1939-1960 History of West Africa









Independence, since 1960



A.) Territory

Nigeria consisted of 3 regional entities : (1) the North, predominantly Muslim, the most important ethny being the Haussa, the largest region in area as well as in population,(2) the East, dominated by the Igbo, many of whom were Christian, and (3) the west, inhabited by the Yoruba. Soon (4) the Midwest region was separated from the West.
In 1961, a plebiscite was held in BRITISH CAMEROONS, since 1916 administrated as an annex to Nigeria. The Northern area (predominantly Muslim) voted for integration into Nigeria, the southern (predominantly christian) area for integration into Cameroun. In 1967 BIAFRA (i.e. the East, inhabited by the Catholic IBO or Igbo) declared it's secession and independence. The Nigerian government was unwilling to accept secession; the oil fields in the Niger delta were contested by both the government and Biafra. The ensuing war was decided by physical exhaustion of secessionist Biafra and ended in a government victory in 1970; the renegade province was reintegrated.


B.) Government

In 1960 Independence was declared, NNAMDI AZIKIWE becoming the first president of the REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA in 1963 (until then, Queen Elizabeth functioned as head of State).
Political organizations had regional backing; Africa's most populated country lacked both a national identity and democratic tradition. In 1966, there were coup's d'etat which resulted in ethnic violence; Biafra seceded and a civil war followed.
The military government under Yakubu Gowon regarded its prime policy the preservation of the unity of Nigeria; it expanded and equipped the army and in 1970 forced Biafra to surrender.
Nigeria saw a succession of military governments. In 1975, the capital was moved from Lagos to more centrally located ABUJA. In 1979 government was handed over to a civilian administration under Alhaji Shegu Shagari. In 1983 the military took over in yet another coup d'etat. The regime of General Ibrahim Babangida is widely blamed for a deterioration of Nigeria's political and economical climate. In 1993, SANI ABACHA took over in a coup; the winner of democtatic elections, M.K.O. Abiola, was imprisoned. Abacha ruled arbitrarily and enriched himself.
In 1999, when General OBASANJO was elected president. Nigeria is widely criticized for human rights violations - the execution of writer and political activist KEN SARO-WIWA in 1995, the unexplained sudden death of Moshood Abiola, apparent winner of the 1993 presidential elections, in prison.


C.) The Economy

In 1957 income from oil exports amounted to 0.1 % of the nation's revenue; by 1970 the percentage had risen to 26.3 %. When the oil prices rose in context of the Oil Crisis in 1973, Nigeria's revenue rose considerably.
The government invested into the development of the infrastructure, for instance the education sector was expanded (30 universities), the war damage in the east addressed.
Unfortunately the monetary influx did not benefit the country's economy. In the state administration many cronies syphoned off revenue into their own pocket; corruption was rampant, discipline and morale low. Matters did not improve when the oil prices sank at the end of the decade, and with it the oil revenue declined. Now a considerable part of the country's revenue had to be used to pay the interest on the nation's debt; the consequence was inflation; corruption continued to be a problem.


D.) Social Problems; Culture

The country faces many problems, among them rapid population growth and urbanization, periodical ecological crises such as drought, corruption, ethnic violence, AIDS, a sluggish oil industry.
With severe economic problems, an administration regarded notoriously corrupt, people turned to religion. Islamic and christian groups were mutually distrustful of each other; incidents such as the Muslim demand to reintroduce the Shariah and aggressive oratory of christian missionaries in areas traditionally dominated by Muslims lead to the outbreak of ethnic riots.
In 1986, Nigerian writer WOLE SOYINKA was awarded the Nobel prize for literature; he lived in exile and returned to his motherland only in 1998.
In the 1990es, Nigeria's soccer team has made positive headlines, putting up an impressive show at the 1994 World Cup in Italy and winning the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996. Sports may be the strongest factor creating a Nigerian identity.






