1960 October 1: Nigeria’s Independence Day. Nigeria gained independence from Britain, with late Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as the Prime Minister leading a coalition government of parliamentary system. Three years later, it became a republic.
In October 1963, Nigeria proclaimed itself the Federal Republic of Nigeria and late Nnamdi Azikiwe became the country’s first President.
In October 2010, Nigeria celebrated its golden jubilee ’50th anniversary of its independence.’
Today, Nigeria is 57 years! Hurray!!!
On this particular day and month in 1960, the nation, acclaimed to be the ‘giant of Africa,’ got her independence from the British Colony. On this historic day, the British Union Jack was lowered and replaced by the nation’s Green-white-green flag. Many popped champagne with the freedom from the colonial masters. And with the independence, a new constitution, establishing a federal system with an elected prime minister and a ceremonial head of state was established. From then, Nigerians took over the reigns of leadership from foreigners.
Recognising the country’s particular multi-ethnic configuration or diversity, the British government had established for Nigeria a federal structure of government, with three regions. Each of the three regions had its own constitution and a good measure of autonomy while there was a fairly weak Federal Government at the centre. The three regions were the Eastern Region, Northern Region and Western Region.
Since October 1, 1960, the date has remained an emotionally memorable one for Nigerians. Critical observers till today, as usual, ponder and reflect on the journey so far. Like in previous anniversaries, Nigerians will reflect on issues, concerning the economic, social and political development of the country.