Saturday, 12 October 2019

IVA VALLEY MASSACRE 1949 - HOW IT ALL STARTED



It all started on November 15, 1949, When Mrs Alice Afamefuna, the wife of a blacksmith in Coal Camp Enugu, who for days had not set eyes on her husband, led several of the Miners Wives about 300 of them to Iva Valley coal mine to seek clarification on why their husbands did not return home for some days and to give them food. As the women visited the Mines, it was reported that they kidnapped four Europeans staff at the Obwetti Mine, and the peaceful demonstration became violent. Three days after on the 18th of November  there was a gathering of Miners occupying the Iva Valley Mine, their aim was to prevent a lockout in an industrial dispute that was on, due to poor remunerations. 

Coal miners at the entrance of the Iva Valley Mine


Some of the workers had red pieces of cloth tied to their miners helmets, wrist, or knees, they sang hymns and songs of solidarity- ‘Anyi bu Ofu, onye emebula nwannaya’ “we are all one, no one should cheat his brothren.”


Entrance of the Iva Valley Mine after the shooting 

The colonial master in charge of the Iva Valley Coal Mine, Captain Phillip saw the workers with the red pieces of cloth tied to their miners helmets and he heard them singing and carrying their tools of which he saw then as dangerous weapon and concluded or rather observed that they were in angry mood, brandishing “weapons-bows, arrows, machetes, long steel bars”, he assumed that their song was a kind of military songs in preparation for an attack, as the men danced and jumped around enjoying their songs and displays all that the Captain could hear was a “Tremendous howling and screeching noise going on” – to which several men danced in a “dangerous”


A coal miner


As the seconds roll into minutes and the minutes into hours, The Captain gave the order to his guards to fire. The Guards were still contemplating if they should fire or not when the Captain aimed his revolver at a dancer in front of him who “was jumping up and down, that dancer was Sunday Anyasado, he shot him in the mouth. He Died immediately. Anyasado Sunday was a miner and a hewer of Mbieri, Owerri a brother of B.U Anyasado a prominent clerk and union dissident in the forties. Sunday became the first victim of the Iva Valley massacre of November 18, 1949.


monument build in remembrance of the shooting 


After Anyasado, was Livinus Okechukwuma, a machine man from Obi-Owerri, as Livinus dropped death, Mr. Okafor Ageni, an Udi tub-man, who was inside the mine all the while on hearing the gun shot and noise ran out as he was asking; “Anything wrong? Captain Philip bullet killed him on the spot.


Women Club set up in 1951 for coal Miners wives 


In all, on that faithful day troops fired eighty-seven rounds of ammunition at a peaceful gathering of miners occupying the Iva Valley Mine. When the shooting stopped, twenty men lay dead on the site and scores were wounded. Within a few days, the death toll climbed to twenty-two. Riots erupted in all the major cities of Eastern Nigeria and crowds attacked those expatriate trading firms that had profited so greatly from the war. The Iva Valley massacre has been the primary event ending British colonialism in Nigeria. 

the remains of Iva Valley Mine

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Tuesday, 8 October 2019

HOW COAL WAS DISCOVERED IN ENUGU

Dr Raphael James standing in front of the remains of the first coal mine in Enugu
The Onyema mine 


The discovery of coal in Udi, Eastern Nigeria, by the British Geological Expedition in 1909 was accidental. The expedition had gone out to the hills to explore for silver which was not found. On their way back, the geologists saw a ten-year old boy on the fringe of a thick forest. He had under his arm a parcel of coal. The little boy who had not seen an European before took to his heels at the sight of the scientists. An armed guard gave him a chase and caught him. He led the geologists back into the jungle and pointed to where he had dug up the carbonaceous mineral. As compensation, the boy received five shillings. That was how coal, popularly known as “black gold”, was discovered in Enugu, by Europeans for exportation don’t forget that the people of Enugu made use of coal   long before the British Geological Expedition came across it. 

