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Sovereign state in West Africa
Top 10 Nigeria related articles
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 2.1 Early history (1,500 BCE – 1500 CE)
- 2.2 Pre-colonial era (1500–1800)
- 2.3 British Nigeria (1800–1960)
- 2.4 Independence and First Republic (1960–1966)
- 2.5 Military rule and Civil War (1966–1979)
- 2.6 Civilian rule and Second Republic (1979–1983)
- 2.7 Military rule and Third Republic (1983–1999)
- 2.8 Democratisation and Fourth Republic (1999–present)
- 3 Politics
- 4 Geography
- 5 Economy
- 6 Infrastructure
- 7 Demographics
- 8 Society
- 9 Culture
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Motto: "Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress"
Anthem: "Arise, O Compatriots"
|Government||Federal presidential constitutional republic|
|Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan|
|Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad|
|House of Representatives|
from the United Kingdom
|1 January 1914|
• Declared and recognised
|1 October 1960|
• Republic declared
|1 October 1963|
|29 May 1999|
|923,769 km2 (356,669 sq mi) (32nd)|
• Water (%)
• 2020 estimate
• 2006 census
|218/km2 (564.6/sq mi) (42nd)|
|GDP (PPP)||2020 estimate|
|$1.275 trillion (23rd)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2020 estimate|
|$504.57 billion (27th)|
• Per capita
low · 158th
|Currency||Naira (₦) (NGN)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (WAT)|
|ISO 3166 code||NG|
Nigeria (// (
Nigeria has been home to a number of ancient and indigenous pre-colonial states and kingdoms over the millennia. The modern state originated from British colonial rule beginning in the 19th century, and took its present territorial shape with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914 by Lord Frederick Lugard. The British set up administrative and legal structures while practicing indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms; Nigeria became a formally independent federation on October 1, 1960. It experienced a civil war from 1967 to 1970. It thereafter alternated between democratically-elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until it achieved a stable democracy in 1999, with the 2015 presidential election marking the first time an incumbent president had lost re-election.
A multinational state, Nigeria is inhabited by more than 250 ethnic groups with over 500 distinct languages all identifying with a wide variety of cultures. The three largest ethnic groups are the Hausa–Fulani in the north, Yoruba in the west, and Igbo in the east; comprising over 60% of the total population. The official language of Nigeria is English, chosen to facilitate linguistic unity at the national level. Nigeria is divided roughly in half between Christians, who live mostly in the southern part of the country, and Muslims, who live mostly in the north. Nigeria has respectively, the fifth-largest Muslim population in the world and the sixth-largest Christian population in the world, with the constitution ensuring freedom of religion. A minority of the population practice religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to the Igbo and Yoruba ethnicities.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world, with an estimated 206 million inhabitants as of late 2019. Nigeria has the third-largest youth population in the world, after India and China, with more than 90 million of its population under the age of eighteen. Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa and is the world's 24th largest economy according to the list by the IMF (2020 estimates), worth more than $500 billion and $1 trillion in terms of nominal GDP and purchasing power parity, respectively. The 2013 debt-to-GDP ratio was 11 percent as of 2019 it has risen to an approximated figure of 16 percent. Nigeria is a lower middle-income economy with a gross national income per capita between $1,026 and $3,986. Nigeria is often referred to as the "Giant of Africa", owing to its large population and economy, it is also considered to be an emerging market by the World Bank; it has been identified as a regional power on the African continent, a middle power in international affairs, and has also been identified as an emerging global power. However, its Human Development Index ranks 158th in the world.
Nigeria is a member of the MINT group of countries, which are widely seen as the globe's next "BRIC-like" economies. It is also listed among the "Next Eleven" economies set to become among the biggest in the world. Nigeria is a founding member of the African Union and a member of many other international organizations, including the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the ECOWAS, and OPEC.
