Its always complicated, but we’ll
Substantial positive influence on
By singular action or a medium to long
Nigerian citizens by birth, parentage,
naturalisation or registration.
British subjects permanently resident in
Nigeria before independence.
WE NEVER KNEW?
Person’s not generally known, otherwise than
to those with specialist or specific knowledge,
OR, of whom there is little available information
OR who are known, but of which there is
• Priest King of the ancient Nri kingdom of Igboland, said to be
• the cradle Of Igbo civilisation c.1000 AD
• A highly intelligent, scholarly King,who is said to have traded with
the Kingdoms Of the Middle-East.
• His grave was unearthed by Archaeologist Thurston Shaw, who
discovered a burial Chamber with remains adorned in robes, bronze
crown, sceptre, staff and breast-Plates adorned with precious stones,
which are said to only have obtainable at the time from Egypt or India
• The Igbo-Ukwu bronzes and the Nsude Pyramids are said by some
Historians to be Religious artefacts and symbols of the Nri Kingdom.
• The Olokun Priest of the Port town of
Ughoton, Benin during the reign of Oba Esigie
• Sent to Portugal as the Ambassador of Benin,
while Affonso D’Aveiro remained in Benin as
• Treated with the utmost respect and learnt to
• He later returned to Benin and can be
described as the first known diplomat of
Nigerian origin to Europe.
The son of Oba Esigie, the ffirst Nigerian King to establish diplomatic
Relations with a European nation, he was educated in Portuguese
Missionary Schools c.1535. He ascended to the throne of Benin in 1550.
During his reign, Windham, the first English explorer to visit Benin arrived
Accompanied by a Portuguese Interpreter Francisco Pinteado- whilst
Orhogbua could not speak English, he could speak, read and write fluent
In the course of his many conquests, he established a war camp (Eko) on
An island, close to fishing communities known as the Awori’s. That camp
Called Eko became Lagos Island and his Ehikpa (Ashipa) ruled over the
Inhabitants (mostly captives from th many battles).
He introduced the use of cooking salt to Benin and beyond.
2. OLU ATONRONGBOYE OF
(OLU SEBASTIAN 1597-1625)
• The first Christian Olu of Warri
• On record as the first to receive a
• He studied in Angola, courtesy of the
• He was sent by his father to Portugal in 1601.
• He graduated from the University of Coimbra in 1611,
the first person of Nigerian Origin to obtain a European
• He married the daughter of a Portuguese noble Dona Feira
• - their son, Omonigheren (Antonio Domingo- the golden
skinned King) succeeded him to the throne upon, his death
• Antonio Domingo wrote a letter to the Pope in 1652, asking
For missionary assistance- the oldest letter written in Nigeria.
• Born c.1721 in North-Eastern Nigeria
of the Kanuri ethnic group.
• Prince George Christian of Sicily’s
valet, later Chief servant of Joseph
Wenzel, Prince of Liechtenstein.
• An associate of Mozart and Haydn.
“Bassa Selim” in Mozart’s
“Abduction from the Seragio”
reputedly based on him.
• He joined the Vienna Masonic
Lodge in 1783 and rose to become
Grandmaster, changing its
practices to include scholarship,
which was adopted by other
• Upon his death, he was ironically
skinned and his stuffed remains
displayed in the Imperial Museum
of Natural History- in the cabinet of
• A Fulani from northern Nigeria and a Mathematician,
he travelled to Egypt in 1732
• He wrote a manuscript (in Arabic) of procedures for
constructing magic squares up to order 11
• Magic squares are complex mathematical
• A quote from his manuscripts "Do not give up, for
that is ignorance and not according to the rules of
this art. Those who know the arts of war and killing
cannot imagine the agony and pain of a practitioner
of this honourable science...You cannot hope to
achieve success without infinite perseverance".
• He died in Cairo, 1741.
• She was the daughter of Usman Dan Fodio
• She is the first known Nigerian female
• “Wakar Gewaye” (The Journey) was her
greatest work -the first of 60 surviving works
(written in Arabic) still studied today.
