of Idi Amin in Uganda. After the political turnover in Nigeria, and the subversion of Gowon's military regime in 1975 he returned to his homeland and re-assumed his position of the Cathedral of Comparative Literature at the University of Ife.

In 1976 the poetry collection Ogun Abibiman appeared, and a collection of essays entitled Myth, Literature and the African World, in which Soyinka explores the genesis of mysticism in African theatre and, using examples from the literatures of both continents, compares and contrasts European and African cultures. At the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana in Legon, he delivered a series of guest lectures and became a professor at the University of Ife. In October, the French version of The Dance of The Forests was performed in Dakar, while in Ife Death and The King’s Horseman premiered.

In 1977 Opera Wọnyọsi, his adaptation of Bertold Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, was staged, and in 1979 he both directed and acted in Jon Blair and Norman Fenton's drama The Biko Inquest, a work based on the story of Steve Biko, a South African student and human rights activist beaten to death by Apartheid police forces. In 1981 Wọle Soyinka’s first autobiographical novel Ake: The Years of Childhood was released. From the memoir, it is vivid to the five senses of man that he is an infant prodigy. The memoirs, Ake: The Years of Childhood and You Must Set Forth at Dawn portray literature as a foundation of pleasure. Both are sublime and classic. With a total of five memoirs, Soyinka is regarded number one producer of memoirs in the world.

Soyinka founded another theatrical group (after Nineteen-Sixty Masks), called Guerrilla Unit, its aim being to cooperate with local communities analyzing their actual problems and then responding to some of their grievances in dramatic sketches. In 1983 the play Requiem for a Futurologist had its initial performance at the University of Ife. In July one of Soyinka's musical projects, the Unlimited Liability Company, issued a long-play record titled I Love My Country, where a number of prominent Nigerian musicians play songs composed by and provided with lyrics by Wọle Soyinka. In 1984, he directed the film Blues for a Prodigal, which premiered the same year as a new play, A Play of Giants.

The years 1975-1984 were for Soyinka a period of increased political activity. During that time he was among the authorities at the University of Ife; among other duties, he was responsible for the security of public roads. He continuously criticized the corruption in the government of democratically-elected President Shehu Shagari, and often found himself at odds with Shagari's military successor, Muhammadu Buhari. In 1984, a Nigerian court banned The Man Died, and in 1985, the play Requiem for a Futurologist went into print in London.
Nobel Prize laureate

In 1960, he was awarded a Rockefeller bursary and returned to Nigeria to study African drama.[12] Soyinka was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, as one “who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence” becoming the first African laureate. His Nobel acceptance speech was devoted to South African freedom-fighter Nelson Mandela. Soyinka's speech was an outspoken criticism of apartheid and the politics of racial segregation imposed on the majority by the Nationalist South African government. In 1986, he received the Agip Prize for Literature.

Soyinka's Nobel Prize Lecture, "This Past Must Address Its Present," judged to be very revealing, revelling, poignant, eloquent, is an eye-opener to the misdeeds of the Apartheid South Africa. The Lecture is the most revealing and downright message concerning the enslaved, colonized and disparaged Africans and International Affairs since the foundation of Nobel Prize in Literature in 1901. It is an ideal legacy for people interested in rhetorics, history and International Relations. The power of words cannot be underestimated. They can move passionate hearts to reason and tears. At long last, the disparate words moved the entire world to reason and tears, resulting in the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990, after 27 years behind bars.

In 1988, his new collection of poems Mandela's Earth, and Other Poems was published, while in Nigeria another collection of essays entitled Art, Dialogue and Outrage: Essays on Literature and Culture appeared. In the same year, Soyinka accepted the position of professor of African studies and theatre at Cornell University.[13] In 1990, the second portion of his memoir called Isara: A Voyage Around Essay appeared. In July 1991 the BBC African Service transmits his radio play A Scourge of Hyacinths, and the next year (in June 1992) in Siena (Italy), his play From Zia with Love has its premiere. Both works are very bitter political parodies, based on events which took place in Nigeria in the 1980s. In 1993 Soyinka was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Harvard University. The next year appears another part of his autobiography Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years (A Memoir: 1946-1965). The following year his play The Beatification of Area Boy was published. On 21 October 1994 Soyinka was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Promotion of African culture, human rights, freedom of expression, media and communication. In November 1994 Soyinka fled from Nigeria through the border with Benin and then to the United States. In 1996 his book The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis was first published.

In 1997 Soyinka was charged with treason by the government of General Sani Abacha. In 1999 a new volume of poems entitled Outsiders was released. His play King Baabu, premiered in Lagos in 2001,[14] is a political satire on the theme of African dictatorship and the "warped aspect of human nature that makes people think they have the right to dominate others and also inflict very agonising experiences on fellow humans".[14] In 2002 a collection of his poems, Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known, was published by Methuen. In April 2006, his memoirs, entitled You Must Set Forth at Dawn, were published by Random House. In 2006 he cancelled his keynote speech for the annual S.E.A. Write Awards Ceremony in Bangkok to protest the Thai military's successful coup against the government.[15]

In April 2007 Soyinka called for the cancellation of the Nigerian presidential elections held two weeks earlier because of widespread fraud and violence.

Soyinka, along with theatre director Richard Schechner, actor Alan Cumming and filmmaker Brad Mays was interviewed about The Bacchae as part of an up-coming series Invitation to World Literature, which officially launched on Annenberg Media's educational website in September, 2010.[16] The series, produced by Annie Wong for WGBH Boston, began airing nationally on PBS in October, 2010. Soyinka continues to serve as resource person globally while acting as inspiration and voice of conscience to leaders[17] and recently in the wake of the Christmas Day (2009) attempted bombing cautioned that the United Kingdom's social logic which allows every religion to openly proselytize their faith is being abused by religious fundamentalists thereby turning England into a cesspit for the breeding of extremism. He affirmed that freedom of worship is logical and correct but warned against the consequence of the illogic of allowing religions to preach apocalyptic violence.[18]
The muse of a wordsmith

Soyinka frequently refers to Ogun, a Yoruba God as a sort of inspiration to his art, guardian of his personal being and "my companion deity".[8] It is obvious, through his writings, however that his reverence to Ogun is not metaphysical and he proclaims himself that although he has a fascination with Ogun, it does not go beyond his literary interest [19]
Style and valor

With the wink and nod of a writer of smooth-hewn background, smiling at serendipities and bypassing much luxury on the laps of man, Soyinka has continued to raise his voice to the ceiling ever since he wrote his unique poem "Telephone Conversation" in 1962.

