List of Nigerian Heroes and Heroines

Ever since the colonial era when the entity ‘Nigeria’ came into existence to this post-colonial era  Nigeria, men and women from this West African country have achieved exploits to be regarded as heroes and heroines. But with a population of over 260 million Nigerians in the past 100 years, it would be a tad difficult to provide a complete list of Nigerian heroes and heroines. That being said, we’d be mentioning some names of Nigerian men and women worthy of being regarded as heroes and heroines. Read on. 

List of Nigerian Heroes and Heroines

The list of Nigerian heroes and heroines would be mentioned below:

  • Tafawa Balewa 

Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was a Nigerian hero notable for being the first and only prime minister of Nigeria upon independence. His portrait is on the 5 Naira banknote. 

  • Nnamdi Azikiwe 

Nnamdi Azikiwe was one of the driving forces behind Nigeria’s independence. He served as the governor-general of Nigeria in 1960, and the first president of Nigeria from 1963 to 1966, however, both roles were largely ceremonial. His portrait is on the 500 Naira banknote. 

  • Herbert Macaulay

Herbert Macaulay, considered by many to be the founder of Nigerian journalism, is worthy of being mentioned in this article for being a strong opponent of many colonial policies for most of his life, particularly from 1900 to 1930. He notably opposed the water rate imposed by the colonial administration, as well as opposed the colonial government’s selection of the Oba of Lagos and the Imamate of the Lagos Central Mosque. 

  • Frederick Rotimi Wiliam 

Frederick Rotimi William became the first Nigerian to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). This feat alone makes him a worthy candidate for our list of Nigerian heroes and heroines. 

  • Ameyo Adadevoh 

Ameyo Adadevoh is notable for being the medical doctor that led the team that attended to Patrick Sawyer, the patient zero of the Ebola virus epidemic in Nigeria. Her insistence on quarantining Patrick Sawyer, even after a request from the Liberian government for the patient to be released, was what averted the spread of the Ebola virus in Nigeria. Unfortunately, she was infected with the virus and died in August 2014. In 2012, two years before the Ebola virus incident, Ameyo Adadevoh was reportedly the first medical personnel in Nigeria to alert the Nigerian Ministry of Health when the influenza A virus subtype H1N1 spread to Nigeria.

  • Oluwole Rotimi

Oluwole Rotimi’s time as the military governor of the Western State from 1971 to 1975 during the Yakubu Gowon regime brought peace and development to the region. The major projects he constructed during the time he was the military governor of the Western State include the Cement Factory at Shagamu, the Ceramic Factory at Abeokuta, the Wood Processing Factory in Ondo, the Palm Oil Mill at Okitipupa, and the Wire and Cable Factory. He, alongside Mobolaji Johnson, was the only two military governors in the Yakubu Gowon regime that were found to be corruption-free by the three-man panel commissioned by General Murtala Mohammed in 1975. 

  • Mobolaji Johnson

Mobolaji Johnson’s reign as the administrator of the former federal territory of Lagos in 1966, and later military governor of Lagos state from 1967 to 1975 was considered to be outstanding governance. It was during that time the Eko Bridge, Third Mainland Bridge, and the 60.7 kilometres International Road (Lagos–Badagry expressway) were constructed. Mobolaji Johnson is also credited to have constructed a network of roads and bridges that constitute what is modern-day Lagos. And when allegations were levelled against the military governors of the Yakubu Gowon regime, Mobolaji Johnson was one of the two state governors found not guilty of corruption by a 3-man panel commissioned by General Murtala Mohammed. In present-day Lagos, a road, an avenue, a railway station in Ebute Metta, and a housing complex are named after Mobolaji Johnson. 

