Nigeria At 60: Here Are 40 Surprise Facts You Never Knew About Nigeria
On October 1, 2020 will make it exactly 60 years since Nigeria got her independence, all thanks to our first leaders.
There are some things which you have never knew about Nigeria.. Below are all what you need to know about this great country;
1. Nigeria officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a sovereign country located in West Africa bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its southern coast is on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. Nigeria is a federal republic comprising 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located.
2. Nigeria has been home to a number of ancient and indigenous pre-colonial states and kingdoms over the millennia. The modern state originated from British colonial rule beginning in the 19th century, and took its present territorial shape with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914 by Lord Frederick Lugard. The British set up administrative and legal structures while practicing indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms; Nigeria became a formally independent federation on October 1, 1960. It experienced a civil war from 1967 to 1970. It thereafter alternated between democratically-elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until it achieved a stable democracy in 1999, with the 2015 presidential election marking the first time an incumbent president had lost re-election.
3. A multinational state, Nigeria is inhabited by more than 250 ethnic groups with over 500 distinct languages all identifying with a wide variety of cultures. The three largest ethnic groups are the Hausa–Fulani in the north, Yoruba in the west, and Igbo in the east; comprising over 60% of the total population. The official language of Nigeria is English, chosen to facilitate linguistic unity at the national level. Nigeria is divided roughly in half between Muslims, who live mostly in the north, and Christians, who live mostly in the south. (Cameroon, adjacent to that portion, is predominantly Christian.) Nigeria has respectively, the fifth-largest Muslim population in the world and the sixth-largest Christian population in the world, with the constitution ensuring freedom of religion. A minority of the population practice religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to the Igbo and Yoruba ethnicities.
4. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world, with an estimated 206 million inhabitants as of late 2019. Nigeria has the third-largest youth population in the world, after India and China, with more than 90 million of its population under the age of eighteen. Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa and is the world’s 24th largest economy according to the list by the IMF (2020 estimates), worth more than $500 billion and $1 trillion in terms of nominal GDP and purchasing power parity, respectively. The 2013 debt-to-GDP ratio was 11 percent as of 2019 it has risen to an approximated figure of 16 percent. Nigeria is a lower middle-income economy with a gross national income per capita between $1,026 and $3,986. Nigeria is often referred to as the “Giant of Africa”, owing to its large population and economy, it is also considered to be an emerging market by the World Bank; it has been identified as a regional power on the African continent, a middle power in international affairs, and has also been identified as an emerging global power. However, its Human Development Index ranks 158th in the world.
5. Nigeria is a member of the MINT group of countries, which are widely seen as the globe’s next “BRIC-like” economies. It is also listed among the “Next Eleven” economies set to become among the biggest in the world. Nigeria is a founding member of the African Union and a member of many other international organizations, including the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the ECOWAS, and OPEC.
6. The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country. This name was coined on January 8, 1897, by British journalist Flora Shaw, who later married Lord Lugard, a British colonial administrator. The neighbouring Niger takes its name from the same river. The origin of the name Niger, which originally applied to only the middle reaches of the Niger River, is uncertain. The word is likely an alteration of the Tuareg name egerew n-igerewen used by inhabitants along the middle reaches of the river around Timbuktu prior to 19th-century European colonialism.
7. On 1 January 1914, the British formally united the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and the Northern Nigeria Protectorate into the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. Administratively, Nigeria remained divided into the Northern and Southern Protectorates and Lagos Colony. Inhabitants of the southern region sustained more interaction, economic and cultural, with the British and other Europeans owing to the coastal economy.
8. Nigeria gained independence from the United Kingdom on 1 October 1960, as the Federation of Nigeria, while retaining the British monarch, Elizabeth II, as nominal head of state and Queen of Nigeria. Independent Nigeria’s founding government was a coalition of conservative parties: the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) led by Sir Ahmadu Bello, a party dominated by Muslim Northerners, and the Igbo and Christian-dominated National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) led by Nnamdi Azikiwe. Azikiwe replaced the colonial governor-general in November 1960. The opposition comprised the comparatively liberal Action Group (AG), which was largely dominated by the Yoruba and led by Obafemi Awolowo. At independence, the cultural and political differences were sharp among Nigeria’s dominant ethnic groups: the Hausa–Fulani (‘Northerners’), Igbo (‘Easterners’) and Yoruba (‘Westerners’). An imbalance was created in the polity by the result of the 1961 plebiscite. Southern Cameroons (since renamed by separatists as Ambazonia) opted to join the Republic of Cameroon while Northern Cameroons chose to remain in Nigeria. The northern part of the country then became larger than the southern part. In 1963, the nation established a Federal Republic, with Azikiwe as its first president. When elections were held in 1965, the Nigerian National Democratic Party came to power in Nigeria’s Western Region.