A valiant writer, he believes that the promise of pen belongs to those who can take the bulls by the horns. He has a unique style and a thorough command of language.
Political Philosophy

Granted that political philosophy is the participation, the contribution and the study of the issues and concerns pertaining to the nature of the city, government, politics, laws, rights, liberty and justice for mankind, Soyinka has associated himself with all these. Literarily, philosophically and politically, he has done all the above, and excelled in all, as a multi-talented political philosopher.

He was a peace maker (putting his life in harm's way & imprisoned) during the Nigerian Civil War. In 1994, he was appointed by the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of African cultures in Africa and in Diaspora, human rights, freedom of expression, media and communication—as a result of his indefatigable savvies/activities as a political philosopher who knows how to start a journey and how to end it.
Nigerian Literature

Nigerian literature was born in earnest with the award of Nobel Prize in literature to Wole Soyinka in 1986. Soyinka, often referred to as the Bringer of Light to African Literatures, has put Nigerian literature on the world map, and since 1986, hundreds of Nigerians have proudly taken to studying Nigerian literature, as departments of Nigerian literature are being created in all the universities across the country. Writers of different genres have been published. Some have won prizes, while some are finalists in national and international contests, adding their voices to the identity, authenticity, aesthetics and glory of Nigerian literature.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the first bestseller in Africa, is a strong accretion to the glory of Nigerian literature.

The list of other Nobel Laureates in literature who believe in Nigerian literature includes Naguib Mahfouz (1988), Nadine Gordimer (1991), Derek Walcott (1992), Toni Morisson (1993), J.M. Coetzee (2003).

Centers, in Diaspora which have projected in large measure the Yoruba/Nigerian culture—philosophy, religion and literature, for many years include Oyotunji African Kingdom in South Carolina, United States and IWALEWA HOUSE of the Bayreuth University, Germany. IWALEWA HOUSE was founded in 1981 by Professor Ulli Beier, a German writer, scholar and connoisseur of Yoruba/Nigerian literature. A well-travelled writer in Yorubaland, he was (may his soul rest in peace) an intimate friend of memoirist Wole Soyinka.

Many opinions from the academic and non-academic circles are hoping that the Nobel Prize Committee for Literature may decide in the future to award Nobel Prize twice to a valiant and multi-talented writer/political activist like Wole Soyinka. Like Booker Prize, that will be a precedent, if it happens.
The Wole Soyinka African Writers' Enclave

In 2011, under the aegis of African Heritage Research Library and Cultural Centre, a writers' enclave has been built in honor of Professor Wole Soyinka. The location is Adeyipo Village, Lagelu Local Government Area, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. The main objectives of the Enclave, amongst others, are:
To promote African and World Literatures.
To provide a conducive atmosphere for the improvement of writers' craft.
To increase world-wide knowledge and appreciation of African literatures.
To raise the standard of African literature toward ensuring its active participation in cultural and national development.
To initiate an endowment for a prestigious African Writers' Prize.

The enclave includes a Writer-in-Residence Programme which will enable writers to stay for a period of two, three or six months, engaging in serious creative writing. Writers-in-residence will receive monetary stipends. It is hoped that their works will impact positively on the lives of all categories of literary audience—youth, adult and the general public, throughout Africa and the entire world.
Awards and honors

1967: Head of the Department of Theater Arts, University of Ibadan; June: "The Writer in a Modern African State"; August to October 1969 imprisoned for writings sympathetic to secessionist Biafra; September: The Lion and the Jewel produced Accra; November: Trials of Brother Jero and The Strong Breed produced, Greenwich Mews Theatre, New York; Idanre and Other Poems.

April 1968: Kongi's Harvest produced by Negro Ensemble Company, New York.

February 1969: The Road produced by Theatre Limited, Kampala, Uganda; Poems from Prison, London.

August 1970: Completes and directs Madmen and Specialists with Ibadan University Theare Arts Company in New Haven, Connecticut (at Yale?); play tours to Harlem; directs plays by Pirandello and others; Kongi's Harvest (film).

1971: A Shuttle in the Crypt (poems); March: revives Madmen and Specialists in Ibadan; acts Patrice Lumumba in John Littlewood's French production of Conor Cruise O'Brien's Murderous Angels, Paris; testifies before Kazeem Enquiry on violation of students' rights.

1972: Publishes his prison notes, The Man Died, London; July: produces extracts from A Dance of the Forests in Paris.

1973: Honorary Ph. D., University of Leeds; Season of Anomie (novel); Collected Plays I; August: National Theatre, London, produces Bacchae of Euripides, which it commissioned.

1973-74: Overseas Fellow, Churchill College, Cambridge, and Visiting Professor of English, University of Sheffield; Collected Plays II.

1975: Edited Poems of Black Africa, London and New York; "Neo-Tarzanism: The Poetics of Pseudo-Tradition" (essay); attacks Idi Amin in Transition.

1976: Ogun Abibiman (poems); Myth, Literature, and the African World; Visiting Professor, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon; Professor, University of Ife; September: Nairobi High School production of A Dance of the Forests; October: French production of A Dance of the Forests, Dakar, Gambia; December: produces Death and the King's Horseman, Ife.

1978: "Language as Boundary" (essay).

1981: Aké: The Years of Childhood (autobiography); Opera Wonyosi, an adaptation of Brecht's Three Penny Opera; "The Critic and Society: Barthes, Leftocracy, and Other Mythologies" (essay).

1982: Blues for the Prodigal (film) released; "Cross Currents: The 'New African' after Cultural Encounters" (essay).

1983: Elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature [20]

1983: Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.

December 1983: Die Still, Rev. Dr. Godspeak (radio play); Requiem for a Futurologist (play) produced at Ife university; Blues for a Prodigal (film); "Shakespeare and the Living Dramatist" (essay); (July) - Unlimited Liability Company (phonograph recording).