Nigeria Intro articles: 69
The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country. This name was coined in the late 19th century by British journalist Flora Shaw, who later married Lord Lugard, a British colonial administrator. The origin of the name Niger, which originally applied to only the middle reaches of the Niger River, is uncertain. The word is likely an alteration of the Tuareg name egerew n-igerewen used by inhabitants along the middle reaches of the river around Timbuktu prior to 19th-century European colonialism.
Nigeria Etymology articles: 5
Early history (1,500 BCE – 1500 CE)
The Nok civilisation of Northern Nigeria flourished between 1,500 BC and AD 200. It produced life-sized terracotta figures that are some of the earliest known sculptures in Sub-Saharan Africa. and smelted iron by about 550 BC and possibly a few centuries earlier. Evidence of iron smelting has also been excavated at sites in the Nsukka region of southeast Nigeria: dating to 2000 BC at the site of Lejja (Uzomaka 2009) and to 750 BC and at the site of Opi. The Kingdom of Nri of the Igbo people consolidated in the 10th century and continued until it lost its sovereignty to the British in 1911. Nri was ruled by the Eze Nri, and the city of Nri is considered to be the foundation of Igbo culture. Nri and Aguleri, where the Igbo creation myth originates, are in the territory of the Umeuri clan. Members of the clan trace their lineages back to the patriarchal king-figure Eri. In West Africa, the oldest bronzes made using the lost-wax process were from Igbo-Ukwu, a city under Nri influence. The Yoruba kingdoms of Ife and Oyo in southwestern Nigeria became prominent in the 12th and 14th centuries, respectively. The oldest signs of human settlement at Ife's current site date back to the 9th century, and its material culture includes terracotta and bronze figures.
The Kano Chronicle highlights an ancient history dating to around 999 AD of the Hausa Sahelian city-state of Kano, with other major Hausa cities (or Hausa Bakwai) of: Daura, Hadeija, Kano, Katsina, Zazzau, Rano, and Gobir all having recorded histories dating back to the 10th century. With the spread of Islam from the 7th century AD, the area became known as Sudan or as Bilad Al Sudan (English: Land of the Blacks; Arabic: بلاد السودان). Since the populations were partially affiliated with the Arab Muslim culture of North Africa, they started to trade and be referred to by the Arabic speakers as Al-Sudan (meaning "The Blacks") as they were considered an extended part of the Muslim world. There are early historical references by medieval Arab and Muslim historians and geographers which refer to the Kanem-Bornu Empire as the regions major centre for Islamic civilization. It is likely that the medieval Hausa Kingdoms formed trading ties with the Bornu Empire, which became increasingly wealthy as the main transshipment centre for the captured sub-Saharan African Zanj slaves along the Arab slave trade. Hausa rulers also likely provided Sudanic peoples as a tributary to the Bornu Empire in order to avert war with the Empire.
Pre-colonial era (1500–1800)
In the 16th century, Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to begin significant, direct trade with peoples of Southern Nigeria, at the port they named Lagos and in Calabar along the region Slave Coast. Europeans traded goods with peoples at the coast; coastal trade with Europeans also marked the beginnings of the Atlantic slave trade. The port of Calabar on the historical Bight of Biafra (now commonly referred to as the Bight of Bonny) became one of the largest slave trading posts in West Africa in the era of the transatlantic slave trade. Other major slaving ports in Nigeria were located in Badagry, Lagos on the Bight of Benin and on Bonny Island on the Bight of Biafra. The majority of those enslaved and taken to these ports were captured in raids and wars. Usually the captives were taken back to the conquerors' territory as forced labour; after time, they were sometimes acculturated and absorbed into the conquerors' society. A number of slave routes were established throughout Nigeria linking the hinterland areas with the major coastal ports. Some of the more prolific slave trading kingdoms who participated in the transatlantic slave trade were linked with the Edo's Benin Empire in the south, Oyo Empire in the southwest, and the Aro Confederacy in the southeast. Benin's power lasted between the 15th and 19th centuries. Their dominance reached as far as the city of Eko (an Edo name later changed to Lagos by the Portuguese) and further. Oyo, at its territorial zenith in the late 17th to early 18th centuries, extended its influence from western Nigeria to modern-day Togo. The Edo's Benin Empire is located in southwestern Nigeria.
