Nnamdi Azikiwe’s Zikism The President and the Revolutionary Ideology He Denied

A troubled relationship with Zikism, the leftist political ideology Nnamdi Azikiwe inspired and drew his political base from, may explain his sudden yet prolonged fall from prominence.

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Of all Nigeria’s most prominent pro-independence political leaders, Nnamdi Azikiwe, fondly called ‘Zik’, was the first to support and adopt the Marxist socialist platform. He even wrote books expressing his leftist leanings, such as Economic Reconstruction of Nigeria and Political Blueprint of Nigeria. In these books, Zik asserted that Marxist philosophy should be the basis of Nigeria’s new economic system. He advocated, however, for a democratic transition to this new system rather than a revolutionary transition.

Over time, Zik abandoned these ideas and began instead to espouse free trade, self-reliance, constitutionalism and moral rearmament. Zik, it appears, might have realized that it would be better to agitate for freedom within the framework of the colonial system, rather than advocate for its tearing down. What led to his gradual change of ideological position from left to right? And what were the implications of this change on his political trajectory?...

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