Resource 1: Some important historical events since independence

Background information / subject knowledge for teacher

1 Oct 1960Independence day.
1 Oct 1963Nigeria becomes a republic. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe is president of Nigeria.
14–15 Jan 1966First military coup in Nigeria. Major-General J T U Aguiyi-Ironsi becomes head of state. Several politicians killed.
29 July 1966Second military coup. General Ironsi killed. Lt Col Yakubu Gowon becomes head of state.
27 May 1967Lt Col Gowon creates 12 states out of the four regions of Nigeria (Western, Northern, Eastern and Mid-West Regions).
30 May 1967Lt Col Ojukwu, the military governor of Eastern Nigeria, declares the East as the ‘Independent State of Biafra’.
6 July 1967A civil war breaks out between those that want the country united and those that don’t.
12 Jan 1970‘Biafra’ surrenders to the federal government and the people of the Eastern Region rejoin united Nigeria again.
29 July 1975Corruption and disagreement brings the third military coup. General Murtala Mohammed becomes head of state.
3 Feb 1976General Murtala Mohammed creates 19 states out of Nigeria’s 12-state structure. Abuja named as the new federal capital.
13 Feb 1976Another military coup. General Murtala killed.
14 Feb 1976General Olusegun Obasanjo steps in as head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
July–Sept 1979Preparation to return to civil rule. General elections.
1 Oct 1979Alhaji Usman Aliyu Shehu Shagari is first president of Nigeria’s SecondRepublic.
Aug 1983Second general elections. President Shehu Shagari returns to power.
31 Dec 1983President Shehu Shagari arrested at Abuja and his government toppled in a military coup.
1 Jan 1984Major-General Muhammadu Buhari becomes head of state.
27 Aug 1985Military coup topples General Muhammadu Buhari’s government. Major-General Ibrahim Babangida becomes head of state.
Oct 1987Two new states created by General Babangida to bring Nigeria to a 21-state structure.
Oct 1991Nine new states created by General Babangida to bring Nigeria to a 30-state structure.
Dec 1991Elections into the state houses of assembly held.
12 June 1993Presidential election held. The results, believed to favour Basorun M K O Abiola, are withheld, and political crisis begins.
26 Aug 1993Interim national government formed with Chief Ernest Shonekan as head of state.
17 Nov 1993General Sanni Abacha sacks the interim national government and becomes head of state.
Oct 1996Six states created by General Sanni Abacha from the 30-state structure, bringing Nigeria to a 36-state structure.
15 March 1997Local government elections on party basis held throughout the country. This is after the government has formed five political parties.
6 Dec 1997Elections into the state houses of assembly held.
25 April 1998Elections into the national assembly held.
8 June 1998General Sanni Abacha suddenly dies.
9 June 1998General Abdusalami Abubakar takes over as new head of state.
From 15 June 1998Many political detainees released.
20 July 1998General Abubakar dissolves the five political parties, cancels all the elections and sets 29 May 1999 as the new handover date to civilian government.
14 Dec 1998Three political parties are registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to participate in elections at local government, state and national levels. Alliance for Democracy (AD), All People’s Party (APP), and People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
28 March 1999Chief Olusegun Obasanjo declared winner of the presidential elections on the platform of the PDP.
29 May 1999Chief Olusegun Obasanjo takes over as elected civilian president. He starts a campaign against corruption and injustice.
1 Oct 1999President Olusegun Obasanjo launches the Universal Basic Education (UBE), a free and compulsory primary education through junior secondary level.
12 April–3 May 2003National and state assembly elections (contested by 30 registered political parties) held.
19 April 2003Governorship and presidential elections held. President Olusegun Obasanjo re-elected.
29 May 2003President Olusegun Obasanjo sworn in for another four-year term.

3. Comparing African histories

Resource 2: African timelines template