• A respected adviser to the Caliph Muhammad
Bello (her brother).
• There are records of debates with
Governors of the Caliphate + foreign
scholars on state policy.
• She formed a cadre of female Islamic
scholars- “the Jaji’s”, in line with Dan
Fodio’s policy of women’s education.
• She was greatly Instrumental to the
Islamic education of women in the
Caliphate and beyond.
• Of Oyo Royal lineage, he was taken to Brazil at a very you
• He was identified early as being of blue blood, given his fr
assimilated into Brazilian aristocracy, with the title Dom O
• He enlisted as an officer in the Brazilian Army and fought
• When the Monarchy was ousted, he left Brazil, unhappy w
• He returned to Oyo in 1896, where he was reunited with hi
And died two years later.
• Classical Pianist born in Abeokuta
• He studied music at the Abeokuta
Institution between 1861 and 1864,
under A.A Buhle and further in London
• He taught at the Lagos Female
Institution, between 1881 and 1894,
specialising in the Pianoforte.
• Described by the Observer in 1915, as
the first indigenous Organist in Nigeria
• Born in Jamaica, an abolitionist, he had
been a Science Lecturer at the Institute
for Coloured Youth, Philadelphia, before
settling In Nigeria in 1859.
• He published the first English language
newspaper in Nigerian history The
Anglo-African in 1863
• He established himself as part of
Lagosian society and upon his death,
he was buried in Lagos, where his
descendants still live.
Born in Sierra Leone, he moved to Nigeria as a young child with his pa
sibling- Dr Oguntola Sapara.
He attended the CMS Grammar School, Lagos and proceeded to Engla
Law, after which he was called to the Bar in 1879, becoming the first N
He practised Law in Lagos before the Supreme Court. Facing serious
in that the pioneer set of Nigerian Lawyers were not well regarded by
authorities and were restricted in which courts they had audience.
He was a formidable advocate – especially in the area of Customary L
Less nationalist activist , who organised demonstrations against the
Authorities and represented Indigenous interests in Law suits against
Authorities on land tenure rights.
He was the pioneer President of the Nigerian BarAssociation from 190
Though he was denied KC in 1913, he was honoured with the CMG .
• Davies was born in Sierra Leone of
• He and Africanus Horton were selected
by the Army, for Medical training,
qualifying from Kings College and
Edinburgh in 1858/1859. Enlisted as an
Assistant-Surgeon in 1859.
• He practised in Ghana and then Sierra
Leone, promoted Surgeon-Major in
1875 and retired in 1881
• He was born in Sierra Leone and joined the British Navy, b
Of the first African Naval Captains and certainly the first N
• He was one of the first to establish a Cocoa plantation, as
Massive fortune from the produce trade. Residing in a pa
• He married Sarah Forbes Bonetta, Egba lady who was the
Victoria. Their daughter Victoria was Queen Victoria’s Go
• He became one of the first two members of the Legislative
Of Lagos in 1872.
• He was a Lay Official of the CMS Church, famously challen
Be the racially motivated marginalisation of African memb
Of mixed Saro and English descent, he was employed in the Colonial
service, firstly as an administrative officer in Sierra Leone.
He transferred his services to Nigeria and rose rapidly in the
hierarchy, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Governor of the
Colony of Lagos and serving as Acting Governor of Lagos
He was the most senior African in the Colonial service and
the first ever to occupy the very highest administrative position.
Born in Sierra Leone, John Otunba-Payne of Ijebu Heritage, arrived Lagos
in the mid19th century and joined the Government of the Colony of Lagos
He rose to become Registrar of the Supreme Court of Lagos in 1874,
With responsibility for the administration of the Court and indeed the
He was instrumental to the visit of Edward Wilmot Blyden in 1885 and
Famously supported his visit to the Lagos Central Mosque for the
Purpose of engagement with the Lagos Muslim community, against
Opposition from the CMS hierarchy.
