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Moments in African History

By Yusta Seghete, published on 22 Oct 2020

The twilight of the twentieth century saw major development in the world which redefined people’s perception of and interest in history, profoundly.

  • After gaining its independence in 1960, Nigeria becomes a republic in 1963 with Nnamdi Azikiwe assuming the role of president. Two years later a federal election takes place, but many question the transparency of the vote and suggest fraud.  Nigeria, later drag into a three-year military rule after a bloody coup d'état.
  • Fela Kuti’s band Afrika '70 release "Zombie," a scathing attack on the Nigerian military -the firebrand musician was a constant critic of the government. The authorities retaliate, sending hundreds of troops to lay siege to Fela's commune. His mother is thrown out of a window during the attack, unfortunately she succumbs to the injuries. Fela’s property is set on fire that destroys all his instruments and master tapes that he has collected over the years.
  • In 1986,Wole Soyinka becomes the first black African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Soyinka is forced to flee Nigeria after General Sani Abacha seized power.
  • Political activist and writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others are executed, sparking international outcry and forcing the Commonwealth of Nations to suspend Nigeria's membership for violating human rights and the principals of democracy. The ban lasts from 1995 until 1999.
  • Umaru Yar'Adua succeeds Olusegun Obasanjo in the 2007 presidential election - His inauguration marks the first time in the history of Nigeria that a civilian head of state transfers power to another elected civilian head of state.  
  • Afrobeat star Fela Kuti is honoured posthumously at the first MTV Music Awards for Africa, in the year 2008.
  • At the Atlanta Olympics, Nigeria stuns the world when its football team wins gold. The Super Eagles beat Brazil and Argentina along the road to glory, winning 3-2 in the final. The team overcomes teams considered top contenders of the sport in the competition.
  • In November 2002- More than 200 people die in a four-day riot stirred up by Muslim fury over the planned Miss World beauty pageant in Kaduna, north west Nigeria. The event is relocated to Britain.
  • On September 2003, Nigeria's launches its $13 million  NigeriaSat-1, is the first satellite to be launched under a seven-nation constellation handled by a Russian firm.

- Government declares a state of emergency in three northern states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa and sends in troops to combat Boko Haram in May 2013.

-2015 March - Muhammadu Buhari wins the presidential election, becoming the first opposition candidate to do so in Nigeria's history.


Nigeria is not just Africa’s most populous nation, but also Africa’s most popular nation, inscribing its name on the world map. What else do you know or think has made history in Nigeria?




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