Nigeria Independence: History, Biographies of Head of States & Presidents And Everything You Need To Know - Everything You Should Know About Everything including Music, celebrities, and your mentors

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Nigeria Independence: History, Biographies of Head of States & Presidents And Everything You Need To Know


Every year, the day October 1st is always significant to every Nigerian as that is the day she gained her independence since 1960. The day is made a public holiday to every worker, as a means to honor the day properly.
Nigeria flag


There is a whole lot to talk about when it comes to the independence of Nigeria, the British colonial masters were the ones ruling Nigeria from the year 1900 to 1960, but in the year 1960, Nigeria had to stand as an independent nation, and the agreement was completed on the 1st of October, 1960. In the year 1885, after the just concluded Napoleonic war, slave trade by the British expanded into West Africa, and was headed by Sir George Goldie (Leader of the Royal Niger Company) Let us take a look at what happened between the years 1900 to 1960.
  • 1900: Royal Niger Company came fully under the control of the British Government which took total hold over the modern areas of Nigeria.
  • 1901: on the 1st of January in this year, Nigeria was made a British Protectorate, meaning they became part of the British Empire as at the time when they were still the world power.
  • 1914: As at this time, Sir Fredrick Lugard was the Governor General of Nigeria. Nigeria was divided into the Northern and southern Protectorate and also the colony of Lagos, it was called the Amalgamation and it occurred shortly after the name “Nigeria” was given.


He was born as John Fredrick Dealtry Lugard on the 22nd of January, 1858. He had many assignments during his lifetime. He died o the 11th of April 1945 (87 years), he started as the Governor of Hong Kong, China for five years (from 1907 to 1912), then he moved over to become the Governor of the Southern and Northern Protectorate of Nigeria which lasted for two years, from 1912 to 1914, he was also the first high commissioner in Nigeria and the First ever Governor General Nigeria ever had.
He was married to Flora Shaw, the woman who gave the name “Nigeria” which was named based on the Niger River. She combined “Niger” and “Area” together to form “Nigeria”.
  • 1954: on October 1st this year, Nigeria moved from being a colony to become a federation, which was when the idea of independence started coming in.
  • 1958: the British then agreed to Nigerians demands to make the country an independent state, but that did not happen immediately, it waited for two years and then on the 1st of October 1960, Nigeria finally gained her independence.

Now that what happened from 1900 to 1960 has been stated, let us move over to the rulers of Nigeria after her independence (Head of States, Prime Ministers and Presidents).


Sir Tafawa Balewa was the first ever prime minister of Nigeria after she gained her independence; he was born on the 12th of December, 1912 but was murdered during the military coup on the 15th of January, 1966. He was an indigene of Bauchi state, born to the family of Yakubu Dan Zala and his Fulani mother, Fatima Inna. He had a very good educational background, he started his basic education at Quranic School located in Bauchi, and completed it at Barewa college and acquired his teaching certificate in the process. He then travelled abroad to further his education at the University of London Institute of Education. He played so many significant roles as the first and only Prime Minister Nigeria ever had, to the point that the queen of England herself (Queen Elizabeth II) honored him as a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Also he was awarded with honorary degree of law from two reputable world class universities; University of Sheffield and the New York University.


He is popularly referred to as the father of Nigeria’s nationalism as he was a man that fought tirelessly for Nigeria to gain her independence; he was born on the 16th of November, 1904 to the family of Igbo descent. He was born in Zungeru, a Hausa Land (Northern Nigeria), which is now called Niger State so learning the Hausa language, was very easy for him; he also learnt his language (Igbo) as he was sent by his parent to live with both his grandmother and aunt who stayed at Onitsha then. When he was in college, he already knew how to communicate effectively with the three major Nigerian Languages as a sojourn in Yoruba land taught him how to speak it.
He furthered his education in the United States at the University of Pennsylvania, Howard University and Columbia University where he studied law. When he returned back to Nigeria, he started off as a Journalist before becoming a Politician and then the first president of Nigeria; he died on the 11th of May, 1996 (aged 91).

Other Notable leaders in Nigeria include;

  • Major General Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi: he lasted in power for less than a year (194 days) and was murdered during the military coup. His time in office was from January, 1966 to June 1966.
  • Major General Murtala Mohammed: he stayed just one year in office, which is from 1975 to February 1976, but was murdered, on his way to his office which ended his tenure automatically.
  • Major General Olusegun Obasanjo: so far, he has been the longest reigning president of Nigeria ever since her independence. He came into power in the year 1976 after the murder of Major General Murtala Mohammed, he helped in the continuity of the already established civilian rule and he was the leader of Nigeria to end the military rule and handed over to a civilian president in the year 1979 after the general elections held.
  • President Shehu Shagari: This is the second president Nigeria ever had. In 1970, he held the position as the Minister of Economic affairs, then the minister of Finance appointed by General Yakubu Gowon, before he became the first civilian president of Nigeria in the year 1979.
  • Major General Muhammadu Buhari: after overthrowing Shehu Shagari in the year 1983, Buhari became the political leader of Nigeria and had to suspend some of the democratic rules in the constitution of 1979, with the claim that it was corrupt and hopeless.
  • General Ibrahim Babangida: ruled from 1985 to 1993
  • President Ernest Shonekan: Ruled in the year 1993
  • General Sani Abacha: ruled from1993 to 1998, was poisoned in office and many Nigerians were jubilating over his death, as his leadership style was the dictatorship style.
  • General Abdulsalami Abubakar: ruled from 1998 to 1999
  • President Olusegun Obasanjo: returned to power in the year 1999, but this time as a democratic leader and stayed for two terms which is 8 years and was defeated in the year 2007 by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
  • President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua: Took power from President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007, but died in office due to illness and was replaced by his vice in 2010.
  • President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan: was the Vice President to Umaru Musa Yar’Adua before his death, so took power after he died and was voted in again for one  extra tenure, he was in office till 2015.
  • President Muhammadu Buhari: After he defeated President Goodluck Jonathan in the General election, he was voted in as the president of Nigeria and still in office till date.

Happy Independence day to all Nigerians

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