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DISCOVER NIGERIA: May in Nigeria’s History

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Welcome to the month of May. May in Nigeria’s history is relatively packed with achievements and landmark events. But for the demise of President Yar’ Adua in 2010, May is the month in which Nigeria celebrates. Nigeria celebrates its workers and its still nascent democracy on the 1st and 29th respectively. Below are 7 significant things that happened in Nigeria in May:

Jaja takes Office

Jaja Wachuku was elected and sworn into office as Nigeria’s first Speaker of the House of Representatives on May 3, 1960. Mysteriously, Jaja resigned as Speaker on the eve of the January 15 1966 coup, fuelling speculations among historians that he might have been tipped off by foreign secret service. He was a personal friend of US President John F. Kennedy.

Ojukwu’s promotion announced.

On May 4, 1968, Radio Biafra announced the elevation of its leader, Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu from the rank of Lieutenant Colonel to General.

ECOWAS was born

The Economic Community for West African States  (ECOWAS) was established by a treaty signed in Lagos, Nigeria on May 28, 1975. The ECOWAS has over the years, played a more significant role in diplomacy and peacekeeping than in its core purpose of economic integration.

University of Ife renamed          

On May 12, 1987, the Babangida regime renamed the University of Ife as Obafemi Awolowo University in honour of the first Premier of the Western Region.

Madiba visits Nigeria

Nelson Mandela visited Nigeria for the first time after 27 years of incarceration on May 13, 1990. It was a great honour to the government and people of Nigeria who had voiced a ceaseless opposition to Apartheid in the international community.

Jay-Jay’s debut.

Austin ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha made his debut for the Super Eagles at Abidjan on May 2, 1993 in a FIFA World Cup qualifier tie with the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire. Okocha, known for his dribbles on the pitch of play, captained the Super Eagles to the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. He retired from Nigeria’s national side in 2006.

Yar’ Adua passes.

President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua died in office on May 5, 2010. Popularly remembered for his Seven- Point Agenda, Yar’ Adua showed exemplary leadership in being Nigeria’s first sitting president to declare his assets.

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Nehikhare Omotayo Igbinijesu is an Economist, Poet, and Social Entrepreneur. 'He is the author of The Code: A Simple Story About Raising Great Women' and 'Marriage: 12 Questions You Need To Ask Before You Say, “I Do”'. He lives in Lagos with his wife, Akudo and two sons. He is Co-founder of, a motivational resources company based in Lagos. You can email him via nehijesu [at]

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