Category Archives: History

Access articles, videos, audios, photos and documents on Nigerian history and save the past for the future.

How Prophet Daniel Abodunrin Was Torn Apart By Lions at U.I. Zoo In 1991

Prophet Daniel Abodurin's Corpse
Prophet Daniel Abodurin’s Corpse | Abiyamo

Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state, is the largest city in Nigeria and the third in Africa after Cairo and Johannesburg. The city which lies in the south-western part of Nigeria is known for its rich and fascinating cultures, lifestyle, history and spellbinding tourist destinations. One of the most visited tourist destinations in Ibadan is the University of Ibadan zoological garden which proudly houses different animals ranging from lions to rabbits. It is a popular custom of many families living in Ibadan to visit the zoo during festive periods to hang out and have fun as well. So, on a fateful (later bloody) day in the Easter season of the year 1991, visitors stormed the U.I zoo as usual to enjoy the serene environment of the enclosure and have fun seeing different animals they have only seen on screens. Of all the animals in the zoo, the lions attract the highest number of visitors. It can even be concluded that a visit to U.I zoo without seeing the lions is not complete. Continue reading How Prophet Daniel Abodunrin Was Torn Apart By Lions at U.I. Zoo In 1991

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Nigeria at 1994 World Cup Tournament (Pictures, Video and Full Squad Included)

Nigeria at 1994 World cup
From left to right (2nd row): Okechukwu Uche (5), Samson Siasia (12), Augustine Eguavoen (2), George F (7), Chidi Nwanu (6), Peter Rufai (1). From left to right (1st row): Rashidi Yekini (6), Emmanuel Amunike (11), Sunday Oliseh (15), Benedict Iroha (3), Daniel Amokachi (14)

For the first time in the history of football, Nigeria participated in the FIFA world cup tournament held in USA in 1994 after many years of failed attempts. The Nigerian players were very determined and put in all their efforts to win the cup. With burning enthusiasm, the Nigerian team, coached by Clemens Westerhof, topped their group (Group D) followed by Bulgaria, Argentina and Greece. Continue reading Nigeria at 1994 World Cup Tournament (Pictures, Video and Full Squad Included)

Palava- The First Film Shot in Nigeria, 1926

A scene in the film
A scene from the film

Palava is the first film shot in Nigeria in the year 1926. The British film which was written and directed by Geoffrey Barkas was shot among the Sura, Angas, Mangu and Berom people of Plateau and Bauchi in Northern Nigeria and was released on April 25, 1927. The film tells the story of a jealous British tin miner (Mark Fernandez) in Nigeria who with alcohol arouse Continue reading Palava- The First Film Shot in Nigeria, 1926

First Plane Crash In Nigeria, April 1942

Site of first plane crash in Nigeria
Site of first plane crash in Nigeria

The first plane crash in Nigeria occurred on the 12th of April, 1942 about 8:15pm on a hill (Igbo Ilapa) in the serene and rustic town of Ikogosi, Ekiti State, the same town that houses the popular tourist attraction where warm and cold spring co-existed on a spot. Continue reading First Plane Crash In Nigeria, April 1942

Nelson Mandela’s Visit to Nigeria in 1993 (Photo And Video)

Nelson Mandela in Nigeria
Nelson Mandela’s arrival in Nigeria

On the 11th of February, 1990, the Deputy President of the African National Congress (ANC), Nelson Mandela, was released from prison after serving a long sentence for committing sabotage against South Africa’s apartheid government. To show gratitude, Nelson Mandela visited all African nations that supported him in the anti-apartheid struggle. And of course, Nigeria was among. Back in 1962, Mandela had ran to Nigeria to avoid being arrested by the apartheid government of South Africa, and Continue reading Nelson Mandela’s Visit to Nigeria in 1993 (Photo And Video)

Letter from Lt. Col. Ojukwu to Lt. Col. Victor Banjo commanding him to liberate Western Nigeria

Ojukwu declaring Biafra
Ojukwu

This is the letter the Commander in Chief of the Biafran Armed Forces, Lt. Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu wrote to Lt. Col. Victor Banjo commanding him to invade and liberate Western Nigeria (Yorubaland) from the “Hausa/Fulani dominated Nigeria”.