9. In 1977, constituent assembly was elected to draft a new constitution, which was published on September 21, 1978, when the ban on political activity was lifted. In 1979, five political parties competed in a series of elections in which Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was elected president. Obasanjo peacefully transferred power to Shagari, becoming the first head of state in Nigerian history to willingly step down. All five parties won representation in the National Assembly. In August 1983 Shagari and the NPN were returned to power in a landslide victory, with a majority of seats in the National Assembly and control of 12 state governments. But the elections were marred by violence and allegations of widespread vote rigging and electoral malfeasance led to legal battles over the results. In the widely monitored 1979 election, Alhaji Shehu Shagari was elected on the NPN platform.
10. The 1983 military coup d’état took place on New Year’s Eve of that year. It was coordinated by key officers of the Nigerian military and led to the overthrow of the Second Nigerian Republic and the installation of Major General Muhammadu Buhari as Head of State. The military coup of Muhammadu Buhari shortly after the regime’s re-election in 1984 was generally viewed as a positive development. Buhari promised major reforms, but his government fared little better than its predecessor. His regime was overthrown by another military coup in 1985.
11. On 29 May 1999, Abubakar transferred power to the winner of the 1999 presidential election, former military ruler General Olusegun Obasanjo as the second democratically elected civilian President of Nigeria heralding the beginning of the Fourth Nigerian Republic. This ended almost 33 years of military rule from 1966 until 1999, excluding the short-lived second republic (between 1979 and 1983) by military dictators who seized power in coups d’état and counter-coups during the Nigerian military juntas of 1966–1979 and 1983–1999.
12. Ahead of the general election of 2015, a merger of the three biggest opposition parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the new PDP (nPDP), a faction of serving governors of the then ruling People’s Democratic Party – formed the All Progressives Congress (APC). In the 2015 presidential election, former military head of state General Muhammadu Buhari, leader of the CPC faction of the APC – who had previously contested in the 2003, 2007, and 2011 presidential elections as the APC presidential candidate defeated incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) by over two million votes, ending the party’s sixteen year rule in the country, and marking the first time in the history of Nigeria that an incumbent president lost to an opposition candidate. Observers generally praised the election as being fair. Jonathan was generally praised for conceding defeat and limiting the risk of unrest. In the 2019 presidential election, Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected for a second term in office defeating his closet rival Atiku Abubakar.
13. Nigeria is a federal republic modelled after the United States, with executive power exercised by the President. It is influenced by the Westminster System model in the composition and management of the upper and lower houses of the bicameral legislature. The president is both head of state and head of the federal government; the leader is elected by popular vote to a maximum of two four-year terms. The president’s power is checked by a Senate and a House of Representatives, which are combined in a bicameral body called the National Assembly. The Senate is a 109-seat body with three members from each state and one from the capital region of Abuja; members are elected by popular vote to four-year terms. The House contains 360 seats, with the number of seats per state determined by population.
14. The Nigerian military are charged with protecting the Federal Republic of Nigeria, promoting Nigeria’s global security interests, and supporting peacekeeping efforts, especially in West Africa. This is in support of the doctrine sometimes called Pax Nigeriana.
The Nigerian Military consist of an army, a navy, and an air force. The military in Nigeria have played a major role in the country’s history since independence. Various juntas have seized control of the country and ruled it through most of its history. Its last period of military rule ended in 1999 following the sudden death of former dictator Sani Abacha in 1998. His successor, Abdulsalam Abubakar, handed over power to the democratically elected government of Olusegun Obasanjo the next year.
As Africa’s most populated country, Nigeria has repositioned its military as a peacekeeping force on the continent. Since 1995, the Nigerian military, through ECOMOG mandates, have been deployed as peacekeepers in Liberia (1997), Ivory Coast (1997–1999), and Sierra Leone (1997–1999). Under an African Union mandate, it has stationed forces in Sudan’s Darfur region to try to establish peace.