Ukwak or coal 




The British colonial explorers had begun inquiry into the Eastern heartland from Onitsha. The inquisitive party arrived Onitsha and decided to set up its administrative headquarters there. Along the line, two geologists in the group, while taking a walk down the valley from the Udi Hills reportedly discovered coal which the natives branded “UKWAK.”

Workers in Ogbete mine



Mining started in 1916 at Ogbete in Enugu. As early as 1920, about 200,000 tons of coal, representing one third of total production was exported to French West Africa and the Gold Coast. However, following the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the production level fell in the 1940's and 1950's. The coal industry was a unit of the Marine Department and in 1937 it was jointly managed with the Nigerian Railways. 


Miners walking out Iva Mine in Enugu


The coal industry began as an arm of the Marine Department and the coal produced was supplied to the British Navy for the steam boats. Other supplies were to the Nigerian Railways for the steam locomotive engines. As it grew, the coal industry got excised from the Marine Department and established with the Nigerian Railways in 1937.



Statue of the Coal miners shooting in Enugu


Following a strike action which resulted in the death by shooting of 21 coal miners in 1949, the colonial British authorities as a result set up the Fitzgerald Commission of Inquiry. The commission recommended that independent bodies be set up to manage government established businesses.  That was how the Nigerian Coal Corporation (NCC) was established by an ordinance No. 29 in 1950 and charged with the responsibility to prospect, mine, treat and market coal and its by-products.



Chief C.C. Onoh


Chief C.C. Onoh was appointed the first Chairman of the Nigeria Coal Corporation on September 10, 1959, that appointment was renewed on September 10, 1962 for another three years till the first military take-over on January 15, 1966. In the 1950's, coal was the major source of energy for industries before the discovery of petroleum crude oil in commercial quantity. Coal at a time was the greatest employer of labour with about 10,000 miners.

Lord Frederick Lugard


With the discovery of coal in Enugu, Enugu came into limelight and attracted human settlements from all works of life. Lord Frederick Lugard in his assessment of the importance of coal and Enugu to the United Kingdom in his December 1919 report of the Amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria presented to the British parliament. In a paragraph titled: Value of the Colliery, he wrote:
"To the energetic development before the War of this coalfield and the railway which serves it, Nigeria owes more than is easily calculable. Without it, the Western Railway, which is earning 1,200,000 pounds a year could not have been kept running at full capacity even at enormous expense, and the supply of indigenous produce and of tin, so much needed in the United Kingdom, would have been greatly restricted, the exploitation of local timber would have been impeded, and the administrative machinery would have suffered the greatest inconvenience.  Great as these direct advantages are, the indirect and permanent results are hardly less. A particularly turbulent tribe has been taught to seek labour for wages and has earned not less than 34,000 pounds in cash, with which to purchase imports and improve its standard of living. The new railway has been able to pay its way, instead of being a burden on the depleted revenue; a new outlet has been afforded   for native skilled labour with a new means of training it and a coin currency has been promoted through a large densely populated district."


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Monday, 7 October 2019

How First Bank of Nigeria got its name



The first Bank of Nigeria started as British Bank of West Africa and later it became Standard Bank (British Bank), when Bashourn Samuel Oyewole Asabia became the Managing Director, he started working towards making it a Nigerian Bank with Nigerian Directors, thereby removing the colonial directors. On one occasion he called for a meeting and proposed to change the name to reflect Nigeria's glory. He told everybody at the meeting including himself to write a name they think should be the new name of the bank on a piece of paper,  fold it up and drop in a plate. One person was asked to pick one paper from the plate and ‘First Bank of Nigeria’ which he wrote was picked and that was how the name came to be. 