 

From: The Military Governor,
Republic of Biafra Enugu,
22nd August, 1967.
My dear Victor, Continue reading Letter from Lt. Col. Ojukwu to Lt. Col. Victor Banjo commanding him to liberate Western Nigeria

An Interview Given By Major Kaduna Nzeogwu in April 1967

Kaduna Nzeogwu
Kaduna Nzeogwu

Below is Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu’s last and famous interview with Mr. Dennis Ejindu of ‘Africa and the World‘ few months before the outbreak of the Nigerian civil war.

 

Ejindu: I am glad to meet you, Sir. How would you feel if you knew that you are being regarded as a hero?

 

Nzeogwu: Very pleased naturally. But the truth is that I am not a hero. If there was any famous Major Nzeogwu, I have never heard of him.

 

Ejindu: It is rumored that you have just finished writing a book, what is it like?

 

Nzeogwu: Good gracious! Ninety-nine per cent of all the stories you hear in this country are false. I have not written any book because there was nothing to write about. You can only write about a finished job. It would have been a useful means of warding off boredom though, but one did not do it for the fear that the authorities might seize the papers. However I had enough time to make detailed notes on what happened, and one might use them if in future there was any need to write something.

 

Ejindu: Before you went into prison, the cloud was so clear above this country that one could see very far into the future. Now that you are out, what do you see? Continue reading An Interview Given By Major Kaduna Nzeogwu in April 1967

The Real Story of Ishola Oyenusi- Nigeria’s Deadliest Armed Robber

Ishola Oyenusi tied to the stake
Ishola Oyenusi tied to the stake

Ishola Oyenusi, popularly known as Doctor Oyenusi, was a notorious armed robber who terrorized the people of Lagos and other neighboring cities in the 1970s. Ishola Oyenusi and his gang of six were highly skilled in snatching cars, robbing banks, factories, stores and killing people like chickens. Doctor Oyenusi, as he was called, was not a doctor by profession but adopted the title for the fun of it. The evidence lies in a confession he made few minutes before his execution. He confessed that his parents were not capable of furthering his secondary school education and that was what forced him into robbery. So without having a secondary school education, Oyenusi by no way could have been a medical doctor.

Continue reading The Real Story of Ishola Oyenusi- Nigeria’s Deadliest Armed Robber

Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Ojukwu’s Speech Declaring an Independent Republic of Biafra on May 30, 1967

Ojukwu declaring Biafra
Ojukwu declaring Biafra

After many claims and accusations that the Igbo ethnic group dwelling in the Eastern part of Nigeria were being  marginalized and treated unfairly, Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu who was the governor of the former Eastern Region seceded the region away and declared a sovereign Republic of Biafra. This action later led to the Nigerian civil war or Biafran war.
Here goes the speech: Continue reading Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Ojukwu’s Speech Declaring an Independent Republic of Biafra on May 30, 1967

Benin Massacre and Expedition of 1897

British Punitive Expedition of Benin
British troops showing off looted artifacts during Benin expedition

The Benin massacre and expedition of 1897 were two disastrous events that left the kingdom of Benin ransacked, devastated and deprived of valuable artifacts, artworks, sons, daughters and a great king. The Benin massacre acted as a chain that pulled the “punitive expedition“, as it was called by the British, into existence. On January 4 1897, a fraction of Benin army killed a British officer, Consul Philips, alongside his men for his obstinacy to enter Benin when he was not welcomed. In retaliation, the British authorities sent about 1,200 troops to destroy Benin and punish its King. Below is a detailed account of the massacre and expedition.

It is worthy of note that Benin kingdom has existed from time immemorial and had thrived extensively as one of the most prosperous and mightiest kingdoms in West Africa. Benin kingdom traded slaves, ivory, pepper and palm oil with the Portuguese as early as 1485 and at the peak of its power, Benin influenced places as far as Akure and Owo in the western part of modern-day Nigeria. Continue reading Benin Massacre and Expedition of 1897

Speech by Major Kaduna Nzeogwu Announcing the First Coup of January 15, 1966

Kaduna Nzeogwu
Kaduna Nzeogwu

Below is Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu‘s speech announcing the first military coup in Nigeria on January 15, 1966.

