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For decades now, Nigeria has been playing a fatherly role in African politics, providing economic support and peace keeping assistance, when and where necessary. For this, she is often referred to as “the giant of Africa”. It was not until 1st of October 1960 that Nigeria attained independence from Britain. Having been a colony of Britain on January 1st 1901.Nigeria’s independence is better of described to be attained because there is more to how Nigeria became an independent country than we know. Little has always been told most especially, what we know is that it was peaceful and amicably agreed between both countries. But freedom always demands for a price to be paid before it can be granted. Curious to know more about how Nigeria’s independence came to light? well let’s go on through the untold story of Nigeria’s independence. Every Nigerian had been convivial and high spirited on the first day of the tenth month of the year 1960 after being aware that the United Kingdom has set aside this day to grant Nigeria it’s independence as a sovereign state.
The dream of her founding fathers late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, late sir Ahmadu Bello and late Chief Obafemi Awolowo among others has finally emerged into reality. The anxious Nigerians had stormed the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos as they where joyously celebrating and the display of fireworks could be seen, various dance group entertained the viewers as this day was going to be a memorable day that will forever stay in the hearts of Nigerians. This dream of her founding fathers had found faith of coming alive after the World War II. Between 1939- 1945. Nigeria had been obligated to support Britain in the war that was presented as a war between bondage by Adolf Hitler and freedom to humanity. Britain’s economy who still has not gotten to full strength following the damage caused by the World War I was obviously unprepared for a World War II. Despite the critics upon the British colonial rule, the Nigeria influential leaders such as Nnamdi Azikiwe and Hebert Macaulay now appealed to all Nigerians to support Britain and it’s allies as they still could see reasons why Nigeria should not do other wise. The citizens of Nigeria never disappointed their leaders as they offered a selfless service to the citizen of Britain. It became more visible that there was a self sacrificing brother hood that existed between Nigerians. Young Nigerians were mobilized and recruited executing military and paramilitary projects which were executed to counter the attack of Hitler who now urges to take control of the Mediterranean in an attempt to take a hold of the supplies that could get to Britain and weakening her allies. These Nigerians although unprepared, fought for Britain as they would have fought for their home.
They went into construction projects also such as the construction of barracks to serve as base where the military operation to be carried out will be planned and also a place sited for arsenal. They also constructed railway to serve as a means of transportation. These young Nigerians were made to work excessively as every hand was needed to work to meet up with their demands on time. Hitler’s army not destroyed but weakened as Nigerians were joined by one hundred thousand military personal from other Africa counties in combat against Hitler and his army. Meanwhile, millions of Jew had been killed and a great population of the people in Poland has been massacred following Hitler’s racist theorem. Nigeria played a major role in the support Britain could get during the World War II as they supplied mineral resources needed by British industries that where yet to fully regain there loss from the World War I. The production of export crops increased as administrative measures were adopted as it got to a point where Britain was in demand of whatever agricultural product or mineral that could be produced in West Africa. Nigeria on the other hand faced escalated prices of imports arising from scarcity. When the Nigeria War Relief Fund was launched, which was to provide relief to Victims of the war in Britain and other Allied countries, donations was made from different communities in the country so as to aid the programme’s success. there was some voluntary contribution made by some persons while civil servants where made to pay mandatory levies. Also Win The War Fund was launched and Nigerians made outstanding contribution to see it’s success. These programmes that were set up did not hinder the Nigeria government from offering interest free loans to British Government.
Nigeria had offered help in every possible area that they could and they never held back what they had. This was a hand of love stretch beyond the borders and such do not come from just any one. It was reckoned to be a difficult time for the nation’s economy as it’s standard of living deteriorate. Nigeria’s strength had been stretched to it’s limit for the kind gesture they had taken into to support Britain during the World War II. But every morning that came by, they had hope and this was their driving force. After fighting a war that lasted for six years, Nigerians on returning home now had a different perspective as to how leadership should be handled in their country. They had killed many foreigners with the belief that they are fighting for freedom from Hitler’s Bondage. while yet again they are not free as they are being ruled by the Britain. The specter of British superiority is now been shattered in the presence of thousands of Nigeria soldiers who served during the war. And the British government now finds it difficult to deny freedom and democracy to Nigeria when it was called for and on 27th October 1958, Britain agreed that they will grant Nigeria it’s independence on the 1st of October 1960.
And on the 1st of October 1960, The federation of Nigeria attained it’s full independence and the constitution of a parliamentary government. Jaja Wachukwu who was the first speaker of the Nigeria parliamentary which on this date is referred to as the House of Representative replaced Sir Frederick Metcalfe of Britain. He received the Nigeria instrument of independence also known as “Freedom Chatter” from Princess Alexandra of Kent who represented the Queen of England on the ceremony of Nigeria’s independence.
This split second where the instrument of independence was been transferred to Jaja Wachukwu has been the moment that the anxious Nigerians who had stormed the Tafawa Ballewa Square had been waiting for as the sound of jubilation was made by the happy Nigerians who now, like other Africa countries such as Lybia, Egypt, Ghana can be referred to as an independent nation. Till this present day, the first day of the month of October is being celebrate in Nigeria as her Independence Day and the Genesis of this celebration can be traced down to the World War II
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