Nigerian Youth Movement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) was Nigeria's first genuine nationalist organization, founded in Lagos in 1933 with the name of Samuel Akisanya.[1] Ernest Ikoli, the first editor of the Daily Times of Nigeria, which was launched in June 1926, was another founding member.[2] Immediate concerns included the supposedly inferior status of Yaba College, appointments of Africans to senior positions in the civil service and discrimination against African truck drivers. However, the Lagos-based organization at first had generally moderate views and pledged to support and cooperate with the governor.[1] The president was Dr Kofo Abayomi. Ernest Ikoli was vice president and H.O. Davies was the secretary. It was the first multi-ethnic organization in Nigeria and its programme was to foster political advancement of the country and enhance the socio-economic status of the Nigerian citizens.[citation needed] Adeyemo Alakija later became President of the NYM.[3]

Growing militancy[edit]

When Nnamdi Azikiwe ("Zik") launched his West African Pilot in 1937, dedicated to fighting for independence from British colonial rule, the newspaper was an immediate success.[4] Zik, an Ibo, found a ready-audience in the non-Yoruba people of Nigeria, including many in Lagos. He introduced Pan-African consciousness to the NYM, and expanded its membership with large numbers of people who had previously been excluded. H.O. Davies returned to Nigeria in 1938 from a spell at the London School of Economics (LSE), becoming a leading figure in the movement until he resigned in 1951. At the LSE, Davies had roomed with Jomo Kenyatta and had absorbed the socialist views of Harold Laski.[5]

In October 1938 the NYM fought and won elections for the Lagos Town Council, ending the dominance of Herbert Macaulay and the National Democratic Party.[6] The newly self-confident members of the Nigerian Youth Movement objected to the system of indirect rule through traditional tribal leaders. The Youth Charter published in 1938 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...".[7] The Charter set out goals of unifying the tribes of Nigeria to work towards a common ideal, and educating public opinion to develop the national consciousness needed to reach this ideal. The goal was spelled out as complete autonomy within the British Empire on a basis of equal partnership with the other member states.[6]


  1. ^ a b Coleman 1971, pp. 218.
  2. ^ Coleman 1971, pp. 191.
  3. ^ Sklar 2004, pp. 114.
  4. ^ Uche 1989, pp. 94-96.
  5. ^ Coleman 1971, pp. 224.
  6. ^ a b Coleman 1971, pp. 225.
  7. ^ Coleman 1971, pp. 165-166.