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Nigeria - from 1000 to 1999

Tuesday, January 4, 2000

Mobolaji E. Aluko, PhD

I have compiled below what I could glean from various sources about Nigeria over the past millennium. It is comprehensive, but is not exhaustive. If there are events that I have omitted that you believe MUST be there - please spare us your birthdays - please let me know. Any errors in dates and events should also kindly be pointed out, and the compilation "Nigeria - from 1000 to 1999" will be updated and re-issued separately.

From 1000 AD to 1799 AD:

1000-1300s   Hausa states develop in Northern Nigeria, Kanem-Bornu kingdom in Northeast Nigeria introduces Islam to the region.
Yoruba culture thrives around Ile-Ife.
1472:   Portuguese reach Benin Gulf and begin trading
1700s:   Britain dominates other European nations in controlling lucrative slave trade along Nigerian coast

In the 1800s:

1804:   Fulani Jihad begins
1817:   Ilorin Afonja revolt against Oyo; Fulani Alimi takes over
1851:   Occupation of Lagos by the British forces; Oba Kosoko defeated and deposed
1859:   First Nigerian newspaper, Iwe Irohin Fun Awon Ara Egba ati Yoruba [Newspaper for the Egbas and the Yoruba] set up December 1859 in Abeokuta by Anglican minister, Henry Townsend
1861:   Lagos ceded to British; Oba Docemo signs cession treaty; Lagos has its own governor
1866:   Governor of Sierra Leone rulers over Lagos
1874:   Governor of Gold Coast (now Ghana) rules over Lagos
1879:   In the North, Sir George Goldie forms the United and later National African Company, amalgamating rival traders
1885:   Berlin West African Conference; Oil River Protectorate declared in the Eastern part of Nigeria
1886:   Successful military campaign by the British against Yoruba rulers outside Lagos begins (ending in 1906)
1886:   Charter granted to the National African Company (later called the Royal Niger Company) to administer the protected territories in Northern NIgeria
1887:   British punitive expedition against King Jaja of Opobo
1889:   Oil Ordinance, a colonial legislation, enacted
1891:   British consul in Calabar named a commisioner
1893:   Oil River Protectorate (East) renamed Niger Coast Protectorate
1894:   British punitive expedition against Jekri Chief Nana in the South; in the North, Borno territory placed under British protection
1895:   British punitive expedition against Brass
1897:   British punitive expedition against Oba of Benin in the South; in the North, Emirates of Nupe and Ilorin defeated militarily
1899:   Niger Coast protectorate transferred to the Colonial Office

In the 1900s:

1900:   In Northern Nigeria, administration of the Royal Niger Company renamed Protectorate of Northern Nigeria under British Crown;
in the East, some Igbo communities defeated by the British.
The Niger Coast protectorate is renamed Protectorate of Southern Nigeria
1901:   Centers of resistance in Nupe, Kotangora defeated by the British by the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF)
1902:   Bauchi, Borno resistance centers defeated by the British RWAFF
1903:   Kano, Sokoto resistance centers defeated by the British RWAFF
1906:   Colony and Protectorate of Lagos merged with the protectorate of Southern Nigeria to form the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria
1907:   Mineral Oil Ordinance enacted
1914:   Amalgamation of the administrations of Northern and Southern Nigeria into the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. Lord Lugard appointed Governor-General. Two Chief Commissioners are in charge of the two divisions, Northern and Southern. Mineral Oil Act enacted
1914-1918:   World War I
1921:   Oil exploration rights granted to D'arcy Exploration Co. & Whitehall Petroleum Co. Ltd; no oil found in the Niger Delta
1922:   Sir Hugh Clifford (successor to Lugard) abolishes the two existing legislative Councils in Lagos, substituting with with a single Nigerian Legislative Council for Southern provinces only, In the North, legislative power is vested in the Governor. The Clifford Constitution is in operation Herbert Macaulay and others form the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP)
1923:   First Legislative Council elections in September: NNDP wins three seats
1926:   Sir Graham Thompson becomes Governor of Nigeria
1930:   Sir Donald C. Cameron becomes Governor of Nigeria (till 1936)
1933:   Legislative council powers are extended to the North; Vaughn Ikoli and Akinsanya form Lagos Youth Movement (LYM)
1934:   Zik returns to Africa (Ghana) from the US
1936:   Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) formed
1937:   Zik returns to Nigeria from Ghana
Sir Bernard Bourdillon becomes Governor; LYM changed to Nigeria Youth Movement; H.O. Davies is General Secretary; "West African Pilot" newspaper established with Nnamdi Azikwe as founding Editor
1938:   Shell D'arcy granted oil exploration over the whole of mainland Nigeria; Shell D'arcy later becomes Shell-BP (an Anglo-Dutch concern)
1939:   Southern Protectorate divided into Western and Eastern provinces, each with a Chief Commissioner, with headquarters at Ibadan and Enugu
1939 - 1945:   World War II
1943:   Sir Arthur Richards (later Lord Milverton of Lagos and Clifton) becomes Governor; introduces the first Federal form of constitution worked on earlier by Sir Bernard Bourdillon
1944:   National Council of Nigerian and Cameroon (NCNC) formed August 26; Herbert Macaulay is president and Nnamdi Azikiwe is General Secretary. In December, Sir Richards lays out constitutional reforms (December)
1945:   Sir Richards' constitutional reforms laid on table of Legislative Council (March) General Workers' strike
1946:   Herbert Macaulay dies; Zik succeeds him as NCNC president
1947:   The Action Group is founded; NCNC delegation of seven, led by Dr. Azikiwe, travels to London to protest Macpherson Constitution
This year: Daily Times newspaper founded
1948:   Sir John Macpherson becomes Governor
The University College, Ibadan, is established
1949:   Nigerian Tribune newspaper founded by Chief Obafemi Awolowo
In the North, the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), originally non-political, is formed
1950:   Aminu Kano forms first Northern political party: Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU)
1951:   The Macpherson Federal Constitution is introduced
1952:   National census taken: count - 29 million Nigerians
1953:   Enahoro moves (in March 1953) resolution in the House of Representatives for attainment of self-governance of Nigeria "in 1956". North is unwilling, preferring "as soon as practicable."
May: riots break out in Kano during campaign for self-government Macpherson Constitution revised in London in July and August
1954:   More revisions of the Macpherson Constitution in London and Lagos; becomes effective October 1, 1954; Sir John Macpherson becomes first Governor-General of the Federation of Nigeria Federal House of Representatives elections October - December
1956:   Oil discovered by Shell-BP in Nigeria in January 1956 at Oloibiri in the Niger Delta; later in the year at Afam, Bomu & Ebubu (in Ogoniland)
1957:   Ghana becomes independent (March 6); Nigeria London Constitutional Conference (May/June). Independence unanimously proposed for a date unspecified in 1959, but "not later than April 2, 1960"
  August 30: Alhaji Tafawa Balewa forms first all-Nigeria Federal Executive Council; he is Prime Minister
  September 25: Willink Minorities Commission set up
1958: August 18: Willink Commission publishes report September/October: Resumed Constitutional Conference in London announces October 1, 1960 as Independence date First oil field came on stream producing 5,100 bpd