“In the name of the Supreme Council of the Revolution of the Nigerian Armed Forces, I declare martial law over the Northern Provinces of Nigeria. The Constitution is suspended and the regional government and elected assemblies are hereby dissolved. All political, cultural, tribal and trade union activities, together with all demonstrations and unauthorized gatherings, excluding religious worship, are banned until further notice.
The aim of the Revolutionary Council is to establish a strong united and prosperous nation, free from corruption and internal strife. Our method of achieving this is strictly military but we have no doubt that every Nigerian will give us maximum cooperation by assisting the regime and not disturbing the peace during the slight changes that are taking place. I am to assure all foreigners living and working in this part of Nigeria that their rights will continue to be respected. All treaty obligations previously entered into with any foreign nation will be respected and we hope that such nations will respect our country’s territorial integrity and will avoid taking sides with enemies of the revolution and enemies of the people.
My dear countrymen, you will hear, and probably see a lot being done by certain bodies charged by the Supreme Council with the duties of national integration, supreme justice, general security and property recovery. As an interim measure all permanent secretaries, corporation chairmen and senior heads of departments are allowed to make decisions until the new organs are functioning, so long as such decisions are not contrary to the aims and wishes of the Supreme Council. No Minister or Parliamentary Secretary possesses administrative or other forms of control over any Ministry, even if they are not considered too dangerous to be arrested. Continue reading Speech by Major Kaduna Nzeogwu Announcing the First Coup of January 15, 1966

Macpherson Constitution of 1951

Macpherson constitution of 1951

In 1948, Sir John Stuart Macpherson succeeded Sir Authur Richards as the Governor-General of Nigeria. Soon after he (Macpherson) resumed office, he began to draft a new constitution for the country. He was very patient and careful in the process so as not to repeat the mistake of his predecessor, Sir Authur Richards. Sir Authur Richards’ constitution, also known as Richards constitution of 1946, was severely criticized by Nigerian nationalists on the ground that it was imposed on Nigerians and operated without prior consultation. Continue reading Macpherson Constitution of 1951

Asaba Massacre of 1967

Asaba Massacre of 1967
Mural depicting the Asaba massacre. October 7, 1967 | Cheta Nwanze

On the 27th of May, 1967, General Yakubu Gowon promulgated decree no. 14 which created 12 states (six in the north and six in the south) out of the former four regions of Nigeria. Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, governor of the former Eastern Region, saw the creation of states without consultation as a breech of the Aburi Accord of 1967. This immediately added salt to the political and ethnocentric wound the country had been nursing since independence as Col. Ojukwu took to the seven point resolution of the ‘Eastern Assembly and the Advising Committee of Chiefs and Elders‘ which mandated him to declare the secession of the Eastern Region. On the 30th of May, 1967, Col. Ojukwu eventually declared the existence of an independent Republic of Biafra which subsequently set the stage for a war, the Nigerian civil war! Continue reading Asaba Massacre of 1967

Pre-Colonial Political Administration of the Benin Empire

Pre-colonial administration of the Benin empire

The Edos of Benin inhabit the south western part of modern day Nigeria and are close neighbors of the Yorubas with whom they claim the same origin. The Benin pre-colonial system of government, like the Yorubas was monarchical. The Oba (a title used for the king of Benin) was the theoretical and political leader of the empire with absolute authority no one dares to challenge. Unlike a Yoruba king, he was not bounded by the constitution or laws of the land. He solely wielded the legislative, executive and judiciary powers of the empire. Howbeit, he was assisted in the administering the empire by a many councils and officials. The highest of the councils were the Uzama who advised the King on important matters concerning the affairs of the empire. But unlike a Yoruba king, he was not subjected to their advice and decisions; he could heed to them and dispose them at will. Besides advising the King, the Uzama were also saddled with the responsibility of crowning a new king (the eldest surviving son of the previous king).

