History of Nigeria
Precolonial History
Colonial History
Independence
Post Independence History
Historical Figures
Home




Nigerian Independence

Nigeria was granted full independence in October 1960 under a constitution that provided for a parliamentary government and a substantial measure of self-government for the country's three regions. From 1959 to 1960, Jaja Wachuku was the First black Speaker of the Nigerian Parliament - also called the House of Representatives. Wachuku replaced Sir Frederick Metcalfe of Great Britain. Notably, as First Speaker of the House, Jaja Wachuku received Nigeria's Instrument of Independence - also known as Freedom Charter - on October 1, 1960, from Princess Alexandra of Kent, the Queen's representative at the Nigerian independence ceremonies.

The federal government was given exclusive powers in defense, foreign relations, and commercial and fiscal policy. The monarch of Nigeria was still head of state but legislative power was vested in a bicameral parliament, executive power in a prime minister and cabinet, and judicial authority in a Federal Supreme Court. Political parties, however, tended to reflect the make up of the three main ethnic groups. The NPC (Nigerian people's Congress) represented conservative, Muslim, largely Hausa interests, and dominated the Northern Region. The NCNC (National Convention of Nigerian Citizens), was Igbo- and Christian-dominated, ruling in the Eastern Region, and the AG (Action Group) was a left-leaning party that controlled the Yoruba west. The first post-independence National Government was formed by a conservative alliance of the NCNC and the NPC, with Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, a Hausa, becoming Nigeria's first Prime Minister. The Yoruba-dominated AG became the opposition under its charismatic leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo.







Kingdoms of Nigeria is a Nigerian organization dedicated to advancing Nigeria, its people and their rich and diverse culture. Kingdoms of Nigeria is always interested in receiving information comments and suggestions from positive patrons (especially Nigerians at home or in Diaspora). All communications with Kingdoms of Nigeria will be subject to the Kingdoms of Nigeria privacy policy and Legal Notices available on this web site.