He was also active in supporting the African clergy of the CMS Church
In the crisis between them and the European hierarchy.
• He was the foremost Brazilian Master Builder of 19
Lagos and executed a number of commissions, wh
Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos
b. The Shitta-Bey Mosque, Lagos.
c. Cuban Lodge
• His work inspired the Colonial authorities to train A
• The first Nigerian-born
Newspaper Editor- he edited The
Lagos Times and Gold Coast
Colony Advertiser- in 1880.
• He was later to publish and edit
the newspaper Iwe Irohin Eko,
which was focused on Yoruba
culture and traditions.
• Generally described as the first Nigerian
• Born 1847, in Freetown to a Yoruba
Clergyman, returned to Abeokuta where he
received some training in medicine from
Dr. A.A Harris at the Abeokuta Theological
Institution in 1861.
• Studied at Kings College London, where
he qualified in 1874 and returned to
Nigeria in 1878 and practised with the CMS
Mission, till his death in 1884.
• He was born in Bonny in 1872 and studied
Photography at Fourah Bay College.
• He became the photographer of choice for the
British authorities, with some of his works
including the famous portraits of Oba
Ovonramwen, Dore Numa etc.
• He was the first Nigerian-born photographer.
• His work has been exhibited all over the world.
10.THE ‘BROTHERS’ JOHNSON
JAMES, SAMUEL AND OBADIAH JOHNSON
James Johnson was born in Sierra Leone in 1836 of Yoruba heritage.
After attending the Fourah Bay College, he worked firstly as a teacher
and Later became a CMS Priest. He came to Nigeria as missionary in
1874, Working In the Niger Delta. He returned to Lagos as the Priest
ofThe St Paul’s Breadfruit Church. He opposed what they saw to be
the discriminatory and patronising practices of the CMS hierarchy and
Spoke out. He was instrumental to evangelisation in the Benin and
Warri area. He promoted the notion of African equality and capability.
Samuel Johnson was born in Sierra Leone of Oyo ancestry in 1846
and came To Nigeria, working firstly as a teacher in Yorubaland. He
was instrumental in Facilitating the partial peace treaty in the Kiriji
War. He joined the Anglican Priesthood in 1888. He gathered a large
amount of Information on the traditions and history of the Yoruba’s
which he complied into a book “A History of the Yoruba’s from the
earliest times to the beginning of the British Protectorate”. The
manuscript was howeverr lost by the publishers.
Obadiah Johnson was born in 1849 of Oyo parentage- and like his
brother Samuel came to Nigeria. He was the 2nd (or 3rd) Nigerian to
qualify as a Doctor and famously re-assembled his brothers notes
and ensured the final publication of his brothers book.
Andrew W.U. Thomas was born at Oyo of Saro
lineage and attended CMS Grammar School, Lagos.
He joined the Colonial Civil Service, working as a
Clerk at Government House, before rising to the
position of Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court of
Lagos in 1886.
He retired, venturing into business as a Licensed
auctioneer and made a huge fortune, famously
procuring the contract for disposal of German assets
He built the first three storey building in Nigeria-
Ebun House or “Petesi Anduru”.
He was Vice-President of the Aboriginal Society and
President of the African Church.
12. CHARLOTTE OBASA
Born Charlotte Blaize and an heiress of the
wealthy Saro- C.O. Blaize family.
She married the young pioneer Saro Doctor-
Dr Orishadipe Obasa.
She established herself as an entrepreneur
and after the Tram service was terminated by
the Colonial authorities in 1912, she
established a Bus service, the Anfani
Transport Service, to fill the gap.
She later established a Lagos Taxi service in
• He was born in Ghana in 1865 and started his career as a
photographer in 1882 and travelled around West Africa on
commission from the British authorities.
• He settled permanently in Nigeria in 1896,setting up his Photo
studio in Lagos and was the first African to be admitted to the
Royal Photographic Society in 1897.
• He studied Law, whilst on medical leave in the UK and was
called to the Bar in 1910. He returned to Nigeria in 1917 and set
up, this time as a Barrister, running one of the most successful
Chambers in Lagos.
