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Herbert Macaulay Father of Nigerian Nationalism



Herbert Macaulay

We all have heard so much about Herbert Macaulay but know little about the great man. Ekomiami brings to you all you need to know about the the father of Nigeria Nationalism.

Olayinka Herbert Samuel Heelas Badmus Macaulay, simply known as Herbert Macaulay, the father of Nigeria Nationalism was an architect, engineer, journalist, musician, politician, surveyor and a Nigerian nationalist.

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Early Life

Herbert Macaulay was born on November 14, 1864 in Lagos, Nigeria. He helped to lay the foundation of modern Nigeria and contributed to the shaping of popular perceptions of a modern nation and its obligations to the public. In addition, he maintained an abiding interest in the history and concerns of black people throughout the world.

He often published news relating to the wider black world as well as the activities and views of Nigerian students abroad, especially those who went to the United States. Many Pan-African and other black organizations knew about his activities and sought his attention. His voluminous papers are housed at the University of Ibadan include correspondence with the leaders of a variety of international black organizations as well as a sizeable collection of their publications.

He belonged to a distinguished missionary family with roots in the abolition movement and Sierra Leone colony. As earlier mentioned, he was born on November 14, 1864 in Lagos, he was the seventh child of Thomas Babington Macaulay,an Anglican Priest and Abigail Crowther Macaulay, both children of Liberated Africans who had been resettled in Sierra Leone. Along with thousands of other Liberated Africans in the mid-nineteenth century, Thomas Babington Macaulay returned to the homeland of his father as a missionary and educator of the Church Missionary Society (CMS), which then actively pursued the policy of training and hiring Africans, often Liberated Africans like himself, to establish missions along the West African coast. His father founded CMS Grammar School in 1859, one of Nigeria`s most influential secondary schools. This group of Sierra Leonean returnees, known in Nigeria as “Saros”, pioneered in the establishment of Christian missions, modern industrial development, and the initiation of modern forms of constitutional development. They acted on syncretic principles, uniting selected traditional African institutions, customs and values with selected western institutions, customs and values.

Herbert Macaulay`s mother was the the second daughter of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the first African Bishop who achieved worldwide fame in the nineteenth century as a pioneer in the Yoruba and Niger mission fields.

Young Herbert Macaulay learned the importance of a sound education, patriotism, and, of course, Christian values from childhood. His grandparents and parents also believed in the importance of indigenous Yoruba cultural values and of working within the larger culture around them. Like many Pan-Africanists at that time, they advocated the intelligent selection of progressive values and institutions from westernized Christianity and African society. Coming from such a family, Herbert experienced a lot of pressure to enter the clergy, but choose a more worldly career. After completing his education at his father’s school, he entered civil service in September 1881 as a clerical assistant.

Early Career

On August 1890, the government sent him abroad for further training under G. D. Bellamy of Plymouth. Three years later, he qualified as a civil engineer, being the first Nigerian in this profession. On his return to Lagos, the government made him a surveyor of Crown lands in Lagos; however, he soon became dissatisfied with the conditions of his employment. Like many of his African colleagues, he hated the system whereby British civil servants enjoyed better conditions and much higher salaries than Africans. Thus, in 1898, Macaulay decided to go into private practice as a licensed surveyor and architect.

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The year Macaulay left civil service, he got romantically entangled with Caroline Pratt, who happened to be the daughter of an African Police Superintendent. They got married but the union came to an end in August 1899 following Caroline’s sudden death with no children from the marriage. Even after her death, Herbert Macaulay maintained good relations with his dead wife family and saw to their welfare.

A devastated Herbert later married Maria Pase but some records indicated that he also had secret mistresses who fathered him some children. Caring for the kids drained him financially.

Financial And Political Challenges

His practice, however, was not very successful. Constantly in financial distress, he took advantage of his position as executor of the estate of a family dependent from which he misappropriated funds. Unfortunately, this act became known to the authorities, and he was tried and sentenced to two years imprisonment. While many sympathized with him because of the extenuating circumstances of his large extended family, this event meant that he could never become a candidate for public office.

Entry Into Journalism And Politics

Barred from elective public office, Macaulay made his mark in politics through journalism, political organizations, and various advisory capacities. Between 1910 and 1927, he was a contributor to the Nigerian Chronicle. In 1927, Macaulay joined forces with his friend Dr. John Akilade Caulcrick, a physician and politician, to buy the Lagos Daily News, the first daily newspaper in BWA, founded in 1925. Macaulay decided on the political tone of the paper. This gave him a platform to battle the government and his African political opponents.