Bashorun  Samuel Oyewole Asabia

The Bank commenced business in 1894 when it got incorporated and headquartered in Marina, Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa's commercial nerve centre, as the Bank of British West Africa, serving British shipping and trading agencies in Nigeria. The founder, Alfred Lewis Jones, was a shipping magnate who originally had a monopoly on importing silver currency into West Africa through his Elder Dempster shipping company. According to its founder, without a bank economies were reduced to using barter and a wide variety of mediums of exchange, leading to unsound practices. It primarily financed foreign trade, but did little lending to indigenous Nigerians, who had little to offer as collateral for loans. In 1912 – Calabar branch, the second branch in Nigeria, was opened by King Jaja of Opobo; Zaria branch was also opened as the first branch in northern Nigeria. In 1947 – First Bank advanced the first long-term loan to the then colonial government, followed in 1955 by a partnership with the government to expand the railway lines. After Nigeria's independence in 1960, the Bank began to extend more credit to indigenous Nigerians. At the same time, citizens began to trust British banks since there was an 'independent' financial control mechanism and more citizens began to patronise the new Bank of West Africa. In 1965, Standard Bank acquired the Bank of West Africa and changed its acquisition's name to Standard Bank of West Africa. In 1969, Standard Bank of West Africa incorporated its Nigerian operations under the name Standard Bank of Nigeria. In 1971, Standard Bank of Nigeria listed its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and placed 13% of its share capital with Nigerian investors. After the end of the Nigerian civil war, Nigeria's military government sought to increase local control of the retail-banking sector. In response, now Standard Chartered Bank reduced its stake in Standard Bank Nigeria to 38%. 

First Bank of Nigeria building

Bashorun  Samuel Oyewole Asabia became the first indigenous Chief Executive and Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria in 1975, he moved in from being the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to assume the executive leadership position at First Bank following the government's acquisition of majority interest from the Standard Chartered Bank. Administrative activities during his tenure included recruitment and training of college graduates to replace the expatriate staff and construction of new head office in Marina, Lagos. Part of the reason for the government's takeover of Standard Bank's interest was to expand banking and credit facilities to more Nigerians and First Bank was asked to expand branches in the rural areas and by 1979, he changed the name to First Bank of Nigeria 



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Saturday, 5 October 2019

THE WORLD WRAPPER MAN HIT ONITSHA AGAINST ALL ODDS



The World Wrapper Man - Amb Adjarho David Obaro landed in Onitsha by 4.00am, today October 5, 2019. He rounded up an adventure of about 650km, he started on September 18, 2019 when he set forth from Lagos to Onitsha in a partnership race with the Nigeria Copyright Commission NCC as they celebrated their 30 years of protecting creativity in Nigeria, with the theme: ‘CHANGING THE NARRATIVE’. In the last 17 days he has been on the road running with a 36 yard wrapper folded into 18 yards for easy usage. His original weight as at departure time was 94 kilogram without his luggage and 107 kilogram with his luggage. He left Lagos with 52 items mostly his toiletries, balms, drugs and searchlights. He took off from NCC office in Costain at about midday and had a brief stopover at the National Stadium where he addressed the crowd about the danger of piracy and the need for Nigerians to stop piracy, after then the race continued even with the heavy rain. That was the point I pulled out with my 14 year old son, Ikemsinachukwu James, who is his official photographer for the race.

Preparing to take off



On October 5, 2019, he ran alongside thousands of international athletes and local charity runners in the first IAAF and AIMS certified first international marathon in the South-East Nigeria – the Onitsha City Marathon. The Onitsha City Marathon is organised by the Onitsha Business School.