• Born in 1879, he was an early Christian convert in
The Lower Niger area and received a secondary school
• He was one of the first Nigerian Civil Engineering
contractors and built the massive Iweka Road at
Onitsha, amongst others.
• He wrote the first History of the Igbo people, both in
English and Igbo in 1922.
• He became the King of Obosi, his hometown in
• Born in Sierra Leone, he started out as a Trader after his e
Later joined the Colonial Civil service in Nigeria in 1885.
• He was later appointed the first indigenous Paymaster of
Niger Coast Protectorate in 1893. He was later appointed
• He later became the first indigenous Paymaster and later Q
the Southern Nigeria Regiment, before retiring in 1906.
• He embarked into business, opening a chain of successful
• He was a member of the Liverpool Masonic Lodge and Gra
Of Oddfellows at Salford.
Installed Emir of Katsina in 1901 and made his
mark as the greatest Emir of Katsina. His
• The sub division of the Native authority into
various depts: Health, Works, Tax, Police etc.
• The establishment of the first school for girls +
encouragement of western education amongst
his subjects. During his reign Katsina (later
Barewa) College was established.
• The first Emir to travel on the Hajj, to visit
Britain and to fly in a plan.
Nwanyereuwa was a widow in the village of Oloko, on the Outskirts of
approached by an agent of the Warrant Chief Okugo ostensibly on a t
which a scuffle ensued,
• She rallied women to her aid in the traditional method, by sending P
women, who came out in their 1000’s, mobilised largely by Ikonna E
leader in the area. Her ethos being peaceful but robust protest both
Warrant Chief system.
• This set in motion the most violent protest of the early Colonial era,
were killed by the Colonial authorities, leading to two panels of enq
whitewash by the Colonial authorities and the second constituting
recommended a review of colonial administrative practices. The rep
women at the second panel were written by a young teacher- Mary
instrumental in stating their side.
• Ikonna Enyia was to continue her activism, later protesting against u
Eastern Region Government of Dr Azikiwe.
• The riots became a rallying call of protest, for women not just in Nig
• Kitoyi Ajasa and Eric Moore were born in in
1866 and 1878 respectively. Both attended
CMS Grammar School and were called to the
Bar in 1893 and 1906 respectively. They set
up two of the most successful Law
Chambers in Lagos
• They were selected for membership of
Lugard’s Nigerian Council in 1914 and 1917
respectively and Clifford’s Legislative
Council in 1922. Kitoyi Ajasa was the first
Nigerian to be Knighted, while Eric Moore
co-founded the first major political party-
• Samuel Pearse was born in Lagos in 1866 and
attended CMS Grammar School Lagos, from
where he joined the Firm of McIver and Co, where
worked as a Clerk, till 1883.
• He entered into an export trade partnership with
a Briton J.S.Thompson in 1883, with offices in
Lagos and London
• He re-established on his own exporting
agricultural produce and became one of the
wealthiest and influential men in the country.
• A member of the legislative council, he was part
of the delegation that travelled to the UK to make
representations on land tenure, in 1913.
• He was born in Waterloo Sierra Leone in 1876,
attended the Wesleyan High School and later
Durham University in 1906, where he studied
• After periods spent at the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin,
West London Hospital, Hammersmith and the
Liverpool School of
• He settled in Nigeria, building his hospital in 1914,
with an operating theatre and beds.
• He sat on the Legislative Council for several years
and was a fearless, committed crusader for
indigenous rights, consistently questioning the
Colonial authorities on thorny issues.
Born in 1885, she attended St Peter's School
and the CMS Girls Seminary, as well as private
tuition under Rev W.B.Euba.
