Tag Archives: Post-Colonial Era of Nigerian History

This era of Nigerian history began with the independence of Nigeria in 1960.

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

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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

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

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

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

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]

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

The Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC 77)

Festac77

The Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, popularly known as Festac 77, was a boisterous cultural celebration which took place in Lagos, Nigeria, starting from January 15 1977 to February 12 1977. The festival celebrated the cultures and traditions of Africa and also presented African art works, literature, religion and music to the universe. The history of FESTAC can be traced back to the 1940s when certain ideas were developed on Pan-Africanism and Negritude by the Senegalese president, Leopold Sedar Senghor, Aime Casaire and some others.

The Festac 77 was the largest pan-African gathering during the period it took place. Nigeria was called upon to host the second Festac festival after the end of the first one which was held in Dakar, Senegal (1st to 24th of April, 1966). The festival was to take place in 1970, but due to the Nigerian civil war that broke out (1967-1970), the festival was postponed to 1977. The Festac 77 festival was attended by about 17,000 people from 56 African nations. The festival paved way for the construction of the Festac Town/Village in Lagos and the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos. The Nigerian government built the Festac Village to accommodate the 17,000 and above participants. The main reason the Festac Village was built was to cut the accommodation problem and pressure Lagos was likely to face.

Festac77 emblem

The celebration of the festival commenced at 9 a.m on the 15th of January, 1977. The opening ceremony took place inside the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, where many participants held a parade to welcome visiting dignitaries and the Nigerian Head of State, Olusegun Obasanjo. The Festac 77 festival has the royal ivory mask of Benin as its emblem. A shango priest entertained the crowd by setting the festival bowl aflame and a thousand Pigeons were released to signify the liberation and oneness of the Black nations.
Several drama and music shows were staged at the Tafawa Balewa Square in the afternoons and evenings. musicians like Miriam Makeba from South Africa, Stevie Wonder, Louis Moholo, The Sun Ra Arkestral and so on rocked musical concerts sending their numerous fans dancing wild to their songs.

A musical show during festac77

Several countries showcased their artworks at the National Theatre, at the Nigerian National Museum and some places around the Tafawa Balewa Square.
At the Square, each country represented at the festival was given a booth to exhibit their paintings, musical instruments, woven cloths, books and art objects. Some other notable exhbitons that took place were Africa and the Origin of Man, which was held at the National Theatre, and Ekpo Eyo’s 2000 Years of Nigerian Art, which included Nok terracottas, Benin court art, Igbo Ukwu, Ife and Tsoede bronzes and art objects.

Another exhilarating event at the FESTAC 77 festival is the boat regatta held at the Queen’s Drive Foreshore in Ikoyi, Lagos, which lasted for three days. The participants of the boat regatta were mainly from Nigerian states such as Ondo, Ogun, Lagos, Imo, Edo, Kwara, etc. More than 250 boats full of acrobats, masquerades and musicians displayed at the occasion.

USA Festac77

The Festac 77 participants also made a trip to Kaduna to witness the Dubar festival which took place for three days. There was a gallant display of horse riding, dancing of the Bida Masqurades, blowing of the Kakaki trumpets and many more.

Here are the countries that attended the Festac 77 festival:-
Kenya, Zaire, Congo, Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Mauritius, Niger, Somalia, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Malagasy, Mauritania, Botswana, Lesotho, Chad, Central Africa, Upper Volta, Morocco, Angola, Senegal, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Ghana, Libya, Zambia, Togo, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan, Algeria, Mali, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Liberia, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Uganda and Gambia. Some South American countries were also present at the festival, e.g Guyana, Cuba, Haiti, Brazil. Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and so on represented the Caribbean. The United states also sent their representatives from different countries.

Festac77

An anthem was written for FESTAC 77 by Margaret Walker from Alabama, USA, while the music was produced by Akin Euba from Nigeria.
Here is the lyrics of the Festac 77 anthem titled, For My People.

FESTAC ’77 Anthem

1] Let a new earth arise
Let another world be born
Let a bloody peace
Be written in the sky.

Refrain: Festac 77 is here

2] Let a second generation
Full of courage issue forth
Let a people loving freedom
Come to growth

Refrain: Festac 77 is here

3] Let a beauty full of healing
And strength of final clenching
be the pulsing in our spirits
And our blood

Refrain: Festac 77 is here

4] Let the martial songs be written
Let the dirges disappear
Let the race of men now rise
And take control

Refrain: Festac 77 is here

The FESTAC 77 will forever remain a remarkable celebration in the history of Nigeria.

Lawrence Anini- Nigeria’s Most Notorious Armed Robber

Lawrencen Anini

Lawrence Nomayagbon Anini aka ‘the law’ was born in 1960, the same year Nigeria gained her independence, to the families of Owuo quarters in Orogbo village, Orhionmwon area, about 20 miles from Benin city, the capital of Bendel, presently Edo State. The 26-year-old robber kingpin terrorized the nook and cranny of Benin city and some other neighboring towns, unleashing havoc on the civilians, police and Continue reading Lawrence Anini- Nigeria’s Most Notorious Armed Robber

Political Parties in the Second Republic of Nigeria

 

Unity Party of NigeriaThe presidential system of government practiced in the Second Republic of Nigeria (1979-1983) favored the existence of a multi-party system. The then Electoral commission of Nigeria, the Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO), registered five political parties out of about 52 parties that showed up for the 1979 general elections which was to usher in the second Republic in Nigeria. The five political parties registered for the 1979 general elections were: Continue reading Political Parties in the Second Republic of Nigeria

Top 10 Things You Should Know In The History Of Nigeria

Nigerian Flag

As a Nigerian or a foreigner who is intrested in Nigeria and her history, here are the top 10 things you should know in the history of the nation called Nigeria.

