To commemorate Nigeria’s victory against her former colonial overlords, the British, the first day of October has been set aside as a national holiday for the last five decades and nineteen years running. Traditionally, this day is observed with a lot of hoopla, which includes a lot of reflection on how the year has gone thus far and, more significantly, optimism for a better year. Most of the time, there is an omission into what the day truly symbolizes, and the main reason for this is because not a lot of information is available about the process of acquiring the independence that is being talked of.

The conference held in Berlin

The Europeans were quick to recognize that Nigeria is a place that is abundant in rich resources because of how long it had been that way. This quickly led to violence as different nations competed with one another to win control of the African territories they desired. In the end, a meeting was organized in Berlin, and around 13 countries in Europe participated. The purpose of the conference was to legally control the colonial efforts that were being made during the rush for Africa and to override the autonomy and self-governance of Africans. The Berlin Conference resulted in the partitioning of European control of countries and the establishment of procedures for the claims of territory, both of which contributed to a rise in aggressive colonization.

This gave Britain complete authority over Nigeria, which was greeted with unfavorable reactions from the Nigerian public, who responded by turning to war as a means of resolving their grievances. But thanks to their technologically superior armaments, the British were victorious. The region around Niger was legally unified by the British as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria in the year 1914. In terms of administration, Nigeria remained partitioned among the Northern Protectorate, the Southern Protectorate, and the Lagos Colony. The first government was headed up by Lord Lugard, who held the position of Governor-General.

The movement of the nationalists

Educated Africans who had the chance to study outside of the borders of the country made up the majority of the early nationalists in Nigeria. Freed slaves also played a role in the movement. To them, being British citizens and respecting the regulations of the British government were of the utmost importance. Nevertheless, they were passionately opposed to some activities of the government, such as taxes and water rates, racial discrimination in which Nigerians were classified as citizens of a lower class, and equal pay with their European coworkers.

The French counterparts functioned via direct rule, but the British equivalents operated indirectly through the illiterate traditional rulers who became agents of exploitation. This contrasts with the French counterparts, who operated through direct rule. The majority of these kings were puppets and had been installed by the British after they dethroned the previous rulers. The British had placed them in power. It was because of occurrences like this that the nationalists began to assume that the British ought to turn over the administration of Nigeria to the elites in Nigeria or incorporate them in the administration. The nationalists came to this conclusion because of events such as the ones described above.

In their fight against colonial control, this movement was able to accomplish a significant amount of success. A notable illustration of this may be seen in the Aba Women’s Riot, which was a revolt against the imposition of taxes. In addition to this, there was the fight against the purchase of land that was led by Herbert Macaulay. The Nigerian public’s awareness of this movement was significantly bolstered throughout both the first and second world wars, which played an important part in this. During the first, many Nigerian troops saw their white colleagues being as afraid as they were. This dispelled the notion of superiority and led to some very fascinating views, such as the question of why they were allowed to fight but were denied the opportunity to govern. Similarly, during the second world war, a great number of troops had received an unofficial education before to the conflict, which allowed them to become more educated and speak the language of the nationalists.

As a result of the rise of Nigerian nationalism and the rising number of calls for independence, the British government enacted a series of constitutions that gradually led Nigeria in the direction of self-governance on a foundation that was representational and became more and more federal.

Constitutional Evaluations and the Organization of Regions to Rule

Between the years 1949 and 1954, there were many different reviews of the constitution, and each one included different members of the council, such as the Governor, the Lieutenant-Governors, and other elected and nominated members. These evaluations were very significant since they laid the foundation for what the modern nation of Nigeria is today. In 1946, the colonized nation was divided up into its primary three parts: the Northern, Western, and Eastern regions. It is of the utmost significance that the constitution, which was ratified in 1954, gave these regional governments their independence from the central government in terms of the topics and legislative powers that were delegated to them. Additionally, it created a single chamber of parliament for the federal government as well as one chamber for each of the three regional administrations. In addition, Lagos was elevated to the status of a federal capital territory, freeing it from the jurisdiction of any particular regional authority.

In 1957, the Western and Eastern regions gained official autonomy under a parliamentary form of government and became self-governing. After two years, the Northern Region achieved the same status as the Southern Region. There were various subtle distinctions between the regional systems, but they all maintained legislative structures and had the same level of autonomy in reference to the central administration in Lagos. The real political power was concentrated in the regions, but the federal government was allowed to keep certain powers, such as responsibility for banking, currency, external affairs, defense, shipping and navigation, and communications. Other specified powers included responsibility for international affairs. Importantly, the regional administrations were in charge of controlling the public expenditures that were funded by the income collected within their respective regions.


Nigeria was granted political independence as a sovereign state in 1960 under the 1960 Constitution, which provided for a parliamentary system of government, three regions (the Northern, Eastern, and Western Regions), and a bicameral legislative framework at the federal (Senate and House of Representatives) and regional levels (House of Assembly and House of Chiefs), with the legislative powers of government delineated into three categories or lists – exclusive, concurrent, and residua. In addition, the 1960 Constitution established Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was appointed as the Governor-General of the federation, while Tafawa Balewa continued to serve as the leader of a democratically elected legislative administration, despite the fact that it was now entirely sovereign.

Since its declaration of independence in 1960, Nigeria has been ruled by citizens of the same nation throughout its entire history. At this time, Muhammadu Buhari serves as the president of the Republic and has been in office for the sixteenth time.

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