Though the construction began immediately after the death of Nigeria’s first president and nationalist Nnamdi Azikiwe in 11th of May 1996, when the then administration announced the construction of a mausoleum in his honour. But for the record, it was never completed 22 years down the line. But however, the current Federal Government has overseen the completion of the Zik Mausoleum and Conference Centre.
Nnamdi Azikiwe, popularly known as “Zik” or “Zik of Africa”, was born in 16th of November 1904 to Igbo parents in Zungeru in present-day Niger State. He made his name in the 1930s as a devoted figure in the nationalist movement after his return to Nigeria from the United States, where he had gone to study.
In his early days, Nnamdi Azikiwe was inspired and motivated to fight towards the independence of his country and Africa as a whole after listening to a lecture given by Dr J.E. Kweggir Aggrey in 1924. With this mindset of his, he was considered as a driving force behind the nation’s independence, he came to be known as the “father of Nigerian Nationalism”
In 1944, Nnamdi Azikiwe co-founded the National Council for Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) with Herbert Macaulay and became the president. NCNC was a nationalist political party in Nigeria.
Nnamdi Azikiwe, as leader of the NCNC, held a number of elected public offices in between 1947 and 1960, including the premier of the Eastern Region, where he expanded educational facilities including laying the foundation for the University of Nigeria at Nsukka, formally opened in September 1960.
Briefly after Nigeria got its independence on the October 1 1960, Nnamdi Azikiwe was appointed governor-general with Sir Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as prime minister On the 16 November 1960. He also became the first Nigerian named to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom.
In 1963, Nigeria became a republic and Nnamdi Azikiwe was named its first president. He held this position until he was deposed by a military coup on January 15, 1966, which led to the Nigerian-Biafran civil war.
On May 11, 1996, Nnamdi Azikiwe passed away in eastern Nigeria after a long illness and 22 years after his death, the political scientist, journalist, writer and a believer in democracy still has his name etched in history books as one of the pioneers of the leading figures of modern African nationalism.
Below are photos of the Mausoleum: