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Nnamdi Azikiwe: A Pragmatic, Progressivist, Pan-Africanist Philosopher of Education

Augustine Obeleagu Agu


Nnamdi Azikiwe is an enigma. Revealing him and his philosophy is like peeling an onion. This article tries to piece together his educational philosophy and ideas. Nnamdi Azikiwe is the towering African pragmatic progressive philosopher, scholar, activist, and eminent journalist of the twentieth century. The scope of his interests, the depth of his insights and the sheer majesty of his prolific writings bespeak a level of genius unequaled among modern African intellectuals and leaders. Like all of us, Azikiwe was a child of his age. He was shaped by the prevailing ideas of modern Euro-American civilization. His philosophy of education was influenced by the environment such as early socialization, the prevalent Nigerian intellectual thought, The British educational thinking for the colonies and The American educational ideas then crystallized in three interrelated reams of pragmatism, progressivism and Pan-Africanism. As a pragmatist, he was interested in what works. His philosophy of education is in the cast of progressivism; that is to say progress for humanity in general and specifically for Africa. On one hand, Like Booker T. Washington and Aggrey, he believed in education that prepares Africans to make a living. On the other hand, like W.E.B. Du Bois, he advocated for Africans to also develop a group of highly educated class to take over the leadership of the continent. One important part that is missing in his philosophy of education is the aspect of Islamic education principles.


Azikiwe; Education; Philosophy; Pragmatism; Pedagogy

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Journal on African Philosophy. ISSN: 1533-1067 (online).
Editor: Olufemi Taiwo.

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