Hezekiah Oladapo Davies

Hezekiah Oladapo Davies was a leading Nigerian nationalist, born in Lagos on 5 April 1905 to “Spiritual Moses”, who was one of the founders of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church. Hezekiah was educated in Wesley School, Olowogbowo, Methodist Boys High School and Kings’ College. He studied Economics under the tutelage of Harold Laski, the British political theorist and Marxist at the London School of Economics. He served as president of the West African Students’ Union in the U.K. and as representative of the University of London on the Executive Committee of British Universities. In London, he secured accreditation as correspondent of the Nigerian Daily Times and got to interview Emperor Selassie of Ethiopia, during the king’s first press conference in the city.

Davies became the secretary of the organization he had helped form, the Nigerian Youth Movement when he returned to Lagos in 1937. He journeyed back to England to train as a lawyer in 1944 and was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1959, equivalent of the present-day Senior Advocate of Nigeria. In 1961 he assumed leadership of the Nigerian National Press. As a fellow at the Research Center for International Affairs in Harvard, he wrote Nigeria: The Prospect for democracy, in which he examined the historical background of Nigeria, the true concept of democratic government and the socioeconomic structure of the country. Davies was less pan-African in his approach but more conscious of the Nigerian goal. He worked deliberately to foster inter-tribal cooperation in the common cause of Nigerian unity and independence. Davies regarded Lagos as a symbol of the emerging nation, and would rather have its status as a center of unity undiminished. His demise occurred in 22 November 1989 shortly after concluding his memoir.