15. Nigeria has been pervaded by political corruption. Nigeria was ranked 143 out of 182 countries in Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index; however, it improved to 136th position in 2014. More than $400 billion were stolen from the treasury by Nigeria’s leaders between 1960 and 1999. In 2015, incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari said corrupt officials have stolen $150 billion from Nigeria in the last 10 years.
16. Upon gaining independence in 1960, Nigeria made African unity the centrepiece of its foreign policy and played a leading role in the fight against the apartheid government in South Africa. One exception to the African focus was Nigeria’s close relationship developed with Israel throughout the 1960s. The latter nation sponsored and oversaw the construction of Nigeria’s parliament buildings.
17. Nigeria is divided into thirty-six states and one Federal Capital Territory, which are further sub-divided into 774 Local Government Areas. In some contexts, the states are aggregated into six geopolitical zones: North West, North East, North Central, South West, South East, and South South. Nigeria has five cities with a population of over a million (from largest to smallest): Lagos, Kano, Ibadan, Benin City and Port Harcourt. Lagos is the largest city in Africa, with a population of over 12 million in its urban area.
18. Nigeria is located in western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea and has a total area of 923,768 km2 (356,669 sq mi), making it the world’s 32nd-largest country. It is comparable in size to Venezuela, and is about twice the size of the U.S. state of California. Its borders span 4,047 kilometres (2,515 mi), and it shares borders with Benin (773 km or 480 mi), Niger (1,497 km or 930 mi), Chad (87 km or 54 mi), and Cameroon (including the separatist Ambazonia) 1,690 km or 1,050 mi. Its coastline is at least 853 km (530 mi). Nigeria lies between latitudes 4° and 14°N, and longitudes 2° and 15°E.
The highest point in Nigeria is Chappal Waddi at 2,419 m (7,936 ft). The main rivers are the Niger and the Benue, which converge and empty into the Niger Delta. This is one of the world’s largest river deltas, and the location of a large area of Central African mangroves.
19. Nigeria has a varied landscape. The far south is defined by its tropical rainforest climate, where annual rainfall is 60 to 80 inches (1,500 to 2,000 mm) a year. In the southeast stands the Obudu Plateau. Coastal plains are found in both the southwest and the southeast. This forest zone’s most southerly portion is defined as “salt water swamp”, also known as a mangrove swamp because of the large amount of mangroves in the area. North of this is fresh water swamp, containing different vegetation from the salt water swamp, and north of that is rainforest.
20. Nigeria is greatly endowed with numerous tree species of which the majority of them are native while few are exotic. Report shows that high percentage of man-made forests in the country is dominated with exotic species. This culminated from the assumption that exotic trees are fast-growing. However, studies have also investigated the growth of indigenous trees in with that of exotic species.
21. Nigeria’s Delta region, home of the large oil industry, experiences serious oil spills and other environmental problems, which has caused conflict.
Waste management including sewage treatment, the linked processes of deforestation and soil degradation, and climate change or global warming are the major environmental problems in Nigeria.
22. Nigeria is classified as a mixed economy emerging market. It has reached lower-middle-income status according to the World Bank, with its abundant supply of natural resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, transport sectors and stock exchange (the Nigerian Stock Exchange), which is the second-largest in Africa.
Nigeria was ranked 21st in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) in 2015. Nigeria is the United States’ largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa and supplies a fifth of its oil (11% of oil imports). It has the seventh-largest trade surplus with the U.S. of any country worldwide. Nigeria is the 50th-largest export market for U.S. goods and the 14th-largest exporter of goods to the U.S. The United States is the country’s largest foreign investor.
23. As of 2010, about 30% of Nigerians are employed in agriculture. Agriculture used to be the principal foreign exchange earner of Nigeria.
Major crops include beans, sesame, cashew nuts, cassava, cocoa beans, groundnuts, gum arabic, kolanut, maize (corn), melon, millet, palm kernels, palm oil, plantains, rice, rubber, sorghum, soybeans and yams. Cocoa is the leading non-oil foreign exchange earner. Rubber is the second-largest non-oil foreign exchange earner.