1984: A Play of Giants (play).

1985: Requiem for a Futorologist published; "Climates of Art" (Herbert Read Memorial Lecture), Institute of Contemporary Art, London.

1986: Nobel Prize for Literature. "The External Encounter: Ambivalence in African Arts and Literature" (essay), A Play of Giants (play), Fellow, Society for the Humanities, Cornell University; Agip Prize for Literature; 1986 (October); Awarded Nigeria's second highest honour, Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR.

1987: Six Plays; Childe Internationale (play) republished.

1989: "The Search" (short story).

1990: Benson Medal from Royal Society of Literature

1991: Sisi Clara Workshop on Theatre (Lagos); A Scourge of Hyacinths (radio play) BBC African Service; "The Credo of Being and Nothingness" (The First Rev. Olufosoye Annual Lecture in Religion, delivered at the University of Ibadan on 25 January 1991; published.

1992: From Zia With Love.

1993: honorary doctorate, Harvard University.

1994: Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years (A Memoir: 1946-1965) (autobiography); Memories of a Nigerian Childhood; flees Nigeria (November).

1995: The Beatification of Area Boy.

1996: The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis.

March 1997: Charged with treason by military dictatorship. Considered one of Africa's poets alongside Cesair, Senghor, Ohaeto, B'tek, Okigbo, Ohanyido, Okara, Clark and so forth. [1]

2004: Reith Lecturer for BBC Radio 4, discussing A Climate of Fear.[21]

2005: Honorary doctorate degree, Princeton University.[22] Together with Nigerian elder statesman Chief Anthony Enahoro, he convened an alternative national confab under the aegis of PRONACO (Pro -national conference group). On 26 November 2005, he was conferred with the chieftaincy title of Akinlatun of Egbaland by the Alake, Oba of the Egba clan of Yorubaland which he belongs to, thus making him a tribal aristocrat with the right to use the Yoruba title Oloye.[23]

2008: Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University [24]

2009: Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award

The Swamp Dwellers
The Lion and the Jewel
The Trials of Brother Jero
A Dance of the Forests
The Strong Breed
Before the Blackout
Kongi's Harvest
The Road
The Bacchae of Euripides
Madmen and Specialists
Camwood on the Leaves
Jero's Metamorphosis
Death and the King's Horseman
Opera Wonyosi
Requiem for a Futurologist
A Play of Giants
A Scourge of Hyacinths (radio play)
The Beatification of Area Boy
King Baabu
Etiki Revu Wetin
Sixty Six (short piece)[25]

The Interpreters
Season of Anomie

The Man Died: Prison Notes
Aké: The Years of Childhood
Isara: A Voyage around Essay
Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years: a memoir 1946-65
You Must Set Forth at Dawn

Poetry collections
A Big Airplane Crashed Into The Earth (original title Poems from Prison)
Idanre and other poems
Mandela's Earth and other poems
Ogun Abibiman
Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known
The Ballad of the Landlord
After the Deluge
Telephone Conversation

Neo-Tarzanism: The Poetics of Pseudo-Transition
Art, Dialogue, and Outrage: Essays on Literature and Culture
Myth, Literature and the African World
From Drama and the African World View
The Burden of Memory - The Muse of Forgiveness
The Credo of Being and Nothingness

Kongi's Harvest
Culture in Transition
Blues for a Prodigal


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Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 10:10am On Mar 27, 2012

Fela Anikulapo Kuti (15 October 1938 — 2 August 1997), or simply Fela ([feˈlæ]), was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick.

Early life and career

Fela was born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti[2] in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria[3] into a middle-class family. His mother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was a feminist activist in the anti-colonial movement and his father, Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, a Protestant minister and school principal, was the first president of the Nigerian Union of Teachers.[4] His brothers, Beko Ransome-Kuti and Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, both medical doctors, are well known in Nigeria. Fela was a first cousin to the Nigerian writer and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, the first African to win a Nobel Prize for Literature.

Fela was sent to London in 1958 to study medicine but decided to study music instead at the Trinity College of Music. While there, he formed the band Koola Lobitos, playing a fusion of jazz and highlife.[5] In 1960, Fela married his first wife, Remilekun (Remi) Taylor, with whom he would have three children (Femi, Yeni, and Sola). In 1963, Fela moved back to Nigeria, re-formed Koola Lobitos and trained as a radio producer for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation. He played for some time with Victor Olaiya and his All Stars.[6]

In 1967, he went to Ghana to think up a new musical direction.[4] That was when Kuti first called his music Afrobeat.[4] In 1969, Fela took the band to the United States. While there, Fela discovered the Black Power movement through Sandra Smith (now Izsadore)—a partisan of the Black Panther Party — which would heavily influence his music and political views and renamed the band Nigeria '70. Soon, the Immigration and Naturalization Service was tipped off by a promoter that Fela and his band were in the U.S. without work permits. The band then performed a quick recording session in Los Angeles that would later be released as The '69 Los Angeles Sessions.

After Fela and his band returned to Nigeria, the band was renamed The Africa '70, as lyrical themes changed from love to social issues.[5] He then formed the Kalakuta Republic, a commune, a recording studio, and a home for many connected to the band that he later declared independent from the Nigerian state. Fela set up a nightclub in the Empire Hotel, named the Afro-Spot and then the Afrika Shrine, where he performed regularly. Fela also changed his middle name to Anikulapo (meaning "he who carries death in his pouch"wink,[7] stating that his original middle name of Ransome was a slave name. The recordings continued, and the music became more politically motivated.[citation needed]

Fela's music became very popular among the Nigerian public and Africans in general.[8] In fact, he made the decision to sing in Pidgin English so that his music could be enjoyed by individuals all over Africa, where the local languages spoken are very diverse and numerous. As popular as Fela's music had become in Nigeria and elsewhere, it was also very unpopular with the ruling government, and raids on the Kalakuta Republic were frequent. During 1972, Ginger Baker recorded Stratavarious with Fela appearing alongside Bobby Gass.[9] Around this time, Kuti was becoming more involved in Yoruba religion.[10]

