National Day of Nigeria
Declaration of Independence
Nigeria celebrates its National Day on October 1. In 1960, the nation gained independence from the United Kingdom.
Explorers from Spain and Portugal came to Nigeria in the 16th century and initiated trade relations with the natives leading to the growth of ports like Lagos. By the 19th century, Britain became the dominant force in Nigeria. Britain’s Royal Niger Company resisted French and German attempts to extend its influence in the region. In 1900, Britain assumed direct control of the regions which were under the control of Royal Niger Company and renamed them the Southern Nigeria Protectorate. In 1914, Southern Nigeria was merged with the Northern Nigeria Protectorate to form Nigeria.
During the British rule several aspects of the Nigerian life were established. Christianity, Western education and the English language spread during the period. But, by the middle of the 20th century, the shrinking British Empire and the growing demand for independence in Africa led to Nigeria’s Freedom on October 1, 1960. In 1963, Nigeria became a Federal Republic and Nnamdi Azikiwe was sworn in as its first President.
The national anthem of Nigeria is as follows:
Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey
To serve our fatherland
With love and strength and faith
The labour of our heroes past
Shall never be in vain
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.
Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause
Guide our leader’s right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.
Nigeria celebrates its Independence Day on October 1 every year. The celebrations are held annually, both in the capital Abuja as well as in the states. The President’s speech is broadcast live on radio and television to mark the beginning of Independence Day celebrations. Flag hoisting sessions are also held to show respect to the nation. Besides, the Nigerian armed forces conduct parades after the President delivers a speech. Various cultural programs by dance troupes and performances by students across the states are the highlights of the day. The nation also pays homage to the national leaders and freedom fighters who fought for the independence of Nigeria from colonial rule.
Some of the important facts to remember:
- President: Muhammadu Buhari (2015)
- Land area: 351,649 sq mi
- Population (2014 est.): 177,155,754
- Capital: Abuja
- Languages: English (official), Fulani, Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo (Ibo), more than 500 extra native languages
- Religions: Islam, Christianity
- Agriculture: millet, peanuts, cocoa, corn, palm oil, sorghum, rice, yams, cassava, rubber, sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, timber, and fish
- Industries: hides and skins, tin, coal, crude oil, columbite; peanuts, palm oil, rubber, cotton, wood; textiles, cement as well as other construction materials, footwear, food products, steel, fertilizer, chemicals, ceramics, printing, small profit-making ship construction and repair.
- Natural resources: limestone, lead, petroleum, natural gas, columbite, tin, coal, iron ore, zinc, and arable land.
- Prominent trading partners: France, Brazil, US, China, Spain, Netherlands, UK, Germany (2012)