She travelled to the UK in 1912 and obtained
the following qualifications:
• 1st Class Certificate,- Theory of Music- The
London School of Music;
• Certificate of the Central Midwives Board
(Honours Certificate)- Clapham School of
Midwifery and Clapham Maternity Hospital;
• Certificate of the Apothecaries of the
Pharmaceutical Society of London- the first
West African woman to achieve this;
• Certificate of the Westminster College of
Chemistry, Pharmacy and Botany;
• Certificate of Licence as a qualified Druggist,
• Certificate of Cookery (Distinction for Invalid
She worked at the as a dispenser at the Eye and
Ear Hospital Soho, before returning to Nigeria in
• Born in 1861 in Sierra Leone. He moved to
Lagos in 1876 with his family and attended the
CMS Grammar School.
• He worked as a Dispenser, then went to the UK
to study medicine, qualifying in 1891 from
Edinburgh University and specialist training at
Glasgow University and St Thomas’s.
• He returned to Nigeria and worked in Public
Health, famously working on Smallpox
eradication, achieved by his work in banning
the Soponna Cult and promoting vaccination.
• He also campaigned actively against race
A son of Brazilian Immigrants, he attended the CMS
School Lagos and was later employed by the CMS B
to the post of Manager
He trained as a Photographer and set up on his own
Commercial photographer, gaining a majority share
And private commissions in Lagos in the 1920’s.
His works, are an invaluable record of the life and pe
The early 20th century.
• Born in Shropshire + arrived Nigeria, as a Commerc
Lagos Stores Limited c.1904.
• The first to organise desegregated Football matche
old Race Course from 1914 -between Europeans an
became Games Master of CMS Grammar School, K
+ St Gregory’s College.
• He organised the first Football tournament in Lagos
City Cup even playing for the winning team- Diamo
alongside Zik in 1923.
• He donated one of the first League trophies -the Mu
• One the first board-members of the NFA in 1933-Vic
• He was instrumental to the forming of a
national team in 1938.
• He was instrumental to the inauguration
of the War Memorial Cup in 1942, won
once again by Zik’s club ZAC. The
competition that became the Governors
• Himself and D.H.Hooley were
instrumental to the UK Tourists tour of
1949, he died when the team was on its
way home in September 1949.
• He was fondly known as Baba Eko
• He was the co-founder of the West African Students Union
(WASU) in 1925. Influenced by Marcus One of the most
vocal nationalist pressure Groups at the early stage.
• He was the first African to do a live studio broadcast
• He was also the joint first Nigerian to record an album, on the
Zonophone record label
• Justus Domingo is said to be of Afro-Brazilian origin. Who lived in
Lagos in the late 19th/early 20th century, before moving to the UK in
The early 1920’s.
• He is said to have been recording music in London, on the
Zonophone label since 1925, singing in Yoruba language. Joint
first Nigerian to record a popular music album alongside
Ladipo Solanke. J.J.Ransome Kuti was the first to record an album.
• His compilation of Yoruba popular and folk songs was released by
• Zonophone in 1928.
• Census records showed he lived in the Liverpool docklands at least
up till 1930.
• She was the first Nigerian female
Medical Doctor and daughter of the
renowned Dr R.A.Savage.
• She attended Edinburgh University,
qualifying in 1929.
• She did not however, practice in
Nigeria, moving to the Gold Coast. The
reason why the first female Doctor tag
was attributed to Dr Abimbola Awoliyi.
Born in Lagos to a Saro family, she travelled to the
UK In 1928 – after completing her secondary
school education, for further studies.
She was one of the first female members of the
West African Students Union a vocal and important
activist of its cause i.e greater Governmental
responsibilities for Africans. She famously tackled
Lord Lugard at a seminar organised by Dame
Margery Perham in 1934, stating categorically that
his policy was disdainful of Africans.
She was called to the Bar in 1932, becoming the
first African woman Lawyer, she settled in Ghana,
and subsequently returned to Nigeria.
Born in Sierra Leone, he arrived Nigeria in 1911, worked as a Civil servants,
then joined the Methodist Church in Port Harcourt in 1921- ordained as a Priest.
He went to the UK and received training In the Clergy, returning to
Port Harcourt in 1924, where he established the Methodist Church.