In 1977, Fela and the Afrika '70 released the album Zombie, a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the zombie metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military. The album was a smash hit and infuriated the government, setting off a vicious attack against the Kalakuta Republic, during which one thousand soldiers attacked the commune. Fela was severely beaten, and his elderly mother was thrown from a window, causing fatal injuries. The Kalakuta Republic was burned, and Fela's studio, instruments, and master tapes were destroyed. Fela claimed that he would have been killed had it not been for the intervention of a commanding officer as he was being beaten. Fela's response to the attack was to deliver his mother's coffin to the Dodan Barracks in Lagos, General Olusegun Obasanjo's residence, and to write two songs, "Coffin for Head of State" and "Unknown Soldier", referencing the official inquiry that claimed the commune had been destroyed by an unknown soldier.[11]

Fela and his band then took residence in Crossroads Hotel as the Shrine had been destroyed along with his commune. In 1978, Fela married twenty-seven women, many of whom were his dancers, composers, and singers to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Kalakuta Republic. Later, he was to adopt a rotation system of keeping only twelve simultaneous wives.[12] The year was also marked by two notorious concerts, the first in Accra in which riots broke out during the song "Zombie", which led to Fela being banned from entering Ghana. The second was at the Berlin Jazz Festival after which most of Fela's musicians deserted him, due to rumors that Fela was planning to use the entire proceeds to fund his presidential campaign.

Despite the massive setbacks, Fela was determined to come back. He formed his own political party, which he called Movement of the People. In 1979, he put himself forward for President in Nigeria's first elections for more than a decade, but his candidature was refused. At this time, Fela created a new band called Egypt '80 and continued to record albums and tour the country. He further infuriated the political establishment by dropping the names of ITT vice-president Moshood Abiola and then General Olusegun Obasanjo at the end of a hot-selling 25-minute political screed titled "I.T.T. (International Thief-Thief)".
1980's and beyond

In 1984, Muhammadu Buhari's government, of which Kuti was a vocal opponent, jailed him on a charge of currency smuggling which Amnesty International and others denounced as politically motivated.[13] His case was taken up by several human-rights groups, and after 20 months, he was released from prison by General Ibrahim Babangida. On his release he divorced his twelve remaining wives, saying that "marriage brings jealousy and selfishness".[12]

Once again, Fela continued to release albums with Egypt '80, made a number of successful tours of the United States and Europe and also continued to be politically active. In 1986, Fela performed in Giants Stadium in New Jersey as part of the Amnesty International A Conspiracy of Hope concert, sharing the bill with Bono, Carlos Santana, and The Neville Brothers. In 1989, Fela and Egypt '80 released the anti-apartheid Beasts of No Nation album that depicts on its cover U.S. President Ronald Reagan, UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and South African Prime Minister Pieter Willem Botha.

His album output slowed in the 1990s, and eventually he stopped releasing albums altogether. In 1993, he and four members of the Afrika '70 organization were arrested for murder. The battle against military corruption in Nigeria was taking its toll, especially during the rise of dictator Sani Abacha. Rumors were also spreading that he was suffering from an illness for which he was refusing treatment.

On 3 August 1997, Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, already a prominent AIDS activist and former Minister of Health, stunned the nation by announcing his younger brother's death a day earlier from Kaposi's sarcoma which was brought on by AIDS. More than a million people attended Fela's funeral at the site of the old Shrine compound. A new Africa Shrine has opened since Fela's death in a different section of Lagos under the supervision of his son Femi Kuti.
Main article: Afrobeat

The musical style performed by Fela Kuti is called Afrobeat, which is a complex fusion of Jazz, Funk, Ghanaian/Nigerian High-life, psychedelic rock, and traditional West African chants and rhythms. Afrobeat also borrows heavily from the native "tinker pan" African-style percussion that Kuti acquired while studying in Ghana with Hugh Masekela, under the uncanny Hedzoleh Soundz.[14] The importance of the input of Tony Allen (Fela's drummer of twenty years) in the creation of Afrobeat cannot be overstated. Fela once famously stated that "without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat".

Afrobeat is characterized by a fairly large band with many instruments, vocals, and a musical structure featuring jazzy, funky horn sections. The "endless groove" is used, in which a base rhythm of drums, shekere, muted West African-style guitar, and melodic bass guitar riffs are repeated throughout the song. Commonly, interlocking melodic riffs and rhythms are introduced one by one, building the groove bit-by-bit and layer-by-layer to an astonishing melodic and polyrhythmic complexity. The horn section then becomes prominent, introducing other riffs and main melodic themes.

Fela's band was notable for featuring two baritone saxophones, whereas most groups were using only one of this instrument. This is a common technique in African and African-influenced musical styles, and can be seen in funk and hip hop. Fela's bands at times even performed with two bassists at the same time both playing interlocking melodies and rhythms. There were always two or more guitarists. The electric West African style guitar in Afrobeat bands are paramount, but are used to give basic structure, playing a repeating chordal/melodic statement, riff, or groove.

Some elements often present in Fela's music are the call-and-response within the chorus and figurative but simple lyrics. Fela's songs were also very long, at least 10–15 minutes in length, and many reaching the 20 or even 30 minutes, while some unreleased tracks would last up to 45 minutes when performed live. This was one of many reasons that his music never reached a substantial degree of popularity outside Africa. His LP records frequently had one 30-minute track per side. Typically there is an instrumental "introduction" jam part of the song, perhaps 10-15 minutes long, before Fela starts singing the "main" part.

His songs were mostly sung in Nigerian pidgin, although he also performed a few songs in the Yoruba language. Fela's main instruments were the saxophone and the keyboards, but he also played the trumpet, electric guitar, and took the occasional drum solo. Fela refused to perform songs again after he had already recorded them, which also hindered his popularity outside Africa.

Fela was known for his showmanship, and his concerts were often quite outlandish and wild. He referred to his stage act as the Underground Spiritual Game. Fela attempted making a movie but lost all the materials to the fire that was set to his house by the military government in power. Kuti thought that art, and thus his own music, should have political meaning.

