Talking about Nigeria foremost nationalist leaders, we’ll have to compulsorily mention a lot of names, who were perceived to be the frontrunners of nationalism in Nigeria. This nationalist leaders championed the Nigerian first republic which later went on to fall into the high hands of the military on January 15, 1966.
One of the most important Nationalist leader in Nigeria was Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe (1915-1990). The Nigerian politician and statesman, once again popped into limelight after the single-release (song) of Nigerian afro-pop star, Reekado Banks, whose song had “Ozumba Mbadiwe” as its title. The music was centred on the October 20th, 2020, Lekki Toll Gate shooting, which many believed was ordered by the Nigerian government.
Ozumba Mbadiwe, was a Nigerian politician, nationalist, statesman and a minister during Nigeria’s first republic. He was born into the Mbadiwe Odum family in 1915, at Arondizuogu, then under Orlu division of the present day Imo state.
Mbadiwe had his primary education at the St Mary’s Catholic School, Aba, and later proceeded to attend the Hope Waddell Training Institute in Calabar, Aggrey Memorial College in Arochukwu, Igbobi College in Lagos and the Baptist Academy, also located in Lagos.
Upon the completion of his secondary school education, Mbadiwe ventured into trading where he later established the Mbadiwe Produce Association in 1937. He furthered his education by travelling to America where he attended the Columbia University and the New York University. While still studying in America, Ozumba Mbadiwe, helped in the establishment of an African Student Association, which helped him gain the attention of the then US First-Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, who welcomed him and his association to the White House in Washington DC.
After completing his tertiary education in America, Ozumba Mbadiwe, returned to his motherland, Nigeria, where he started the operation of another business enterprise and a research institute on African Arts. Moving forward in his life journey, Mbadiwe joined the Nigerian political scene as he registered with the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) in 1951, a political party which comprises of the then Southern Cameroon and Nigeria.
He contested under the NCNC and was elected into the Eastern Region House of Assembly in 1951, only to be re-elected into office in 1954. Shortly thereafter, Mbadiwe was appointed as the Minister for Commerce.
Although, Mbadiwe, seemed to have a rosy political start, but he had his fair share of challenges in the mid-1958, when he and Kola Balogun attempted the unsuccessful removal of the National leader of the NCNC, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, from the party leadership. The unsuccessful move made Mbadiwe leave the political party.
In a protest move against the ills he detested in the society, Ozumba Mbadiwe, set up his own newspaper named, The Daily Telegraph.
He later re-joined the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC), and was appointed the Minister of Trade and Communications after which he served as a Special Adviser on African Affairs to the then Prime Minister, Sir Tafawa Balewa.
Ozumba Mbadiwe, was blessed with six (6) lovely children namely, Betty Mbadiwe, Greg Mbadiwe, Paul Mbadiwe, Chris Mbadiwe, George Mbadiwe and Francis Mbadiwe.
In 1990, the Nigerian politician, statesman and nationalist leader, Ozumba Mbadiwe, died, leaving the positive mark of a good political legacy behind.