62nd Independence Anniversary: 7 Interesting Nigerian Facts You Never Knew

October 01, 2022

What better way is to celebrate Nigeria’s Independence day without exploring a bit of our interesting history

Nigerians are termed the Giant of Africa as we have indeed survived through the odds and still stand stronger

To celebrate this great national today, Legit.ng compiled interesting facts about Nigeria as it witnessed its 62nd Independence anniversary

There is so much to learn about Nigeria, its people, and its cultures.

On October 1, Nigeria celebrates its Diamond Jubilee — marking 60 years since the country became an independent nation with the end of colonial rule.

With an estimated population of about 204 million people, Nigeria today is the most populous Black nation on Earth and the seventh most populous country in the world.

There is so much to learn about Nigeria, its people, and its cultures.

With so much history and cultural richness, there are many lessons to be learned from Nigeria’s impact on the African continent and the world at large.

1. The Name ‘Nigeria’ The name ‘Nigeria’ was coined by Flora Shaw. She was the wife of Lord Lugard – a British soldier who paved the way for Nigeria’s amalgamation and became the first Governor-General of Nigeria. Flora drew inspiration from the great river Niger and combined the words ‘Niger’ and ‘Area’ to form ‘Nigeria’.

2. Nigeria was formed in 1914 The land area known today as Nigeria was formed in 1914 when colonial authorities merged the Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria, to form the amalgamated Protectorate and Colony of Nigeria.

This merger brought together over 400 ethnic groups and tribes into what was then the largest British colony in the world. The name “Nigeria” is also derived from colonial sources.

3. Nigerian Founding Fathers It took a lot of passion, determination, and selflessness from many great Nigerians to make our independence day a reality in 1960.

Here are just a few Nigerians who were instrumental to this cause:

Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe – known as ‘Zik’, he was the first elected President of Nigeria after independence.

Obafemi Awolowo – he introduced free education in the Western region of Nigeria and also founded Action Group.

Sir Ahmadu Bello – founded the Northern People’s Party (NPP) in 1951 which later joined forces with Nnamdi Azikiwe’s NCNC party to fight for independence from the British.

4. Nigeria gained independence from colonial rule in 1960 \

Nigeria gained independence from the British empire in 1960, initially adopting a British style of government with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as the first Nigerian head of government (prime minister).

The country then had a population of over 45 million people.

5. Nigeria has been ruled by military leaders for a combined 29 years

On January 15, 1966, a group of young, idealistic, UK-trained army majors overthrew Nigeria’s democratic government in a violent military coup — the country’s first.

A succession of military governments ruled Nigeria for 29 of the next 33 years, until the restoration of democracy in 1999.

Some of the blowback effects of this coup include: Corruption — the military decreed that all natural resources be controlled by the state, which has entrenched the do-or-die nature of Nigerian politics;

The army’s politicised past means that Nigerians live with the (real or imagined) fear that a coup is a possible outcome of any political crisis.

6. The Nigerian civil war started in 1967 In 1967, following two coups and turmoil that led to about a million Igbos returning to the south-east of Nigeria.

The Nigerian government declared war and after 30 months of fighting, Biafra surrendered. On January 15, 1970, the conflict officially ended.

7. The military dictatorship in Nigeria ended in 1977 Even then, it resulted from two years of near anarchy, first with the 1975 coup that brought down the Gowon regime.

A trio of generals took power, specifically, Murtala Muhammed, Olusegun Obasanjo, and Theophilus Danjuma.

Another coup took place in 1976, led by Colonel Buka Dimka, killing General Muhammed, but ultimately failing and forcing the rogue colonel into exile.

General Shehu Yar’adua replaced General Muhammed, and in 1977, the junta organized a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution. This led to elections in 1979, with Shehu Shagari becoming the first president of the Second Nigerian Republic.

Conclusion Nigeria’s 62nd Independence is here, wait; we are not where we are but we are heading to the promise land and we will surely get there.

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