K. O. Mbadiwe

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Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe (1915–1990) was a Nigerian nationalist, politician, statesman and former government minister.


Mbadiwe was born to the family of Mbadiwe Odum from Arondizuogu then under then Orlu division of present-day Imo State. His uncle, Igwegbe Odum was a former warrant chief. He started primary education at St Mary's Catholic School, Port Harcourt and finished early education at a government school in Aba. He then attended the Hope Waddell Training Institute, Calabar, Aggrey Memorial College, Arochukwu, of present-day Abia State, Igbobi College, Lagos and the Baptist Academy, Lagos. At Baptist Academy, Samuel Akintola and E.E. Esau were staff members while some of his mates at Igbobi were Taslim Elias, Horatio Thomas and Justice F.O. Coker. After his secondary education, he dabbled into trading establishing Mbadiwe Produce Association in 1937.

He left Nigeria to study at Columbia and the New York University for collegiate education. There, he helped to establish an African student's association, where he gained the attention of then-First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who received him and his organization in the White House.[1]

After returning from the U.S., he started his own business and established a research institute on African Arts. He soon entered the Nigerian political scene and joined the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons. In 1951, he was elected into the Eastern Region House of Assembly,[2] he was re-elected in 1954, and made minister for Lands and National Resources. 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 Nnamdi Azikiwe as the leader of N.C.N.C.[3] Mbadiwe set up his own newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, as an organ of protest.[4] He later re-joined the party and was appointed Minister for Trade and Communications[5] and also served as a special adviser to the Prime Minister, advising on African affairs.[6]

[7] He had six children namely Betty, Greg, Paul, Chris, George, and Francis.

He built and inhabited the landmark, The Palace of The People, at Ndianiche Uno commissioned by late Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in 1965.


  1. ^ The Cambridge history of Africa: From c. 1940 to c. 1975, Michael Crowder, p100, Cambridge University Press, 1985 ISBN 978-0-521-22409-3
  2. ^ Kwame Nkrumah: the years abroad 1935-1947, p54, Marika Sherwood, 1996, University of Michigan ISBN 978-9988-7716-0-7
  3. ^ Constitutional developments in Nigeria: an analytical study of Nigeria's constitution-making developments and the historical and political factors that affected constitutional change, Kalu Ezera, p243, California University Press, 1964
  4. ^ Federalism and nation-building: the Nigerian experience, 1954-1964, Uma O. Eleazu, p183, Stockwell, 1977 ISBN 978-0-7223-0987-2
  5. ^ The pan-African movement: a history of pan-Africanism in America, Europe and Africa, Imanuel Geiss, p511, Taylor & Francis, 1974 ISBN 978-0-8419-0161-2
  6. ^ Foreign policy decision-making in Nigeria, Ufot Bassey Inamete, p21-22, Susquehanna University Press, 2001 ISBN 978-1-57591-048-2
  7. ^ Seeing the world in black & white, p16, Linus T. Ogbuji, Africa World Press, 2007, ISBN 159221486X, 9781592214860

Further reading[edit]

  • Lynch, Hollis R. K.O. Mbadiwe: A Nigerian Political Biography, 1915-1990 (Palgrave Macmillan; 2012) 294 pages
  • Rosalynde Ainslie, Catherine Hoskyns, Ronald Segal, Political Africa: A Who's Who of Personalities and Parties (Frederick A. Praeger, 1961)