Born in 1864, Herbert Macaulay was the grandson of Bishop Ajayi Crowther and he was trained as an engineer. He is considered the founder of Nigerian nationalism as the movement was under his influence in the 1920s.
He started the nationalist movement because of the belief that the people of different backgrounds living in the British colony of Nigeria needed to come together as one. He returned to Nigeria in 1893 after completing his studies in London as the first Nigerian to be sponsored by the colonial government for a professional course abroad.
He joined the colonial civil service and this exposed him to the ills and irregularities of the colonial government which led him to get involved with politics to fight for the rights of Nigerians. He founded the Lagos Daily News to promote the nationalist movement.
He was the first Nigerian to establish a political party in 1922, the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP). He became the first national president of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC), party he co-founded with Nnamdi Azikiwe in 1944. Macaulay’s political activities were limited to Lagos affairs until the very end of his life and he was on a nationwide campaign in 1946 when he took ill and died on May 7, 1946 in Kano.