In the north, the incessant fighting amongst the Hausa city-states and the decline of the Bornu Empire gave rise to the Fulani people gaining headway into the region. Until this point, the Fulani a nomadic ethnic group primarily traversed the semi-desert Sahelian region, north of the Sudan, with cattle and avoided trade and intermingling with the Sudanic peoples. At the beginning of the 19th century, Usman dan Fodio led a successful jihad against the Hausa Kingdoms founding the centralised Sokoto Caliphate (also known as the Fulani Empire). The empire with Arabic as its official language grew rapidly under his rule and that of his descendants, who sent out invading armies in every direction. The vast landlocked empire connected the East with the West Sudan region and made inroads down south conquering parts of the Oyo Empire (modern day Kwara), and advanced towards the Yoruba heartland of Ibadan, with the goal of reaching the Atlantic Ocean. The territory controlled by the Empire included much of modern-day northern and central Nigeria. The Sultan sent out emirs to establish a suzerainty over the conquered territories and promote Islamic civilization, the Emirs in turn became increasingly rich and powerful though trade and slavery. By the 1890s, the largest slave population in the world, about two million, was concentrated in the territories of the Sokoto Caliphate. The use of slave labor was extensive, especially in agriculture. By the time of its break-up in 1903 into various European colonies, the Sokoto Caliphate was one of the largest pre-colonial African states.
British Nigeria (1800–1960)
A changing legal imperative (transatlantic slave trade outlawed by Britain in 1807) and economic imperative (a desire for political and social stability) led most European powers to support widespread cultivation of agricultural products, such as the palm, for use in European industry. The Atlantic slave trade was engaged in by European companies until it was outlawed in 1807. After that illegal smugglers purchased slaves along the coast by native slavers. Britain's West Africa Squadron sought to intercept the smugglers at sea. The rescued slaves were taken to Freetown, a colony in West Africa originally established for the resettlement of freed slaves from Britain. Britain intervened in the Lagos Kingship power struggle by bombarding Lagos in 1851, deposing the slave trade friendly Oba Kosoko, helping to install the amenable Oba Akitoye, and signing the Treaty between Great Britain and Lagos on 1 January 1852. Britain annexed Lagos as a Crown Colony in August 1861 with the Lagos Treaty of Cession. British missionaries expanded their operations and traveled further inland. In 1864, Samuel Ajayi Crowther became the first African bishop of the Anglican Church.
In 1885, British claims to a West African sphere of influence received recognition from other European nations at the Berlin Conference. The following year, it chartered the Royal Niger Company under the leadership of Sir George Taubman Goldie. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the company had vastly succeeded in subjugating the independent southern kingdoms along the Niger River, the British conquered Benin in 1897, and, in the Anglo-Aro War (1901–1902), defeated other opponents. The defeat of these states opened up the Niger area to British rule. In 1900, the company's territory came under the direct control of the British government and established the Southern Nigeria Protectorate as a British protectorate and part of the British Empire, the foremost world power at the time.
By 1902, the British had begun plans to move north into the Sokoto Caliphate. Lord Frederick Lugard a British general, was tasked by the Colonial Office to implement the agenda. Lugard used rivalries between many of the emirs in the southern reach of the caliphate and the central Sokoto administration to prevent any defense as he worked towards the capital. As the British approached the city of Sokoto, the new Sultan Muhammadu Attahiru I organized a quick defense of the city and fought the advancing British-led forces. The British force quickly won, sending Attahiru I and thousands of followers on a Mahdist hijra. In the northeast, the decline of the Bornu Empire gave rise to the British-controlled Borno Emirate which established Abubakar Garbai of Borno as the ruler.
