Independence Day is a National day in Nigeria and one of the best Nigerian holidays, both for what we celebrate and how we celebrate it.
The Nigerian Independence Day 2018 is stipulated to hold on Monday October 1st as compared to the very first Nigerian Independence Day in 1960.
As you’ll recall, the Independence Day 2017 was held on Monday 2nd, October 2017. Did you know that 4th of July is a national holiday in the United states to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Americans Independence in 1776? Now you know.
Every October 1st, which is Nigeria Independence Day, would always be a red letter day on the minds of Nigerians both old and young. As it’s a remarkable day in the history of Nigeria.
Irrespective of diversified ethnic groups and tribes, there’s always a unified celebration as those home and abroad unitedly celebrate this historic period of Nigeria’s Journey as a great Nation.
In the course of reading this article, you would be enlightened on how it is been celebrated, various preparations made as a group and as individuals.
Here’s the big question, why do we celebrate Independence Day in Nigeria? Grab your seat, relax and you join me on this interesting trip, as I would be giving you details on;
Why we celebrate Independence Day in Nigeria
Nigeria independence day 2018
Nigerian Independence Day history
Important and Interesting Dates in the History of Nigeria
Quoting M.F. Moonzajer, “If you fight for yourself, you have awakened your conscience, but if you fight for people you will awakened a nation.”
Credits to our past heroes who fought effortlessly for freedom from the British rule during the pre-colonial periods in the history of Nigeria.
The Nigeria Independence day celebration is always a period of festive and historic mood. News flash, Nigeria Independence Day celebration falls on which date? Who can guess?
Excitingly, this year’s celebration would hold on Monday, 1st October 2018. Who is excited? I am though I would avoid holing up at home but rather join over 180 million patriotic Nigerians in this year’s 58th Independence Day celebration in Nigeria.
Over the years, the Nigeria Independence Day celebration is ceremonially celebrated and it has not changed till date.
Although, with different administrations in power, one can say new activities would be introduced unlike in the 1960s.
Back then, on Saturday October 1st 1960, the Nigeria Independence Day celebration was fun-filled, from the fantastic memory-etching performance of the dance troops to the display of beautiful fireworks that lit up the sky, masquerades performance, acrobats and state banquet among others.
It most indeed has been a beautiful sight to behold for all who graced the remarkable occasion. As expected, the then nation’s capital Lagos had its environs flooded with dignitaries where they all mingled and danced together.
Many Nigerians back then in 1960 who don’t own home appliances like Television sets and want to experience the whole show headed for Tafawa Balewa Square.
These ululating Nigerians flooded Tafawa Balewa Square Lagos, to be part of the exciting and joyous celebration, while security personnel mounted places across the square to provide security.
Here’s a brief roll call of attendees on Nigeria Independence day held on October 1st, 1960;
The host himself the then prime minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, who gives his opening speech;
The country’s sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, who was ably represented by Princess Alexandra, a member of the British royal family;
Sir James Wilson Robertson who shared a role with the then governor-general (Nnamdi Azikiwe; among others.
Carter bridge was flooded by people on Nigeria Independence Day in 1960 and the streets of London was flooded by Nigerians living there as at Independence Day in 1960.
In our present day Nigeria, the Nigeria Independence Day is celebrated both in the Nation’s state capital Abuja and all the 36 state and capital in Nigeria.
A live broadcast of the President’s speech is aired on various television and radio stations within the country and some international broadcasting companies, indicating a commencement or grand opening of the Independence Day celebration.
In respect to the speech, it’s a sign of a kick off where by there’s a flag hoisting in honour of our great Nation Nigeria replacing the British union jack on the pole.
There’s the beautiful parade of the armed forces and various paramilitaries, you need to see how these men march with confirmed uniformity.
It is without doubt to reveal our cultural heritage, as the stage is mounted by various cultural dance troops displaying Nigerian culture.
You would be engrossed in their performance as one gets carried away and somewhat joins either by nodding your head or even shaking your body, you need to be there!
Why don’t you make plans to attend 2018 Nigeria Independence Celebration as it promises to be more fantastic!
