Essay by shinka07College, UndergraduateA+, April 2005

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HIST 223

Grand old man

Nnamdi Azikiwe was one of the most influential Africans in history. Founding President of Malawi, Ngwazi Dr. Kamuzu Banda, describes Azikiwe, "Zik was one of the most practical, most pragmatic people that I knew during my political life. Nnamdi was an imposing figure standing more than six feet tall, broad shouldered with and "old world" charm about him. When he spoke, it was in a clear, mellifluous voice that at once pronounced the speaker's humility and authority". His voice and delivery of speeches was described as, "seductive, eloquent, persuasive, and spell-binding". While he led a very public life, not much is known about his private home life. This uncertainty was the reason the Nigerian people created fables of their "mystical man". Zik, as he was called had big dreams for the independence of Nigeria and an untied Africa. While Nnamdi accomplished a great deal in his life, the end result of his struggle was depressing.

His reputation for leadership, personal integrity, and dependability acquired him the title of "Zik of New Africa".

Benjamin Nnamdi Axikiwe was born on November 16, 1904 in Zunguru, Northern Nigeria, to Onistsha Ibo parents. Here he learned of the inequalities of Colonialism when his father, Obed-Edom Chukwaemeka Axikiwe, a civilian clerk of a British army regiment was forced to leave his job because of discrimination. When Nnamdi was eight we went to live with his paternal grandparents, where he became fluent in the Ibo and Yoruba languages. He eventually learned English, when he began schooling at a Catholic Missionary School, where he excelled at sports as well as academics. This began a series of school transfers for Nnamdi because of his academic excellence. He attended the Wesleyan Boys High School in Lagos as well as the Hope Waddell Training Institute...