1862 (January 1): Lagos
Island annexed as a colony of Britain
Mr. H.S Freeman became Governor of Lagos Colony (Jan.
Rivers Protectorate renamed Niger Coast Protectorate
with Calabar as capital.
1890's: British reporter Flora Shaw, who later
married Lord Frederick Lugard, suggests that the country
be named "Nigeria" after the Niger River.
1897: The British overthrew Oba Ovonramwen
one of the last independent West African kings.
1900: The Niger Coast Protectorate, merged
with the colony and protectorate of Lagos, was renamed
the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria
Sir Lord Fredrick Lugard
1914: The northern and
southern protectorates were amalgamated to form Nigeria.
Colonial officer Frederick Lugard was governor-general.
1929 (October): Women in the eastern commercial
city of Aba held a rowdy but effective and victorious
protest against high taxes and low prices of Nigerian
1951: The British decided to grant Nigeria
internal self-rule, following an agitation led by the
NCNC, Dr Azikiwes political party.
1954: The position of Governor was created
in the three regions (North, West and East) on the adoption
1958: Nigerian Armed Forces transferred to
Federal control. The Nigerian Navy was born.
1959: The new Nigerian currency, the Pound,
1959: Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) and Niger
Delta Congress (NDC) formed an alliance to contest parliamentary
1960 (October 1): Independence. Dr.
Nnamdi Azikiwe became Nigerias first indigenous
1960-1966: First Republic of Nigeria under
a British parliamentary system. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa
was elected Prime Minister.
1960: Nigeria's joined with Liberia and Togo
in the "Monrovia Group", seeking some form
of a confederation of African states.
1961 (February 11 and 12): After a plebiscite,
the Northern Cameroon, which before then was administered
separately within Nigeria, voted to join Nigeria. But
Southern Cameroon became part of francophone Cameroon.
1961 (June 1): Northern Cameroon became Sardauna
Province of Nigeria, the thirteenth province of Northern
Nigeria as the countrys map assumed a new shape.
1961 (October 1): Southern Cameroon ceased
to be a part of Nigeria.
1962:Following a split in the leadership of
the AG that led to a crisis in the Western Region, a
state of emergency was declared in the region, and the
federal government invoked its emergency powers to administer
the region directly. Consequently the AG was toppled
as regional power. Awolowo, its leader, and other AG
leaders, were convicted of treasonable felony. Awolowo's
former deputy and premier of the Western Region formed
a new party--the Nigerian National Democratic Party
(NNDP)--that took over the government. Meanwhile, the
federal coalition government acted on the agitation
of minority non-Yoruba groups for a separate state to
be excised from the Western Region
1963: Nigeria shed the bulk of its political
affinity with the British colonial power to become a
Republic. Nnamdi Azikiwe became the first President.
Obafemi Awolowo leader of the Action Group (AG) became
leader of the opposition. The regional premiers were
Ahmadu Bello (Northern Region, NPC), Samuel Akintola
(Western Region, AG), Michael Okpara (Eastern Region,
NCNC). Dennis Osadebey (NCNC) became premier of the
Midwestern Region just created out of the old Western
1964: Prime Minister Balewas Northern
Peoples Congress (NPC) aligned with a faction of the
Action Group (AG) led by Chief Ladoke Akintola, the
Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), to form the
Nigerian National Alliance (NNA) in readiness for the
elections. At the same time, the main Action Group led
by Chief Obafemi Awolowo formed an alliance with the
United Middle-Belt Congress (UMBC) and Alhaji Aminu
Kano's Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) and
Borno Youth Movement to form the United Progressive
Grand Alliance (UPGA).
1965 (November): Violence erupted in the western
region, and criticism of the political ruling class
created unease in the new republic.
1966 (January 15): Junior officers of the Nigerian
army, mostly majors overthrew the government in a coup
detat. The officers, most of whom were Igbo, assassinated
Balewa in Lagos, Akintola in Ibadan, and Bello in Kaduna,
as well as some senior northern officers. The coup leaders
pledged to establish a strong and efficient government
committed to a progressive program and eventually to
new elections. They vowed to stop the post-electoral
violence and stamp out corruption that they said was
rife in the civilian administration. General Johnson
T. Aguiyi-Ironsi, the most senior military officer,
and incidentally an easterner (Igbo), who stepped in
to restore order, became the head of state.
1966 (May 29): Massive rioting started in the
major towns of Northern Nigeria and attack the Igbos
and other easterners to avenge the death of many senior
northerners in the coup.
1966 (July 29): A group of Northern officers
and men stormed the Western Regions governors
residence in Ibadan where General Aguiyi Ironsi was
staying with his host, Lt. Col Adekunle Fajuyi. Both
the head of state and governor are killed.
1966 (August 1): Lt. Col Yakubu Gowon a fairly
junior officer from the north became the new head of
1967 (January 4): Nigeria's military leaders
travelled to Aburi in Ghana to find a solution to problems
facing the country and to avert an imminent military
clash between the north and the east.
