Chief Benjamin Nnamdi Azikwe (November 16, 1904- May 11, 1996) usually referred to as Nnamdi Azikwe was one of the propelling figures of Nigerian Nationalism. He was the head of Nigeria from 1963 to 1966. He was the second and last Governor- General from 1960 to 1963 and the first president of Nigeria (1963 to 1966). He served as the president throughout the first republic. He founded the West African Pilot, a reputable newspaper, which he used as oil to fuel Nigerian nationalism. He became the premier of Nigeria’s Eastern Region in 1945 and on November 16, 1960, he became the Governor- General with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as the prime minister. His civilian tenure was abruptly brought to an end by the militia with the coup of Jan. 15 1966. Azikwe was one of the prominent figure to escape death or assasination which proceeded the coup.
During the Biafran war (1967–1970), Azikiwe became a spokesman for the Republic of Biafra and an adviser to its leader Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. He later switched sides back to Nigeria during the war and publicly appealed to Ojukwu to end the war.
He died on the 11th of May, 1996 at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, in Enugu state. His portrait adorns Nigeria’s Five hundred naira currency note.