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NIGERIA

Nigeria, a nation that attained independence from the British government on the 1st of October, 1960 and became a republic on October 1, 1963, is located in the western part of the African continent overlying the Atlantic ocean.

Nigeria was given the name by the woman who later married Lord Lugard. She formed the name from the phrase, Niger Area. In 1914, the mentioned Lord Lugard brought about the almagamation of the Northern and Southern regions of the country.

Nigeria is made up of thirty six (36) states and a Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and covers an area of 923,768.64 square kilometers. The estimated population is 120 milion and it has two principal rivers, Niger and Benue. The currency is the Naira and Kobo, with one hundred kobos equivalent to one naira.The legal law tax system is British Oriented and the timing is GMT+1 hour.The major exports of the nation are Petroleum and Cocoa beans (and it's products). The major imports are Machinery and transport equipment, Manufactured goods, Chemicals, Agricutural products and foodstuff.

Nigeria was under the leadership of both millitary and civilian leaders until the 29th of May, 1999, when democracy was given a chance through the hands of General Abdulsalam Abubakar, who handed over to a democratically elected President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was the millitary head of state earlier in the history of Nigeria.


The National Anthem

  1. ARISE, O compatriots, Nigeria's call obey
    To serve our fatherland
    with love and strenght 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.

  2. O God of creation, direct our noble cause
    Guide thou our leaders 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.


The National Pledge

I pledge to Nigeria my country
To be faithful, loyal and honest
To serve Nigeria with all my strength
To defend her unity
And uphold her honour and glory
So help me God.

HISTORY

The history of Nigeria in the earlier period of 1000 to 1899 is that of kingdoms and empires founded; myths and legends created, all of which tally with the typical moonlight story telling in the traditional African societies.

Since there were no official records kept of events preceding the arrival of the colonial masters, the environment has provided fertile grounds for myth making. The most prevalent feature being the exxageration of the role of one man who is usually invested with heroic stature. For the Hausa people North of the Niger, it was Bayajidda, a middle Eastern Prince who, in a moment of bravery, killed one snake and got a princess as reward. For the kanuri people of what is now the North East of Nigeria, it was one Saif Ibn Dhi Yazan, a legendary Yemeni hero who used his supernatural power to found the Seifawa dynasty in Kanem Bornu. In Yoruba land, it was one Oduduwa.

Ironically, the ancient notion of a heroic founder is not restricted to Africa since it has become universally prevalent. What this boils down to is that most of ancient history approximates to Napoleon Bonaparte's summation of history as not more than a tale told by the winner.

THE HAUSA STATES

The Hausa States which owe their history to the legendary acts of Bayajidda, said to be prince of Baghdad, were, at the beginning of the 11th century, centered around a cluster of towns which later developed as centers of commerce by the mid 15th century. Founding of the states were actually credited to the seven true descendants described as Hausa Bokwoi. The states are Katsina, Kano, Rano, Daura, Biram, Gobir and Zaria. Bayajidda's set of another seven sons regarded as bastard Banza Bokwo founded Zamfara, Kebbi, Yauri, Gwari, Nupe, Kwararafa and Ilorin.

The common features of the Hausa States remain cultural diffusion while Islam was used to reinforce authority in Kano under Mohammed Runfa and Zaria under Queen Amina which dominated Hausaland for much of the late 15th century. Of course there were no uniform structures of government within and among the Hausa States but the common institutions remain: Galadima, Madawaki, Waziri, Magaji, Yari, Sarkin Degari and Sarkin Yan Doke who were Ministers in charge of various departments like Finance, Prison, Police, Army etc.Although the Hausa societies in this period were characterised by specialization in agrarian industry, there was also extensive slave raiding to supply the Sudanese and North African markets.

KANEM BORNU EMPIRE

The Kanem empire predates the second millenium since it was established around 800A.D by a Yemeni hero whose Seifawa dynasty came to an end in 1422 when the Kanem empire gave way to the Shehu dynasty of Bornu.

Incidentally, Islam had gained ground in the 11th and 12th century during the Seifawa dynasty. The empire was also a powerful one with a military might of over 40,000 men. The popular rulers of the period were Mai Ali Ghaji and Idris Aloma who actually began the process of Islamization.

BENIN EMPIRE

The empire began essentially as an Edo village in the years preceding the commencement of the second millenium. As to its emergence as a city state, the story is credited to Eweka, son of Oranmiyan (Yoruba Prince) who married Ekinwide (Edo Princess) in the year 1253. The fame of Benin, however began in the mid 15th century when Ewuare the Great took over the reins of government through a coup d'etat after two days of fighting for control. He subsequently changed the name of Benin to Edo and reorganized the army. There were of course a number of principalities in Ishan, Owan and Etsako while Iginowa founded Itsekiri Kingdom in 1485.

The earliest contacts with the Europeans were actually in benin when John Affonso d'Averio, a Portugese explorer visited. Early in the 16th century, Esigie continued the expansion of the kingdom by extending to Igbiraland in present day Kogi State after defeating the Attah. He also received Portugese Christian missionaries though he was more interested in their guns than their gospel.

Oba Akenzua who ruled between 1713 and 1735 on his part introduced reforms and encouraged the development of artwork, especially brass.

Benin Kingdom was one of the strongest in the decades preceding colonial conquest perhaps because the organisation had the Oba at the center as a semi divine person who maintained monopoly over commerce while the system of succession was on primogeniture which helped to ensure security of tenure.

OYO EMPIRE

The history of the Yoruba people and states are traceable to the legendary Oduduwa whose son, Oranmiyan founded Oyo Empire with Alafin as the titular head of State and second in command to the deity. His powers were however limited by Oyomesi with Basorun as leader.

The Oyo empire was at the zenith of its power in the 19th century but the contradictions in the power structure was to prove its waterloo. With the arrogance of Oyo, there were revolts in Baribaland while the Egbas declared unilateral independence under Lisabi. The Dahomey people were to follow under Gezo.

At this period, Afonja, a frustrated Are Ona Kakanfo, joined forces with Alimi who led the Jihad in Ilorin and thus helped to deal a fatal blow on his fatherland.


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