1959:   Promulgation of Petroleum Profit Tax Ordinance
Northern Region becomes self-governing March 15 (East and West were already self-governing since 1957)
  August 29: Balewa appointed first Prime Minister of the Federation
  December 12: Federal Elections
  December 15: Akintola appointed Premier of Western Nigeria to succeed Awolowo who is to become Leader of the Opposition in the new Federal Legislature
  December 20: NPC/NCNC forms coalition Federal Government, with Balewa as first elected Prime Minister of the Federation
1960: January 12: - first meeting of the Federal House of Representatives
  January 14: House passes motion for Nigeria's Independence
  March: Tivs defy tax assessment by Native Authority
  April 22: Balewa travels to London for final hand-over preparations
  May 10 - 19: Nigerian Constitutional Conference in London (final talks)
  October 1: Independence from Great Britain
  October: Tiv riots throughout the first week of October
  November 15: Azikiwe becomes first Nigerian Governor-General
    This year: The University of Nigeria, Nsukka, established by the Eastern Region; it also takesover the Eastern Nigerian Outlook newspaper
Government acquires 30% participation interest in the Nigerian Agip Oil Company
1961: This year: Federal Government estalishes the Morning Post and Sunday Post newspapers
1962: May 19: AG Executive Committee votes to dismiss Akintola; he refuses to voluntarily quit as governor
  May 21: Western Region Governor Oba Adesoji Aderemi dismisses Akintola as governor
  May 23: Alhaji Adegbenro sworn in to replace Akintola, who files court challenge as to constitutionality of actions
  May 25: Fighting in Western Region House
  May 29: Federal House meets on Western crisis and declares state of emergency
  May 30: Awo and several others have their movement restricted
  September 30: Awo placed under house arrest
  November 2: Awo charged for treason (with 26 other persons)
  November 27: Enahoro arrested in London
  May: national census taken (later cancelled)
  This year: Regional Universities of Ahmadu Bello (ABU), Ife and Federal university of Lagos established
NCNC changes its name to National Council of Nigerian Citizens
1963: May 16: Enahoro deported to Nigeria from England
  June 24: Enahoro's trial begins
  July 13: - plebiscite on MidWest Region State
  September 7 - Enahoro found guilty and jailed
  September 11 - Awolowo and others convicted and jailed for treason
  October 1: Nnamdi Azikiwe becomes the first president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
  November 5-8: national census taken (count: 55.6 million Nigerians)
1964: February: Isaac Adaka Boro leads abortive secession bid in the Niger Delta Tiv insurrection
  March 10: Akintola forms Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP)
Akintola-led Western Region government founds Daily Sketch and the Sunday Sketch
  June 3: United Progressive Grand Alliance (AG + NCNC and others) formed
  August 20: Nigerian National Alliance (NNDP + NPC and others) formed
  December 30: Federal elections, partially boycotted by UPGA
1965:   Shell-BP builds oil refinery at Alesa-Eleme, near Port Harcourt
  March 18: Supplementary Federal elections in Eastern region
Crisis in the University of Lagos over VC Eni Njoku's replacement by Saburi Biobaku forces closure for three months
  October 11: Western Regional elections
  October 15: incident in Ibadan broadcasting studio purportedly involving Wole Soyinka, who is declared wanted.
Bola Ige arrested over another broadcast incident
  December 20: Wole Soyinka, charged with robbery and violence, acquitted
1966:   Northern Region government forms a chain of newspapers
  January 15: Nigeria's first military coup led b Major Nzeogwu;
Akintola, Ahmadu Bello, Tafewa Balewa, Okotie-Eboh, Ademulegun, Maimalari and others killed.
Ironsi becomes Head of State
  May 29-30: Massacre of Igbos in the North
  July 29: Ironsi, Fajuyi and others killed in coup; Yakubu Gowon comes to power and forms the second military government of the year.
  September/October: More massacre of the Igbos
1967: January 4-7: Aburi meeting in Ghana on military crises
  May 27: Nigeria is divided into 12 states.
  May 30: The Eastern region declares secession, proclaiming itself the Republic of Biafra. Two and a half years of civil war follow.
Decree 1 imposes OPEC terms on companies operating in Nigeria
  August 9: Invasion of Midwest by Biafran forces
  October 7: Biafran forces pushed out of the Midwest
1969:   Decree 51 of November 1969 abrogates 1914 Mineral Oil Act, and vests entire ownership of all petroleum in the Nigerian state
1970: January 12: Civil War ends
Midwest Institute of Technology (later University of Benin) established
1971:   Kunle Adepeju, University of Ibadan student, dies during anti- UI-administration demonstrations
Nigeria joins OPEC;
Nigerian National Oil Corporation (NNOC) is established; later becomes NNPC (in April 1977, upon merger of NNOC and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources)
1973:   Arab Oil embargo on the West; Nigeria reaps profit