He left the Church in 1930, acting as a Freelance Preacher.
He established the Ennitona High School in 1932, essentially an experiment
of high quality secondary education run entirely by Africans. This attracted
the attention of the Colonial Authorities. Greatly respected by the British
and loved by AfricansHe remained one of the most important community
leaders in Port Harcourt till his death.
The President of the African Community League and first Port Harcourt member
Of the Eastern Nigeria House of Assembly 1946, also awarded the MBE in 1949.
• S.A Fashola was the Captain of the first Nigerian
football team, which played its first match in 1938,
• An employee of the P+T Department, he also played
for the P+T football team. A commanding presence
on the pitch in spite of his relative youth at the time.
• He is described by some experts (inc Sam Akpabot),
as the greatest Captain of the National team.
• He went on to a career in the Nigerian Ports
Authority as a Senior Manager, where he retired.
• The Grand-Uncle of the present Governor of Lagos
The descendants of Saro Immigrants, Benjamin Williams and Melville Robe
enlisted in the Nigerian Police Force in the late 1920’s/early 1930’s.
They both played for the Police Machine Football XI and Benjamin Williams
Was the goalkeeper of the first national team , which played its first match i
Lagos in 1938.
Melville Roberts, was the reserve goalkeeper of the national team, he remai
In the Nigerian Police Force rising to the rank of Deputy Inspector-General o
Police, retiring during the 1966 political crisis.
• Born in 1915. A poet, journalist and
nationalist. Highly intelligent, articulate
political activist. He was the first Northerner
to attend the Yaba Higher College in Lagos
• He used Poetry as a form of passive protest.
He was responsible alongside Abubakar
Imam, Aminu Kano + Abubakar Tafawa Balewa
for forming quasi-political associations
geared towards political discussion.
• He was recruited by Zik to write for the West
African Pilot, later joining the NCNC and
becoming Secretary General. He left the
NCNC and co-founded the NPC, with R.A.B
• The most decorated soldier in the Nigerian Army, RSM Mai
First fought for the Germans in WW1, earning an Iron Cros
gallantry. He switched sides and fought on the side of the
• In WW2, he fought in Somaliland, earning a Military Medal,
fought in Burma, earning a British Empire Medal and Ment
• On retirement in 1953, he was awarded the rank Honorary C
service to the Army. He was honoured by the Nigerian Arm
barracks named after him.
• The respected book The History of The Royal West African
has a whole page dedicated to him.
He was awarded the Military Medal for two exem
actions in Burma during WW2:
A.Even after receiving a bullet wound, he continu
fire accurately on the enemy and rally his men, in
several casualties on the Japanese, till his men w
safely in retreat. Also shielded his wounded com
Officer, with his own body.
B. He single-handedly attacked a Japanese posi
Several casualties, thus motivating his men.
• Peter Thomas was Born in Lagos of Saro descent, he
was a civil servant at the outbreak of World War 2 and
enlisted in the Royal Airforce, as an Airforce Officer-
one of two Nigerians pioneers, the other being
Babatunde Alakija (descendant of Aguda returnees),
who was a student in the UK at the time and the 1st
African to be commissioned as a RAF officer
• They were among the first two Nigerian Airforce
Officers, others were to follow i.e Tai Solarin, David
Oguntoye and Tani Bankole-Oki.
• Peter Thomas famously made several radio broadcasts
on British radio, encouraging Africans to enlist in the
Airforce. Whilst Alakija was featured
On a number of RAF promotional bulletins.
• Born in Northern Nigeria, after his secondary sch
education, he was employed by the Post Office.
• He joined the Revolutionary Zikist movement in
40’s rising to the rank of Secretary-General.
• He defied a 1947 banning order and addressed a
Protesting against the Colonial Government.
• He was tried for Sedition and Misconduct in Pub
And sentenced to 2 years imprisonment.
Before his sentence, his response in mitigation was
“If you sincerely believe it is a crime to fight fo
by all means condemn me to death. Were I to b
I cannot give assurance to muzzle my tongue.
