Country in W Africa on the Gulf of Guinea, bounded N by Niger, E by Chad and Cameroon, and W by Benin.
The constitution was promulgated 1989 to take effect 1993. It provides for an elected executive president and a popularly elected two-chamber assembly, consisting of a 91-member Senate and a 593-member House of Representatives, each serving a four-year term. In 1993 the constitution was partly suspended and military rule imposed.
Nigeria is a federal republic of 30 states, each with its own governor. There is also a coordinating federal body called the National Council of States, which includes the president and all the state governors.
Nigeria has been inhabited since at least 700 BC. In the 12th–14th centuries civilizations developed in the Yoruba area and, in the Muslim north, Portuguese and British slave traders raided from the 15th century (see slavery).
Lagos was supposedly bought from a chief by British traders 1861; in 1886 it became the colony and protectorate of Lagos. The Niger River valley was developed by the National African Company (later the Royal Niger Company), which ceased 1899, and in 1900 two protectorates were set up: N Nigeria and S Nigeria, with Lagos joined to S Nigeria 1906. Britain's largest African colony, Nigeria, was united 1914.
Nigeria became a federation 1954 and achieved full independence, as a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth, 1960. In 1963 it became a republic, based on a federal structure so as to accommodate the many different ethnic groups, which included the Ibo, the Yoruba, the Aro, the Angas, and the Hausa. Nigeria's first president was Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, an Ibo; he was a banker and proprietor of a newspaper group, and had played a leading part in the movement for independence. His chief rival was Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, who was prime minister from 1957 until he was assassinated in a military coup 1966. The coup had been led mainly by Ibo junior officers from the eastern region, which had become richer after the discovery of oil there 1958.
The offices of president and prime minister were suspended, and it was announced that the state's federal structure would be abandoned. Before this could be done, the new military government was overturned in a counter-coup by a mostly Christian group from the north, led by Gen Yakubu Gowon. He reestablished the federal system and appointed a military governor for each region. Soon afterwards tens of thousands of Ibos in the north were killed.
In 1967 a conflict developed between Gowon and the military governor of the eastern region, Col Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, about the distribution of oil revenues, which resulted in Ojukwu's declaration of an independent Ibo state of Biafra. Gowon, after failing to pacify the Ibos, ordered federal troops into the eastern region, and a civil war began, lasting until Jan 1970, when Biafra surrendered to the federal forces.
It was the first war among black Africans, and it left the economy gravely weakened. Warfare and famine cost an estimated 1 million lives.
In 1975, while he was out of the country, Gowon was replaced in a bloodless coup led by Brig Murtala Mohammad, but he was killed within a month and replaced by General Olusegun Obasanjo. He announced a gradual return to civilian rule, and in 1979 the leader of the National Party of Nigeria, Shehu Shagari, became president. In Dec 1983, with the economy suffering from falling oil prices, Shagari's civilian government was deposed in another bloodless coup, led by Maj Gen Mohammedu Buhari. In 1985 another peaceful coup replaced Buhari with a new military government, led by Maj Gen Ibrahim Babangida, the army Chief of Staff. At the end of the year an attempted coup by rival officers was thwarted.
In an effort to end political corruption, President Babangida banned former and existing government officials from any future civilian administration. A ban on political activity was lifted May 1989, but the government rejected the applications of former political associations for recognition as political parties, instead creating two official parties, one to the left and one to the right of the political spectrum.
In Aug 1991 nine new states were created, bringing the total to 30. In the same month, the total of local government councils increased to 500 with the addition of 47 new ones. The changes were seen as moves toward the decentralization of power. In Dec 1991 the ban prohibiting existing government officials running for office in a new government was lifted, and the federal government was moved from Lagos to Abuja, the new federal capital. The introduction of a system of primary elections, on the US model, was announced 1992, and a delay in the return to civilian rule was expected.
first free elections declared void
The first free presidential election June 1993 was won by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate, Moshood Abiola, but the results were suspended. Babangida promised fresh elections but later persuaded the SDP and the main opposition party, the National Republican Convention, to agree to talks aimed at establishing an interim government, excluding Abiola. In Aug Babangida postponed the talks and stepped down, nominating Ernest Shonekan, a civilian, as his successor. Shonekan headed an interim administration until Nov 1993 when he was replaced by the defense minister, General Sani Abacha. Later that month all political parties were banned. Abiola was arrested and charged with treason June 1994, triggering an escalation of protests by the prodemocracy movement. In Dec 1994 a national constitutional conference recommended the continuation of military rule until 1996.
An official population policy encouraging mothers to have no more than four children was ratified 1988. Half the population is under 15.
A republic in West Africa on the Gulf of Guinea; Africa's most populous country; gained independence from Britain in 1960.
Država u Africi.