October 4, 2020

In the course of sixty years of Nigeria’s independence, many landmark events have taken place, both pleasant and unpleasant, historical and unforgettable, Below are some of those events which have shaped the history of Nigeria as a country.

BELOW are some of the notable events that have played out since October 1, 1960 till 2020.

  • 1st October, 1960 – Nigeria gained independence from Britain under Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa and President Nnamdi Azikiwe.
  • 1st June, 1961 – Southern Cameroon became a province within Northern Nigeria.
  • 1st October, 1963 – Nigeria severed its remaining ties to Britain marking the birth of the Nigerian First Republic.
  • 30th December, 1964 – Parliamentary elections were held in some parts of Nigeria and marked by manipulation as well as violence.
  • 6th June, 1965 – Elections were held in Western Region.
  • 15th January, 1966 – A military coup deposed the government of the First Republic. Balewa, Premier of Northern Nigeria Ahmadu Bello, and Finance Minister Festus Okotie-Eboh, were assassinated.
  • 16th January, 1966 – The federal military government was formed with General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi acting as Head of State and Supreme Commander of the Federal Republic.
  • 23rd February, 1966 – Isaac Adaka Boro declared the secession of the “Niger Delta Republic”. The secession was crushed by Odumegwu Ojukwu and 159 men were killed.
  • 29th July, 1966 – A counter-coup by military officers of northern extraction deposed the federal military government. Aguiyi-Ironsi and Adekunle Fajuyi, military Governor of the Western Region, were assassinated. General Yakubu Gowon became leader.
  • 5th May, 1967 – Killings of people of Eastern Nigerian origin claimed the lives of thousands mostly Igbo people.
  • 27th May, 1967 – Gowon announced further subdivision of Nigeria into twelve states.
  • 30th May, 1967 – General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Military Governor of Eastern Nigeria, declared his province an independent republic called Biafra, leading to the beginning of the civil war.
  • September, 1967 – Nigerian poet, Christopher Okigbo, was killed in the Nigerian civil war.
  • 7th October, 1967 – The Asaba massacre took place when federal troops of Nigeria entered Asaba, rounded up as many as 500 Igbo men and shot them.
  • 8th January, 1970- Ojukwu fled into exile. His deputy, Philip Effiong became acting President of Biafra.
  • 15th January, 1970 – Effiong surrendered to the Nigerian forces. Biafra was reintegrated into Nigeria.
  • 1971 – Nigeria joined Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
  • 22nd January, 1973 – A plane crashed in Kano, Nigeria, killing 176 people.
  • 29th January, 1975 – General Yakubu Gowon was overthrown in a bloodless coup. General Murtala Mohammed became the Head of State.
  • 13th February, 1976 – Murtala Mohammed was assassinated on his way to work. His deputy, Lieutenant-General Olusegun Obasanjo became Head of State and set a date to end military rule.
  • 11th August, 1979 – Presidential election took place in Nigeria.
  • 1st October, 1979 – Alhaji Shehu Shagari was sworn in as president.
  • 11th August, 1983- Shagari won re-election.
  • 31st December, 1983 – Shagari’s government was ejected from power in a palace coup marking the end of the Second Republic. General Muhammadu Buhari became Head of State and Chairman of the Supreme Military Council.
  • 17th April, 1984 – The Buhari regime promulgated Decree No. 4, the ‘Public Officer’s Protection Against False. Accusation’ Decree, which made it an offence to ridicule the government by publication of false information.
  • 27th August, 1985- Buhari was overthrown in a palace coup; General Ibrahim Babangida became Head of State and President of the Armed Forces Ruling Council of Nigeria.
  • 22nd April, 1990 – Middle Belt Christian officers, led by Major Gideon Orkar, attempted to overthrow Babangida in an unsuccessful coup.
  • 1992- Two political parties, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC) ware established by Babangida in an attempt to return to civilian rule.
  • 12th June, 1993- A presidential election later believed to have been won by Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola was conducted. The election was annulled on June 23, 1993.