As a supporter of traditional religions and lifestyles, Kuti thought that the most important thing for Africans to fight is European cultural imperialism.[10] The American Black Power movement also influenced Fela's political views; he was a supporter of Pan-Africanism and socialism, and called for a united, democratic African republic. He was a candid supporter of human rights, and many of his songs are direct attacks against dictatorships, specifically the militaristic governments of Nigeria in the 1970s and 1980s. He was also a social commentator, and he criticized his fellow Africans (especially the upper class) for betraying traditional African culture. The African culture he believed in also included having many wives (polygyny) and the Kalakuta Republic was formed in part as a polygamist colony. He defended his stance on polygyny with the words: "A man goes for many women in the first place. Like in Europe, when a man is married, when the wife is sleeping, he goes out and bleeps around. He should bring the women in the house, man, to live with him, and stop running around the streets!"[16] His views towards women are characterized by some as misogynist, with songs like "Mattress" typically cited as evidence[17] In a more complex example, he mocks the aspiration of African women to European standards of ladyhood while extolling the values of the market woman in his song "Lady".

Bypassing editorial censorship in Nigeria's predominantly state controlled media, Kuti began in the 1970s buying advertising space in daily and weekly newspapers such as The Daily Times and The Punch in order to run outspoken political columns.[18] Published throughout the 1970s and early 1980s under the title Chief Priest Say, these columns were essentially extensions of Kuti's famous Yabi Sessions—consciousness-raising word-sound rituals, with himself as chief priest, conducted at his Lagos nightclub. Organized around a militantly Afrocentric rendering of history and the essence of black beauty, Chief Priest Say focused on the role of cultural hegemony in the continuing subjugation of Africans. Kuti addressed a number of topics, from explosive denunciations of the Nigerian Government's criminal behavior; Islam and Christianity's exploitative nature, and evil multinational corporations; to deconstructions of Western medicine, Black Muslims, sex, pollution, and poverty. Chief Priest Say was cancelled, first by Daily Times then by Punch, ostensibly due to non-payment, but many commentators[who?] have speculated that the paper's respective editors were placed under increasingly violent pressure to stop publication.
The Fela revival

In recent years there has been a revitalization of Fela's influence on music and popular culture, culminating in another re-release of his catalog controlled by Universal Music, off- and on-Broadway biopic shows, and new bands, such as Antibalas, who carry the Afrobeat banner to a new generation of listeners.

In 1999, Universal Music France, under the aegis of Francis Kertekian, remastered the 45 albums that it controlled and released them on twenty-six compact discs. These titles were licensed to other territories of the world with the exception of Nigeria and Japan, where Fela's music was controlled by other companies. In 2005, Universal Music USA licensed all of its world-music titles to the UK-based label Wrasse Records, which repackaged the same twenty-six CDs for distribution in the USA (replacing the MCA-issued titles there) and the UK. In 2009, Universal created a new deal for the USA with Knitting Factory Records and for Europe with PIAS, which included the release of the Fela! Broadway cast album.

Thomas McCarthy's 2008 film The Visitor depicted a disconnected professor (Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins) who wanted to play the djembe. He learns from a young Syrian (Haaz Sleiman) who tells the professor he will never truly understand African music unless he listens to Fela. The film features clips of Fela's "Open and Close" and "Je'nwi Temi (Don't Gag Me)".

In 2008, an off-Broadway production of Fela Kuti's life titled Fela! began with a collaborative workshop between the Afrobeat band Antibalas and Tony award-winner Bill T. Jones. The show was a massive success, selling out shows during its run, and garnering much critical acclaim. On November 22, 2009, Fela! began a run on Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill Theater. Jim Lewis helped co-write the play (along with Bill T. Jones), and obtained producer backing from Jay-Z and Will Smith, among others. On May 4, 2010, Fela! was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical for Bill T. Jones, Best Leading Actor in a Musical for Sahr Ngaujah, and Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Lillias White.[19]

On August 18, 2009, award-winning DJ J.Period released a free mixtape to the general public via his website that was a collaboration with Somali-born hip-hop artist K'naan paying tribute to Fela, Bob Marley and Bob Dylan, entitled The Messengers.

In October 2009, Knitting Factory Records began the process of re-releasing the 45 titles that Universal Music controls, starting with yet another re-release of the compilation The Best of the Black President in the USA. The rest is expected to be released in 2010.[dated info]

In addition, a movie by Focus Features, directed by Steve McQueen and written by Biyi Bandele about the life of Fela Kuti went into production in 2010. It was announced in 2010 that Chiwetel Ejiofor would play the lead role.


1 Like

Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by naptu2: 10:23am On Mar 27, 2012
Professor Benedict Chukwukadibia Enwonwu

He attended Government Colleges, Ibadan and Umuahia between 1934-1937; Goldsmith College, London in 1944; Ruskin College, Oxford, England, 1944-1946; Ashmolean College and Slade School of Fine Arts, Oxford, 1946-1948, graduating with first class honours and did postgraduate courses in anthropology and ethnography at the University of California, USA and Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, USA.

From 1939, he was an art teacher in various Schools, including Government College, Umuahia, Mission School in Calabar Province, 1940-1941 and at at Edo College, Benin City, 1941-1943.

He was art adviser to the Nigerian government from 1948. He toured and lectured in the United States from 1950 and executed many commissions as a freelance artist. In 1956 he was commissioned to sculpt a bronze portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. The sittings began at Buckingham Palace and the resulting full length bronze statue was shown at the R.B.A Gallery (Royal Society of British Artists, to which he had been elected) and the Tate Gallery.

On the 5th of October 1966, the Federal Government, on behalf of the Nigerian people, made a special gift of Enwonwu’s sculptural masterpiece, “Anyanwu”, or The Awakening (1955) to the United Nations. The sculpture, prominently displayed at the lobby of the headquarters of the United Nations in New York, is the symbol of the emancipation of the emergent African Continent and her right to self expression.

