Igbos: Great Accomplishments That They Were Firsts In History

History is a record, verbal or written, of past events. So, it is important to keep the people abreast with information that will help them be aware of the history. So, we in The Republican News, tried our best to bring to the fore some of the great feats of Igbos in both national and global history. The list is not at all exhaustive but it captures some of those accomplishments by the great Igbo people.

1) J. A Nwachukwu― First Nigerian Ambassador to the UN
The first Speaker of the Nigerian Parliament. He was also the first Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth Relations Minister of Nigeria in office 1961–1965. Notably, as First Speaker of the House, Wachuku received Nigeria’s Instrument of Independence – also known as Freedom Charter, on 1 October 1960 from Princess Alexandra of Kent – Elizabeth II. From 1965 to midday 14 January 1966, Wachuku was Nigeria’s minister of aviation. With most of the aviation laws in Nigeria bearing his signature, Wachuku initiated training programmes for Nigeria’s first crop of Flight and Ground Officers. The Aviation Training Centre, Zaria was established during his tenure.
2) Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe― First Nigerian President, under the Parliamentary system of government. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was also the first Senate President of Nigeria 1 January 1960 – 1 October 1960, before he went on to be come the first President of Nigeria.

3) J.T.U Aguiyi Ironsi― First Nigeria Military General
J.T.U Aguiyi Ironsi― First Military Head of State. General Ironsi was also General Officer Commanding, Nigerian Army in office from 1965 – January 1966
4) Chief Emeka Anyaoku ― First Black Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations. He was in Office from 1 July 1990 – 31 March 2000. Anyaoku was educated at Merchants of Light School, Oba, and attended the University College of Ibadan, then a college of the University of London, from which he obtained an honours degree in Classics as a College Scholar
5) Chief Green Mbadiwe―The first Indigenous millionaire in Africa
6) Equiano Olauda ― The first educated Nigerian. Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745 – 31 March 1797) known in his lifetime as Gustavus Vassa, was a prominent African in London, a freed slave who supported the British movement to end the slave trade. His autobiography, published in 1789 and attracting wide attention, was considered highly influential in gaining passage of the Slave Trade Act 1807, which ended the African trade for Britain and its colonies. He died in 31 March 1797 (aged 51–52)
Paddington Street, Middlesex
7) Chief Ezekiel Izuogu ―The inventor of the first African Car. He came up with the very first car, that could be called the first African car in the early 80s. He also has many inventions behind him. He invented a great machine which he called Self Sustaining Emagnetodynamic Machine. The new invention will offer uninterrupted power supply at no cost, says the inventor.

8) Cyprian Iwene Tansi ―The first African Saint. Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi (born in Aguleri, Anambra State, Nigeria in September 1903 – died in Leicester, England, 24 January 1964) was an Igbo Nigerian ordained a Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Onitsha, Nigeria on 19 December 1937. He worked in the parishes of Nnewi, Dunukofia, Akpu/Ajalli and Aguleri.

He was later a Cistercian Monk at Mount Saint Bernard Monastery in England. After being recommended by Cardinal Francis Arinze, who was inspired by Tansi as a boy (he had been one of Tansi’s students and knew him personally), he was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22 March 1998, who said, “Blessed Cyprian Michael Tansi is a prime example of the fruits of holiness which have grown and matured in the Church in Nigeria since the Gospel was first preached in this land.

9) Chief Odimegwu C. Ojukwu ―The first Nigerian graduate military officer.  At 13, his father sent him overseas to study in the United Kingdom, first at Epsom College and later at Lincoln College, Oxford University, where he earned a master’s degree in History. He returned to colonial Nigeria in 1956.

10) Chief Innocent Chukwuma ―The first black-owned Automobile Manufacturing Company (IVM) in the world. Chief, Dr. Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma was born in 1961 at Umudim, Nnewi, Anambra State. He is the last of six children born to Mr and Mrs Chukwuma Mojekwu of Uru-Umudim Nnewi, Anambra State. After his education he started trading in spare parts under the name Innoson Nigeria Ltd in 1981. His company is third after Leventis and Boulos Enterprises in assembling branded motorcycle in the country.

  • Innoson Nigeria Limited Nnewi, manufacturers of motorcycles, tri-cycles, spare parts and accessorises.
  • Innoson Tech. & Industries Co. Ltd Enugu, manufacturers of High Quality Household and Industrial Plastics, Health & Safety Accessories, Storage Containers, Fixtures & Fittings, Electrical Components & Accessories .
  • Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) Nnewi, manufacturers of quality High Capacity City Bus, safe and cost-effective Mini & Midi Buses, Pick-Up Trucks and Garbage Collecting Vehicles.
  • General Tyres & Tubes Co. Ltd Enugu, manufacturers of High Quality Tyres & Tubes.


11) Prof. Chinua Achebe ―The first African winner of Orange price for literature. Chinua Achebeborn Albert Chinualumogu Achebe; 16 November 1930 – 21 March 2013) was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. His first novel Things Fall Apart (1958) was considered his magnum opus,and is the most widely read book in modern African literature. Raised by his parents in the Igbo town of Ogidi in South-Eastern Nigeria, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship for undergraduate studies. He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures, and began writing stories as a university student. After graduation, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos. He gained worldwide attention for Things Fall Apart in the late 1950s; his later novels include No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987).