1967 (May 30): Lt Col Ojukwu, governor of the
east, declared his region the Republic of Biafra.
1967 (July 6): First shots were fired heralding
a 30-month war between the Federal government and the
rebel Republic of Biafra.
1970 (January 15): The civil war ended and
reconstruction and rehabilitation begin.
1971 (April 2): Nigeria switches with amazing
smoothness from driving on the left hand side (like
Britain) to the left, like all its neighbouring countries.
1973 (May): Gowon establishes the National
Youth Service Corps Scheme and introduces compulsory
one-year service for all university graduates, to promote
integration and peace after the war.
1974: General Gowon said he could not keep
his earlier promise to return power to a democratically
elected government in 1976. He announced an indefinite
postponement of a programme of transition to civil rule.
1975 (October): Gowon was overthrown in a coup,
on the anniversary of his ninth year in office. Brigadier
(later General) Murtala Mohammed, the new head of state
promised a 1979 restoration of democracy.
1976: The federal government adhering to the
recommendations of a panel earlier set up to advise
it, approves the creation of a new Federal Capital Territory,
Abuja, away from Lagos.
1976 (February 13): Murtala Mohammed was killed
in the traffic on his way to work. But the coup executed
by an easy-going physical education corps Lt colonel,
and heralded by a quixotic announcement on the radio,
1976 (February 14): General Mohammed is succeeded
by General Olusegun Obasanjo who pledged to pursue his
predecessors transition programme.
1976 (September 2): The Universal Primary Education
Scheme (UPE) was introduced, making education free and
compulsory in the country.
1977: Nigeria hosted FESTAC the festival of
arts and culture drawing black talent and civilization
from around the world.
1979: Nigeria got a new constitution.
1979 (October 1): General Obasanjo handed over
to Alhaji Shehu Shagari as first elected executive President
and the first politician to govern Nigeria since 1966.
Five parties had competed for the presidency, and Shagari
of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was declared
the winner. The other parties were: Unity Party of Nigeria
(UPN), National Peoples Party (UPN), Great Nigeria
Peoples Party (GNPP), Peoples Redemption
1983: The conduct of the general elections
was criticised by opposing parties and the media. Violent
erupted in some parts of the west.
1983(September): Shagari was re-elected president
of Nigeria in August-September 1983.
1983(December 31): Following a coup detat,
the military returned to power. Major-General
Muhammadu Buhari was named head of state.
1985 (August 27): Following accusations of
callousness and overzealousness, Buhari was overthrown
in a palace coup. The army chief, General Ibrahim Babangida
took over power.
1986: The seat of government was officially
moved from Lagos to Abuja
1993 (June 12): After several postponements
by the military administration, presidential
elections were held. Businessman and newspaper publisher
Moshood Abiola of the SDP took unexpected lead in early
1993 (June 23): Babangida on national television
offered his reasons for annulling the results of the
Presidential election. At least 100 people were killed
in riots in the southwest, Abiola's home area.
1993 (August 26): Under severe opposition and
pressure, Babangida resigned as military president and
appointed an interim government headed by Chief Ernest
1993 (October): A ragtag group of young people
under the name of Movement for the Advancement of Democracy
(MAD) hijacked a Nigerian airliner to neighbouring Niger
in order to protest official corruption. Nigerian troops
stormed liberated the plane at the Ndjamena airport,
Republic of Niger.
1993 (November 17): General Sani Abacha, defence
minister in the interim government and most senior officer,
seized power from Shonekan, abolishes the constitution.
1994: Abiola, who had escaped abroad after
the annulment, returned and proclaimed himself president.
He was arrested and charged with treason.
1995 (July): Former head of state, Obasanjo
was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a secret military
tribunal for alleged participation in an attempt (widely
believed to have been fictional) to overthrow the government.
1996 (May): Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria's first
1998 (June 8): General Abacha died suddenly
and mysteriously. The official cause of death: heart
attack. Nigerians swarmed the streets rejoicing.
1998 (June 9): Gen. Abdulsalaam Abubakar was
named Nigeria's eighth military ruler. He promised to
restore civilian rule promptly.
1998: A month after General Abacha's death the United
Nations General-Secretary Kofi Annan arrived in Nigeria
to conclude deals for the release of Chief Abiola.
1998 (July 7): Abiola died in detention of
a heart disease, a week after Annans visit, before
he could be released in a general amnesty for political
prisoners. Rioting in Lagos led to over 60 deaths.
1998 (July 20): Abubakar promised to relinquish
power on May 29, 1999.
1999 (February 15): Former military ruler Obasanjo
won the presidential nomination of the Peoples Democratic
1999 (May): A new Constitution was adopted.
It was based on the 1979 Constitution.
1999 (May 29): Former Military Head of State,
Olusegun Obasanjo, was sworn in as Nigeria's democratically
elected civilian President.