For the 59th anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence, Africa’s foremost governance and political consulting firm, StateCraft Inc. has gone beyond the celebrations. They have chronicled the landmark events of each October 1st as it relates to Nigeria from 1960 till date. These events, as told by Nigerians in the video below bring us new insight on the past 58 years.
1 October, 1960 – The Nigerian Flag, designed by 23-year-old Michael Akinwunmi Taiwo, was hoisted for the first time on this day in 1960. Of course, it was also the day Nigeria gained independence from Great Britain.
1 October, 1961 – This was the day that Southern Cameroon decidely became a different country from Nigeria.
1 October, 1962 – On this day, one of Nigeria’s gifts to the stage and the big screens, Hakeem Kae-Kazim of the Hotel Rwanda fame was born.
1 October, 1963 – Nigeria became a republic, and Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the country’s first president, with Tafawa Balewa serving as the Prime Minister.
1 October, 1964 – In commemoration of the first anniversary of the Republic, Nigeria issued stamps worth 3 pennies with President Azikiwe’s portrait on it.
1 October, 1965 – Only half a decade of independence from Britain and Nigeria was already about to have her first election fail. In another part of the world, Cyprus – which also gained her Independence from Great Britain in 1960 – was also celebrating five years of Independence.
1 October, 1966 – The CIA published a Civil War Report raising questions about the possibility of Nigeria surviving as single viable entity.
1 October, 1967 – On this day, the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, established its Faculty of Education.
1 October, 1968 – Singaporean Prime Minister, late Sir Lee Kuan Yew launched the “Keep Singapore Clean” campaign, an initiative that Nigeria has launched in varying iterations over the years.
1 October, 1969 – Obafemi Awolowo University launched its Faculty of Pharmacy on this day in 1969.
1 October, 1970 – Four years into military regime, General Yakubu Gowon asked Nigerians to brace up for a decade-long military interruption of our democracy.
1 October, 1971 – DSP Usman Abdul Dimka and was born in Maiduguri, Borno State. He’d grow up to help Nigeria through a very turbulent period of insecurity by leading series of anti-robbery operations that led to the arrest of many hoodlums and thieves and the recovery of arms while serving in Edo, Delta and Oyo States.
1 October, 1972 – General Yakubu Gowon announced plans to establish the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in his Independence Day anniversary broadcast.
1 October, 1973 – Nigeria established the Federal Housing Authority today in 1973.
1 October, 1974 – General Yakubu Gowon was back with news of the Military government’s intent to stay in power beyond 1976, this time, without declaring a proposed date for disengagement.
1 October, 1975 – General Murtala Mohammed began his plans to eradicate corruption in Nigeria’s public service by carrying out a purge of the military. By mid-October, 400 federal officials had been dismissed and almost 600 civil servants had lost their jobs.
1 October, 1976 – The 24-member Federal Electoral Commission’s was appointed on this day by the General Olusegun Obasanjo regime in line his and the assassinated General Murtala’s promise of a transition to civil rule by 1979.
1 October, 1977 – The 20 Naira note had been introduced a few months earlier to commemorate General Murtala Muhammed’s assassination, hence it was the first Independence Day had a currency that featured the portrait of a Nigerian.
1 October, 1978 – The National Anthem as composed by Pa Ben Odiase, was adopted on this day to replace “Nigeria We Hail Thee” version composed by British expatriate, Lillian Jean Williams.
1 October, 1979 – After too many years of political and military rule, the Nigerian Military handed over power to the democratically elected government of Shehu Shagari.
1 October, 1980 – A good day for the students of Roman Catholic Mission School, Olomowewe, which had been closed down upon the departure of the missionaries who established it. The Lagos State Government re-opened it on 1st of October 1980.
1 October, 1981 – The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Maiduguri was established with fifteen staff members.
1 October, 1982 – Haruna Babangida, the second youngest player ever to feature for Barcelona, was born on this day in 1982.
1 October, 1983 – Governors Asheik Jarma and Sabo Bakin Zuwo, assumed office in Borno and Kano States. They both vacated said offices exactly three months after.
1 October, 1984 – The Local Government Council responsible for the administration of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja was established today in 1984.
1 October, 1985 – Chief Ganiyu Fawehinmi, the late human rights activist, established the Nigerian Weekly Law reports on Tuesday, 1st October, 1985.
1 October, 1986 – The General Ibrahim Babangida regime declared a National Economic Emergency which would go on for 15 months. This included wage cuts for everyone from the armed forces to private sector workers, 30% surchage on imports, cuts on petrol subsidy.
1 October, 1987 – Independence Day in 1987 brought with it removal on all controls on interest rates in Nigeria in line with the deregulation policy of General Babangida’s Structural Adjustment Program.
1 October, 1988 – Televangelist and former vice presidential candidate, Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly received instructions to leave the Redeemed Church of God where he’d been worshipping and handling legal matters on a pro bono basis.
1 October, 1989 – The Peoples Bank of Nigeria came into existence on Independence Day of 1989. The Bank, established to extend loans to underprivileged, only lasted 18 months.
1 October, 1990 – What marked the 30th year of Independence for Nigeria signaled a terrifying turn of events in Rwanda. 7000 fighters from the Rwanda Patriotic Army attacked from Uganda in an invasion that, over four years, would degenerate into one of the worst genocides to ever happen – the Rwanda Civil War.
