Facts About Nigeria Independence

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Before the Europeans came, this country had many independent kingdoms and states with their laws, customs, and religions.

The Movement

Many Nigerians felt British rule had not met their expectations during the colonial era. Their chief complaints included taxation and water rates, discrimination against Africans, and lack of equal pay for equal work.

As a response, several anti-colonial movements began using nonviolent tactics to change political regimes and achieve independence for African peoples.

Nigeria achieved independence on October 1, 1960, as a federation of three regions (northern, western, and eastern), united under a constitution that provided for parliamentary rule. Each of the three regions retained some self-government but was granted sole power in defense and security, foreign relations, commercial policies, fiscal affairs, and the commercial sphere.

The Warrant Chiefs Protests

Under colonial rule in Nigeria, the British instituted indirect government. They controlled communities through local leaders; this was in contrast with Igbo tradition, which distributed power more equitably between groups rather than one leader.

This new system caused numerous difficulties as it ignored traditional power dynamics within Nigerian communities and appointed random men as leaders, known as warrant chiefs, backed by colonial rulers with tremendous powers.

Thousands of women in southeastern Nigeria responded to this change by protesting. Their campaign, known as Ogu Umunwanyi or Women’s War in the Igbo language, included traditional forms such as sitting on men if they felt someone had done anything disrespectful.

The British Government

The British government in Nigeria played an instrumental role in Nigerian independence due to their many actions and means of doing them.

The British also established treaties with Sokoto Caliphate, Gwandu, and Nupe to gain access to trade within these territories in exchange for tribute. In addition, they had their native constabulary unit tasked with stopping slave raids and protecting trade routes.

Even so, the British government could not convince the Yoruba and Igbo people of their superiority over them and why they should rule. This led to the rise of Nigerian Nationalists who opposed British rule and believed they should have more say in managing their country.

The Independence Day

Nigeria is a sprawling West African nation. Today marks the independence day celebrations in honor of one of Africa’s most significant moments – it marked an end to British colonial rule. It marked a shift toward self-rule for this region.

Beginning in the 16th century with Spain and Portugal’s explorers trading with locals, European influence over modern-day Nigeria increased steadily until Britain emerged as an ever more dominant power in the 19th century.

In the late 19th century, Britain established the Royal Niger Company to combat German expansion attempts in the region. By 1900, its territories became known as the Southern Nigeria Protectorate, combined with those controlled by Northern Nigeria Protectorate to form modern-day Nigeria.

Although South Sudan had been under federal governance for many years, regional tensions still existed. Moreover, Ironsi’s attempt at revising the constitution did not satisfy all ethnic groups, consequently leading to several coups d’etat nationwide.

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