  • Samuel Ajayi Crowther 

Samuel Ajayi Crowther was a prominent Canterbury Cathedral-ordained Nigerian bishop who is notable for supervising the translation of the Yoruba Bible (Bibeli Mimo)

  • Jaja Anucha Ndubuisi Wachukwu 

Jaja Wachukwu was notable for several heroic exploits within Nigeria and beyond. One of those heroic exploits was during his time as Foreign Affairs minister of Nigeria where he intervened with the South African government to prevent Nelson Mandela and others from execution at the 1963-64 Rivona Trail. Even in death, Jaja Wachukwu is still honoured for his outstanding contribution towards the development of Nigeria.

  • Murtala Muhammed
  • Funmilayo Ransome Kuti
  • Professor Wole Soyinka
  • Aminu Kano
  • Taiwo Akinkunmi
  • Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola 
  • Fela Anikulapo-Kuti
  • Chinua Achebe
  • Gani Fawehinmi
  • Alhaji Abdulsalami Abubakar
  • Attahiru Jega
  • Madam Tinubu
  • Olusegun Obasanjo
  • Umaru Musa Yaradua
  • Aliko Dangote
  • Oby Ezekwesili
  • Dr Dora Akunyili
  • Ngozi Okonjo Iweala
  • Mrs Grace Eniola Soyinka
  • Stephen Keshi
  • Muhammadu Buhari
  • Enoch Adeboye 
  • Williams F. Kumuyi
  • Clement Isong 
  • Chimamanda Adichie
  • Nuhu Ribadu
  • Ayodele Awojobi
  • Emeka Anyaoku
  • Agbani Darego
  • Kanu Nwankwo
  • Mike Adenuga
  • Michael Imoudu
  • Balarabe Musa
  • Chioma Ajunwa
  • Babatunde Fashola
  • Hogan Bassey
  • Blessing Okagbare
  • Alvan Ikoku
  • Genevieve Nnaji
  • Oluchi Onweagba
  • Olumide Oyedeji
  • Pete Edochie
  • Hakeem Olajuwon
  • Segun Odegbami
  • Brigadier Babafemi Ogundipe  
  • Joseph Edet Akinwale Wey 
  • Shehu Musa Yar’Adua 
  • Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme
  • Major General Tunde Idiagbon 
  • Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe 
  • Admiral Augustus Aikhomu 
  • Lieutenant Donaldson Oladipo Diya
  • Vice Admiral Michael Akhigbe 
  • Atiku Abubakar 
  • Namadi Sambro 
  • Yemi Osibanjo
  • Peter Konyegwachie
  • Tobi Amusan
  • Mary Onyali
  • Bose Kaffo
  • Segun Toriola
  • Olufunke Oshonaike
  • Nwankwo Kanu
  • Austin Azuka Okocha
  • Dennis Osadebay
  • Nwafor Orizu
  • Joseph Wayas
  • Iyorchia Ayu 
  • Ameh Ebute
  • Evan Enwerem
  • Chuba Okadigbo
  • Anyim Pius Anyim
  • Adolphus Wabara
  • Ken Nnamani
  • David Mark
  • Bukola Saraki
  • Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan
  • Ibrahim Mantu
  • Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege
  • Ladi Kwali
  • Aliyu Mai-Bornu
  • Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu
  • Umaru Musa Yar’Adua 
  • Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida
  • Richard Ihetu (Dick Tiger) 
  • Tunde King 
  • King Sunny Ade 
  • Oguntola Sapara 
  • Christopher Alexander 
  • Sapara Williams 
  • Hezekiah Oladipo Davies 
  • Ernest Sissei Ikoli
  • Henry Carr 
  • Moses Da Rocha 
  • Cândido João Da Rocha 
  • Amodu Tijani Oluwa 
  • Adeniji Adele 
  • Ahmadu Bello
  • Anthony Enahoro
  • Obafemi Awolowo
  • Kudirat Abiola 
  • Hajiya Gambo Sawaba
  • Magaret Ekpo 
  • Bode Thomas
  • Samuel Ladoke Akintola

We should reiterate once more that this list is in no way exhaustive. Some many other Nigerian heroes and heroines are not listed here, however, this does not make them any less deserving. 


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