He was editor, Nigeria Magazine, from 1966; fellow, University of Lagos, Lagos, 1966-1968; cultural advisor to the Nigeria government, 1968-1971; visiting artist, Institute of African Studies, Howard University, Washington, DC; appointed first professor of Fine Arts, University of Ife, Ile-Ife, 1971-1975 and art consultant to the International Secretariat, Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC), Lagos, 1977. He executed portraits of Nigerians as private commissions, illustrated Amos Tutuola’s The Brave African Huntress and maintained a studio in London. He was also a Fellow, Royal Anthropological Institute, London and Member: Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Enwonwu's work is displayed in the National Gallery of Modern Art, Lagos. He died in 1994

’I will not accept an inferior position in the art world. Nor have my art called African because I have not correctly and properly given expression to my reality. I have consistently fought against that kind of philosophy because it is bogus. European artists like Picasso, Braque and Vlaminck were influenced by African art. Everybody sees that and is not opposed to it. But when they see African artists who are influenced by their European training and technique, they expect that African to stick to their traditional forms even if he bends down to copying them. I do not copy traditional art. I like what I see in the works of people like Giacometti but I do not copy them. I knew Giacometti personally in England, you know. I knew he was influenced by African sculptures. But I would not be influenced by Giacometti, because he was influenced by my ancestors”.
“Art is not static, like culture. Art changes its form with the times. It is setting the clock back to expect that the art form of Africa today must resemble that of yesterday otherwise the former will not reflect the African image. African art has always, even long before western influence, continued to evolve through change and adaptation to new circumstances. And in like manner, the African view of art has followed the trend of cultural change up to the modern times”. 1950, Ben Enwonwu.

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Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 10:26am On Mar 27, 2012
Thanks, naptu!

Please, let's keep this thread alive - and you can add as many notable Nigerians as you can.
Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by naptu2: 10:47am On Mar 27, 2012
Herbert Samuel Heelas Macaulay & Henry Rawlinson Carr

Henry Carr stated that “Lagos was led by a little clique of ambitious and vainglorious men led by an evil genius who owned a sensationalist newspaper (the Lagos Daily News)”. “Among all the human monsters with whom we have been brought into contact, none has displayed the devilish ingenuity of this man”. Macaulay was a “desperate enemy of society; my hatred will only finish with my life”. Macaulay was, in Carr’s opinion, a disquieting factor in the public peace and should be banished “as a crooked mind and a dangerous fool”.

According to Herbert Macaulay’s malicious account, in a pamphlet published in 1924 entitled “Henry Carr must go”, Carr’s father was Amuwo Carr, a liberated Saro emigrant, popularly known as Daddy Shope, who deserted his wife Rebecca Carr, “a devout Christian woman” to settle in Abeokuta as a happy polygamist. The young Carr helped his mother after school hours by selling fufu and beads. Carr replied that the pamphlet was “nothing but the ravings of a lunatic…(of) a mind coarse, of gross perception, and with a disastrous lack of delicacy”.

To Macaulay, Carr was “a disappointed and disgruntled parvenu”, whose one passion was to clamour for promotion.

A fierce hatred existed between Henry Carr and Herbert Macaulay and the political troubles of Lagos were largely due to the antipathy between them. Carr believed that the best way to secure a better life for Lagosians was by working with and through the colonial government. He had risen through the colonial service to occupy the highest position held by an African; the post of Resident (commissioner) for the Colony. He was a successfully assimilated African (the ideal common to many of the modern elite of his day), who believed that it was right for the African to be as European as possible. Carr declared himself and people like him “not Europeanised natives, but men transformed (transfigured) into Europeans”. Therefore, he argued, blacks who, like himself, came from a certain class ought to be allowed to go on leave to England, just as their white counterparts did, “for health reasons”.

Macaulay disagreed. He found expression in his idea of nationhood, in his recognition of the customs of the people, their institutions and their land. The government’s assault on native rights and Macaulay’s defence of them were the main causes of neo-traditional nationalism, without which, political nationalism would have been considerably delayed.

Herbert Samuel Heelas Macaulay

Herbert Macaulay was born on 14 November 1864, into an already famous family; his grandfather was Bishop Crowther, first black bishop of the Anglican Church and his father was Reverend T.B Macaulay, first principal of CMS Grammar School, Lagos. His father was a strict disciplinarian and Macaulay grew up in a rigid Victorian household. “Seven”, once wrote Macaulay, “is a holy number…I was the seventh child of my parents…I was a holy child, innocent and lovable…my mother generally dressed me in a suit of purple silk velvet knickerbockers…(and) coat to match…but excessive kneeling at prayers soon left a circular worn patch in the velvet breeches”. “I was presented every day to Governor Glover who used to visit my father every evening”. Macaulay attended the Lagos Grammar School and became the first Nigerian to be sponsored by the colonial government for a professional course abroad when he won a scholarship to study land surveying and civil engineering at Plymouth, England in 1890 (some say the scholarship was awarded as an appreciative gesture for the work of his grandfather, Bishop Ajayi Crowther). He also studied piano tuning in London.

Returning to Nigeria in 1893, Macaulay joined the colonial civil service as government surveyor in charge of crown grants, a function that not only introduced him to the land situation in Lagos, but also gave him an insight into the irregularities of the colonial administration. Macaulay served the government diligently until he became disenchanted with its racist policies. Macaulay’s first personal experience of colonial injustice was when, as a surveyor, he was given a salary of £120 per annum, despite Governor Carter’s recommendation that his minimum pay should be £250 (the amount being paid to his British colleagues). This and a succession of other events led to Macaulay’s resignation from the service.

Macaulay then engaged in politics in order to fight for the rights of Nigerians. In 1912 he led a delegation to protest against the government’s decision to place lands in the Northern Provinces of Nigeria “under the control of the Governor who shall hold and administer them for the use and common benefit of the natives” and to do likewise in the Southern Provinces. He was subsequently jailed for this. He was also a key character in the celebrated Oluwa land case. Macaulay also founded the Lagos Daily News as a means of enlightening the people. In 1922 he founded the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), Nigeria’s first political party. When Nnamdi Azikiwe formed the NCNC in 1944, Macaulay was made its first national president. It was in the course of leading the party in a nationwide campaign tour in 1946 that he was taken ill and died in Kano on May 7, 1946.

Macaulay and Carr share the distinction of being the greatest bibliophiles in Nigerian history. No one can possibly write about Lagos history and politics without consulting the thousands of files collected by Macaulay on just about every subject in Lagos history. He was known as the “Wizard of Kirsten Hall”, because of his ability to obtain classified information, which he used to devastating effect. His network of informers would be the envy of a modern intelligence service. He paid handsomely for this information, but his real asset was that those who gave him information genuinely believed that he would use it in the national interest.

