Nigeria@62 (Happy Independence Day)
Hello, ladies and gentlemen! I trust y’all are having a great day. Apparently, today marks our 62nd year of independence. Nigeria is 62! Happy independence day guys! We’ll obviously be talking about Nigeria today. Let’s get right to it.
Brief History on Nigeria
Nigeria’s history can be traced to immigrants trading across the Middle East and Africa as early as 1100 BC. Innumerable ancient African civilizations migrated and settled in the area that is currently known as Nigeria, such as the Kingdom of Nri, the Benin Empire, and the Oyo Empire. Islam got to Nigeria through the Bornu Empire between (1068 AD) and the Hausa states around (1385 AD) during the 11th century, while Christianity came into Nigeria in the 15th century through Augustinian and Capuchin monks from Portugal. The Songhai Empire also occupied part of the region. From the 15th century, European slave traders got to the region for the purpose of purchasing enslaved Africans as part of the Atlantic slave trade, which started in the territory of what we now know as Nigeria. The first Nigerian port used by European slave traders was Badagry; a coastal harbour. Local merchants provided them with slaves, compounding dissensions amidst the ethnic groups in the region and disrupting older trade patterns through the Trans-Saharan route
Furthermore, the region presently known as Lagos was occupied by British forces in 1851, it was formally annexed by Britain in the year 1865. Nigeria became a British protectorate in 1901. The British forces’ reign lasted until 1960. When an independence movement led to the country being granted independence. Nigeria initially became a republic in 1963, but succumbed to military rule three years later, after a bloody coup d’état.
A separatist movement later formed the Republic of Biafra in 1967, leading to the three-year Nigerian Civil War. Nigeria became a republic again after a new constitution was written in 1979. However, the republic was quite brief, as the military seized power again in 1983 and later ruled for ten years. A new republic was planned to be established in 1993, but was aborted by General Sani Abacha. Abacha died in 1998 and a fourth republic was later established the following year, which ended three decades of intermittent military rule.
A Bit on Independence
The nation Nigeria was granted independence on October 1, 1960. A fresh constitution established a federal system with an elected prime minister and a ceremonial head of state. The NCNC, headed by Nnamdi Azikiwe at the moment, who had taken control after Herbert Macaulay’s death in 1946, formed a coalition with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa’s NPC after neither party won a majority in the 1959 elections. Tafawa Balewa continued to serve as the prime minister. while Nnamdi Azikiwe took the largely ceremonial position of president of the Senate.
Following a UN-supervised referendum, the northern part of the Trust Territory of the Cameroons joined the Northern region in June 1961. Following that, the Southern Cameroons united with Cameroon to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon in October. On October 1, 1963, Nigeria became a republic. Nnamdi Azikiwe became president of the country, even though prime minister Tafawa Balewa was still more preponderant.
After a brief honeymoon period, Nigeria’s long-standing regional stresses, caused by ethnic competitiveness, educational inequality, and economic imbalance, again came to the fore in the controversial census of 1962–63. In an attempt to forestall ethnic conflict, the Mid-West region was created in August 1963 by dividing the Western region.
In spite of this division, the country still was segmented into three large geographic regions, each of which was essentially controlled by an ethnic group. Conflicts were endemic, as regional leaders protected their privileges; the south quibbled about northerners being domineering, and the north feared that the southern elites were keen on seizing power.
In the west, the government had fallen apart in 1962, and a boycott of the federal election of December 1964 brought the country to the brink of deterioration. The point of no return was reached in January 1966, when, after the collapse of order in the west following the fraudulent election of October 1965, a group of army officers attempted to overthrow the federal government, and Prime Minister Balewa and two of the regional premiers were murdered.
A military administration was set up under Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, but his plan to abolish the regions and impose a unitary government was trumped by anti-Igbo riots in the north. The military intervention worsened the political situation, as the army itself split along ethnic lines, its officers clashed over power, and the instigators and leaders of the January coup were accused of favouring Igbo domination. In July 1966 northern officers staged a countercoup, M.G. Aguiyi-Ironsi was assassinated, and Lieut. Col. (later Gen.) Yakubu Gowon came to power. The crisis was compounded by intercommunal clashes in the north and threats of secession in the south.
Gowon’s effort to hold a conference in view of settling the constitutional future of Nigeria was abandoned after a string of ethnic bloodbaths in October. A last-ditch endeavour to rescue the country was made in January 1967, when the Eastern delegation, led by Lieut. Col. (later Gen.) Odumegwu Ojukwu agreed to meet the others on neutral ground at Aburi, Ghana, but the situation oxidised after differences developed over the interpretation of the accord. In May, the Eastern region’s consultative assembly authorized Ojukwu to establish a sovereign republic, while at the same time, the federal military government promulgated a decree dividing the four regions into 12 states, including 6 in the north and 3 in the east, in an attempt to break the power of the regions.
A Few Facts to Know about Nigeria as it Celebrates its 62nd Independence
- Nigeria was formed in 1914.
- Nigeria gained independence from colonial rule in 1960.
- So far, Nigeria has been ruled by military rulers for a total of 29 years.
- The Nigerian civil war began in 1967.
- Nigeria’s oil success began in the 1970s.
- A Nigerian was the first African recipient of the Nobel prize for literature (Wole Soyinka, 1986).
- A Nigeria Won its First Olympic Gold Medal in 1966 (Chioma Ajunwa).
- Nigeria became Africa’s largest economy in 2013/14 with a GDP of $509.9 billion.
That’s it for today guys… Once again, happy independence day! Have fun!
P.S: Do say a prayer for Nigeria (It’s only going to take a few seconds).
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