18 June 2016
A bulk of young Nigerians today know of the accomplishments of Nnamdi Azikwe, Tafawa Balewa, and their contemporaries but know so little of the legacy of Herbert Macaulay.
The little they know ends at the fact that his face was on the one Naira coin.
In the 1920s, a period in Nigerian history associated with the beginning of political agitation for self-rule, Macaulay became a leading figure in the first generation of Nigerian Nationalists.
In 1921, Macaulay led protests in Lagos over water rates and land issues. In 1922, he helped a Lagos Chief in his legal battle with the colonial government who had forcefully taken some of his land for government purposes.
The highest court in England heard the case and returned the land to the Chief.
This victory inspired Macaulay to establish in 1923 Nigeria’s first political party, the Nigerian National Democratic Party whose members were the first to sit in the Legislative Council.
The Nigerian National Democratic Party dominated Nigerian politics throughout the 1920s until the late 1930s.
The NCNC later led by Macaulay was not a political party, it was a nationalist organization designed to advocate for an independent Nigeria.
Herbert Macaulay did not live to see the attainment of independence in 1960. He died in Lagos at the age of 81 on May 7, 1946.