The Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) was founded in 1935 after the introduction of the Clifford constitution of 1922 which paved way for the formation of political parties in Nigeria. Prof. Eyo Ita Esua was known to be the founding father of NYM, and other characters like Earnest Ikoli, the first editor of the Daily Times of Nigeria (1926), Samuel Akinsanya and Dr. C. Vaughan were founding members. NYM competed for the political control of Lagos with Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) which was founded by Herbert Macaulay. The defunct Lagos Youth Movement (LYM, 1934) was believed to have metamorphosed into NYM. Later on, Nnamdi Azikwe, Samuel Ladoke Akintola, Obafemi Awolowo and H.O. Davis joined the party. The party was the first to have a national outlook in Nigeria based on the composition of its members. Prof. Kofo Ayobami was the president of the party, while Earnest Ikoli was the vice president, and H.O. Davis served as the secretary.
The membership of the party was open to all citizens of Nigeria, especially those residing in Lagos. NYM dismissed some of their members due to some political reasons, but were later accepted back into the party with the idea of Nnamdi Azikiwe who promoted the spirit of Pan-Africanism among the members of NYM.
The aims of the Nigerian Youth Movement was to work towards the unity of Nigeria, and also to gain self-rule or independence for the nation. In 1938, NYM won the three seats in Lagos by defeating NNDP of Herbert Macaulay in the elections for the Lagos Town Council. NYM strongly oppose the system of indirect rule with support from traditional rulers.
In a charter published by the party in 1938, a paragraph said: “We are opposed to the term “Indirect Rule” literally as well as in principle. Honest trusteeship implies direct British Rule with a view to ultimate self-government.”
Here are some of the contributions of NYM to Nigeria:
1. It promoted national unity by composing its members from several ethnic groups in Nigeria.
2. It fought hard for the political independence of Nigeria.
3. It arouse modern nationalism among Nigerians.
4. NYM played a prominent role in the abortion of the indirect rule.
5. It led to the formation of other political parties like, NCNC (1944) , AG (1951) and NPC (1951).