Independence Day: Top Ten Events That Has Shaped Nigeria
Since Nigeria was born and named by Flora Shaw, the wife of the first colonial master, Lord Lugard, it has passed through some trying times and moments but emerged stronger, like everything that passes through life, there are ups and downs.
These are the top ten events that shook Nigeria since Independence Day.
- 1960 – INDEPENCE DAY
There’s no greater joy than being free, what more could anyone ask for when the colonial masters agreed to give us our independence in October 1st 1960. With an executive council set in place, made up of entirely Nigerians and led by a prime minister, Sir Tafawa Balewa and Nnamdi Azikiwe as the first president.
- 1963 – REPUBLIC DAY
1st October 1963, Nigeria severed its remaining ties to Britain , marking the birth of the Nigerian First Republic. In the year 1963, all of the British power had pulled out of the country and the nation was finally free to govern its own affairs. Even though the British no longer remained in power they still had considerable influence on the society and culture of Nigeria. English still remains a part of this country and many British people still conduct business and live in the nation.
- 1966 – FIRST MILITARY COUP
The 1966 military coup was a bloody coup and the first of the numerous coups that soiled Nigeria post colonial era. Coming on the backdrop of a country which just obtained independence from their colonial masters, Nigeria was shaken to her roots when high ranking military officers organized a military coup and overthrew the civilian government on 15 January 1966. The likes of Sir Ahmadu Bello, Festus Okotie-Eboh, Ladoke Akintola and a few other prominent politicians were killed in the coup. Nigeria was devastated by this even to say the least.
- 1967 – THE CIVIL WAR
Three eastern states seceded as the Republic of Biafra, sparking bloody civil war. The Nigeria civil war was a harrowing event that brought the newly birthed country to its knees. On 6 of July 1967, military leaders of Eastern Nigeria declared independence from the Nigerian sighting tribalism, nepotism, killings and other forms of social marginalization by the northern dominated federal government on the Igbos. In a bid to maintain the unity of the country, the federal government of Nigeria declared war on the newly heralded Biafra.
- 1970 – END OF THE BIAFRAN WAR
On the 15th of January 1970, the Biafran War came to an end. The effect was 3 years of bloodshed, famine, and death of over 2 million Nigerians. It is still a wonder how Nigeria quickly recovered from the ravage of the civil war
- 1973 – FIRST PLANE CRASH
A plane crashed in Kano, Nigeria, killing 176 people on the 22nd of January 1973. This was the first of many plane crashes in Nigeria and it shook the nation. Many were scared to fly and seeked other means of transportation spending days on the road in what would have taken a few minutes flight. Like other terrible events, Nigeria over came this and moved on.
- 1993 – ANNULLMENT OF THE MKO ABIOLA ELECTION
12 June Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola won a presidential election. Babangida annulled the results. This is said to be the first free and fair election, but corruption was born the day Nigerian was born and in other for peace to prevail there must be a first. Popularly known as MKO Abiola, he was imprisoned on the grounds that he declared himself the winner before the election was over, the results were promising, he died in custody in 1998 another social unrest that we moved on from.
- 1995 – KILLING OF KEN SARO-WIWA
Another event that shook Nigeria was the gruesome killing of popular Niger Delta activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, alongside nine Ogoni Chiefs.
Ken Saro-Wiwa was an activist known for being outspoken about the degradation of the oil rich Ogoni land by activities of oil companies. He was arrested by the military dictatorship of General Sani Abacha and convicted of murder by a military court. On 10 November 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa and his colleagues were hanged. His killing sparked international condemnation and led to Nigeria’s suspension from the Commonwealth of Nations for 3 years.
- 1996 – FIRST OLYMPIC MEDAL WINNINGS
Here’s the first event that shook Nigeria, on a positive note, on the list. In the 1996 summer Olympics held in Atlanta USA, some Nigerian athletes showed the world that whatever was happening at home was not enough to put a blanket over their enormous talent.
Firstly, Chioma Ajunwa became the first Nigerian woman and the first Nigerian to win a gold medal in the Olympics when she leapt 7.12meters to win Olympic gold in the female long jump. Nigerians were ecstatic! That was not all, the male football team overcame the hurdles presented by Brazil and Argentina respectively to win football gold in the same tournament. The celebration lasted weeks!
- 2014 – KIDNAPPING OF THE CHIBOK GIRLS
On 15 of April 2014, Nigerians were given a shocker when over 250 young girls were kidnapped from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State Nigeria. The perpetrators were none other than the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram, which has gained massive popularity following their barbaric terror attacks since 2009.
The international community rose up to condemn the actions of the sect, while a few action groups were created which opposed the kidnapping of the girls and sort for their release.
The Chibok girls kidnapping has been a trending topic even till date. ‘Where are the Chibok girls?’ ‘Principal! Where are the two teachers? ‘Abi na only you waka come?’ ‘There is God ooooo’ …these are all popular phrases that have emanated from the Chibok girls saga.