1. The British came to Nigeria in 1851, annexed Lagos in 1861 and established the Oil River Protectorate in 1884.

2. Flora Louisa Shaw, a British journalist, novelist and a wife to Lord Frederick Lugard suggested the Name Nigeria for the British Protectorate on the Niger in “The Times of London magazine” on the 8th of January, 1897.

3. Zungeru, in Northern Nigeria,was the first Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria (1900-1914)
Continue reading Top 10 Things You Should Know In The History Of Nigeria

The Death of Dele Giwa on October 19 1986

 

Dele Giwa
Dele Giwa

Dele Giwa was a famous and renowned Nigerian journalist and the editor-in-chief of Newswatch magazine which he co-founded with Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese and Yakubu Mohammed in 1984. Dele Giwa was known to stick unto the truth and take his time in exposing the corrupt and illegal deeds of the Nigerian government, and this earned him the people’s recognition, support and trust. The government saw Dele Giwa as an impediment and a threat to its obnoxious activities and saw his elimination as the only way to avoid being exposed. Continue reading The Death of Dele Giwa on October 19 1986

The death of Major Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi and the lucky escape of his Aide-de-camp, Andrew Nwankwo on July 29, 1966

Aguiyi Ironsi

Here is a true narration of the incident by Andrew Nwankwo, Maj. Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi’s ADC in an interview with Sun News.
The coup
Recalling the events of that night, July 29, 1966, Nwankwo noted that they were in Ibadan, “we had a small detachment of 106 Artillery, Commanded by one Walbe from Plateau” Continue reading The death of Major Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi and the lucky escape of his Aide-de-camp, Andrew Nwankwo on July 29, 1966

Nigeria’s Old and New National Anthem

Ben Odiase
Ben Odiase

The old national anthem of Nigeria was composed by Miss L.J Willams from Britain in 1960. But it was later replaced by a new one in 1978 which was written by an assistant Commissioner of police Mr Benedict Odiase and was introduce on the 1st of October, 1978.

OLD NATIONAL ANTHEM
by Miss L.J Williams

Nigeria we hail thee,
Our own dear native land,
Though tribe and tongue may differ, Continue reading Nigeria’s Old and New National Anthem

The National Flag and Coat of Arms of Nigeria

Nigerian Flag

The national flag of Nigeria was designed in 1959, a year before the independence of Nigeria, by Mr Michael Taiwo Akinkumi, as at then he was still a student in London. Several designs were presented, almost 3000, but the one designed by Mr. Taiwo Akinkumi was chosen. On October 1, 1960, Queen Elizabeth II of England handed over the flag to Nigerian leaders through Princess Alexandra who represented her at Continue reading The National Flag and Coat of Arms of Nigeria

Real Accounts of The Nigerian Civil War (1967- 1970)

Biafra war

The Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran war which started on the 6th of July 1967 and ended on 15th of January 1970, was a war fought by Nigeria against Biafra to counter the secession of Biafra from the Republic of Nigeria. The Igbos felt they could no longer relate smoothly with the northern Continue reading Real Accounts of The Nigerian Civil War (1967- 1970)

How Nigeria got to 36 States[Timeline of State creation in Nigeria]

Map of Nigeria

Let us start with the definition of a state. A state is a politically organised body of people inhabiting a geographical entity with a well legitimate government.
How did Nigeria moved from the first 3 regions to the last 36 states? Check it out below Continue reading How Nigeria got to 36 States[Timeline of State creation in Nigeria]

The Assassination of General Murtala Ramat Muhammed on February 13, 1976

Murtala Muhammed's Car
This is the car in which Gen. Murtala Muhammed was killed

 

The nation was thrown into turmoil on the 13th of February 1976 after the Head of State and the Chief Commander of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, General Murtala Ramat Muhammed, was assassinated in Lagos during an unsuccessful coup led by Lt. Col. Buka Suka Dimka. History has it that Gen. Muhammed loved a low-profile lifestyle, and it was this kind of lifestyle that led to his easy assassination. Continue reading The Assassination of General Murtala Ramat Muhammed on February 13, 1976

The Republic of Biafra’s National Anthem

Biafran Flag

Title: Land Of The Rising Sun.
Origin of the tune: adopted from Sibelius’ “Finlandia”.
Written by: Nnamdi Azikiwe.

LAND THE RISING SUN

Land of the rising sun, we love and cherish,
Beloved homeland of our brave heroes;
We must defend our lives or we shall perish,
We shall protect our hearts from all our foes;
But if the price is death for all we hold dear, Continue reading The Republic of Biafra’s National Anthem

How the Mid- Western Region was created

BiafranSoldiersInAsaba

On the 14th of June, 1955, an Action Group member of the then Western Region House of Assembly, Honorable M. S. Sowole tabled a motion at the sitting of the house. The motion reads: “I beg leave to move that this house prays Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom to make necessary constitutional arrangements at the proposed conference for a separate state of Benin and Delta provinces. Continue reading How the Mid- Western Region was created