items used for the race



His wrapper concept started in the 1980s when he went to represent his father at the University of Benin.  It was an Urhobo day event.  At that event he discovered that most Urhobo men there dressed in their traditional wrapper attire. He fell in love with it and then began to dress like them.  When he eventually read about Chief Festus Okotie-Ebo and saw photos of him with his bright, long, exceptional and colourful wrappers, he threw a challenge to himself that he will broke Okotie’s Ebo record with the longest wrappers in the world tied to his waist. In the year 2003, he made the Guinness World Records as the man with the longest wrapper on earth with his 38 yards long wrapper, the ‘Unity Wrapper’. Though the Guinness Book of Records did not publish it in their book, they acknowledged him and noted in a letter, that they had the right to publish or not to publish in the world records. This led him into marathon crusades wearing different wrappers at different world meets for charity, to help the less-privileged in the society.  He started participating and running in races all over the world. Mostly long-distance marathon races, for example, in 2010 at the Bucharest international marathon, he ran with his wrapper. This is not his first run and it won’t be his last run, he did a 900km race, Lagos to Makurdi, in Benue State in 2018, drumming support for flood victims in the State. The 900km race was scheduled for 25 days at an average of 40km/day and he took off from the FRSC Office Old toll Gate, Lagos. It was targeted at One Million steps that will be sold for One US Dollar (350 Naira) per step, to economically empower as many IDPs as possible in order to make them self-dependent and useful to the society after their stay in the camp.

tying his wrapper 



The Lagos Onitsha marathon Race and how it all started for me to get involved. On September 15, my 14 year old son ran to the sitting room to show a message from World Wrapper man that he wants my son to be his official photographer for his run from Lagos to Onitsha. I asked him if he will love to run with him and he said YES. I contacted my friend the World Wrapper man who was one of the guests at the then recently concluded 100 Photo exhibition of my son and asked for details of the run. He explained to me that he will love my son to cover the take-off, but that since he will be in school, I can represent him. I thanked him and on the 18th, I took permission for him from school and in his school uniform we landed at the Nigeria Copyright commission office at Constain. The young man in his school uniform joined other Media crew from the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Channels TV and NCC Media team in a Federal Road Safety van driving and recording the World Wrapper man, as he departed Lagos to Onitsha. I pulled my son out of the race as we approached Maryland and I discovered that I had lost my phone and a purse with my ATM card as I ran along. The rest is now history.

stepping out for the race


From September 18, I started a countdown for the Amb Adjhrho David Obaro
The journey was tough and rough but he never gave up and in my own small way I stood by him.
His first night was spent at OPIC, his second night he tried to spend the night at RCCG camp but he was denied access, as the security man said his wrapper was an inappropriate dressing, so he ran and covered more mileage and spent the around the FRSC office area. His third night was at the t Noble Hotel, Ogundalu, which is at the back of United High School Ikene. His fourth night was at Ijebu Ode. On the fifth day he has his first major security challenge when the security men at Tai Solarin University along Ijebu road, stopped him from taking pictures outside their gate and took his phone. All his efforts to explain to them that all he wanted was to use the university gate as landmark to describe his location as he was running, failed, I spoke to the security men on the phone and they explained that they have never seen a man running with a wrapper again so I told them to goggle about him. They delayed him to close to an hour before he was let go. The fifth night was spent in the open at the Ijebu Ode Toll gate area. The next night was spent at FAO Travellers Inn, Ijebu Ode

making a speech at the NCC office 

He did not run for that day, as he was so sick that he kept on vomiting and sending me all the photos, I was worried sick myself but I kept on assuring him that he will be fine. He was taken to the General hospital in Ijebu Ode, and the doctor attended to him and gave him some medications. The next day he was as fit as a horse and he left for the road, running into Itele, in Ijebu-East LGA. In 2015 he was attacked in the village of Itele by a ritualist while he ran Lagos to Abuja 787km in 22days. By noon of the same day he left Itele and made a stopover at the Atoyo Produce Control Post on the Lagos- Benin Express way. When the night came, he spent the night somewhere close to Omowood Industry Limited Office in Km 92, Sagamu-Benin Expressway,




displaying his wrapper 


On the 9th day he took off by 5.30am Ajibade where he spent the night, running through the village of Oniparagha with the optimism that he may approach Ore.
His race was a beautiful one with so much solidarity from the Police at check points and passersby who stopped him to take photo with him. On an occasion, a police man gave him N500 to buy water. Good news all along as this kept him motivated until at about 6.48 pm when he called me and placed the phone on speaker for me to follow up on an attack on him by some young men in the community of Omotosho.