12) Chioma Ajunwa ―First Nigeria Olympic Gold Medalist. Chioma Ajunwa-Opara, MON (born 25 December 1970) – also known as Chioma Ajunwa – is a former athlete who specialised in the long jump. After various setbacks in her career she achieved fame when she became the first athlete in her Nigeria to win an Olympic gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, and to date remains Nigeria’s only individual Olympic gold medalist. Ajunwa is also an officer with the Nigerian Police Force


13) Leo Stan Eke ― First Nigeria Computer (Zinox Computers). Ekeh was born in Ubomiri Mbaitoli, Imo State to a middle-class family with three brothers and two sisters. His mother was a dietician, and his father was a nurse. He attended Holy Ghost College, Owerri for his secondary education. When young, he wanted to own the biggest transport company in Nigeria. Leo Stan Ekeh scored another first in 2001 when he set up Zinox Technologies Limited to manufacture Zinox Computers, Nigeria’s First Internationally Certified Branded Computers. Leo Stan’s Zinox Computer has some innovative features, which include – the Naira sign, and a Power Supply designed to contain the erratic nature of electric power in Nigeria. He ensured that at launch Zinox Computers already had the WHQL certification, the first in sub-Saharan Africa, consolidated 5 years later with the attainment of the NIS ISO 2000: 9001 QMS Certification. In October 2013, the company announced the production of its computer tablet line named Zipad

14) Dame Virginia Etiaba ―The first Nigerian female governor. Dame Virginia Ngozi Etiaba was the Governor of Anambra State, a state in south-central Nigeria, from November 2006 to February 2007. She is the first female governor in Nigeria’s history. Her instatement came as the previous governor, Peter Obi, was impeached by the state legislature for alleged gross misconduct. She transferred her powers back to Obi three months later when an appeal court nullified the impeachment.Etiaba is a native of Ezekwuabor Otolo-Nnewi in Nnewi North Local Council of Anambra State. She was raised by her Uncle Chief Pius Ejimbe from secondary school in Kano Nigeria until she got married to Late Bennet Etiaba of Umudim Nnewi.For 35 years she worked as a teacher and headed several schools in Kafanchan, Aba, Port Harcourt, and Nnewi. She retired from the services of the Anambra State Government in 1991 and founded the Bennet Etiaba Memorial Schools, Nnewi, of which she was the proprietress. In March 2006 she resigned to assume the position of the Deputy Governor of Anambra State.


15) Miss Chinyere Kalu ―The first Nigerian Female Pilot. Captain Chinyere Kalu, MFR hails from Ukwa East (Abia State) is married to Mr. Kalu Okoli which makes her a citizen of Ohafia Local Government (also Abia) by marriage.In October 2011 President Goodluck Jonathan appointed her the Rector and Chief Executive of Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) (formerly Nigerian Civil Aviation Training Center), the largest aviation training institute in Africa surpassing even those of South Africa. Prior to that, she was the Head of the College’s Flying School as an instructor on contract agreement.


16) Emmanuel Amunike ―The First Nigerian African footballer of the year. Emmanuel Amunike (often misspelled Amuneke; born 25 December 1970 in Eze Obodo) is a Nigerian retired footballer who played as a left winger, and a current coach. His professional career was blighted by injury. He represented Nigeria at the 1994 World Cup. He is the current coash of the NIgeria Under 17, that won the Junior World Cup in


17) Ngozi Okonjo Iweala ―The first Nigerian Director of the world bank. Okonjo-Iweala is an Igbo from OgwashiUkwu, Delta State, where her father Professor Chukwuka Okonjo is the Eze (King) from the Umuobi Royal Family of Ogwashi-Ukwu. Okonjo-Iweala was educated at the International School Ibadan and Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with an AB in 1977, and earned her PhD in regional economic development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1981. She received an International Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) that supported her doctoral studies. She is married to Ikemba Iweala from Umuahia, Abia State, and they have four children. The eldest, Onyinye Iweala received her PhD in Experimental Pathology from Harvard University in 2008 and graduated Harvard Medical School in 2010. Her son, Uzodinma Iweala, is the author of the novel Beasts of No Nation (2005) and another book released in 2012 thoughts on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa [Our Kind of People].

18) Favour Nnaemeka ―Africas youngest Pilot (20yrs). Twenty-year-old Favour Nnaemeka Odozor was  awarded license as a commercial pilot, making him the youngest in South Africa and Nigeria commercial pilot. He hails from Ebeise Amucha autonomous community in Njaba LGA, Imo state. He completed all the 37 flying procedures in a record time. He attended Uchenna Secondary School in Owerri

19) Enyimba ―The first Nigerian Club to win African Champions league. Enyimba International Football Club, or simply Enyimba, is a Nigerian football (soccer) club based in the city of Aba which plays in the Nigerian Premier League. Their name means People’s Elephant in Igbo language and is also the nickname used for the city of Aba. Founded in 1976, the club rose to prominence in the 2000s and is considered the most successful Nigerian football club as they won two African Champions League titles, six Nigerian championships and four Federation Cups since 2001. The revenue of Enyimba FC is around 10 million euros, making them one of the richest sports clubs in Africa.


We are sure you have more to add to this list. I hope you captured some records in the history.

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