His editorials and feature articles were often critical of government policy, especially relating to the liquor trade; the water-rate scheme; taxation in any form; racial segregation; attempts to deny indigenous customary land ownership; and a free press. He also reported on important developments of people of African descent throughout the world. His editorials and articles often skirted the edges of sedition, but on one occasion he crossed the line, giving the government the chance it needed to put him in prison again. This involved the publication of a rumor concerning a plot to assassinate the exiled Eleko (Oba or King) of Lagos.

Deep divisions on the issue of the deposed traditional leader had already split the political leadership of Lagos, and the government feared that the publication of this rumor might lead to unrest in the streets and intensified hostility among local politicians and elders. Charged with the publication of false rumors, Macaulay was sentenced to six months imprisonment.

After his release from prison, he became more cautious yet his writing remained highly critical. He continued to publish his newspaper until 1938.

Court Case Advisor

Macaulay`s popularity as a political leader was due to his success as an advisor in two important court cases and the founding of the Nigerian National Democratic Party, the first well-organized political party in Nigeria. Both court cases were fought through the court system in Nigeria all the way to the Privy Council, the highest court of appeal in the British empire, which in both instances, found in favour of the Nigerian appellant.

The first case involved indigenous land rights and the nature of government compensation. Since the 1890s, West African indigenous lawyers and politicians had successfully warded off attempts by the colonial government to declare huge tracts of unused land as Crown land. They argued that all land was communally owned, even if unoccupied or uncultivated.

In 1915, the government acquired a large area of 255 acres on the Lagos mainland belonging to the family of Chief Oluwa, one of the White Cap chiefs who belonged to the Idejo or land-owning class in Lagos; however, the compensation to the Oluwa family was very low. While the family did not oppose government acquisition of the land itself, they sued the government in court for a much higher amount of compensation. They argued that with the alienation of this land, the family would forever lose a rather substantial amount in future rents. Macaulay supported Chief Oluwa and his family, acting as an adviser throughout the lengthy litigation that went on until 1921. He went as interpreter and private secretary to London with the chief appellant, Chief Oluwa. On 14 August 1921, the Privy Council ruled in favour of Chief Oluwa: that communal land-ownership was legally recognized and that due compensation should be paid. This victory greatly enhanced Macaulay’s reputation at home and abroad, but it also hardened political lines and opposition in Lagos.

The second case concerned the role of the Eleko of Lagos, the traditional ruler. At issue were indigenous customary laws and customs that many believed the colonial government had disregarded. After a lengthy ten-year campaign, the Nigerian appellants succeeded in getting their appeal heard by the Privy Council. Again, the Council found in favour of the appellants. Not only did the Lagosian public applaud Macaulay’s success, but British anti-imperialist supporters praised him.

Later Political Days

For fear that the government might take action against him, Macaulay refused to hold any party office until the 1930s. But in Lagos, there was no doubt that he was the driving force and real power behind the scenes. He maintained close ties with the first executive councils and was almost always present at NNDP public meetings. Further, he had extensive links with the masses of Lagosians through their traditional popular associations, particularly the market women’s unions and many vocational unions. He encouraged market women and elite women to take part in party activities, including speaking at its meetings.

In 1938, when the NNDP experienced its first defeat at the hands of the new Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM), Macaulay began to reassess his political strategy, opting for a united front to end colonialism. Initially, such alliances did not work out very well. In August 1944, however, he saw that the leadership and strategy of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) offered brilliant prospects in the struggle for self-government.

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Although many of his colleagues in the NNDP executive disagreed with him, he carried the day when he threatened to resign if they did not join his coalition of interest groups (political parties, trade unions, literary societies, professional associations, social clubs and ethnic unions. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the dynamic leader of the NCNC, capitalized on Macaulay’s decision to join the party. At this time, Macaulay was 80 years old, and still appeared physically strong and mentally alert, but his insistence in undertaking a strenuous campaign against the constitutional proposals of 1945 proposed by Governor Richards taxed his strength.

Death And Legacy

While on a national tour, he suffered an acute attack of rheumatism and was forced to return to Lagos, where he died on 7 August 1946. It is estimated that over 100,000 turned out in the streets to mourn his death and popular markets were closed for days to mourn him. Some important things like building, and streets have been named after him.


I’m leaving PDP for APC – Gov Umahi of Ebonyi State



The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, told the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja on Tuesday that he was leaving the party.

He said he would join the ruling All Progressives Congress which he claimed would protect the interest of the South-East in the 2023 elections.

Our correspondent gathered that Umahi told the members of the National Working Committee of the PDP that his decision to join  the APC was irrevocable.