EXTERNAL
FILES
Timeline of Nigerian History, from Nigeria Exchange
History of Nigeria, from Infoplease
History of Lagos, from Cyber Schoolbus
Links on Ken Saro-Wiwa, from ACAS; website on Ken Saro Wiwa from African Cultures
Wole Soyinka, from Nobel Prize Internet Archive
CASCON Case NIB : Nigeria (Biafra) 1967-1970, by L.P. Bloomfield, L. Moulton
DOCUMENTS Map of Nigeria from CIA World Factbook
Flag of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from FOTW
Time Europe October 10th 1960 : Nigeria, free giant, from Time Trail, historical articles from Time Magazine
Nigeria Archive, from Africa Online, archive of recent articles
1963 Judgment by the International Court of Justice in the case between Cameroon and the U.K. over the northern border of Cameroon, posted by International Court of Justice, Contentious Cases
REFERENCE Toyin Falola, The History of Nigeria, Westport : Greenwood 1999
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1961 pp.497-499 (on events of 1960) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1962 pp.492-494 (on events of 1961) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1963 pp.610-611 (on events of 1962) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1964 pp.611-613 (on events of 1963) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1965 pp.587-588 (on events of 1964) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1966 p.575 (on events of 1965) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1967 pp.581-583 (on events of 1966) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1968 pp.578-580 (on events of 1967) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1969 pp.559-561 (on events of 1968) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1970 pp.570-571 (on events of 1969) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1971 pp.551-552 (on events of 1970) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1972 pp.513-514 (on events of 1971) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1973 pp.503-504 (on events of 1972) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1974 pp.508-509 (on events of 1973) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1975 pp.518-519 (on events of 1974) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1976 p.545 (on events of 1975) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1977 pp.545-546 (on events of 1976) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1978 pp.571-572 (on events of 1977) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1979 pp.562-563 (on events of 1978) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1980 pp.560-561 (on events of 1979) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1981 pp.562-563 (on events of 1980) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1982 pp.564-565 (on events of 1981) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1983 pp.554-557 (on events of 1982) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1984 pp.555-557 (on events of 1983) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1985 pp.471-472, 752 (on events of 1984) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1986 pp.465-466, 750 (on events of 1985) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1988 pp.395, 671 (on events of 1987) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1989 pp.394-395, 671 (on events of 1988) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1990 pp.411-412, 687 (on events of 1989) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1993 pp.367, 685 (on events in 1992) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1994 pp.365-366, 684 (on events in 1993) [G]
Article Nigeria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1995 pp.451-452, 683 (on events in 1994) [G]
Article : Federation of Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1970-1971 pp.426-432 (data of 1969-1970) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1975-1976 pp.458-464 (data of 1974-1975) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1978-1979 pp.919-925 (data of 1977-1978) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1980-1981 pp.927-932 (data of 1979-1980) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1983-1984 pp.923-928 (data of 1982-1983) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1984-1985 pp.922-927 (data of 1983-1984) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1985-1986 pp.923-928 (data of 1984-1985) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1987-1988 pp.928-933 (data of 1986-1987) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1988-1989 pp.930-935 (data of 1987-1988) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1989-1990 pp.942-947 (data of 1988-1989) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1990-1991 pp.943-948 (data of 1989-1990) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1991-1992 pp.943-948 (data of 1990-1991) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1992-1993 pp.1031-1036 (data of 1991-1992) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1993-1994 pp.1031-1036 (data of 1992-1993) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1994-1995 pp.1033-1038 (data of 1993-1994) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1995-1996 pp.1027-1032 (data of 1994-1995) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1996-1997 pp.980-986 (data of 1995-1996) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1997-1998 pp.987-993 (data of 1996-1997) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1998-1999 pp.1063-1070 (data of 1997-1998) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 2000 pp.1206-1213 (data of 1998-1999) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 2001 pp.1177-1184 (data of 1999-2000) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 2002 pp.1225-1232 (data of 2000-2001) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 2003 pp.1225-1232 (data of 2001-2002) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 2004 pp.1230-1237 (data of 2002-2003) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Statesman's Yearbook 2005 pp.1238-1246 (data of 2003-2004) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : The World in Figures 1st ed. 1976 pp.86-87 [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : The World in Figures 2nd ed. 1978 pp.85-87 [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : The World in Figures 4th ed. 1984 pp.86-87 [G]
Entry : Federal Republic of Nigeria, Cabinet, p.76; Background Notes : Nigeria, pp.981-990, in : Countries of the World and their Leaders Yearbook, 2003 [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1961 pp.539-540 (on events of 1960) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1962 pp.548-549 (on events of 1961) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1963 pp.488-489 (on events of 1962) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1964 pp.484-485 (on events of 1963) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1965 p.523 (on events of 1964) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1967 pp.498-500 (on events of 1966) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1968 pp.30-31, 497-498 (on events of 1967) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1969 pp.503-505 (on events of 1968) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1970 pp.49-50, 202, 505-506 (on events of 1969) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1971 pp.503-504 (on events of 1970) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1972 pp.504-505 (on events of 1971) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1973 pp.504-505 (on events of 1972) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1974 pp.425-426 (on events of 1973) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1976 pp.72, 415-416 (on events of 1975) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1989 pp.396-397 (on events of 1988) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1990 p.394 (on events of 1989) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1992 pp.397-398 (on events of 1991) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1993 p.395 (on events of 1992) [G]
Article : Nigeria, in : Americana Annual 1994 p.394 (on events of 1993) [G]
Entry : Nigeria, pp.784-787 in : IMF, International Financial Statistics Yearbook 2001 [G]
Entry : Nigeria, in : The Commonwealth Yearbook 1989 pp.297-305 [G]



This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on October 20th 2006

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