Apart from the Uzama, there were a number of officials who helped the Oba in administering the empire. These included officials like ‘Unwagwe’ and ‘Eribo’ who were in charge of the empire’s trade. They monitored the flow of goods in the empire and advice the king on how the economy of the empire can be improved. There were also the gold and brass-smiths that took care of the empire’s craft and industry. Other notable and important officials were the ‘Ezomo’, ‘Ebohon’, ‘Iyasere’ and the ‘Ologbosere’, the chief priest. All these officials had specific roles they played in the administration of the empire.

Furthermore, the Benin Empire was divided into two classes; they were the nobles and the commoners. Traditional chiefs and administrative officials were mostly chosen from the noble class. These included: the ‘Iwebo’ who were in charge of the regalia; the ‘Ibiwe’ who supervised the king’s harem and the ‘Iwagwe’ who provided the king with personal attendants. On the other hand, the commoners were not involved in the administration of the empire. Their main concern was providing food for their communities. Each of the commoners owns a piece of land he/she cultivated. They were also hired by the nobles to work on their farms for a period of time in return for money, a piece of land or sometimes cancellation of debts.

 

References:

  • Ola Abiola; A Textbook of West African History; 3rd ed.; Ado-Ekiti; Omolayo Standard Press & Bookshops co. (Nig.) Ltd.; 1984

The Osogbo War of 1840

Osogbo map

After the Fulanis systematically captured and made Ilorin their territory, they sacked the old Oyo Empire in 1835/1636. They were still not satisfied with their victory; they wished to extend their rule deep into the heart of Yoruba land. Thus in 1840, they set to capture Osogbo, a Yoruba town. The Fulanis, under the command of Ali, the Hausa balogun of Ilorin, laid siege on Osogbo. When the king of Osogbo realized that the Ilorins were too strong for the Osogbo army, he summoned the Ibadans for help. Ibadan immediately sent some auxiliaries to Osogbo under the command of Obele alias Mobitan, and Alade Abimpagun. As this force could not stop the Ilorins, another contingent was sent to Osogbo under a more experienced leader. But still the Ilorins won every battle and gained more ground. Continue reading The Osogbo War of 1840

The Mugbamugba War- Second Attempt of a Failed Expulsion

Fulani Warriors

After Are-Ona-Kakanfo Afonja was murdered and Ilorin was seized by the Fulani Jamma, Alimi (the son of Abdul Salam) became the first Fulani ruler of Ilorin not with the title of Oba or Baale but Emir which solidifies that the total control of Ilorin, a Yoruba town had gone to the Fuanis. In a bid to restore the control of Ilorin in the hands of the Yorubas, Toyeje, the Baale of Ogbomoso and the new Are-Ona-Kakanfo, led an attack on Ilorin to expel the Fulanis, but unfortunately, he failed drastically. After sometime, between the months of March and April (when locus fruit i.e Igba was ripe for harvest), another attempt was made by the Yorubas to chase the intruding Fulanis out of Ilorin but failed again. Continue reading The Mugbamugba War- Second Attempt of a Failed Expulsion

President Babangida’s Annulment Speech of June 12,1993 Presidential Election

Ibrahim Babangida
President Ibrahim Babangida

Here is President Ibrahim Babangida’s speech annulling the presidential election of June 12, 1993.

 

Fellow Nigerians:

I address you today with a deep sense of world history and particularly of the history of our great country. In the aftermath of the recently annulled Presidential Election, I feel, as I believe you yourself feel, a profound sense of disappointment at the outcome of our last efforts at laying the foundation of a viable democratic system of government in Nigeria.

I therefore wish, on behalf of myself and members of the National Defence and Security Council and indeed of my entire administration, to feel with my fellow countrymen and women for the cancellation of the election. It was a rather disappointing experience in the course of carrying through the last election of the transition to civil rule programme.