The members of the PDP NWC, who were led to the meeting by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, were said to have tried in vain to convince the governor not to abandon the party.

Apart from Secondus, among those that were at the meeting at the Ebonyi Governor’s Lodge in Abuja were Deputy National Secretary, Agbo Emmanuel; National Organising Secretary, Austin Akobondu; Financial Secretary, Abdullahi  Maibasira;  National Women Leader, Mariya Waziri  and Senator Sulieman Nazif.

The governor was said to be friendly when he received the PDP delegation, but stuck to his decision to leave the PDP when the issue came up.

It was gathered that the PDP delegation impressed it upon the governor that there was no need leaving the PDP for the APC, which they argued had become unpopular.

Sources at the meeting, however, said the governor was not convinced, insisting that  the APC was planning to zone the 2023 Presidency to the South-East.

He was said to have promised to stay in the PDP if the party could make a pronouncement that it would zone the Presidency to the same zone.

One of the sources said, “I think his (governor’s) mind was made up. We told him there was no need for him to abandon the party that had made him a deputy governor, state chairman of the party, two-time governor and all that. But he refused.

 “He wanted us to unilaterally zone the office of the Presidency to his area. We cannot do that. Parties are not run that way. He told us he was leaving. That is what we got from him.’’

When contacted, Secondus confirmed that the party’s leadership met with Umahi.

 He, however, refused to declared the details of the meeting, insisting that the meeting was on ‘‘national issues.’’

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We Spent ₦2.2 Billion On Prayers Against Boko Haram – Adariko



An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission investigating officer, Adariko Michael, on Tuesday, alleged that N2.2 billion was spent on prayers in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to win the war against Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
Mr. Michael was giving evidence as the first prosecution witness (PW1) in the trial of Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (ONSA) to President Goodluck Jonathan, in the alleged two billion dollars arms deal fraud.

Others charged with Mr. Dasuki, a retired colonel, are a former General Manager with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Baba-kusa, Acacia Holdings Limited, and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited.

The EFCC charged them with 32 counts bordering on misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, dishonest release and receiving various sums of money before Husseini Baba-Yusuf.

Led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, Mr Micheal said N750 million was allegedly transferred from the ONSA special account to Reliance Referral Hospital Limited’s account with First Bank.

He added that N650 million was also transferred to Acacia Holding Limited’s account with EcoBank, while another N600 million and N200 million were transferred to the company’s account with UBA.

“Between September 27, 2013, and April 16, 2015, N50 million was credited to Reliance Referral Hospital’s account.

“Based on responses from the banks involved, as investigating officer, we found out that money was transferred to several individuals and companies.

“When we went through the account statement, we asked the second defendant (Aminu Babakusa) the reason for this.

“He informed us that the money was used to hire clerics to pray for the nation as regards Boko Haram crisis.

“When we asked him to provide the names, contacts and phone numbers of the clerics he hired to pray for the nation, he mentioned only two,” he said.

Mr Dasuki spent four years in detention, following his arrest in 2015 over alleged misappropriation of N2.2 billion meant for arms purchase during his time as National Security Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan

After the Federal Government had consistently failed to honor court orders granting him bail, including an ECOWAS court judgment in 2016, he was finally released on December 24, 2019

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This is why we froze accounts of 20 EndSARS protesters – CBN reveals



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sought an ex parte order to freeze the account of 20 members of the EndSARS movement in what has been generating a whirlpool of reaction. The reason for the action has now been unraveled as contained in a case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, filed before Justice A. R. Mohammed of Abuja Federal High Court reports

The affected individuals have been identified as Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise, and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.The affected individuals have been identified as Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise, and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye. Others are Saadat Temitope Bibi, Adegoke Pamilerin Yusif, Umoh Grace Ekanem, Babatunde Victor Segun, Mulu Louis Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Akpevweoghene Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu A. Williams, Gatefield Nigeria Limited, Bassey Victor Israel and Wisdom Busaosowo Obi.

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It has now been revealed that the apex bank, while requesting the court order, argued that the funding of the EndSARS movement might have emanated from terrorist activities, The Punch reports.

CBN said the money flow into the account of the EndSARS protesters was found ominous following investigation by head of the economic intelligence unit, Joseph Omayuku. “There is a grave allegation that the defendants are involved in suspected terrorism financing via their bank accounts in contravention of the provisions of extant laws and regulations. The aforesaid transactions undertaken by the defendants, using their bank accounts, can cause significant economic and security harm to the public and the Federal Republic of Nigeria if left unchecked.”

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