Men are not alike in capacity or in character. People who work hard are reasonably praised and respected. Some men are endowed with energy and imaginative wisdom that they distinguish them from others. One such person is Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. Many call him an outstanding statesman, a top-notch intellect, a self-sacrificing saint, who will die in defense of Africa. Others call him a hair-lifting orator who brings people to the brink of hysteria. Some recognize him as being the father of Nigerian nationalism and others see him as a talented athlete.
Governor-General Nnamdi Azikiwe was born fifty-nine years ago in the town of Ontisha, in Northern Nigeria. Educated in his native town and in Calabar and Lagos, Dr. Azikiwe displayed his capacity for leadership and ability to learn vary. Dr. Azikiwe studied for nine years in the U.S.A. Yet, nothing came easily for him. First and foremost, there were the numerous problems of Nigeria; problems that he could not have changed with a mere stroke of the pen. Secondly, the lack of fund to finance his studies used to worry him. Nevertheless, he carried his problems with dignity and courage.
Governor-General Azikiwe studied in Storer College, Howard, Lincoln, Pennsylvania and Columbia universities. He has degrees in Philosophy, Anthropology, History, and Political Science. For sometime, he was also an instructor in History and Political Science at Lincoln University. As a journalist of a considerable reputation, he established a chain of newspapers in Ghana and Nigeria. His newspapers, like the African Morning Post and the West African Pilot, inspired nationalism in West Africa at large. The result, needless to say, proved exactly what he expected.
As a scholar, he wrote a number of books such as “Liberia in World Politics,” “Political Blueprint of Nigeria”, “Economic Reconstruction of Nigeria” and “Renascent Africa”.
In his book “Renascent Africa”, among other things, he speaks of “the flowering of Ethiopia in antiquity and of Songhai in the Middle Ages”, “of the slave trade and the devil of imperialism that contributed a lot to holding the African to the point of status quo.” As a politician first, and a statesman second, he was a member of the Executive of the Nigerian Youth Movement, Organizer of the Nigerian Reconstruction Group, President of the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon, leader of the opposition in Western Nigeria’s Assembly, Premier of Eastern Nigeria, and President of the Federal Senate. And today, he is not only Governor-General of the Federation of Nigeria, but also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President of the Lagos Football Association and the Nigerian Amateur Athletic Association.
He often says, “Selfish men cannot build lasting unity. Morally defeated men, motivated by self aggrandizement cannot rise above self interest.” Having the intellect, the drive and almost a legendary prestige among his countrymen, one can only wish him the age and the well being in the role he plays to Nigeria’s growing maturity.
Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the Prime Minister of the Federation of Nigeria, was born in 1912 at the village of Tafawa Balewa, in Northern Nigeria, where he completed his elementary and secondary school studies. Later on, he joined Katsima College and qualified as a teacher.
He taught for three years, and went to London University for advanced studies. Though he wanted to be a teacher by profession, he was destined to be an astute and impressive statesman by nature. It was during his short stay in London, that he found politics to be his cup of tea. What he saw, heard, and studied in London, coupled with his natural magnetism and inclination, gave him the necessary ammunition to fight the problems of life and the burdens of politics. He came to Nigeria, joined the Northern People’s Congress Party, and worked his way through with determination and tact.
Before assuming his present post, to mention a few, he was Minister of Works, Minister of Transport, leader of the Northern People’s Congress Party, and the Nigerian representative at the Commonwealth Conference in London. In 1960 when Nigeria became independent, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, knighted him with the title “Sir”.
The Nigerian Prime Minister symbolizes the dignity, hopes and aspirations of the “African Elephant”. His unshakable integrity and skillful administrative ability, keep him popular and respected.
He is reserved and unassuming – never a flamboyant politician. His rolling resonant oratory and superb command of the English language, have earned him the nickname of “the Golden Voice.”
In his effort to lift and drive his developing country, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa is cautious, moderate, and diplomatic. He believes in gradual reform and evolution rather than revolution. His short stay in the USA in 1955 for instance, completely changed his outlooks on Nigerian Unity. To this effect he said, “In less than two hundred years this country was wedged together with people of different backgrounds. They built a mighty nation and had forgotten where they came from and who their ancestors were. They had pride in only one thing: the American citizenship. If the Americans can do it, so can we.”