Azikiwe, Benjamin Nnamdi (nämˈdē äzēkˈwā) [key], 1904–96, Nigerian statesman, popularly known as Zik. After advanced studies in the United States (1925), he returned to Nigeria, founded a chain of newspapers, and became one of the country's leading Igbo nationalists. He led a general strike in 1945 and later held the premiership (1954–59) of E Nigeria. Although his coalition won the 1959 elections, he was appointed (1960) to the honorary office of governor-general. In 1963 he became the first president of the Republic of Nigeria, serving until deposed by a military coup (1966). He worked abroad for Biafran secession (see Biafra), but advocated reunification when the revolt seemed doomed. After returning to Nigeria in 1972, he became chancellor of Lagos Univ. He ran unsuccessfully for president in 1979 and 1983.
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