Nigeria is an amazing country on the African continent with a rich and fascinating history. It is a country of both unity and division, one in which many different tribes have tried to come together as one, under the Nigerian flag, sometimes being successful in this, and sometimes less successful. More than anything, for Nenadi Usman, Nigeria is home, and it is a country that she wants to represent as a political leader. To do so, she feels everyone should have a greater understanding of its history and how it became the country that it is today.
A Short History of Nigeria According to Nenadi Usman
The political entity of Nigeria was formed in 1914, when Lord Lugard amalgamated the Northern and Southern Protectorate of Nigeria. The name of the country comes from the river the flows through it, which is the River Niger. Flora Shaw, who eventually married Baron Lugard, chose this name. Lugard, meanwhile, was a British colonial administrator who presided over the country from the end of the 19th century onwards.
While there are many different tribes in Nigeria, there are three main ethnic groups. Those are the Yoruba, the Hausa, and the Igbo. They are divided, however, over hundreds of different tribes. Interestingly, the ethnic cultures in the country have developed parallel in terms of their social, political, and historical stories. Very few times did the cultures merge and, when they did, it was only because of war and, in very rare exceptions, commerce.
To this day, the Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa are incredibly proud of their cultures, histories, traditions, and habits. And, sometimes, this causes the groups to be suspicious of each other, often quite openly so. It was for this reason that the British Imperial Office decided to amalgamate the Norther and Southern Protectorates, in the hopes of bringing the different tribes together. Now, some 100 years later, more work still has to be done.
Indeed, six years after the two haves were brought together and the different ethnic groups were forcibly mixed, everything went wrong. The Nigeria-Biafra War was based mainly on suspicion and mistrust. Each of the different tribes had a different view on where Nigeria should head, how it should do that, and how quick it should happen. The war continued for many years and, when finally over, it was taken over by a military oligarchy.
It wasn’t until 1999 that democracy finally came to Nigeria. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) proclaimed that General Olusegun Obasanjo was proclaimed president of Nigeria. He returned as president four years later. The next elections were secured by President Yar’dua, although this did fill the country with tension once again. He was replaced in 2010 by Jonathan Goodluck, who stayed on as president until 2015, after which Muhammadu Buhari took office. He remains president to this day.
Nenadi Usman, meanwhile, aims to further the democratic aims of Nigeria, bringing the country together once and for all. She truly is changing the world.