In 1903, the British-victory in the Battle of Kano gave them a logistical edge in pacifying the heartland of the Sokoto Caliphate and parts of the former Bornu Empire. On March 13, 1903 at the grand market square of Sokoto, the last Vizier of the Caliphate officially conceded to British rule. The British appointed Muhammadu Attahiru II as the new Caliph. Fredrick Lugard abolished the Caliphate, but retained the title Sultan as a symbolic position in the newly organized Northern Nigeria Protectorate. This remnant became known as "Sokoto Sultanate Council". In June 1903, the British defeated the remaining forces of Attahiru I and killed him; by 1906 resistance to British rule had ended.
On 1 January 1914, the British formally united the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and the Northern Nigeria Protectorate into the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. Administratively, Nigeria remained divided into the Northern and Southern Protectorates and Lagos Colony. Inhabitants of the southern region sustained more interaction, economic and cultural, with the British and other Europeans owing to the coastal economy.
Christian missions established Western educational institutions in the Protectorates. Under Britain's policy of indirect rule and validation of Islamic tradition, the Crown did not encourage the operation of Christian missions in the northern, Islamic part of the country. Some children of the southern elite went to Great Britain to pursue higher education. By independence in 1960, regional differences in modern educational access were marked. The legacy, though less pronounced, continues to the present day. Imbalances between North and South were expressed in Nigeria's political life as well. For instance, northern Nigeria did not outlaw slavery until 1936 whilst in other parts of Nigeria slavery was abolished soon after colonialism.
Following World War II, in response to the growth of Nigerian nationalism and demands for independence, successive constitutions legislated by the British government moved Nigeria toward self-government on a representative and increasingly federal basis. By the middle of the 20th century, a great wave for independence was sweeping across Africa. Nigeria achieved independence in 1960.
Independence and First Republic (1960–1966)
Nigeria gained independence from the United Kingdom on 1 October 1960, as the Federation of Nigeria, while retaining the British monarch, Elizabeth II, as nominal head of state and Queen of Nigeria. Independent Nigeria's founding government was a coalition of conservative parties: the Northern People's Congress (NPC) led by Sir Ahmadu Bello, a party dominated by Muslim Northerners, and the Igbo and Christian-dominated National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) led by Nnamdi Azikiwe. Azikiwe replaced the colonial governor-general in November 1960. The opposition comprised the comparatively liberal Action Group (AG), which was largely dominated by the Yoruba and led by Obafemi Awolowo. At independence, the cultural and political differences were sharp among Nigeria's dominant ethnic groups: the Hausa–Fulani ('Northerners'), Igbo ('Easterners') and Yoruba ('Westerners'). An imbalance was created in the polity by the result of the 1961 plebiscite. Southern Cameroons (since renamed by separatists as Ambazonia) opted to join the Republic of Cameroon while Northern Cameroons chose to remain in Nigeria. The northern part of the country then became larger than the southern part. In 1963, the nation established a Federal Republic, with Azikiwe as its first president. When elections were held in 1965, the Nigerian National Democratic Party came to power in Nigeria's Western Region.
Military rule and Civil War (1966–1979)
The disequilibrium and perceived corruption of the electoral and political process led, in 1966, to back-to-back military coups. The first coup was in January 1966 and was led mostly by Igbo soldiers under Majors Emmanuel Ifeajuna and Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. The coup plotters succeeded in assassinating Sir Ahmadu Bello and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa alongside prominent leaders of the Northern Region and also Premier Samuel Akintola of the Western Region, but the coup plotters struggled to form a central government. President Nwafor Orizu handed over government control to the Army, then under the command of another Igbo officer, General JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi. Later, the counter-coup of 1966, supported primarily by Northern military officers, facilitated the rise of Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon to head of state. Tension rose between North and South; Igbos in Northern cities suffered persecution and many fled to the Eastern Region.
