West African Students Union - Giftedminds Community

West African Students Union in 1941 wrote to the colonial office in London on the need to grant political independence to West Africa.

The union which was founded by Ladipo Solanke was made up of British West African students in Britain and Ireland. West African Students Union was a social and political organization committed to demanding freedom and independence of West African society.

The aims and objectives of WASU were:

  • To project Africa to the world
  • To create and foster the spirit of national consciousness and racial pride among West Africans
  • To provide information and carry out research on African history, culture and institutions
  • To foster the spirit of self-help, unity and co-operation among West Africans
  • To let the world know about the true African life and philosophy
  • To stimulate goodwill and understanding between Africa and other races
  • To establish and maintain a hostel in London for West African students 

How successful was the West African Students Union?

The West African Student Union achieved several feast. Their achievements include:

  • It published a magazine called WASU. Through WASU, the people of West Africa were politically educated. The magazine also served as the propaganda instrument of the nationalists.
  • It indoctrinated West Africans on the need to promote African way of life and develop racial consciousness. This inspired cultural nationalists like Mbonu Ojike in their fight against racism.
  • The union opposed the principle of representation by nomination adopted for the Legislative Councils. It therefore, called for the introduction of the principle of elective representation and setting up of municipalities in the major towns of Nigeria. These demands were sooner or later implemented.
  • It criticized the limited functions and powers allocated to the Regional Houses of Assembly in the Richards constitution of 1946. However, in the McPhersons’ constitution of 1951, the Regional legislatures were given more powers.
  • In 1941, the union wrote to the colonial office in London on the need to grant political independence to West Africa.

Founded in London in August 1925, The West African Students Union acted as a training ground for future West African politicians. WASU from the late 1930s established branches and was a major influence on the anti-colonial movements in Nigeria, the Gold Coast, Sierra Leone and Gambia.[1]

[1] The WASU Project. ‘History of WASU’ accessed at https://wasuproject.org.uk/history-of-wasu/ accessed on 7/12/2020

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