The pleasure of those who put you here, I shal
Leave the final verdict to God”.
• After serving his sentence, he emerged unrepenta
He was disillusioned by the lack of support he pe
• He retired to his native Igalaland, living a quiet life
He remains one of the quiet heroes of the nationa
Movement in Nigeria.
• Born in Lagos in 1895, he moved to Poland in 1922
to a Polish lady and started a career as a Jazz sin
• On the outbreak of World War 2, he joined the Poli
and fought in the defence of Warsaw during the G
as well as during the Warsaw uprising of 1944.
• His claims having been verified in 1949 , he becam
hero of the Polish resistance.
• He moved to the UK after the war with his family, w
• Born at Atani in Ogbaru, Anambra State, and
Initially trained as a teacher.
• He received emergency commission into the Army on 28th
August 1948, becoming the first Nigerian born Infantry
• He is said to have been instrumental to the award of
Commissions, to other Nigerians.
• He relinquished his commission in April 1953 and went
back to teaching- at Zixton Grammar School Ozubulu.
He passed away In 2002, after proving his primacy in
the officer corps.
• A High Jumper, he was born in 1927 at Abeoku
competed for Abeokuta Grammar School in th
competition in 1947
• He also competed at the 1948 London Olympi
• He won Nigeria’s first medal in International co
the 1950 Vancouver Empire Games, with Silv
Israel Njemanze was born c.1913 at Owerr and
have joined the Army In his youth and seen serv
He played in a number of bands in Lagos, even
the Three Night Wizards with two others.
His music influenced a whole generation of mus
He was murdered in 1955, by his band-members
United a nation shocked by the loss of a much li
• Born in Lagos in 1912, to a clergyman, siblings
included Fela Sowande attended Kings College, Lagos
and Yaba Higher College, qualifying as a Pharmacist
• Travelled to the UK in 1947, to play music his first love.
A Baritone, he also played the Saxophone and Piano,
forming a band called the Chocolate Dandies. He also
played as a duo with Pianist Rita Cann and was part of
the Regents Park set of young activists that included
Paul Robeson and John Payne. He recorded a number
of singles, including: “Ihin rere” and “Igi t’olorun”.
• He studied Law at Kings College and was called to the
Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1952, practising at 3 Kings
Bench Walk, from where he rose to become the first
Black Head of Chambers- 1968 and first Black Crown
Court Judge- 1978
• He was among the first set of Nigerian Com
who qualified in 1955 and were employed b
African Airways Corporation.
• He (and Festus Orimoloye) were the first Nig
to gain Captain’s Wings in 1962.
• He rose to Managing Director of Nigeria Airw
where he retired. The first Nigerian Pilot to
• He was born in Owerri in 1930, studied Microbiolo
a PhD from the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama US
• He returned to Nigeria lecturing at the University o
and later at the University of Nigeria Nsukka after
Where he became a Professor of Virology.
• He produced a Cholera Vaccine, which was approv
World Health Organisation as efficacious in 1971
successfully in the Kano Cholera epidemic of 197
• He died in the USA in 2003.
• He was born in 1927, at Awe near Oyo and attended
MethodistBoys High School and Howard University
in the USA, graduating as the best student in his
Undergraduate Class in 1950.
• He studied Medicine at Howard University between
1950-1954 and returned briefly to Nigeria in 1955,
working at the General Hospital, Lagos. He returned
to the USA in 1956, qualifying as a Neuro-Surgeon in
1962- the second black man and the first African.
• He returned to Nigeria in 1962, refusing several job
offers globally to work at the University of Ibadan.
Notably had to negotiate beds for his patients back
• Carried out a revolutionary procedure excising a
Brain tumour from a 12 year old boy. The first OF
• David Ogunewe and Musa Usman were both comm
Army in 1958 and 1962 respectively after attending
• Ogunewe took over command of the Enugu Garriso
Usman transferred service to the Nigerian Airforce
taking over command of the Airforce Training Com
• In aftermath of fraternal killings post the July 29 1
two Commanders, acted to prevent any further kill
by adopting what became known in the Army as “O
I look you”.
