…And the song goes like this;
“On the first October 1960, Nigeria got her Independence (pendence) 2x, Oh Freedom (freedom) 3x, Freedom everywhere.”
Well, it’s possible you know the song and sang it as a child in school, at freedom square or somewhere else. It is also possible you never heard of the song; or maybe, know the song but do not know the tune (due to the limitedness of the medium through which you are viewing this; we might attach a voice note subsequently). Whatever category you fall into, 1st October is, 1st October! Probably the most remarkable day in the history of Nigeria and Nigerians: Great nation, Great people. 1st October is the day that marks Nigeria’s independence from British rule. It is an official national holiday, usually celebrated with much pomp and pride; just like birthdays are, it is Nigeria’s special day.
Brief History of Nigerian Independence Day
European interaction with modern-day Nigeria has been early as the 16th century when the first explorers from Spain and Portugal began trading with people, leading to the development of ports, such as Lagos. The British became an increasingly dominant influence on the region in the late 19th century through the Royal Niger Company, resisting German attempts to expand into the region. In 1900, the territories under the control of the Royal Niger Company was the Southern Nigeria Protectorate. In 1914, this was merged with the Northern Nigeria Protectorate to create the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, which forms the borders of modern-day Nigeria.
By the late 1950s, the call for independence of territories in Africa became more prominent and with the decline of the British Empire, Nigeria was granted independence on 1 October 1960 as a Federation. Three years later, the constitution was amended and the country was declared the Federal Republic of Nigeria with Nnamdi Azikiwe, previously Governor-General, as the first President and the Right Honorable Gentleman, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, as its first and only Prime Minister.
1st October: Nigeria’s Special Day!
Independence Day is an official national holiday in Nigeria, celebrated on the first of October every year. It marks Nigeria’s proclamation of independence from British rule on 1 October 1960. The holiday is celebrated annually by the government of Nigeria. Usually, the ceremony begins with the President’s address to the people, which is broadcasted nationally on radio and television. Another integral part of the ceremony is the military parade in Abuja, the parade of students and unions to the folk music and concerts of famous artists.
In New York, Nigeria’s Independence Day has been marked by celebrations since in 1991 and are the largest by any African nation in the United States. Despite being the national day of Nigeria, the holiday itself is declared annually by the government of Nigeria.
1st October is Nigeria’s Special day and as it is usually expected in special days, that celebrations are made and gifts are given. This day is a good day to give Nigeria a special gift; a good and a memorable one. Have you thought about what you can give Nigeria today?
In the words of John F. Kennedy,
“And so my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”-John F. Kennedy
We can as well aptly apply those words to Nigeria and Nigerians, “And so my fellow Nigerians: Ask not what Nigeria can do for you, ask what you can do for Nigeria.”
There is a lot that can be done; let’s go ahead and do it; no matter how small. Especially that, it is Nigeria’s Special Day; 1st October!!!
Featured Image Source: Oasdom