24. Nigeria is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the 8th largest exporter, and has the 10th largest proven reserves. (The country joined OPEC in 1971.) Petroleum plays a large role in the Nigerian economy, accounting for 40% of GDP and 80% of Government earnings. However, agitation for better resource control in the Niger Delta, its main oil-producing region, has led to disruptions in oil production and prevents the country from exporting at 100% capacity.
25. Nigeria has a highly developed financial services sector, with a mix of local and international banks, asset management companies, brokerage houses, insurance companies and brokers, private equity funds and investment banks. Nigeria has one of the fastest-growing telecommunications markets in the world, major emerging market operators (like MTN, 9mobile, Airtel and Globacom) basing their largest and most profitable centres in the country. Nigeria’s ICT sector has experienced a lot of growth, representing 10% of the nation’s GDP in 2018 as compared to just 1% in 2001. Lagos is regarded as one of the largest technology hubs in Africa with its thriving tech ecosysytem. Several startups like Paystack, Interswitch, Bolt and Piggyvest are leveraging technology to solve issues across different sectors.
26. Nigeria has a manufacturing industry that includes leather and textiles (centred in Kano, Abeokuta, Onitsha, and Lagos), Nigeria currently has an indigenous auto manufacturing company; Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing located in Nnewi. It produces Buses and SUVs. Car manufacturing (for the French car manufacturer Peugeot as well as for the English truck manufacturer Bedford, now a subsidiary of General Motors), T-shirts, plastics and processed food. In this regard, some foreign vehicle manufacturing companies like Nissan have made known their plans to have manufacturing plants in Nigeria. Ogun is considered to be Nigeria’s current industrial hub, as most factories are located in Ogun and more companies are moving there, followed by Lagos.
27. Nigeria’s primary energy consumption was about 108 Mtoe in 2011. Most of the energy comes from traditional biomass and waste, which account for 83% of total primary production. The rest is from fossil fuels (16%) and hydropower (1%).
28. Nigeria suffers from lack of adequate transportation infrastructure. As of 1999, it’s 194,394 kilometers of road networks are the main means of transportation. Of which 60,068 kilometres (37,325 mi) (including 1,194 km (742 mi) of expressways) are paved roads and as of 1998 (west.), 134,326 kilometers ar unpaved roads of city, town and village roads. The railways have undergone a massive revamping with projects such as the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway being completed connecting northern cities of Kano, Kaduna, Abuja, Ibadan and Lagos.
29. The government has recently begun expanding this infrastructure to space-based communications. Nigeria has a space satellite that is monitored at the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency Headquarters in Abuja. The Nigerian government has commissioned the overseas production and launch of four satellites.
NigComSat-1, was the first Nigerian satellite built-in 2004, was Nigeria’s third satellite and Africa’s first communication satellite. It was launched on 13 May 2007, aboard a Chinese Long March 3B carrier rocket, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China. The spacecraft was operated by NigComSat and the Nigerian Space Research and Development Agency. On 11 November 2008, NigComSat-1 failed in orbit after running out of power because of an anomaly in its solar array. It was based on the Chinese DFH-4 satellite bus, and carries a variety of transponders: four C-band; fourteen Ku-band; eight Ka-band; and two L-band. It was designed to provide coverage to many parts of Africa, and the Ka-band transponders would also cover Italy. The satellite was launched from Russia on 27 September 2003.
30. Nigeria’s population increased by 57 million from 1990 to 2008, a 60% growth rate in less than two decades. As of 2017, the population stood at 191 million. Around 42.5% of the population were 14 years or younger, 19.6% were aged 15–24, 30.7% were aged 25–54, 4.0% aged 55–64, and 3.1% aged 65 years or older. The median age in 2017 was 18.4 years. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and accounts for about 17% of the continent’s total population as of 2017; however, exactly how populous is a subject of speculation.
31. Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups, with varying languages and customs, creating a country of rich ethnic diversity. The three largest ethnic groups are the Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo, together accounting for more than 70% of the population, while the Edo, Ijaw, Fulɓe, Kanuri, Urhobo-Isoko, Ibibio, Ebira, Nupe, Gbagyi, Jukun, Igala, Idoma and Tiv comprise between 25 and 30%; other minorities make up the remaining 5%.