On this remarkable day, honor is paid to the heroes and heroine, the freedom fighters who collectively fought for the independence of Nigeria from the British colonial masters.
Nigeria has had a couple of patriotic citizens who have in one way or the other made significant impacts in the development of Nigeria.
For the benefits of our over 200,000 monthly visitors, here is a list of past heroes in the history of Nigeria, who would always be remembered on Nigeria Independence day.
It is also good to note that some of these heroes have their portraits adorned on our present day Nigerian currencies.
Murtala Mohammed portrait adorned on Nigeria’s twenty naira note currency and also Murtala International Airport was named after him to accord him honor;
Sir Ahmadu Bello portrait adorned on Nigeria’s two hundred naira note currency and the prestigious ABU Zaira named after him;
Chief Obafemi Awolowo portrait adorned on Nigeria’s hundred naira note currency with his round glasses;
Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe portrait adorned on Nigeria’s five hundred naira note currency not only that some airports are named after him;
Women Rights Activist Funmilayo Ransome Kuti;
Anti-colonial and pro-democracy activist Chief Anthony Enahoro, and the host of others
Nigerian independence day – Nigerian heroes
One fantastic leaf I’d love to draw from these past heroes and heroines, is the fact that their good name remains in the hearts of people.
It would be fair enough to honor them in their absence, no wonder a stanzas of our national anthem says “the labor of our heroes past would never be in vain”.
You will agree with me that, Nigeria Independence day means a whole to Nigerians both home and abroad. As a matter of fact, the celebration is seen as an ideal platform for national integration in Nigeria.
The young ones are not left out on this remarkable day, they also contribute their quota as they’re the leaders of tomorrow.
These children are prepared in their various institutions of learning to participate in the Nigeria Independence day celebration.
The children participate in well-rehearsed march past, cultural performances and also adorning themselves in lovely attires, with a dress code of Nigeria flag colours, green-white-green.
The goal is to imbibe it in the minds of these children the importance of our history, how different cultures came into existence and most importantly, emphasis are made on the unity of Nigeria, and the need to live in peace and as one Nation.
Nigerian Independence Day History
Prior to this day, Nigeria was a colony of the Great Britain, until it proclaimed her independence on October 1, 1960.
The combination of the southern Nigeria protectorate and the northern Nigeria protectorate in 1914, gave birth to the colony and protectorate of Nigeria, which has borders in the now Nigeria.
Unfortunately, the end of British rule came forth, as they don’t have the choice other than to grant Nigeria her independence.
Important and Interesting Dates in Nigeria History
1On the 25th to 26th of December 1851
Lagos was bombarded by Royal Navy Warship.
2On 1st day of January, 1861
The British annexed Lagos Island and turn it a British colony.
3On the 22nd day of January, 1862
The first governor of Lagos colony was appointed, in person of Mr H.S. Freeman.
4In the year 1877
George Taubman Goldie arrived in Niger Delta to survey the area.
The British established an Oil River Protectorate.
6In the year 1885
The British dominated the oil river protectorate area.
7In the year 1897
The only woman representative named Flora Shaw, who was a British journalist who covered anti-slavery conference held in Brussels, created the name Nigeria.
Also that same year in 1897, he last man standing as an independent king in West Africa, Oba Ovonramwen was overthrown.
8In the year 1900
The British gained power to rule over northern and southern Nigeria protectorate.
Nigeria became a colony and protectorate of Nigeria. Lugard Fredrick amalgamated Nigeria.
10On October, 1929
The inflation of taxes and deflation of prices for exporters led to a demonstration by way of riot.
11In the year 1954
The adoption of the federal system of government gave way for the creation of governorship position across the regions.
12In the year 1958
Establishing the Nigerian navy, while the Federal government controls the Nigerian armed forced. Also in that same year but on October 27th, the British agreed on Nigeria becoming an independent nation after several deliberations.
13In the year 1959
Elections were held in preparation for the nations Independence Day celebration and Nigerian currency was then introduced.
Quick Read: The Nigerian Profile at a glance – Quick facts to know.
