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An Examination of Zik’s Philosophy of Nationalism and His Criti que of African Superstition

Polycarp Ikuenobe


The five principles that encapsulate Nnamdi Azikiwe’s (1968) philosophy of nationalism are as follows: (1) Spiritual Balance, (2) Social Regeneration, (3) Economic Determinism, (4) Mental Emancipation, and (5) National Risorgimento or political resurgence. It would appear that from these principles, Azikiwe (whom I will henceforth refer to as Zik) has a coherent view, set of principles, and basis for his view of nationalism. Central to all these principles is the idea of mental emancipation. This appears to tie together the first three principles to constitute jointly the material conditions for Zik’s final goal, which is captured by the last principle. However, in his discussion of the idea of mental emancipation, Zik criticizes certain African thought and belief systems, in what he calls “African superstitions†or “super-science.†The goal of this article is to critically examine Zik’s principles of nationalism, especially the idea of mental emancipation, as a reasonable basis for his criticism of some African beliefs.


Azikiwe; Zikism; Mental Emancipation; African Nationalism; African Superstitions; Super-Science; Philosophy

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

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