Some Important Events in Nigeria’s History (1805 – 2015)

Some Important Events in Nigeria’s History (1805 – 2015)



Mungo Park, the young Scottish doctor who discovered the Coast of River Niger in 1830 drowned at Bussa


Nigerian first Newspaper in Yoruba was published by “Iwe Irohin”. But the first English Newspaper was launched in 1921.


Lagos and its immediate environs was annexed and made a crown Colony.


Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther became the First African Bishop who later translated the English Bible into Yoruba Language.


The Northern and Southern Protectorates were amalgamated to form Nigeria by Lord Frederick Luggard


Mary Slessor who stopped the killing of twins died and was buried in Calabar.


The Aba women rioted over women taxation.


Formal education was introduced in Nigeria


The Daily Times newspaper was introduced in Nigeria.


Nigeria witnessed the 1st eclipse of the sun by the moon


The first university college in Nigeria was established. The University College Ibadan, an affiliate of the University of London.


Kano Riot


Chief Obafemi Awolowo introduced free education in the then western Region.


The first visit of the Queen of England to Nigeria


The first Television Transmitting Station in Africa, “The Western Nigeria Television (WNTV)” now “Nigeria Television Authority (NTA)” was established.


Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was sworn-in as Governor-General, representing the Queen as Head of State


First  Indigenous University of Nigeria Nsukka


Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was inaugurated as Nigeria;s first Prime Minister.


Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was sworn-in as Nigeria’s first ceremonial President

January 15, 1966

Some officers of the Nigeria Army carried out a coup which led to the killing of two regional  Premiers namely, Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello (North) and Chief Ladoke Akintola (West) and abducting the Federal Prime Minister Sir, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and the Federal Minister of Finance, Chief Festus Okotie Eboh.


Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa was overthrown and killed

July 1966

General Yakubu Gowon became Nigeria’s second military Head of State


The National Stadium, Surulere Lagos was opened.

April 12, 1972        

Nigeria changed from left-hand drive to right-hand drive

May 22, 1973        

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was introduced by General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd) with Dr. Ahmadu Ali as first Executive Director

June 30, 1974       

The first batch of the National Youth Service Corps members passed out after completing their one year National Service.

July 29, 1975        

The third coup in Nigeria, after Independence, Overthrew the nine-year old General Gowon’s government, and Brigadier Murtala Mohammed (later Major General) became the new Head of State.

February 13, 1976

General Muritala Mohammed was assassinated in a failed coup attempt led by Major Bukar Sukar Dimka


General Olusegun Obasanjo took over as the new Head of State

October 1, 1978     

The old National Anthem was replaced by a new one written by Police Commissioner Emmanuel Odiase and composed by Prof. Akin Euba.

October 1, 1979     

Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria was sworn in as the First Executive President of Nigeria.

February 13, 1982  

Pope John Paul II visited Nigeria.

May 18, 1982        

President Shehu Shagari granted Col. Ojukwu pardon to return home

 June 18, 1982       

Col. Ojukwu returned home from exile, (after 12 years in Ivory Coast).

December 1983

President Shehu Shagari was overthrown in a bloodless coup


General Muhammadu Buhari took over as Head of State

August 27, 1985  

Another Military coup was announced by Brigadier Joshua Dogonyaro and Major General (now General) Ibrahim Babangida became the first Military President of Nigeria

October 16, 1986

Prof. Wole Soyinka became the first Nigerian to Win the world Nobel Prize in literature.

October 19, 1986

Late Mr. Dele Giwa the great Nigerian journalist and founder of Newswatch Magazine was killed with a letter bomb. There was another unsuccessful coup led by Major Gideon Oka.

September 1, 1987     

President Ibrahim Babangida set up a 46-member Committee headed by Justice, Buba Arelo to review the 1979 constitution.

April 14, 1988         

Nigerian Police uniform was changed from light blue to black shirt.

April 23, 1988         

Elections into the Constituent Assembly were held throughout the nation

May 11, 1988         

Constituent Assembly was inaugurated in Abuja

July 27, 1988         

New Military Governors were sworn in by President Babangida.


The Duke of Edinburgh visited Nigeria accompanied By Prince Phillip


The Fifty Naira (₦50) currency note was introduced in Nigeria.


The capital of Nigeria was moved from Lagos to Abuja

June 12, 1993

A landmark general election was conducted in which Bashorun MKO Abiola was believed to have won. The election was annulled by the Ibrahim Babangida government

August 26, 1993  

General Babangida stepped aside from government and Chief Ernest Shonekan was appointed as Head of an interim National Government.

November 17, 1993

The Interim Government was overthrown by General Sanni Abacha who became Head of State

June 27, 1994

National Constitutional Conference was inaugurated by General Sani Abacha

June 4, 1996

Alhaji Kudirat Abiola was assassinated.

September 26, 1996 

The first ordained Baptist Rev in Ekpeye and also the Rev who stopped the killing of twins in Ekpeye-Ahoada, Chief (Rev) H.M Ikiriko, died.

October 15, 1996

Mrs. Janet A. Ikiriko the wife of Chief (Rev) H.M Ikiriko, who together stopped the killing of twins in Ekpeye-Ahoada died.

June 8, 1998

General Abacha died in office

May 16, 1999

The first private university in Nigeria is Igbinedion University, was certified with Registration No. 001 (May 16th), and was also the first to produce medical doctors. It was founded by Dr. Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion

May 10, 1999

Madonna University was founded by Prof. E.M.P Edeh (CSSP)

May 29, 1999

Nigeria started another democratic journey with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo being sworn-in as the first elected President in the Fourth Republic

March 17, 2014

President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated a 492-member delegates conference to discuss the future of Nigeria

May 29, 2015

Major General Muhammadu Buhari was sworn-in as President after defeating an incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan

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