Herbert Macaulay was an extremely superstitious man. His files were filled with documents of fortune tellers and diviners, with full instructions on taboos and other occult practices. To give an example, one Mustapha, an Indian diviner, warned Macaulay about women: he should not receive any food from any woman; allow a woman into his bedroom or have an affair with any woman before she had a “bath in your presence in your home”.

Macaulay was also a great socialite: he electrified the social life in Lagos before what Echeruo called the “death’ of the peculiarly Victorian Lagos society at the end of the nineteenth century. He was a regular feature at the numerous “at homes”, “conversaziones” concerts, shows, etc., that were part of Lagos society. It was in this milieu that he came to acknowledge the gift that was to stand him in good stead during his quarrel with the government over the Eleko – his remarkable genius for organising things and people.

Henry Carr

Henry Carr was born on August 15 1863 in Lagos. He was the son of Sierra-Leonean emigrants of Egba origins, Amuwo Carr and Rebecca Carr. He had his elementary education at the St Paul’s (Breadfruit) School between 1869 and 1870, but finished schooling at the Olowogbowo Wesleyan Elementary School, also in Lagos, which he attended from 1871 to 1873. In 1874, he enrolled at the newly opened Wesleyan Boys High School in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He entered Fourah Bay College in 1877 and obtained, with honours, the Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics and physics in 1882, at the age of 19. He was the first student of the college to obtain an honours degree. He left for Britain an enrolled at Lincoln’s Inn, St Mark’s College in Chelsea and the Royal College of Science in South Kensington, also in London.

On his return to Nigeria in June 1885, after an absence of 12 years, Carr was appointed senior assistant master at the Church Missionary Society (CMS) Grammar School, in Lagos. In 1889, he was invited by the colonial governor to join the civil service as Chief Clerk and Sub-Inspector of Schools for Lagos, becoming, the following year, the Assistant Colonial Secretary for Native Affairs. He later returned to the Department of Education as Provincial Inspector, then Chief Inspector of Schools in Southern Nigeria and Commissioner (Resident) of the Colony of Lagos, from which post he retired on August 1 1924, at the age of 61. He was appointed to the Legislative Council in 1928 and served as an adviser to the government until 1941.

In 1906, Henry Carr received the Master of Arts and Bachelor of Civil Law Degrees from Durham University. In the King’s Birthday Honours of 1920 he was made a Companion of the Imperial Service Order. Later, he received the Commander of the Order of the British Empire and also the honorary degrees of Master of Science and Doctor of Civil Law.

Henry Carr died on March 6 1945.

Carr’s erudition was phenomenal. When he died in 1945 he left a library of 18,000 books each, of which, Rossiter believes, showed marks of a personal selection. Carr left his library, which formed the foundation of the library of the University of Ibadan, to the Nigerian Government.

Carr’s rivalry with Herbert Macaulay was fierce. As far as Carr was concerned, Macaulay was an egotist who could never conceive of himself as making a mistake or look upon an opponent as anything but a villain. The politics of Lagos, which Macaulay dominated after 1919, were, according to Carr, simply a contest in competitive mass bribery, an appeal to the cupidity of the people. Lagos affected by “rampant racialism and nationalist feeling”, began to show a strain of primitivism. Nationalism was a disease that Carr wished Lagos could avoid.

According to Macaulay, Carr’s appointment as provincial commissioner was highly irregular. The post was created mainly to remove Carr from the education department, where he ought to have become director of education; Carr was given none of the functions which Lugard in his 1918 political memoranda specified as part of the office of resident. Lagos was not a province; therefore, the resident could not be the senior government official in the area and not being a province, the resident could not exercise, as Lugard’s memoranda expected residents to do, a close supervision over Lagos.

Carr invented numerous excuses for avoiding uneducated Africans, for whom he had an aversion. But he was a tremendous fighter for his own welfare and prestige within the colonial service.

Carr was essentially an elitist: he had no patience with the masses, whom he considered to be “sheep-like-ready to follow where they are led”. He was not much impressed by the argument that majority of the people might want what he considered unprofitable. He characterised the illiterate masses as swayed more by emotion than reason, with emotions more suited to market women than men. Lagos politics he thought “a kind of systematic insanity”; the people of Lagos had refused to think for themselves: they had placed their trust in a leader who retained his hold over them “by stirring up mob emotions, by using tricks, mass propaganda, hate drill and all kinds of mumbo-jumbo”. Their profession of patriotism was a smoke screen to hide spite, greed, dishonesty and vanity.

Carr was therefore a good example of Malcolm X’s veritable “house Negro”. Unloved by all sections of Lagos community, he found solace, again like the “house Negro”, in Christianity.
Herbert Macaulay could not have been more different from Carr in character, looks and personality. Macaulay was flamboyant and resplendent, while Carr was quietly conservative. Macaulay was ebullient, effervescent and charming. Carr was foreboding, dour, shy, stolid and withdrawn. Macaulay had the most improbable handlebar moustache, which made him look like a cunning playboy and he was something of a daredevil. The indigenes of Lagos could understand and love Macaulay as they never could Carr.

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Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 10:48am On Mar 27, 2012


Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 10:57am On Mar 27, 2012
angry angry angry angry angry
Azikiwe, Balewa, Awolowo and Bello from that list.


Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 11:08am On Mar 27, 2012
greateros: Since ojukwu, who sacrificed for his people more than any person you have mentioned so far, is not deserving of being mentioned as a hero in your "unbiased" opinion, then i see no reason to contribute to your post. undecided

I don't want this thread to become another tribal e-war. Ojukwu did his thing for Biafra - bute he never really contributed anything of note, to Nigeria - both before and after Biafra. I included CHRISTOPHER OKIGBO on my list instead of Ojukwu. CHRISTOPHER OKIGBO died fighting the Biafran cause - and before Biafra, he made his mark as a modernist - and one of the greatest writers and poets - to ever come out of Nigeria.

Hey, you can post Ojukwu's achievements if you want, but I'd rather have Christopher Okigbo on mine.
Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 11:10am On Mar 27, 2012
careytommy: angry angry angry angry angry
Azikiwe, Balewa, Awolowo and Bello from that list.

Please post your Nigerian heroes.

Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by naptu2: 11:28am On Mar 27, 2012
This should be a learning experience. We are not going to have the same heroes, but you can write about your heroes, while I write about mine. We will all learn from this. It shouldn't result in quarrels.

For example, it was Chukwuemeka Ojukwu who modernised the Nigerian Army uniform and started the production of army uniforms in Nigeria(I think he was quartermaster-general at the time). Previously, soldiers wore colonial uniforms (shorts) that were made in Britain. This was before Biafra.

Ojukwu's lawsuit against the Lagos State Government over Villasca Lodge is the locus classicus in self help law in Nigeria. This was after Biafra.

Please write about your hero so that we can all learn a little.
Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by bittyend(m): 11:42am On Mar 27, 2012
Sir Victor Uwaifo!!
Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by bittyend(m): 11:43am On Mar 27, 2012
Sonny Okosun!
Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by bittyend(m): 11:44am On Mar 27, 2012
King Sunny Ade!
Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by bittyend(m): 11:46am On Mar 27, 2012
Majek Fashek

Majekodumni Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek, is a Nigerian reggae singer and guitarist.Various translations of his name include "high priest who does not lie", "powers of miracles" and "the high priest does not live".

Early life
Fashek was born in Benin City, Nigeria to an Edo mother and a Yoruba father

Musical career
Fashek first gained national fame on a television show in the early 1980s as a member of Benin-based reggae group Jastix. His bandmates included Ras Kimono and Amos McRoy Gregg. They toured for many years with fellow reggae group The Mandators. In 1988, shortly after Jastix disbanded, he began a solo career and quickly became the best-known reggae artist in Nigeria. His song "Send Down The Rain" was a hit, and he won six US-based PMAN Music Awards.

After leaving Tabansi Records, he was signed to CBS Nigeria in the early 1990s before moving to Island Records' Mango imprint, a label more accustomed to marketing reggae internationally. His first album for the company included a cover version of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song". In 1990 he was signed to Interscope Records and released the critically acclaimed album Spirit Of Love, produced by "Little Steven" Van Zandt. Flame Tree released The Best of Majek Fashek in 1994. He has recorded several albums for various labels since, including Rainmaker for Tuff Gong (1997) and Little Patience for Coral (2004).

Fashek is one of the increasing number of African artists to be drawn to the music of the Caribbean, specifically reggae, rather than indigenous hybrids such as fuji, jùjú, or highlife. Having grown up in a fervently religious and musical family, he was exposed to the imported sounds of Bob Marley at an early age, alongside the innovations of local stars such as Fela Kuti.

Fashek's major influences are Bob Marley (whom he strongly resembles vocally), Fela Kuti, and Jimi Hendrix.

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Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by naptu2: 11:47am On Mar 27, 2012
Augustus Taiwo “Tai” Solarin cAugust 20, 1922 – June 27, 1994

He served in the Royal Air Force during the 2nd World War and remained in Britain, studying at University of Manchester and then at the University of London. Tai Solarin married English born Sheila Mary Tuer in 1951.

In 1952, he became the principal of Molusi College, IjebuIgbo, a post he held till 1956, when he established the famous Mayflower School, Ikenne, Ogun State. The school is noted for academic excellence.

For the majority of the first forty years after independence, Nigeria had no effective opposition to the mostly military governments of that time. Activists, such as Tai Solarin, Wole Soyinka, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Gani Fawehinmi acted as opposition to the government.

In 1975, when the General Gowon regime delayed returning power to a civilian regime, Tai published his “The beginning of the End” statement, which he then physically distributed on the roadside. He was subsequently imprisoned for this act. Throughout his lifetime, Tai fought running battles with various governments in order to improve the lot of Nigerians.

As a columnist, Tai was a relentless critic of military rule, as well as of corruption in government and the church. He was often jailed for his public remarks. Tai wrote regularly for the Daily Times, the Nigerian Tribune and the Guardian.

In 1989 the People's Bank was founded by the government and Tai Solarin, against the advice of Gani Fawehinmi, became the first chairman. The bank was created to disburse soft loans and other forms of credit to the very poor to start up their own business.

Tai was a well known humanist and atheist who opposed the ownership of schools by churches. He once said that “black (people) hold on to their God just as a drunken man holds on to the street lamp post – for physical support only”. He declared that he wanted to be buried within hours of his death and without any ceremony or coffin, so that his body could serve as organic fertilizer for the plants in his compound. However, he devised a means of promoting religious harmony in his school, Mayflower, by creating a “quiet hour” in the mornings, rather than the “assembly time” that was observed in other schools. During the quiet hour, students who felt like praying in the Christian way, could go to a corner and say their prayers, those who felt like praying in the Muslim way could also go to a corner and say their prayers, etc. students who did not want to pray, could quietly read their books.

Tai was known for his modesty and was always dressed in simple khaki shirt and shorts.

1 Like

Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Esss(m): 11:56am On Mar 27, 2012
greateros: Since ojukwu, who sacrificed for his people more than any person you have mentioned so far, is not deserving of being mentioned as a hero in your "unbiased" opinion, then i see no reason to contribute to your post. undecided

I laff in Nnewi!!!

No further comments!! Thank you!
Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Nobody: 2:44pm On Mar 27, 2012
Please let's get this thread on front page, and celebrate our heroes and heroines..
Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by naptu2: 3:21pm On Mar 27, 2012
Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti (Sisi Eko)

She led Egba women in a protest against the Alake for enforcing British food trade regulations. The protest led to the deposition and deportation of the Alake. She fought for the right of women to vote and also fought against separate taxes levied on women. She was also the first Nigerian woman to drive a car & ride a bike. Her activism inspired her sons Olikoye, Fela & Beko & her nephew, Wole Soyinka, to campaign for the rights of Nigerians.

She died on 13th April 1978 when soldiers, who had invaded the home of her son Fela Anikulapo Kuti, threw her out of a second floor window. She was 78 years old when she died.

1 Like

Re: Notable Nigerian Heroes We All Need To Emulate As Nigerians by Fhemmmy: 3:37pm On Mar 27, 2012
What a list you have there . . . But Emulating them in what way?

Fela . . Maybe in his ways of talking about the truth and damning the consequences, but his moral corruption?


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