Chief Ladipo Solanke, lawyer, activist and nationalist was educated at St Adrew’s Training Institution, Oyo, Nigeria, Fourah Bay College Sierra Leone and completed his legal studies at the University College, London.

He was employed as the first teacher of Yoruba in London University. He later worked as a Barrister in London. In 1924 with the encouragementof Marcus Garvey, he set up the Nigeria Progress Union.

In 1925 Solanke and Dr. Bankole-Bright founded the West African Students’ Union (WASU) in London. Under Solanke’s leadership WASU became the main social, cultural and political focus for West Africans in Britain for the next twenty-five years.

Nigerian Progress Union and the West African Students’ Union (WASU) seated on the floor (on the left side) and other Nigerian West students, London 1934.

Both Nigerian Progess Union and the West African Students’ Union served as training ground for many future political leaders and played an important role agitating for an end to colonial rule in Britain’s west African colonies.

Between 1929 and 1932 he embarked on a fund-raising tour of west Africa, and became the warden of the WASU hostel that was opened in Camden Town in 1933.

He died of lung cancer in 1958 and was buried in Great Northern London cemetery, Southgate.


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