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Happy Independence day, Nigeria!
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As we celebrate our Independence Day on 1st of October, 2013, we want to share with you a few short stories from Nigerians who were around during the Independence Day in 1960.

The stories will feature where they were at the time, what happened during the day Nigeria gained Independence, how they felt and their hopes about the future of Nigeria.

Happy Independence day, Nigeria!


Olu Jacobs - Ace actor, veteran dramatist and Nollywood legend
It was a very interesting period when Nigeria gained independence in 1960. I was 18 and was in boarding school in Kano. A lot of my work gained from the creativity of that period. In 1957, what was known as the western region was the first to have television in Africa. It was amazing. The sight of hundreds of people watching this extraordinary work of art called television. Soon after this, I saw so many different talents come to light in entertainment and this simply reaffirmed my own desire to go into entertainment.

Nigeria will remain one and I believe we are learning that all regions are on the same side. I believe from these ashes will rise the truth and bonds that will bring us all together as a country.

M S B Mahmud - Runs a leasing and logistics business
I was 10 years old when Nigeria gained independence in 1960. In Agbede, in what is today called Edo State, I vividly remember what the atmosphere was like. We were given special meals in school; we sang the new national anthem “Nigeria, we hail thee”. We were given flags as well as Green White Green caps. The Union Jack was dropped and our flag was proudly hoisted. I also remember there were parades in all regions of Nigeria (Enugu, Kaduna and Ibadan). The atmosphere was extremely exciting, stemming from a general feeling of hope and self-determination.

I am now married with 8 children and I believe more than ever that we will come to realize that our strength as a nation comes from unity of purpose and that “though tribe and tongue may differ, on brotherhood we stand”.

Ime Joseph - Former banker & professional photographer
I was 4 years old at the time Nigeria gained independence and I lived in Akwa-Ibom with my parents. Nigeria was then headed by a prime minister, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.

Although I was very young at the time but I remember my parents saying “Nigeria was free from slave trade, free from colonial rule and free from tribalism”. Education was free for all as long as you were up to 6 years old.

I am now married with 6 children and my hopes regarding the future of Nigeria is for it to be peaceful again, a better economy favourable to all, a country where the rich and the poor will regard each other as one and lastly, a country where we will have quality education, low unemployment and a healthy agricultural sector.

Modupe Onile-Ere - Shoe saleswoman
Nigeria gained independence when I was 14 years old. I was born on the 12th of September, 1946. I started my Secondary education in January, 1959 at St. Anne’s School Ibadan, the oldest girls’ school in Nigeria. It was a full boarding school sited on the hill before descending to Molete and so, we were far removed from the city life of Ibadan.

We didn’t even know that Nigeria was going to be granted independence from the British! We learnt eventually from our lessons that Princess Alexandra, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, came to the ceremony. The most significant thing that I remember about Nigeria gaining Independence is that we had special food served for our lunch.

We had jollof rice and chicken!!! Not many of us ate chicken even in our parents’ houses.

Irene Funke Ladipo - Retired civil servant.
I was 15 years old at the time and I was living and schooling in Ibadan. On the day Nigeria gained Independence, we were all excited as we went for march past which I led at the Liberty Stadium at Oke-Bola. October 1 was exciting and our school prepared food for us, they actually killed a cow!

I hope and know Nigeria will be better.


Our best years are ahead of us. Happy Independence anniversary, Nigeria.