the take off  of the marathon race


According to their spokesman who spoke with me through speaker phone, they want to know who gave him the right to run into their community with a wrapper, why I tried to explain to him or rather them of the marathon race, I also told them that if they felt not secured with his presence, they should take him to their kabiyesi (King) or the nearest Police station. Their spokesman who claimed to be a Prince of the community told me that the Kabiyesi will not welcome him. They agreed to take him to the Police station. On their way, they informed him that the police DO, who they described as ‘DPO’ was somewhere relaxing and they took him to the relaxation place. The ‘DO’ worked him out and told him to take a vehicle to the next major town ORE, all Amb attempt to explain to the DO did not work as he insisted. At 7.20 pm, he called me to inform me that the DO of the nearest police station in Omotosho community denied him from staying in Omotosho town and insisted he should take a car to Ore, and that he made an attempt to show him his letter for the marathon but the DO refused to read it. At that point I had only one option left to ask for help and I came on Facebook and solicited for help asking anyone that has a link to the Omotosho Police station to help us talk to the DO. 

running with NCC Director and officials 


Our worry was, that it was late, about 7.pm and it was dark and Amb Adjarho could site the young men who were accompanying him to the station before they saw the DO. I advised him not to move into the darkness as that may be an opportunity for them to attack him and that was when I called for help here on Facebook. The response was awesome, my inbox, my phone lines, comments and reactions. Phone contacts of the IG, the PPRO, The CP Ondo state, CP Lagos, Office of the Governor’s Security team, Office of the wife of the Governor, DPO Akure, AC Abeokuta Command, DPO Ore where all sent to me as I tried to reach out to all of them. There was SP Akin who was very helpful, he contacted ORE DPO the same time Bar. Oluwatoyin Ndidi Taiwo Ojo was also on the neck of the same ORE DPO. In fact the Bar went further to speak to the ORE DPO to help us plead with his other colleagues to be on the lookout for the world wrapper man as he continues his journey.  

heading for the express 


Help eventually came, Nigerians who love what he is doing rallied round to curtail the situation on ground, the World Wrapper man was eventually taken in by the same DO Police officer who initially rejected him after he got a call from the DPO of Ore Police Station, at about 10.22 pm that night. He gave him maximum protection for the night. The DO assured me of his safety when I spoke to him on the phone and tendered an apology for his initially reaction.
On this note we thank all who stood up for us that night, so numerous, as my line became a hot line.

stop over at the stadium with NCC officials 



The next morning the World Wrapper man was on the road again, in the rain but he kept on running and eventually he arrived Ore in the midst of heavy rainfall, he was drenched and was cold. He had stop over and had a bath in a stream along his way to Ore. He spent the night around Ore toll gate. The  next day he spent the night at Agofure Petroleum Ltd in Otu Costain in Ondo State, they gave him a space there for the night at their car wash session. He has been spending nights with security (maiguard) men, sometimes in front of shops along the roads and at filling stations. On the 12th day he landed in Edo State at about 3pm, he  made a stopover at the Nigerian Police Station Ohosu, in Evbonogbon town, before heading towards Ugbogui where he eventually spent the night with a good Nigerian, after he stopped running at about 11 pm so he can get closer to Benin.

on the road 


The next morning, his 13th day, he commenced the race by 5.00 am running towards Benin, by 6. 35 am we spoke again he was at Isoko Camp village. He ran late into the night before he stopped at the Old Toll Gate Benin. The morning of his 14th day, he was delayed a little becsue of the rain and when he felt the rain will not stop he hit the road at 7.50 am, not minding the heavy rain.