1975:   General Gowon is overthrown (on 29 July) by General Murtala Muhammed.
The number of states is increased to 19, with plans for a new capital in Abuja.
  October 4: Muhammed sets up Constitution Drafting Committee headed by Chief FRA Williams.
1976:   General Muhammed is assassinated in an abortive coup. General Olusegun Obasanjo assumes power.
1977:   Indigenization Decree of 1977 enacted;
NNPC becomes the dominant player in the downstream industry by acquiring equity shares in all the international oil marketing companies in the country and taking over ownership of the Port Harcourt I refinery from Shell-BP
1978:   Major university students crisis country-wide against tuition fees, leading to death of University of Lagos student Akintunde Ojo (April 1978) and six students in ABU, and the banning of students' association NANS
  September 21: New Constitution becomes law, includes Land Use Decree
1979: July 7: Senate Elections;
  July 14: House of Representatives elections;
  July 21: State of Assembly elections;
  August 11: Presidential elections
Presidential election is won by Shehu Shagari and the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) over Awolowo of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Zik of Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP), Aminu Kano of Peoples Redemption Party (PDP) and Waziri of Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP).
  September 26: Awo's challenge of presidential election results fail in the Supreme Court
1980: January 24: Shugaba, majority leader of Borno State assembly, deported by presidential order
  March 25: Shugaba's deportation order quashed by the courts
Kano Maitatsine fundamentalist Muslims uprising; 4,000-6,000 people dead
1983:   The NPN strengthens its hold on power in fresh elections but the civilian government is overthrown by General Muhammadu Buhari on December 31.
1984:   Decree 20: death penalty for oil-related sabotage (later amended in 1986 to read life imprisonment.)
1985:   General Buhari is removed (27 August) in a bloodless coup, and replaced by General Ibrahim Babangida, who becomes Nigeria's first military president.
1986:   An IMF-style structural adjustment programme (SAP) is initiated.
May-June - major unrest in Nigerian universities, with ASUU and Labour congress joining in.
NANS banned again. Soyinka awarded Nobel Prize for Literature
1989:   Anti-SAP May riots
1990: April 22, 1990 Gideon Orkar abortive military coup
  October: Umuechem massacre, arising from oil community complaints and brutal government response
  October: Ogoni Bill of Rights published
  1991: The number of states is increased to 30, plus federal capital territory, Abuja.
1992:   The scheduled return to democracy is postponed for a year due to doubts about presidential primary elections. Anti-SAP riots
1993:   General Babangida annuls (on June 23) the results of presidential elections of June 12, the freest and fairest ever held in Nigeria, believed to have been won by Bashorun Moshood K.O. Abiola.
  August 27: General Babangida "steps aside" under pressure, and is replaced first by Ernest Shonekan's interim national government
  November 17: General Sani Abacha replaces Shonekan
1994: June 23: Moshood Abiola is arrested and detained after proclaiming himself president June 11.
1995:   General Abacha announces a three-year programme of transition to civilian rule.
  September: Alfred Rewane assassinated
  November 10: The execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni activists prompts the suspension of Nigeria from the Commonwealth.
1996:   Local government elections take place in March.
Kudirat Abiola, MKO's wife, is assasinated in April.
Five new political parties are registered in October as a first step in the transition to democracy.
Six new states are created, taking the total to 36.
1997:   Local elections on a party basis take place in March, amid considerable criticism but with little violence, with the two parties supporting General Abacha widely successful.
1998:   State and National Assembly elections are held amid calls by the opposition for their boycott. Turn-out was said to be the lowest ever in Nigeria.
Opposition declares it the "people's verdict" on General Abacha's transition programme.
Gubernatorial and presidential elections are scheduled for the third quarter of the year.
  April: all five parties approve Abacha as their presidential flag-bearer
  June 8: Abacha dies
Abdusalami Abubakar takes over as Head of State and announces a new transition to civil rule.
  July 7: Abiola dies
  October 17: Jesse oil spill fire: estimate of more than 1000 dead Some elections hold in December.
1999:   More elections hold.
  February 27: Obasanjo wins presidential elections over Falae
  May 29: Civilian government is inaugurated.
Shagamu riots, followed by Kano riots
  October 27: Sharia Islamic law launched in Zamfara State
  October 29-31: Ajegunle riots
  Nov. 19: Odi community in Bayelsa State razed
  Nov. 25-26: Ketu riots

Compiled from various sources by: Mobolaji E. Aluko, PhD
Burtonsville, MD, USA

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