1 October, 1991 – The largest celebration of Nigeria’s Independence Day outside Nigeria began in New York on this day as part of the measures to address the needs of the Nigerian community in the United States. The Nigerian Independence Day Parade still happens annually in New York City.
1 October, 1992 – A directive to change the title of the “Head of Prisons” to “Controller-General of Prisons” took effect on the day, making J.O Lily Ojo the first Controller-General of Prisons. The year, that title has changed again to “Controller-General of Nigeria Correctional Service”
1 October, 1993 – On this day in 1993, Godwin Ihabe, the 2018 Mr NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL EASTERN KING was born. Apparently, while the model making his beautiful debut into our world, Nigeria’s former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida managed to abort the commencement of Nigeria’s Third Republic.
1 October, 1994 – General Abacha ordered the arrest and detention of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi for launching the National Conscience Party in Lagos in defiance of a decree banning the formation of political parties.
1 October, 1995 – General Abacha announced the timeline for a three-year transition to civilian rule in his first Independence Day broadcast to Nigerians.
1 October, 1996 – Based on recommendations from the Arthur Mbanefo Panel, the regime of General Sani Abacha added 6 states to the existing 30 to bring us up to the 36 we now have today.
1 October, 1997 – 28 distressed banks were put under the direct supervision and control of the National Deposit Insurance Commission.
1 October, 1998 – Here’s a day that something DID NOT happen. Power was not transferred to a civilian government as earlier promised by General Abdulsalami Abubakar.
1 October, 1999 – Newly elected civilian President Obasanjo effected the policy requiring the use of hydro–carbon free jute bags for export packaging.
1 October, 2000 – President Obasanjo, in his Independence Day speech, addressed Nigeria’s rating as the most corrupt country in the world. According to him, “Corruption is simply bad for the nation. To condone corruption is not only unpatriotic, but also irreligious for Christians and Muslims”
1 October, 2001 – At exactly 12:00 AM Yossi Melma published a detailed report of the July, 1984 attempted abduction of former Nigerian transportation minister, Dr. Umaru Dikko by the notorious Israeli, Elisha Cohen.
1 October, 2002 – On the occasion of our 42nd Independence anniversary, Nigeria established it first Federal Open and Distance Learning Institution, the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
1 October, 2003 – President Obasanjo announced the termination of all Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) contracts of the refineries to press ahead with his planned liberalisation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry. He did this against all warnings about the fuel hike that would follow.
1 October, 2004 – The National Honour of MFR was awarded to Jean Boyd, a researcher who served as an Education Officer in Nigeria’s Colonial Service and who later spent 25 years in Sokoto, as a student of then Waziri, Alhaji Dr Junaidu. She spent 15 more years conducting fieldwork on manuscripts in Northern Nigeria.
1 October, 2005 – The Central Bank of Nigeria increased the minimum capital base for new primary mortgage institutions from N200 million to N1 billion.
1 October, 2006 – The bikeless city centres of Abuja owe their status to the ban put in place by the Nasir El-Rufai led Federal Capital Development Authority on this day in 2006.
1 October, 2007 – Mallam M.D. Usman was finally appointed as the Registrar of Federal University of Techonology, Minna having acted in the same capacity since 2003.
1 October, 2008 – FCT Minister, Dr Aliyu Modibbo announced the renaming of 83 streets in Nigeria’s capital after prominent Nigerians and foreigners who had contributed immensely to the country’s development.
1 October, 2009 – Kerosene was being sold at #50 per litre across Nigeria.
1 October, 2010 – An unprecepdented twin car bombing in the Federal Capital Territory near the Eagle Square by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) left 10 people dead.
1 October, 2011 – Nigeria experienced her second Independence Day terrorist attack in two consecutive years, this time in Maiduguri where attackers targeted an army patrol near a wedding and killed at least 3 civilians.
1 October, 2012 – On the 52nd Independence anniversary, and his second Independence Day Speech, President Goodluck Jonathan announced Nigeria as one of the countries that had done “appreciably well” amidst the ongoing global financial crisis in that year.
1 October, 2013 – The second phase of the Cashless policy’s implementation kicked in in Rivers, Abia, Anambra, Ogun, Kano and the FCT.
1 October, 2014 – Thousands of Nigerians trooped to cinemas across the country to watch the Kunle Afolayan dark psychological thriller, October 1.
1 October, 2015 – At least 10 people were killed in another Independence Day terrorist attack in Maiduguri and another 5 in Kirchinga, both attacks allegedly carried out by the Boko Haram.
1 October, 2016 – Newly elected President Buhari made his viral Independence Day claim that “Boko Haram was defeated by last December”.
1 October, 2017 – Former governor of Oyo state, Abiola Ajimobi ordered the immediate closure of Agodi Zoo over the killing of an attendant by one of the lions in the zoo.
1 October, 2018 – Nigeria had her first full-fledged Independence Day parade since 2010 when the event was marred by a MEND-orchestrated explosion that left 10 people dead.
1 October, 2019 – A video chronicling the events of this day in history since 1960 was released by Africa’s foremost political and governance consulting firm, StateCraft Inc.
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Journalist, Political Analyst and Satirist with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.