In May 1967, the Southern Region declared independence as a state called the Republic of Biafra, under the leadership of Lt. Colonel Emeka Ojukwu. The Nigerian Civil War began as the official Nigerian government side attacked Biafra on 6 July 1967 at Garkem. The 30-month war, with a long siege of Biafra and its isolation from trade and supplies, ended in January 1970. Estimates of the number of dead in the former Eastern Region during the 30-month civil war range from one to three million. France, Egypt, the Soviet Union, Britain, Israel, and others were deeply involved in the civil war behind the scenes. Britain and the Soviet Union were the main military backers of the Nigerian government while France and others aided the Biafrans. The Congolese government, under President Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, took an early stand on the Biafran secession, voicing strong support for the Nigerian federal government and deploying thousands of troops to fight against the secessionists. Nigeria used Egyptian pilots for their air force.
Following the war, Nigeria enjoyed the oil boom of the 1970s, during which the country joined OPEC and received huge oil revenues. Despite these revenues, the military government did little to improve the standard of living of the population, help small and medium businesses, or invest in infrastructure. As oil revenues fueled the rise of federal subsidies to states, the federal government became the centre of political struggle and the threshold of power in the country. As oil production and revenue rose, the Nigerian government became increasingly dependent on oil revenues and international commodity markets for budgetary and economic concerns.
Civilian rule and Second Republic (1979–1983)
In 1977, constituent assembly was elected to draft a new constitution, which was published on September 21, 1978, when the ban on political activity was lifted. In 1979, five political parties competed in a series of elections in which Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was elected president. Obasanjo peacefully transferred power to Shagari, becoming the first head of state in Nigerian history to willingly step down. All five parties won representation in the National Assembly. In August 1983 Shagari and the NPN were returned to power in a landslide victory, with a majority of seats in the National Assembly and control of 12 state governments. But the elections were marred by violence and allegations of widespread vote rigging and electoral malfeasance led to legal battles over the results. In the widely monitored 1979 election, Alhaji Shehu Shagari was elected on the NPN platform.
Beginning in 1979, Nigerians participated in a return to democracy when Olusegun Obasanjo transferred power to the civilian regime of Shehu Shagari. On October 1, 1979, Shehu Shagari was sworn in as the first President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The military carefully planned the return to civil rule putting in place measures to ensure that political parties have broader support than witnessed during the first republic. The Shagari government became viewed as corrupt by virtually all sectors of Nigerian society. In 1983 the inspectors of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) began to notice "the slow poisoning of the waters of this country". But there were also uncertainties, such as that first republic, political leaders may be unable to govern properly which would bring another batch of new military rulers.
Military rule and Third Republic (1983–1999)
The 1983 military coup d'état took place on New Years eve of that year. It was coordinated by key officers of the Nigerian military and led to the overthrow of the Second Nigerian Republic and the installation of Major General Muhammadu Buhari as Head of State. The military coup of Muhammadu Buhari shortly after the regime's re-election in 1984 was generally viewed as a positive development. Buhari promised major reforms, but his government fared little better than its predecessor. His regime was overthrown by another military coup in 1985.
General Buhari was overthrown in 1985 military coup d'état led by General Ibrahim Babangida, who established the Armed Forces Ruling Council and became military president and commander in chief of the armed forces. In 1986, he established the Nigerian Political Bureau of 1986 which made recommendations for the transition to the Third Nigerian Republic. In 1989, Babangida started making plans for the transition to the Third Nigerian Republic. He legalized the formation of political parties, and formed the two-party system with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and National Republican Convention (NRC) ahead of the 1992 general elections. He urged all Nigerians to join either of the parties, which the late Chief Bola Igefamously referred to as "two leper hands." The two-party state had been a Political Bureau recommendation. In November 1991, after a census was conducted, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) announced on 24 January 1992 that both legislative elections to a bicameral National Assembly and a presidential election would be held later that year. A process of voting was adopted, referred to as Option A4. This process advocated that any candidate needed to pass through adoption for all elective positions from the local government, state government and federal government.
