To some people, Ozumba Mbadiwe is a popular song by Reekado banks, while to some others a prominent neighbourhood in Victoria Island in Lagos State Nigeria. It will be surprising to some that these entities are named after a Nigerian nationalist and statesman in the first republic, Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe.
Who is Ozumba Mbadiwe
Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe is a Nigerian politician, nationalist and government minister in the first republic. He was born to the family of Mbadiwe Odum from Arondizuogu then under the Orlu division of present-day Imo State. His uncle, Igwegbe Odum, was a warrant chief in the colonial era.
He began his primary education at St Mary’s Catholic School, Port Harcourt, and finished it at a government school in Aba. He then attended the Hope Waddell Training Institute, Calabar, Aggrey Memorial College, Arochukwu, Igbobi College, Lagos and the Baptist Academy, Lagos.
After his secondary education, he dabbled into trading by establishing Mbadiwe Produce Association in 1937. He left Nigeria to study at Columbia University and New York University for a number of years. While in America, he helped to establish an African student’s association, through which he gained the attention of the U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who received him and his organization in the White House. After his stay in the United States, he returned to Nigeria to start another business, he also established a research institute on African Arts.
Shortly after Ozumba Mbadiwe returned from the United States, he joined the Nigerian political scene through the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons.
In 1951, he was elected into the Eastern Region House of Assembly. He was re-elected in 1954 and made minister for Lands and National Resources shortly thereafter. In 1957, he was made the Minister for Commerce. However, his political success was to undergo a great challenge when in mid-1958, he and Kola Balogun attempted to remove Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe as the leader of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC).
Mbadiwe set up his own newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, as an organ of protest. He later re-joined the party and was appointed Minister for Trade and Communications and also served as a special adviser to the Prime Minister, advising on African affairs. Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe however died in 1990 and was survived by six children.