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Happy Nigerian Independence Day!

October 1, 2009
Nigerian flag

Nigerian flag

Happy 49th birthday to the country of Nigeria, and well wishes to all of our Nigerian friends around the world!

Nigeria gained its independence from the United Kingdom on October 1, 1960.

A little history lesson:

British influence and control over what would become Nigeria and Africa’s most populous country grew through the 19th century.

After World War II, a series of constitutions granted Nigeria greater autonomy; independence came in 1960. Following nearly 16 years of military rule, a new constitution was adopted in 1999, and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed.

The first lines of the Constitution of the Republic of Nigeria read:

We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Having firmly and solemnly resolve, to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation under God, dedicated to the promotion of inter-African solidarity, world peace, international co-operation and understanding

And to provide for a Constitution for the purpose of promoting the good government and welfare of all persons in our country, on the principles of freedom, equality and justice, and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of our people

Do hereby make, enact and give to ourselves the following Constitution:

Nigeria continues to experience longstanding ethnic and religious tensions. Although both the 2003 and 2007 presidential elections were marred by significant irregularities and violence, Nigeria is currently experiencing its longest period of civilian rule since independence. The general elections of April 2007 marked the first civilian-to-civilian transfer of power in the country’s history.

(Information from CIA Factbook,

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Patrick L. Ryan II permalink
    April 15, 2010 1:27 PM

    I am originally from Des Moines but have served for three years as a diplomat overseas at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. I very much enjoyed participating in a meeting which our embassy’s Public Affairs section held with Del Christensen and recently returned participants in an IRIS program. It was quite interesting to hear various Nigerians’ reflections on life in Iowa, and in my hometown of Des Moines. They provided a new and unique perspective on the place which I consider “home”, though I haven’t lived in DSM since the summer after my freshman year in college (1988), with the exception of some months spent recuperating from a serious injury in 1990. I applaud the fine work done by Del and the rest of the IRIS team to promote greater global understanding, and provide positive first-hand views of life in the United States. Thanks, kudos and keep up the great work!

    Patrick L. Ryan II
    Political Officer
    U.S. Embassy Abuja (2007-10)

  2. iriscenter permalink
    April 16, 2010 9:20 PM

    Thanks for your comment Patrick! I’m always happy to hear of new Iowa/Nigeria connections, and we appreciate your kind thoughts about our students that you met. The YES program provides an amazing opportunity to enrich small Midwestern communities with new ideas and perspectives, and these teenagers are amazing representatives of their cultures and religions. Again, thank you so much! Take care!

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