By Nehi Igbinijesu
Happy new month! I hope your New Year resolutions are still as intact as mine are? The month of February in Nigeria’s history is a very remarkable one. And I believe it holds more promise than January did. To start the month, we have picked five outstanding events to help you become familiar with our country’s history. Here they are:
The Super Falcons’ debut
In their first ever international friendly, our Super Falcons trounced their Ghanaian counterparts 5-1 on February 16, 1991.
Kalakuta Republic razed
On 18 February 1977, a communal compound located at 14 Agege Motor Road, Idi- Oro Lagos was burnt to the ground by members of the Nigerian military. The place was known as Kalakuta Republic and had been Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s residence for almost a decade at the time. During the attack, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Fela’s mother was thrown out of a first floor window. She died eight weeks after. The razing of Kalakuta was a backlash from Fela’s record, Zombie which criticized Nigeria’s military government.
Niger Delta Republic declared Independence
On 23 February 1966, the Isaac Adaka Boro –led Niger Delta Volunteer Force declared the independence of Niger Delta Republic from Nigeria. Having led student protests at the University of Nigeria Nsukka against the exploitation of oil resources in the Niger Delta, which benefitted the Federal Government and the Eastern Regional Government, Boro clamoured for a fairer share of the oil proceeds to be given the Ijaw people. Though quelled by Federal Forces after 12 days of intense fighting, the Boro-led secession was the first significant quest for resource control by the minorities of South-South Nigeria.
The Miracle of Dammam
On 25 February 1989, in a quarterfinal match of the World Youth Championship in Dammam , Saudi Arabia, our Flying Eagles pulled back from a 4-0 deficit to the USSR in a keenly contested encounter. Thirty minutes to full time, Christopher Ohenhen scored the first goal and followed up with a brace fifteen minutes after. Samuel “Prophet” Elijah scored the third goal in the 83rd minute and skipper. Nduka Ugbade drew level in the 84th minute to end the match in a draw. The Flying Eagles went on to win the match 5-3 via penalties.
Usman dan Fodio, first Caliph of Sokoto
Ever wondered why Sokoto is referred to as a Caliphate and not a Sultanate? Well, it started out a Caliphate on 21 February 1804 when its first Caliph, Imam Usman dan Fodio was installed. Usman dan Fodio, Amir al Mumuni (Commander of the Faithful) is attributed with prosecuting a holy war that brought Islam to most of Northern Nigeria. The title “Sultan” replaced the previous “Caliph” title in the early 1900s when the British took over Sokoto.
Have an awesome February!