October 1 National Day or Independence Anniversary is no doubt Nigeria’s biggest celebration as a country. Hereunder are some of the spectacular events that made the day memorable both in Nigeria and beyond.
1. On October 1, 1960, Nigeria got it independence from Britain, and the Union Jack flag was lowered for the Nigerian green-white-green national flag.
2. On October 1, 1963, Nigeria proclaimed itself the Federal Republic of Nigeria and late Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe became the country’s first President.
3. October 1st is the 274th day of the year (275th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are days 91 remaining until the end of the year.
4. In 1979, Nigeria adopted a new constitution and transitioned to civilian rule with the swearing-in of Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari of NPN as first democratically elected President on October 1.
5. On October 1, 1996, the then General Sani Abacha-led junta created six more States for the Federation, one each in the six geo-political zones of the country. They are Ekiti State in the South-West, Bayelsa State in the South-South, Ebonyi State is the South-East, Zamfara State in the North-West, Nasarawa State in the North-Central and Gombe State in the North-East.
6. Nigeria celebrated its golden and diamond jubilees ten years apart, climaxing on October 1, 2010, and 2020, respectively with various events and ceremonies witnessed by invited world leaders.
7. On this day, Sunday October 1, 2023, President Bola Tinubu made his maiden Independence Day Anniversary address to Nigerians through television broadcast.
8. On October 1, 1977, Brazilian soccer legend Pelé closed out his career in an exhibition match between the Cosmos and Santos, following finishing his official playing career on August 28, 1977, by leading the New York Cosmos to their second Soccer Bowl title with a 2–1 win over the Seattle Sounders at the Civic Stadium in Portland, Oregon.
9. On October 1, 2020, not a few Nigerians were shocked when the then President Muhammadu Buhari while serving the second year of his second tenure of office, announced in a nationwide broadcast to mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary a plan to adjust petrol pump price from N161, saying it made no sense for petrol to be cheaper in Saudi Arabia than Nigeria.