  • 26th August, 1993 – Babangida stepped down due to pressure from the Armed Forces Ruling Council. Ernest Adegunle Oladeinde Shonekan assumed power as Interim Head of State.
  • 17th November 1993- Shonekan was forced to resign from office. Defence Minister Sani Abacha became Head of State and established the Provisional Ruling Council of Nigeria.
  • 13th March 1995 – The Abacha administration arrested Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for allegedly supporting a secret coup plot.
  • 8th June, 1998: Abacha died from a heart attack. Abdulsalami Abubakar became Head of State and Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council of Nigeria and lifted the ban on political activity.
  • 15th June 1998 Obasanjo was released from prison.
  • 27th February, 1999 – A presidential election was conducted with Chief Obasanjo emerging the winner.
  • 29th May, 1999- Obasanjo was sworn in, ushering in the Fourth Republic.
  • 20th November, 1999- Obasanjo ordered the Nigerian Armed Forces to raid the town of Odi in the Niger Delta, in response to the murder of twelve policemen by local militia.
  • 27th January, 2000- Sharia was established in the predominantly Muslim state of Zamfara.
  • May, 2000- Religious riots erupted in Kaduna over the implementation of Sharia.
  • 5th June 2000- The Obasanjo administration established the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to tackle human and ecological issues in the Niger Delta region of Southern Nigeria.
  • 2002- Religious riots erupted over the Miss World pageant due to be hosted in Abuja.
  • 10th October, 2002- The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled against Nigeria in favour of Cameroon over the disputed oil-rich Bakassi peninsula territory.
  • April, 2003 – Obasanjo won re-election as President.
  • 29th May, 2003- Obasanjo was sworn in for a second term as President.
  • 2004 – Obasanjo declared a state of emergency in response to the eruption of ethno-religious violence in Plateau State.
  • 16th May 2006- The National Assembly of Nigeria voted against a Constitutional amendment to remove term limits.
  • 13th June 2006 – Obasanjo met with Cameroonian President Paul Biya and Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan in New York City to resolve a dispute.over Bakassi.
  • 1st August, 2006 – Nigerian troops began to pull out of Bakassi.
  • 15th March 2007- The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the names of twenty-four approved candidates for the presidential elections.
  • 21st April, 2007- Umaru Yar’Adua, Governor of Katsina State, was elected President of Nigeria.
  • 23rd November, 2009-President Umaru Yar’Adua travel to Saudi Arabia to receive treatment for a heart condition. This inspires a constitutional crises and calls for him to step down as he was deemed unfit to continue in power.
  • 5th May 2010- Umaru Yar’Adua, a pronounced dead after a long illness. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who was already the Acting President at that time succeeded him. The government of Nigeria declared seven days of mourning.
  • 1st October 2010- Nigeria celebrated the Golden Jubilee of her independence (50 years). However, the celebrations were hindered by two car bombings.close to the Eagle’ Square in Abuja, where the elite had gathered to celebrate the golden jubilee.
  • 16th April, 2011- Presidential elections were held in Nigeria after they were postponed from 9th April. No fewer than 800 persons were reportedly killed in the violence that trailed the emergence of former President Goodluck Jonathan as the winner of the poll.
  • 5th and 6th January, 2012- No fewer than 180 people were killed in series of attacks on businesses by Boko Haram insurgents in Northeastern Nigeria.
  • 16th April, 2013- The Baga massacre began in the village of Baga in Borno. In it, 200 civilians were killed, hundreds wounded and over 2000 houses and businesses worth millions of naira were destroyed.
  • 3rd October, 2014- Ebola virus disease broke out in Nigeria.
  • 28th and 29th March, 2015- General elections were held in Nigeria, ushering in President Muhammadu Buhari for his first term in office.
  • 31st August, 2016- Nigeria slipped into recession for the first time in over two decades.
  • February, 2019- President Buhari was reelected for a second term in office as Nigerian President.

Compiled by Imoleayo Oyedeyi and Adeola Otemade


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