running in the rain



On arrival at Benin city, he stopped over at Edegbe Motors, took photos with a driver that had noticed him on the road as he drove to and fro Lagos. After then he was joined by a PMAN member Mr Muyi at Uselu market and he took him to ‘Deep end Entertainment’ where he got some refreshment and they both ran from TV road through 5 junction to new Benin market under the rain. They got to new Benin at 1:30pm in the rain and one of the music producer (Chi World Wide) offered to host him at his studio. The NCC representative arrived after 2pm with press crew from Edo Broadcasting Services who conducted their interview. His FB fan and friend Aigbokhaevbo Clementina, was on ground to welcome him too. They all ran with him from new Benin market heading to Ikpoba hills. He stopped over at Rainoil filling station and was received by the manager. He spent some time there to enable him charge his phones, power bank and torch light. With the heavy rain, he could not run deep into the night as he had earlier planned, so he spent the night at a relative Mr Eferibaba at about 9.15 due to the bad rainy weather and its effect on him.


with the Duru;s

The next day, he ran late into the night, considering the time frame left, he stopped running at about 12.35 am when he arrived the village Uvbe just before Abudu, so he spent the night at Uvbe. Uvbe Village in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo state. The home land of Queen Eghaghe, the mother of Prince Aiguobasinwin Ovonramwen (Eweka II) one time, Oba of Benin. That was the same day he had an interview with 9ja voices on Starr Channel radio United kingdom.


landing in Anambra state 


By morning of the next day he set out at about 5.40am not minding the rain, running towards Agbor in Delta State. As at 9.07 am he was at the front of Lighthouse Polytechnic Office which is Km 32 to Asaba from Benin along the Expressway in Evbuonosa, Orhionmwon, Edo State. By 1.20 pm, he was joined in the marathon run by Mr and Mrs Duru Chukwuemeka an old boy of Government College Ughellli. They drove from Onitsha to join him at Abudu. Abudu is situated in Orhionmw, Edo State. While Mrs Duru ran with him, the husband drove behind them. By 4.48 pm, he ran into Omumu Community in Agbor. He rested and by 9 pm he took off again running towards Umunede. 

With Prof Segun of the Onitsha Business school, the organizers of the Onitsha city Marathon.

His last lap, October 4th 2019. By 1.49 am he was around Emoota Farms along the Asaba-Benin express road. By 02.05am he was at Emuhu, IkaSouth, where he rested and continued in the morning hours. By noon, 12.05, he had a brief stopover at Ugo Resort were Prof Isito hosted him with some fresh coconut juice and they ran together inside the resort, before he departed.

at the Onitsha Niger bridge by 4.00 am

By 4.48 pm. he was in the Omumu Community in Agbor, running without looking backwards. He arrived Igbodo a town located in Ika North East LGA of Delta State by 11 pm and by 2.10 pm, he arrived in Onicha-Ugbo, a town in Aniocha North Local Government Area, Delta State. By 4.25pm after resting for a while, he left Onicha-Ugbo. At about 9 pm, Mr and Mrs Duru Chukwuemeka joined him for a second time on the highway, they are driving behind him, so he uses their car light as guide, at about 12.35 am he was about 9 km to Onitsha at the junction of the Asaba International Airport.
with his official photographer the young 14 years old Ikemsinachukwu James


By 2.45am he sighted the Onitsha River Niger bridge linking Asaba and Onitsha and that was the boost he needed most. He finally by the grace of God Almighty landed in Onitsha by 4.00 am and was received by Prof Segun of the Onitsha Business school, the organizers of the Onitsha city Marathon.