• This saved the lives of several Army officers and m
Francis Osakwe was born at Onitsha in 1938 and aft
School education, enrolled at the West African Airwa
Flying School at Ikeja, qualifying in 1963, among the
Nigerian Commercial Pilots.
Flew with Nigeria Airways, till the 1966 crisis, when h
Biafra and became Ojukwu’s Chief Civilian Pilot
He piloted the last aircraft that left Biafra with Ojukwu
He returned to Nigeria after the war, rejoining Nigeria
He became General Gowon’s preferred choice Pilot a
Aircraft that took Gowon to Kampala on 28 July 1975
• Born at Owerri, to famous educationist Nathaniel
Ejiogu. She attended Queens College Lagos and
was admitted to Mills College, California in 1959-
all on a full scholarship. The first African woman to
obtain a Post-graduate degree in Information
Technology and Library Science -from UCLA(as
well as the first to play drums In a rock band!!)
• One of the spokesperson’s for the Black Panther
Movement- she was interviewed on American
network television in 1965.She and her husband –
Ukpabi Asika, spent time in Southern Africa,
embedded with the FRELIMO liberation fighters of
• Born 1925 in Lagos, she attended Queens College Lagos,
later qualifying as a Nurse, from St James Hospital London,
in 1955 (Midwife in 1958 and PG qualification (Polio) in 1958
• She returned to Nigeria in 1961, working firstly at the General
Hospital and Island Maternity.
• She was commissioned into the Army Medical Corps as a Captain in
1963, the second Nigerian woman to receive an officers commission
• She was promoted Lieutenant Colonel in 1975 and Army Chief
Nursing Officer. The first Nigerian woman to achieve this
• She was promoted Colonel in 1976 (PSC) and Army Director
of Nursing. Decorations FSS;DSM;RSM. She retired 1983.
• Oladunni Oduguwa was born c.1957 in Ijebu and began
at A very early age, learning and mastering the Guitar.
• She established her Decency and Unity Orchestra in 197
Nigeria’s first female Guitarist/Band-leader. She gained
Success and released several successful albums on th
• She died suddenly at the age of 28, greatly mourned by
loyal fans as a sterling pioneer of her art.
A graduate Engineer (ABU), he was among the pioneer set
of the Nigerian Defence Academy 1964-1967 (Inc. Abacha
and Diya) and saw action during the Nigerian Civil War.
He rose to the rank of Major-General, retiring in 1993.
Alongside Lt Gen Salihu Ibrahim and Major-General Ishola
Williams, he refused all offers to accept political
appointments throughout his career.
a. “The Military had no business in politics, none
b. They tried to compromise us and we refused, we were
soldiers, not Politicians or businessmen.
Attended the University of Lagos, a Student Activist- Univers
level -as a member of NANS. One of the organisers of the ASU
demonstrations. One of founders of the Patriotic Youth Move
He became a Trade Unionist firstly- Assistant Secretary of th
Senior Staff Association of Nigeria. He founded the Nigerian T
which successfully protected the rights of displaced Maroko
He joined the Campaign for Democracy (CD), becoming Chair
State) and was the key organiser of the pro-democracy activi
He later rose to become Deputy-Secretary General of the Nige
Killed in front of his family on 7th December 2012.
41. IMEH USUAH/TOCHUKWU MOKAH/OYIBO SHUAIBU SU
Imeh Usuah, a taxi driver august 2012, found a
bag containing N18 Million in his taxi- he handed
it in for return to the owner.
In August 2009, a 4 year old boy, Benjamin
Nelson-West, fell under a Tube train and was
saved at the last minute by a mystery stranger
who pulled him out from under the train and
handed him over to his mother. The train pulled
away and the grateful parents initiated a search
for the guardian angel, who was found a few
days later and turned out to be…a Nigerian
Shuaibu Oyibo Suleiman a Police