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ZIK'S MAUSOLEUM : BEYOND THE BOUNDARIES OF PARTISAN POLITICS



President, late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, is almost completed and would be commissioned any moment from now at Onitsha, his home town. This was disclosed on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, by the governor of Anambra state, Chief Willie Obiano, after he inspected the historical project which was started about twenty three years ago, after the demise of the Sage, during the military reign of late General Sani Abacha.

Just as Governor Obiano observed, the construction of the mausoleum which is a federal government project was apparently handled without impressive enthusiasm by previous occupants of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, until recently. The speedy execution and completion of the monumental Inosi Onira Retreat and final resting place of the Nigerian legend, by the present federal government under the watch of President Mohammadu Buhari is highly commendable. Irrespective of political affiliations, the incumbent President of the country, deserves heartfelt praise for rising to his responsibility to do the needful. By this gesture, the President has obviously given honour to whom it is truly due. 

There is no denying the fact that the memory and legacy of late Dr. Azikiwe need to be sustained in order to promote patriotism, peace and unity of Nigeria, as well as the spirit of genuine altruism and service to humanity amongst the citizenry, particularly the country's political elite, who nowadays seem more concerned with their parochial than the collective interests of the society. Zik was doubtlessly the greatest leader among his contemporaries. He uncompromisingly placed the highest premium on the fight for socioeconomic and political emancipation of Nigeria, nay the African continent from the colonialism of European countries such as Britain, France, Portugal and Belgium. For this reason, his contemporaries such late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Augustino Neto of Angola and Patrice Lumumba of Zaire, zealously admired, revered and deffered to him. All of them acknowledged and publicly recognised and addressed the late Owelle of Onitsha as "Zik of Africa". 

Dr. Azikiwe, was actually one of the most powerful and fearless orators and intellectuals in the continent who selflessly and graciously used his chains of newspapers in Nigeria and Ghana, formally known as Gold Coast, to mobilise and galvanise Africans to fight for independence from their colonial masters. 

It is against this background that another posthumous honor being done in memory of Dr. Azikiwe by the government and people of Nigeria is wholeheartedly welcomed. As a matter of fact, Zik in his heydays pursued and promoted acquisition of Western education by his people with tremendous vigour and verve. In addition to being  instrumental to the establishment of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Azikiwe encouraged many youths of his time, in the country, to travel to Europe and the United States of America to acquire the proverbial "golden fleece" for emancipation of their people from poverty and ignorance. He also promoted growth of commerce and industry by setting up the defunct African Continental Bank, ACB. Zik was a non-egoistic and detribalised personality, who also believed fervently in the ideals of  Pan-Africanism, thus he deliberately and consciously shunned self aggrandizement. Little wonder Dr. Azikiwe avoided sectional or aboriginal appelations for institutions established under his watch.

This explains why he preferred names such as the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroun, NCNC, which later changed its name to National Council of Nigerian Citizens and retained the NCNC acronym when Southern Cameroun opted out of the present Nigeria before the country's independence in 1960. Owelle Azikiwe's party in Nigeria's Second Republic was known as the Nigerian Proples Party, NPP. The University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the defunct African Development Bank, ACB, we're equally given accommodating names by the Great Zik of Africa. This was contrary to the disposition of his major political opponents in Nigeria. Again, it is on record that, while alive, Dr. Azikiwe bluntly rejected suggestions for the UNN to be renamed after him during one of his numerous Birthday Anniversaries.

It is noteworthy that apart from its aesthetic beauty and serving as a monumental infrastructure, the Zik Mausoleum also known as Inosi Onira Retreat, Onitsha, would be an invaluable Research Centre for Historians and Political Scientists from all over the world. The Mausoleum would equally give tremeduous boost to tourism and its potentialities in our dear Anambra state and Nigeria.

Notwithstanding suggestions and insinuations of political calculations and  permutations over the recent completion and imminent commissioning of the  Mausoleum by President Mohammadu Buhari, the gesture of the incumbent  Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, is indeed worthy of praise, and above demarcation lines of partisan politics.


Hon. EGBUNA AMUTA, is the Senior Special Assistant (SSA), to the Governor on Grassroots Mobilisation.

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