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The first president of Nigeria was Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, also known as “Zik.” He served as the country’s head of state from 1963 to 1966, during a time of great change and challenges for Nigeria.
Azikiwe was born on November 16, 1904 in Zungeru, Northern Nigeria. He was the son of Obed-Edom Chukwuemeka Azikiwe, a palace clerk and trader, and his wife Rachel Chinwe Azikiwe. From a young age, Azikiwe showed a strong interest in education and excelled in his studies. He attended school in Onitsha and later enrolled in the Government College in Umuahia. After completing his studies, he attended the University of London and received a degree in philosophy.
Upon his return to Nigeria, Azikiwe became involved in the country’s independence movement and worked as a journalist and politician. In the 1950s, he co-founded the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) party, which played a key role in the fight for independence. In 1960, Nigeria gained independence from British rule and Azikiwe was appointed as the country’s first governor general.
In 1963, Azikiwe was elected as the first president of Nigeria. As president, he faced a number of challenges, including political instability, economic issues, and conflict with neighboring countries. Despite these challenges, Azikiwe worked to improve the lives of the Nigerian people and to develop the country’s infrastructure and economy.
Azikiwe’s presidency came to an end in 1966 when the military took control of the government in a coup. Despite this, Azikiwe remained an important figure in Nigerian politics and continued to serve as a senator and a member of the Supreme Court until his death in 1996.
Today, Azikiwe is remembered as a pioneering leader who played a significant role in the independence and development of Nigeria. His legacy lives on in the country and he is celebrated as one of its greatest heroes.
To be clear, despite Azikiwe being the first President of Nigeria, he had no complete executive power over the country thus, he was called the ceremonial president of Nigeria.
The first president with such executive power was Shehu Shagari