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Nigeria at 60: a celebration in dates

A 1953 postage stamp of Nigeria produced by the

As part of The Daily Report’s project to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th anniversary of Independence, we asked historian and researcher Dr Raphael James to dig into the archives and come up with 60 milestone dates that celebrate the country’s remarkable evolution — dates we believe that all Nigerians should know and reflect upon. Find below is the first (1960-1980) of three installments. We hope you enjoy it.   

1960 January 16:          Nigeria 312 members of House of Representative unanimously passed a motion authorizing the Federal government to demand Independence for Nigeria on October 1st 1960 from the U.K government.

1960 October 1:            Jaja Wachukwu, first black Speaker of the Nigerian Parliament (House of Representatives), who replaced Sir Frederick Metcalfe of Great Britain, received Nigeria’s Instrument of Independence – the ‘Freedom Charter’, from Princess Alexandra of Kent – HM The Queen of United Kingdom’s representative at the Nigerian Independence ceremonies.

1960 October 1-22:     Nigeria’s first ‘made-in-Nigeria’ Exhibition was declared open in the afternoon (after Independence ceremonies by Prime Minister Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balawa on Victoria Island, Lagos. With three pavilions each for the Regions.

1960 October 7:            Nigeria became the 99th member of the United Nations.

1961 March 30:            Nigeria joined membership of the World Bank, International Monetery Fund (IMF) and International Finance Corporation (IFC).

1961 April 6:                  Sovereignty budget “first in an independent Nigeria” presented by the federal Minister of Finance in a marathon speech lasting over three and half hours.

1962 April 2:                  The first International Trade Fair was held in Nigeria

1962 June 1:                   Nigerian Television Services, Lagos started operation.

1963 April 2:                  Malam Aliu Mai Bornu was appointed the first Nigeria Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria in succession to Mr. Roy Fenton who retires in July.

1963 May 25:                 The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was formed with Nigeria as a member.

1963 October 1:            Nigeria became a Republic and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was appointed the first indigenous President (non-executive).

1964 April 1:                  Mr. Louis Orok Edet was appointed first Nigerian (African) Inspector-General of Police. He was born August 29, 1913 in Duke town Calabar, Cross River State.

1964 December 1:       The Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi State is opened to the public with an area of about 207,800 hectares of open woodland.

1965 January 30:          Nigerian Government sent a 9-man delegation headed by Dr. Taslim Elias to London to attend the burial of Sir Winston Churchill who died on January 24 at age 90.

1966 January 11:          Nigeria hosted the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference, the summit of Great Britain and her former colonies in Africa, opens at the Federal Palace Hotel.

1973 June 9:                   Three astronauts, Captain Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Dr. Harrison Schmitt arrived in Nigeria on a four-day visit as part of their round-the-world tour of 11 countries. They had been to the surface of the moon in December 1972.  

1977 April 25:                The first stereophonic station in Africa was launched the N.B.C 2 AM/FM Lagos

1977 August 20:           Nigeria Airways took delivery of its first Boeing 727 jet liner in Seattle, Washington, USA. The key of the aircraft was handed to the leader of the Nigerian delegation, Mrs. Fola Akintunde Ighodalo by the President of the Company, Mr. Ernest H. Boudillioun.

1977 November 18:    A Decree establishing the Nigerian Tourist Board was promulgated. The new board takes over the functions of the Nigerian Tourist Association which thus ceased to exist.

1980 April 4:                  President Shehu Shagari, on a tour of Bauchi State, visited the state’s College of Arts and technology and the Gubi dam under construction.

Dr Raphael James is a graduate of Psychology from the Ondo State University and holds a Certificate in Conflict Resolution from the California State University. He is Founder and Director-General of the Center for Research, Information Management and Media Development (CRIMMD). He runs the richest Museum of Nigeria History with close to 40, 000 photos. Publisher of the Nigeria Biographer magazine, he manages the richest museum of Nigeria History with close to 40, 000 photos.

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