Independence Day (Nigeria)

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Two children dressed in traditional clothing during the Nigerian Independence Day Festival and Parade in New York City in 2016.

Independence Day is an official national holiday in Nigeria, celebrated on the first of October. It marks Nigeria's proclamation of independence from British rule on 1 October 1960.[1]

Background[edit]

In 1914, the Southern Nigeria Protectorate was combined with the Northern Nigeria Protectorate to create the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, which has the borders of modern-day Nigeria. By the late 1950s, the call for independence of territories in Africa and the decline of the British Empire led to the country being granted independence on 1 October 1960 as the Federation of Nigeria.[2] Three years later, the constitution was amended and the country was declared the Federal Republic of Nigeria with Nnamdi Azikiwe, previously Governor-General, as the first President.[3]

First independence day[edit]

In 1960, Lieutenant David Ejoor, who later became the Chief of Army Staff, had the honor of commanding the guard at the midnight flag raising ceremony.[4]

Celebrations[edit]

The holiday is celebrated annually by the government of Nigeria. The festivities begin with the President's address to the people, which is broadcast on radio and television.[5] There are also celebrations across all sectors in Nigeria, including the Nigerian Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the workforce and national education services. For instance, the primary and secondary schools perform a ceremonial marchpast in various state capitals and local government areas where they are located.[6] The streets are filled with celebrations as individuals and groups troupe to the streets wearing green-white-green.[7] Offices and markets are closed in Nigeria on the 1 October.

National parades[edit]

An annual civil-military parade is held at Eagle Square, with top members of the Nigerian Presidential Cabinet being in attendance. At the event, the President, in his position as Commander-in-Chief, as well as the Commander of the Presidential Guard Brigade, inspect the guard of honour (mounted by the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, Police Force, and the Security and Civil Defence Corps, among othe paramilitary forces) in an inspection car. Music and salutes are provided by the massed bands of the Nigerian Armed Forces, led by the director of the Nigerian Army Band Corps. A 21-gun salute is fired by a detachment from the Army Artillery Regiment as the event is brought to a close.[8]

Civil-festivities[edit]

Celebrations outside Nigeria[edit]

In New York, Nigeria’s Independence Day has been marked by celebrations in the streets since 1991. The celebrations in the United States are the largest celebrations outside of Nigeria, and usually attract around 75,000 people every year.[9][10]

Notable anniversaries[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Class, Ethnicity, and Democracy in Nigeria: The Failure of the First Republic, Larry Jay Diamond, Syracuse University Press, 1988, page 64
  3. ^ Nnamdi Azikiwe, the First President of Nigeria, Dies at 91, New York Times, 14 May 1996
  4. ^ "Barracks". www.gamji.com. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  5. ^ "Nigeria@60: President Buhari's Independence Anniversary Speech (Full Text)". Channels Television. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Nigerian Independence Day Celebration: School Children Matching in celebration of Independence… | Nigerian independence day, Nigerian independence, Independence day". Pinterest. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  7. ^ "Independence Day of Nigeria (2020)". edarabia.com. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  8. ^ "October 1 protests hit Abuja, southern states". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 2 October 2020. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  9. ^ "Nigerian Independence Day Parade holds Saturday in New York - Vanguard News". www.vanguardngr.com. 6 October 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Nigerians in US hold Independence Day Parade on Saturday". Punch. 6 October 2017. Retrieved 24 October 2017.