32. There are 521 languages that have been spoken in Nigeria; nine of them are now extinct.
The major languages spoken in Nigeria represent three major families of languages of Africa: the majority are Niger-Congo languages, such as Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw, Fulfulde, Ogoni, and Edo. Kanuri, spoken in the northeast, primarily in Borno and Yobe State, is part of the Nilo-Saharan family, and Hausa is an Afroasiatic language.
33. Nigeria is a religiously diverse society, with Islam and Christianity being the most widely professed religions. Nigerians are nearly equally divided into Muslims and Christians, with a tiny minority of adherents of Traditional African religions and other religions. As common in other parts of Africa where Islam and Christianity are dominant, religious syncretism with the Traditional African religions is common throughout Nigeria.
34. Health care delivery in Nigeria is a concurrent responsibility of the three tiers of government in the country, and the private sector. Nigeria has been reorganising its health system since the Bamako Initiative of 1987, which formally promoted community-based methods of increasing accessibility of drugs and health care services to the population, in part by implementing user fees. The new strategy dramatically increased accessibility through community-based health care reform, resulting in more efficient and equitable provision of services. A comprehensive approach strategy was extended to all areas of health care, with subsequent improvement in the health care indicators and improvement in health care efficiency and cost.
35. Education in Nigeria is overseen by the Ministry of Education. Local authorities take responsibility for implementing policy for state-controlled public education and state schools at a regional level. The education system is divided into Kindergarten, primary education, secondary education and tertiary education. After the 1970s oil boom, tertiary education was improved so it would reach every subregion of Nigeria. 68% of the Nigerian population is literate, and the rate for men (75.7%) is higher than that for women (60.6%).
36. Nigeria is home to a substantial network of organised crime, active, especially in drug trafficking. Nigerian criminal groups are heavily involved in drug trafficking, shipping heroin from Asian countries to Europe and America; and cocaine from South America to Europe and South Africa. Various Nigerian Confraternities or student “campus cults” are active in both organised crime and in political violence as well as providing a network of corruption within Nigeria. As confraternities have extensive connections with political and military figures, they offer excellent alumni networking opportunities. The Supreme Vikings Confraternity, for example, boasts that twelve members of the Rivers State House of Assembly are cult members.
37. Nigeria poverty rates have gone down significantly in the last few years, because of economic growth. The world bank states Nigeria has had a 7.4% economic growth in July, 2019 which has been their highest yet since the gross domestic product rate decreased to 2%. While as of May 4th, 2020 40% of Nigerians live in poverty, this number still shows the growth of the developing country, with a previously counted 61% of the population living in poverty in 2012. Having made their own plans to reduce this number, The Federal Republic of Nigeria has presented a plan to lower this number tremendously to the World Bank Group. Mostly because of government instability, which affects the rate at which citizens of Nigeria are employed is the major reason for the poverty levels being higher in certain periods of time.
38. Nigeria has had a huge role in the development of various genres of African music, including West African highlife, Afrobeat, Afrobeats, and palm-wine music, which fuses native rhythms with techniques that have been linked to the Congo, Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica and worldwide.
Many late 20th-century musicians such as Fela Kuti have famously fused cultural elements of various indigenous music with American jazz and soul to form Afrobeat which has in turn influenced hip hop music. JuJu music, which is percussion music fused with traditional music from the Yoruba nation and made famous by King Sunny Adé, is from Nigeria. Fuji music, a Yoruba percussion style, was created and popularised by Mr. Fuji, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister.
39. Nigerian cuisine, like West African cuisine in general, is known for its richness and variety. Many different spices, herbs, and flavourings are used in conjunction with palm oil or groundnut oil to create deeply flavoured sauces and soups often made very hot with chili peppers. Nigerian feasts are colourful and lavish, while aromatic market and roadside snacks cooked on barbecues or fried in oil are plentiful and varied.
40. Football is largely considered Nigeria’s national sport and the country has its own Premier League of football. Nigeria’s national football team, known as the “Super Eagles”, has made the World Cup on Six occasions 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014, and most recently in 2018. In April 1994, the Super Eagles ranked 5th in the FIFA World Rankings, the highest ranking achieved by an African football team. They won the African Cup of Nations in 1980, 1994, and 2013, and have also hosted the U-17 & U-20 World Cup. They won the gold medal for football in the 1996 Summer Olympics (in which they beat Argentina) becoming the first African football team to win gold in Olympic football.