Student Village Academy Forums GENERAL DISCUSSIONS Herbert Macaulay – Nigeria’s First Civil Engineer

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      The first civil engineer in Nigeria was Olayinka Herbert Badmus Macaulay.

      He was a politician, surveyor, engineer, architect, journalist, and musician in addition to being a nationalist.

      He was Samuel Ajayi Crowther’s maternal grandson.


      He was chosen to serve as the Lagos colony’s surveyor of crown lands, a job he held up until his resignation in 1898.

      Macaulay’s increasing anger toward the racial discrimination practised by Europeans in the civil service appears to have been the catalyst for his resignation.


      He established himself as a private surveyor in Lagos and slowly emerged as a spokesman for opposition to British rule in Lagos and all Nigeria over the ensuing years. Macaulay addressed himself to numerous issues, usually in articles he contributed to the Lagos Daily Times. 

      He resisted any British attempts to enlarge their administrative reach because he believed that these advances would harm native Nigerians, who would inevitably be required to foot the tax bill.

      He campaigned against paying water rates in 1915 and spearheaded the opposition to government efforts to change the land tenure system in Lagos and Yorubaland as the head of the Lagos auxiliary of the Antislavery and Aborigines Protection Society.

      He presided in 1944 at the Nigerian Union of Students meeting, from which the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) ultimately emerged, Nigeria’s first national political party. Macaulay was elected president of the NCNC 
      and was engaged in a national tour for the party in 1945, when he was taken ill. Returning to Lagos, he died in the same year. 
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