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Herbert Macaulay: The First Nigerian to Own a Car in the Early 1900s

Herbert Macaulay: The First Nigerian to Own a Car in the Early 1900s 


Olayinka Herbert Samuel Heelas Badmus Macaulay, popularly known as  Sir Herbert Macaulay is …as the first Nigerian to own an automobile during the colonial era. The specific year of his car acquisition and the make of the vehicle remain unclear. However, some of the best cars used at that time included Cadillac and Winton Bullet. It is a four-cylinder-gas-powered racer that was built in 1902. The Ford model T was also in good use in the colonial era, and it was worth $300 in the 1902s. 

Buying a car during the colonial era in Nigeria was a luxury not everyone could afford. The dynamics began to shift after World War I, making cars gradually more accessible to a broader section of society.

Born in November 1864, Herbert Macaulay was a Nigerian journalist, nationalist, politician, engineer, surveyor, architect and musician. He was the first to have founded a political party in Nigeria. His photograph adorned the old one-naira note from 1979 until 1991 when the note was replaced by a coin. 

As the seventh son of Thomas Babington Macaulay and Abigail Crowther, Sir Herbert Macaulay boasted royal lineage and wealth during the colonial era. His mother, a daughter of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the first African Anglican Bishop of West Africa, further enriched his heritage.
Macaulay played a pivotal role in the formation of the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP). Additionally, he chaired the 1994 meeting of the Nigerian Union of Students, which eventually gave rise to the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC), Nigeria’s first national political party. He died on 7th May 1946.

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