75 years ago, Herbert Macaulay, one of the most iconic Nigerians of all time, died. Perhaps his greatest legacy was to establish a political party, Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), which became a vehicle for Nigerian nationalism.

‘I thought he was a white American.’ That is what a Nigerian born and raised young woman once told me about the man whose image once adorned the one-naira note, then later the one-naira coin. Sadly, Nigeria’s hyper-inflation means that such small denominations are rarely used nowadays and are not ubiquitously in the pockets and wallets of Nigerians. Like the one-naira note and one-naira coin, the memory of the man whose image is on both denominations has passed into obsolescence.

75 years ago, Herbert Macaulay, one of the most iconic Nigerians of all time, died. If he had been a citizen of a country other than Nigeria, he would be remembered today as a heroic ‘father of the nation’ figure such as George Washington, Gandhi, or Charles De Gaulle. A journal article does not permit sufficient space to do justice to a man as fascinating and pivotal as Herbert Macaulay. Due to word limitations, this article will focus on three aspects of Herbert Macaulay’s life: his political influence, quirks, and the legacy he left behind.

This essay is available to online subscribers only. To read, buy a subscription plan here. We’re currently offering 30% off on our annual (non-student) subscription + a free copy of our latest print issue. Click here for this deal and use the coupon code: RXSAVE30