Blast from the Past - Nnamdi Azikiwe and his Wife, Flora

Pictures have a way of being the only things that survive when we pass on, and as someone who loves taking pictures, I also love looking at them especially the ones from the past. I was able to find a few old pictures, [see Awolowo and HID on their wedding day] and once in a while I'll share some of the others with explanatory news clips I can find.

Nnamdi Azikiwe (November 16, 1904 – May 11, 1996), popularly known as "Zik", was one of the leading figures of modern Nigerian nationalism. He was head of state of Nigeria from 1960 to 1966, serving as the second and last Governor-General from 1960 to 1963 and the first President of Nigeria from 1963 to 1966, holding the presidency throughout the Nigerian First Republic.

For a man of Azikiwe's stature in the history of Nigeria, not much is known about his first wife, Flora, or his family life. However, a few snippets crop up here and here. According to Emeagwali,

He married Flora Ogboegbunam in 1936 when he was 32 years. Between them, they had one daughter and three sons. Chukwuma, his first son, is a diplomat, while Chukwuemeka is a businessman. Not much is known about Zik's children.

Apart from the occasional appearance at state occasions with her husband as president, Lady Flora was hardly seen in public and less even known of her. From 1966 when Zik stopped being Nigeria's president to 1983 when she died, Lady Flora could have passed for cypher in the consciousness of Nigerians. And although Zik later re-married Uche and had more children by her, what sort of father he was did not enter into the conscious of his compatriots. Zik himself hardly wrote or said anything about family life, and certainly not his own. There was no sign that he was close to his kids, especially those of his late wife.

His obituary does say that Azikiwe went into virtual seclusion for some time after August 1983 when his wife Flora passed. Though he died thirteen years later on May 11, 1996, Azikiwe remains a revered political figure, philantropist, and gave his name to both a federal university (my alma mater) and the international airport in Abuja.