K.B.C. Onwubiko has not failed to define nationalism as “the patriotic sentiment or activity on the part of groups of Africans held’s together by the bonds of common language and common historic experience to assert their right to live under a government of their own making for the preservation of their political, economic and social interest”
It would be recalled that Jaja of Opobo, Nana of Itsekiri Awujale of Ijebu land and Overamwen Nogbaisi of Benin Edo resisted British imperial rule various factors aided the rise and growth of Nigerian Nationalism during the period under review. These are:
- Western education and ideas provided a common language with which west African nationalism used to fight colonialism e.g. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Jimi Solanke, W.E.B. Dubois, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Herbert Macaulay, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria among others
- World depression: The first world war caused world economic depression which resulted in economic hardship and increased agitation for nationalistic feelings
- Economic exploitation: The monopoly of trade in west Africa by European firms and its exploitative tendencies gave rise to the growth of nationalism
- Rising cost of living: Rise in prices of commodities which made life unbearable to the people gave rise to nationalism
- The role of the press e.g. West African pilot, Lagos weekly record, Lagos daily news, Sierra-leone weekly news etc. exposed the evils of colonialism
- Emergence of political parties the growth and emergence of political parties like NNDP, CPP, NCNC, Ag, etc. led by Herbert-Macaulay, Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo etc. awakened the spirit of nationalism in West Africa.
EFFECTS OF NATIONALISM IN NIGERIA WEST AFRICA SUB-REGION
- The nationalism movement led to the formation of political parties in West Africa and Nigeria
- The various nationalist movements contributed in giving the masses political education
- It led to rapid economic growth in west Africa
- It sold west Africa to the outside world by being popular
- Pa Michael Imoudu made the unions to go on nationwide strike for their rights. Finally the activities of nationalist movements paved way for independence of West African countries; this led to an end of colonialism in this part of the globe.
KEY NATIONALIST LEADERS IN NIGERIA AND THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO NATIONALISM
- Herbert Macaulay was born in Lagos on November 14th, 1864. He tried to resist a British law that put all lands in southern Nigeria under British control. He formed the Nigerian National Democratic party in 1923 to provide a platform on which he spripad his anti-colonialist ideas He co-founded the daily news with Dr caulcrick. He died in 1946.
Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was born in November 16, 1904 in Zungeru Niger State.
He was co-founder and the editor of the West Africa pilot from 1937 1940. This was a vibrant medium with which he advanced his ant colonial views He also co-founded the National council of Nigeria and Cameroons in 194 and was appointed its secretary- general.
The NCNC was a leading voice of Nigeria’s independence from Britain.
Azikiwe became the premier of the Eastern region after the election of 1954. He was sworn in as the Governor-General of Nigeria in 1960 and president in 1963. Sir Ahmadu Bello was born on June 12, 1909 in Sokoto. He co-founded the Northern people’s congress in 1951, which was a prominent independence movement. He established several schools to increase the awareness of his people.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo was born on March 6, 1909 in Ikenne, Ogun state. He was a co-founder of the Trades Union Congress in 1943, a very active nationalist trader union.
As the premier of the western region from 1954-1959, he introduced important reforms, one of which was the policy of free education in 1955. His Party Action Group (AG) actively contributed to the call for Nigerian’s independence.
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