Nigeria has come a long way since this administration assumed power and leadership about eight years ago. In the attempt to grapple with the critical and monumental problems and challenges of National existence and social progress, this administration inaugurated and pursued sound and justifiable policies and programmes of reform. Continue reading President Babangida’s Annulment Speech of June 12,1993 Presidential Election

Real Account Of The June 12 1993 Presidential Election

June 12 1993 Presidential Election

Here we go behind the historic presidential election of June 12, 1993 in Nigeria. This election was considered to be the freest and fairest election in the annals of Nigerian history. What led to this election? What was this election all about? What were the consequences of this election? Below are answers to these worth-asking questions.

On the 31st of December, 1983, the military aborted the second attempt of Alahji Sheu Shagari to run a democratic government due to gross electoral misconducts that happened during the election. The military seized the power in a bloodless coup and installed Major-General Mohammadu Buhari as the Head of State and the Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces. Realizing Buhari’s administration had no intention of returning power to the democratic government, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, the Chief of Army Staff to Maj.-Gen. Buhari, seized the power in a bloodless coup on the 27th of August, 1985 and instantly began to plan the transition to civil rule programme. Continue reading Real Account Of The June 12 1993 Presidential Election

Pre-Colonial Political System in Igboland

Igbo pre-colonial administration

The Igbo pre-colonial political system was described by many scholars as an ‘acephalous political system‘ which can be translated as ‘a leaderless or chiefless political system’. This term is suitable for describing the Igbo pre-colonial political system because it was decentralized and based on village and direct democracy where everyone in the village has the authority to contribute in decision making. Each Igbo village was seen as a political unit inhabited by related families who were bounded by common beliefs and origin. Each family head in the village held the ‘Ofo‘ title and altogether formed the council of elders. The council of elders presided over important issues on the village’s welfare, safety, development and so on. Among the council of elders, one was recognized as the most senior to others. He was the ‘Okpara‘. He could call for and adjourn a meeting, and could also give judgements as well.  Continue reading Pre-Colonial Political System in Igboland

The Reign of Bashorun Gaa in Old Oyo Empire

Map of Old Oyo Kingdom

When Alaafin Labisi took over the throne from the previous (late) Alaafin, Onisile, in 1750, he appointed Gaa as his Bashorun, the head of Oyomesi (7 hereditary kingmakers). During Alaafin Labisi’s reign, the old Oyo Empire, also known as Oyo-Ile, became so powerful and earned the respect of other kingdoms in Yorubaland. History has it in profile that Alaafin Labisi collected tributes from faraway kingdoms of Dahomey, Popo and Ashanti even though his reign was very short, and more than half of the kingdoms and villages in Yorubaland (over 6000) fell under the political umbrella of Oyo-Ile. This thus made the old Oyo Empire a political and military colossus in Yorubaland.

Continue reading The Reign of Bashorun Gaa in Old Oyo Empire

The Independence Speech of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa on October 1st, 1960

Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa giving a speech on Independence day
Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa giving a speech on Nigeria’s Independence day

Below is the speech delivered by the Nigerian Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, during the celebration of Nigeria’s independence on October 1st 1960 at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos.

 

“Today is Independence Day. The first of October 1960 is a date to which for two years every Nigerian has been eagerly looking forward. At last, our great day has arrived, and Nigeria is now indeed an independent sovereign nation. Continue reading The Independence Speech of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa on October 1st, 1960

How the Independence of Nigeria was Celebrated on Saturday, 1st of October, 1960 [With Videos]

Video of independence celebration in Nigeria, 1960​

The atmosphere was filled with joy and anxiety as excited Nigerians stormed the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) in Lagos to partake in the celebration of the independence of Nigeria on Saturday, 1st of October, 1960. Amongst the crowd were students, cultural dancers, acrobats, masquerades and others who were all eager to paint the celebration red with their performances. Policemen stood in bands in different key places across the square to prevent or suppress any form of unwanted intrusion. It was a wonderful sight to behold. Continue reading How the Independence of Nigeria was Celebrated on Saturday, 1st of October, 1960 [With Videos]

The Egba- Dahomey War (1851-1864)

Dahomen Women Warriors
Dahomen Women Warriors (Amazon Women)