The World Wrapper man 2011 




THE WORLD WRAPPER MAN AND THE OTHER MAN WITH A WRAPPER DR RAPHAEL JAMES - THE BLOGGER 



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Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Nigeria @ 59, how it came to pass in 1960

Colonial Governor General Sir James Robertson and the Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa both raised their hands in acknowledgment of independence


On October 1, 1941, ‘Freedom Day’, was declared, the hourly paid working system was abolished in Nigeria and workers were entitled to a 15 days paid leave every year by Governor Bernard Bourdillion, following a strike by the Nigeria Railway Union. October 1, 1954, Governor  Lyttleton introduced what became the Lyttleton Constitution, enabling each region to make their own laws. Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, leader of the NPC, becomes Premier of North Nigeria. Chief Obafemi  Awolowo, leader of AG, becomes Premier of West Nigeria  and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, leader of NCNC, becomes Premier of East Nigeria. By September, 1958, the second Constitutional Conference on Nigeria independence commenced in London and it was at this conference that the date of October 1, 1960 was fixed as date for Nigeria Independence. In preparation for independence Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was made the first Indigenous Governor-General of Nigeria on November 16, 1959 and on January 16 1960, 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. On September 16, 1960, Sir James Robertson admitted the Coat of Arms Ordinance act No 48 of 1960, thereby providing Nigeria with a Coat of Arms in preparation of our independence. The coat of arms of Nigeria consists of a black shield with a wavy white pall, symbolizing the meeting of the Niger and Benue Rivers at Lokoja. The black shield represents Nigeria's fertile soil, while the two supporting horses or chargers on each side represent dignity. The eagle represents strength, while the green and white bands on the top of the shield represent the rich soil. The red flowers at the base are Costus spectabilis is found all over Nigeria and also stand for the beauty of the nation. On the banderole around the base was Nigeria's national motto then "Peace, Unity, Freedom". At about the same time Miss L.J. Williams anthem was selected to be the National Anthem for Nigeria “Nigeria, We Hail Thee" and at Mr Taiwo Akinkunmi entry for the national flag was selected with little modification, the Green-White and Green designed flag was to become our National flag, while we retained the name that was given to us by Flora Shaw, Nigeria. Then came Saturday October 1, 1960 at precisely 12:01 a.m. the colonial flag, the Union Jack was lowed for the last time and the Green-White & Green was hoisted in replacement, at the Race Course, which is known today as the Tafawa Balewa Square. The last Colonial Governor General Sir James Robertson and the Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa both raised their hands in acknowledgment of independence, as u can see in the photo below.

Standing on the spot where the Royal Niger Company flag was lowered and replaced by the Union Jack in 1900



Nigeria earned freedom from what started as the cession of Lagos to the British in 1861 and later the amalgamation of people and naming us Nigeria. Nigeria was previously a conglomeration of diverse states whose historical origin, religion and economic development are at variance. Some of these tribal states were the Yoruba kingdom, the Ibo states, the Benin Empire, Bornu and Hausa states. Nigeria became an independent nation that day October 1, 1960 when Sir Jaja Wachukwu the  first black Speaker of the Nigerian Parliament (House of Representatives), who replaced Sir Frederick Metcalfe of Great Britain, the 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. Nigeria became an independent nation when the Governor-General of Nigeria (the last white by historical appointment) Sir James Robertson had the congratulatory independence handshake with Prime Minister, Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa after the lowering of the Union Jack, the British was obviously on their way out of Nigeria.  Queen Elizabeth II of England was ably represented by Princess Alexander of Kent who presented to Alhaji Sir Balewa Tafawa, Abubakar the constitutional instruments of power – the symbol of Nigeria’s independence. The celebration was held simultaneously across Nigeria




standing by the table where the 1914 amalgamation document was signed 



Nigeria is 59 years today from a journey that started on October 1, 1960,  a journey that many prepared for and some never got to witness it. Some like: Sir Herbert Macaulay, Mazi Mbonu Ojike, Sir Bode Thomas, Sir Adeyemo Alakija, Solanke Ladipo, Nduka Eze, Alice Afamuefuna (Mrs), and Adelabu Adegoke aka (Pekelemesi). Sir Herbert Macaulay, at 82 on his sick bed, prophetically said: “When the new Nigeria comes, tell them for their tomorrow, we gave our today.”  

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