Three months before Nigeria got her independence in the year 1960, history has it that Aderemi Adesoji became the first Nigerian and first African to be appointed as a Governor in the month of July, becoming the first governor before Nigeria’s independence.
October 1, 1960, was stipulated for Nigeria Independence day celebration, a remarkable day that Nigerians celebrate every year.
15From 1960 through 1966
Nigeria experienced her first republic as a nation under the British parliamentary system.
16On February 11, 1961
Disposition of the south and north Cameroons, led to a dissociation of the south leaving Nigeria while the north joined Nigeria.
17In the year 1962
The North People’s Congress made an alliance with NCNC for the control of federal government while violence engulfs in the western region dominant party AG. This led to splitting of the Action Group party.
18On October 1963
Nigeria became Federal Republic.
19In year 1966
The first coup by some Nigerian army was staged precisely January 15. Read more about history and causes of military rule in Nigeria and learn more about how these coups were formed.
20On May 29, 1966
Riots in the north against the Igbo minorities living in the north; death toll is nearly 30,000 people.
21On January 16, 1966
Aguiyi-Ironsi became the first head of the federal military. Learn more about the first military head of state in Nigeria.
22In the year 1967
Some states in the eastern region formed the Republic of Biafra. Read the detailed history of the Nigerian civil war with Biafra here.
23From 1970 through 1979
Nigeria was ousted by Yakubu Gown, Olusegun Obasanjo and others; they altered the constitution and thus created 19 federal states.
24In the year 1973
Federal government established NYSC. Are you a corps member looking for loans? Read more about quick NYSC loan or grab loans without collateral on any of these 14 quick online loans in Nigeria.
25In the year 1975
General Yakubu Gown was ousted out of office in a coup.
26In the year 1976
Murtala Mohammed was killed on his way to work.
27In the year 1978
The constitution permitted registration of political parties reflecting in the constitution.
28In the year 1979
Alhaji Aliyu Shehu Shagari won the election and Olusegun Obasanjo handed over power to him peacefully on October 1st 1979 through December 31st 1983, this marked the second republic of Nigeria.
Learn more about the Nigerian government in the first and second republic, and also key individuals involved.
Military overthrew the second republic of Nigeria; major gen. Muhammed Buhari became the leader.
Buhari’s administration was overthrown peacefully.
There was reduction in fuel price subsidies and state creation increased from 19 to 21 then to 30. You can check out the current population of Nigeria by states in this post.
32In the year 1989
The ban on political parties was lifted. Here is the full list of the current 63 political parties in Nigeria, their chairman and slogan.
33In the year 1991
Formation of 9 new states, governorship elections were conducted on December 1991.
34In the year 1992
Babangida postponed the handover dates again to 1993. Census figures indicate that Nigeria is Africa’s most populated country.
June 12, 1993 marks the day Chief M.K.O Abiola won the election conducted in 1991 and today, On June 6, 2018, President Muhamadu Buhari Honors Late MKO Abiola, winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election, with the highest national honour, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic GCFR and declares June 12 democracy day.
Nigeria lost some of her heroes and heroines; the likes of her first president, Nnamdi Azikiwe, and one of the women right activists, Kudirat Abiola.
There was rise in fuel price by 338% to reduce inflation and combat corruption. Also, a Value Added Tax of 5% was introduced.
37In the year 1998
Nigeria lost Gen. Sani Abacha.
38On May 29 1999
Olusegun Obasanjo, previous military personnel was sworn in as a democratic president of Nigeria.
39In the year 2007
Musa Umaru Yaradua became Nigeria president.
Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan became Nigeria president. Learn more about Nigeria president salary and allowances of senators in this post.
412015 till date
Nigeria’s president is Muhammadu Buhari.
To read more, here’ the List of all Nigerian presidents from 1960 till date.
Nigeria’s First Independence Video
Nigeria Independence Day (Summary)
The Nigeria independence day celebration is indeed a celebration to reckon with. A lot has happened, lives have been lost, history has been made and we’re united.
The questions is, with over 5 decades of celebrations, have we really achieved? Has this nation developed like other countries in the world?