Fuelled by his passion to see Nigeria independent, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe founded the West African Pilot on November 22, 1937. Zik, as he was known, acted as the paper’s editor from 1937 to 1947, stealing the vast audiences of Nigeria Daily Times with his paper’s vivacious blend of politics and gossip.
The West African Pilot quickly etched its space in the heart of Nigerians to become the most widely read paper because of its radical and nationalistic ideals. It quickly evolved into a chain of newspapers with different names in different cities in a bid to simmer its message faster across the country. The Zik Press Limited launched newspapers like the Nigerian Spokesman in Warri and the Northern Advocate in Jos among many others.
On June 8, 1945, the West African Pilot and one of its affiliate newspapers, the Daily Comet were proscribed by the colonial government for misrepresent facts about the General Strike.
Despite the fractious relationship that existed between the leadership of the Pilot and the Yoruba cultural group, Egbe Omo Oduduwa, Chief Anthony Enahoro and Abdulkarim Disu served as associate editors at the newspaper.
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe is deemed a father of print journalism in Nigeria for his work at the West African Pilot. His contributions to Nigeria’s independence were stupendous. He went on to become the first indigenous Governor-General of Nigeria and later, President of Nigeria.