The Egba-Dahomey war, as the name suggests, was a war that broke out between the two neighboring kingdoms of Egba and Dahomey (now the Republic of Benin) over territorial expansion caused by the quest of the latter to stabilize her economy. The Egba-Dahomey war was the third of the destructive wars that plagued the Yoruba nation in the nineteenth century, proceeding the Owu-Ife war: 1821-1828; and the 1840 Osogbo war. Continue reading The Egba- Dahomey War (1851-1864)

The Ibadan All-Nigerian Constitutional Conference of 1950

Nigerian Map

On the 9th of January, 1950, delegates from the northern, eastern and western regions of Nigeria met as a body in Ibadan to discuss issues on the new constitution Sir Macpherson was drafting (Macpherson constitution of 1951). Continue reading The Ibadan All-Nigerian Constitutional Conference of 1950

The Richards Constitution of 1946

Constitution Of Nigeria

Governor Bernard Bourdilloun succeeded Sir Hugh Clifford as the Governor General of Nigeria in 1939 and later left the office in 1945. In 1939, while still in power, he turned the Northern and Southern Protectorates into provinces and divided the Southern province into Eastern and Western provinces, while the Northern province remained untouched. Continue reading The Richards Constitution of 1946

Berlin Conference And The Partition of West Africa

Berlin Conference

In the due course to get a share of the African continent, all European nations participating in the struggle to have a colony in Africa had lost their decency and orderliness in the run. The tension and clashes among these competitors was boiling at its hottest degree. It was at that time that Otto Von Bismarck, a German Chancellor, convened a meeting at Berlin (Berlin Conference) with the purpose of resolving the disputes among the competitors without the use of arms. Continue reading Berlin Conference And The Partition of West Africa

Lagos Times and Gold Coast Colony Advertiser

Lagos Times And Gold Coast Advertiser_OldNaija

The Lagos Times and Gold Coast Colony Advertiser was the third newspaper established in Nigeria. It succeeded Anglo African of Robert Campbell and Iwe Irohin of Rev. Henry Townsend. The newspaper was established on Wednesday, 10th November, 1880 by Mr. Richard Olamilege Beale Blaize and was edited by Mr. Andrew M. Thomas and Mojola Agbebi. Continue reading Lagos Times and Gold Coast Colony Advertiser

Telephone Conversation Between President John F Kennedy and Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa On August 23, 1963

John F Kennedy conversation with Tafawa Balewa

John F Kennedy conversation with Tafawa Balewa

(John F Kennedy and Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa’s Phone Conversation in Text)

On Friday, August 23, 1963, the American President, John F Kennedy, made a phone call to the Nigerian Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, via the Syncom Communications Satellite . The conversation lasted for 2 minutes and 19 seconds. In the conversation, the two leaders exchanged pleasantries and talked about the boxing match in which the Nigerian middle weight boxer, Dick Tiger, defeated America’s Gene Fulmer. This conversation symbolises the long time intimacy that exist between the United States of America and Nigeria.

Here is the real conversation in written form (real audio form below)

PRIME MINISTER: We congratulate you heartily Mr President for this very big achievement.

PRESIDENT KENNEDY: I hope we will be seeing you back in the United States and that all goes well for your country and your people.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you.

PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Very good wishes Prime Minister and we look forward to having Dick Tiger come over here.

PRIME MINISTER: It was indeed a very great day for us when Dick Tiger beat the American, Gene Fulmer.

PRESIDENT KENNEDY: I know we watch those things over here. Well, we wish you good luck, regards from the people of the United States to the people of Nigeria

PRIME MINISTER: Mr. President, I would be very happy if you would convey our greetings and all the best wishes to the people of United States.

PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Thank you, Prime Minister, and we look forward to seeing you back at the White House again someday.

PRIME MINISTER: It is my intention to visit the United States very soon, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT KENNEDY: Good. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, and good bye.

Here is the audio recording of the conversation

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHA-211-003.aspx#.T16zClJnoBU.facebook

Image, text and the audio was provided by the JKF Library: Conversation with Prime Minister Balewa of Nigeria via Syncom satellite, 23 August 1963