History of Nigerian Independence Day
European influence in modern-day Nigeria began in the 16th century when the first explorers from Spain; and also Portugal began trading with locals, 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 attempts to expand in the region.
In 1900, the territories under the control of the Royal Niger Company became the Sothern Nigeria Protectorate. In 1914, this was combined with the Northern Nigeria Protectorate to create the Colony and also Protectorate of Nigeria; which forms the borders of modern-day Nigeria.
However, many aspects of modern life in Nigeria were established under the period of British Rule; but by the middle of the 20th century, the call for independence sweeping across Africa; and the decline of the territories in the British Empire led to Nigeria being granted independence on October 1st 1960; under a constitution with a parliamentary government and also a degree of autonomy for the country’s three regions.
Nigeria marked total independence from Britain when it became a federal republic and a new constitution was adopted; on 1st October 1963 with Nnamdi Azikiwe as the first president.
Significance of Independence Day
Independence Day is an official national holiday in Nigeria; this is the national day in Nigeria and is always celebrated on October 1st. It marks Nigeria’s proclamation of independence from British rule.
On 1st October 1960, Nigeria was granted full independence from Great Britain. The country received its Freedom Charter, on 1st October 1960; from Princess Alexandra of Kent, the Queen’s representative at the Nigerian independence ceremonies. Nigeria’s first Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa; announced the country’s independence in his speech read at what was then known as the ‘Race Course’; alongside Princess Alexandria and Sir James Robertson on October 1st, 1960.
The event in 1960 eventually led to the formation of the federal republic of Nigeria; and also the journey to independence started with some constitutional developments that saw the country attaining self-rule in some quarters in 1957 and total independence on 1st October 1960.
Hence, October 1st has been designated a national holiday; to commemorate the day Nigeria eventually laid down its claim to be a free; as well as independent nation from the United Kingdom.
However, Independence Day (National Day) in Nigeria is celebrated each year by patriotic citizens; across all of 36 states, regardless of ethnicity and religion.
On the morning of October 1st, the incumbent President of Nigeria delivers a speech to officially commence the Independence Day celebrations also the country’s green-white-green flag will be unfurled with the singing of the national anthem in the capital city of Abuja.
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