Babangida survived the 1990 Nigerian coup d'état attempt, then postponed a promised return to democracy to 1992. The 1993 presidential election held on June 12, the first since the military coup of 1983. The results though not officially declared by the National Electoral Commission – showed the duo of Moshood Abiola and Babagana Kingibe of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) defeated Bashir Tofa and Slyvester Ugoh of the National Republican Convention (NRC) by over 2.3 million votes. However, Babangida annulled the elections, leading to massive civilian protests that effectively shut down the country for weeks. In August 1993, Babangida finally kept his promise to relinquish power to a civilian government, but not before appointing Ernest Shonekan head of the Interim National Government. Babangida's regime has been considered the most corrupt, and responsible for creating a culture of corruption in Nigeria.
In late 1993, Shonekan's interim government, the shortest in the political history of the country was overthrown in the 1993 military coup d'état led by General Sani Abacha, who used military force on a wide scale to suppress the continuing civilian unrest. In 1995 the government hanged environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa on trumped-up charges in the deaths of four Ogoni elders. Lawsuits under the American Alien Tort Statute against Royal Dutch Shell and Brian Anderson, the head of Shell's Nigerian operation, settled out of court with Shell continuing to deny liability. Several hundred million dollars in accounts traced to Abacha were discovered in 1999. The regime came to an end in 1998, when the dictator died in the villa. He looted money to offshore accounts in western European banks and defeated coup plots by arresting and bribing generals and politicians. His successor, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, adopted a new constitution on 5 May 1999 which provided for multiparty elections.
Democratisation and Fourth Republic (1999–present)
On 29 May 1999, Abubakar transferred power to the winner of the 1999 presidential election, former military ruler General Olusegun Obasanjo as the second democratically elected civilian President of Nigeria. This ended almost 33 years of military rule from 1966 until 1999, excluding the short-lived second republic (between 1979 and 1983) by military dictators who seized power in coups d'état and counter-coups during the Nigerian military juntas of 1966–1979 and 1983–1999. Obasanjo's election heralded the beginning of the Fourth Nigerian Republic.
Although the elections that brought Obasanjo to power in the 1999 presidential election and for a second term in the 2003 presidential election were condemned as unfree and unfair, , Nigeria has shown marked improvements in attempts to tackle government corruption and hasten development. Ethnic violence for control over the oil-producing Niger Deltaregion and inadequate infrastructures are some of the issues facing the country. Umaru Yar'Adua of the People's Democratic Party came into power in the general election of 2007. The international community, which had been observing Nigerian elections to encourage a free and fair process, condemned this one as being severely flawed. The then-president, Olusegun Obasanjo, acknowledged fraud and other electoral "lapses" but said the result reflected opinion polls. In a national television address in 2007, he added that if Nigerians did not like the victory of his handpicked successor, they would have an opportunity to vote again in four years. Yar'Adua died on 5 May 2010. Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as Yar'Adua's, becoming the 14th Head of State. Goodluck Jonathan served as acting president of Nigeria until 16 April 2011, when a new presidential election in Nigeria was conducted. He went on to win the elections, with the international media reporting the elections as having run smoothly with relatively little violence or voter fraud, in contrast to previous elections.
Ahead of the general election of 2015, a merger of the three biggest opposition parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the new PDP (nPDP), a faction of serving governors of the then ruling People's Democratic Party – formed the All Progressives Congress (APC). In the 2015 presidential election, former military head of state General Muhammadu Buhari, leader of the CPC faction of the APC – who had previously contested in the 2003, 2007, and 2011 presidential elections as the APC presidential candidate defeated incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by over two million votes, ending the party's sixteen year rule in the country, and marking the first time in the history of Nigeria that an incumbent president lost to an opposition candidate. Observers generally praised the election as being fair. Jonathan was generally praised for conceding defeat and limiting the risk of unrest. In the 2019 presidential election, Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected for a second term in office defeating his closet rival Atiku Abubakar.