October 1960: Nigeria granted freedom charter on behalf of HM The Queen who remains head of state.
October 1963: Nigeria proclaims itself a federal republic and Nnamdi Azikiwe is named as the nation’s first president
January 1966: General Aguiyi Ironsi succeeds in overthrowing the civilian government and assumes control as Nigeria’s first Military leader citing fraud and mismanagement as reasons for the overthrowing. Several Igbos are promoted to high ranking positions in the military government.
The prime minister and premier of Northern Nigeria, Tafawa Balewa and Ahmadu Bello, respectively are assassinated.
Vast reservoirs of oil are discovered in the Niger Delta area.
July 1966: A counter-coup is launched that succeeds in establishing Major General Yakubu Gowon, a Christian Northerner, as Nigeria’s head of state. Murmurings of Igbo secession begin to gather pace at the perceived injustice that ensues.
1966-1967: In a bid to counter Igbo secessionist sentiment, Gowon divides Nigeria into 12 states. There are reports of widespread genocide of Igbos living in Northern Nigeria.
May 1967: General Odumegwu Ojukwu emerges as the leader of the Eastern block and declares the region an independent republic with no ties to Nigeria. The new republic is dubbed Biafra and a new constitution, flag, currency and government is introduced. Ojukwu amalgamates the oil rich regions of the Niger Delta and Cross River as part of the new Biafra.
June 1967: Gowon responds by placing heavy economic embargos on the new republic. Ojukwu responds by opening trade with several countries including Portugal, Sweden and Israel.
July 1967: On the back of several failed peace accords, civil war breaks out. The Soviet Union and United Kingdom immediately lend their support to Nigeria. In a secret tryst with J Edgar Hoover in Lisbon, Ojukwu receives a pledge of advanced military training and strategy from America. In addition Israel promise to provide the Biafrans with aircraft.
May 1970: After three years of war there is a stalemate. However support grows for the plight of Biafra after wide spread images of starving women and children are released to the outside world. Already reeling from the lack of access to the oil reservoirs, several countries cease to trade with Nigeria until the atrocities end. Gowon bows to public pressure and concedes defeat to Biafra.
September 1972: Gen Mohammed Murtala overthrows Gowon in a bloodless coup, blaming his poor handling of the Biafran crisis. His first act is to launch a full scale invasion into Biafra in an attempt regain control of the oil resources. Major Olusegun Obasanjo, who is retained from the previous regime, orchestrates the attack. Following the death of J Edgar Hoover, Biafra loses it’s strongest ally and it’s major cities are ransacked. Ojukwu flees and the Bight of Biafra is renamed the Bight of Bonny. Obasanjo is feted as a national hero.
1973: Nigeria joins OPEC.
February 1976: Obasanjo and Mohammed are targeted in an abortive coup led by Col Dimka. Mohammed is assassinated but Obasanjo survives and regains command of Dodan barracks. He pledges to honour Mohammed’s plan to hand over to a civilian government by 1980. The announcement is made over the radio so unfortunately no one can confirm if his fingers were crossed when he made the promise.
March 1977: General Olusegun Obasanjo puts on fifteen pounds in just 12 months at Dodan barracks. He blames the lack of active warfare and a decent gym in the area.
1979: Six political parties are granted candidature. Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s National Party of Nigeria narrowly wins the presidential race ahead of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s Movement of the People party. Fela vows to re-contest in four years time.
August 1983: Shagari wins a second term in a landslide victory. Fela tries contesting again but is imprisoned on a trumped up charge of smuggling currency.
December 1983: Major General (aren’t they all?) Muhammadu Buhari stages a coup d’etat (another one?) and replaces the Shagari regime with the Supreme Military council (SMC). Newly minted senators and ministers are cast aside, many of whom never enter the political sphere again. Till this day, their tears are still falling for the measly three months that they were afforded. Bloody military partypoopers.
1984: Buhari and his rather intimidating number two, Tunde Idiagbon, launch a series of no nonsense policies to eradicate corruption and disorder in Nigerian life. The principle scheme is dubbed War Against Indiscipline (WAI). There is zero policy for drug trafficking and an arrest on sight policy for anybody publicly urinating, littering or defecating public property. The number of dread locked madmen roaming the streets drops markedly.
August 1985: Buhari’s best chum and number three in command, General. Ibrahim Badamosi gets tired of his buddy’s dithering and figures he can do a better job. He cites the misuse of power
1986-1987: Babangida approves severe pay cuts in the public sector. Nigeria enters into a period of austerity which it arguably never recovers.
1988: There is widespread rioting and public uproar as the dollar hits the five Naira mark. “Our money done become shit money” was a placard that stood out prominently at the time.
1989: After huge external intervention, General Babangida promises to return the country to civilian rule “soonest possible” The address is made on live TV and it is confirmed that he was not crossing any of his visible appendages.
1990: Gen. Babangida’s promise of civilian rule fails to materialise. Replica Argentinian jerseys with the name Diego Armando Babangida and the number 10 emblazoned at the back fly off the shelves.
1991: The dollar hits the 20 Naira mark but Nigerians are either too dumb to notice or too numb to care.
1992: Election time (finally!) and Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola is the overwhelming winner of the June 12 presidential election. Shina Peters represents the 777 party but fails to register a single vote. Babangida throws his toys out of the pram and claims the whole thing was rigged, rigged I tell ya. The supreme court say “Yes masser” and throw Abiola in jail; a fitting reward for the best electoral campaign Nigeria had ever seen.
1993: Babangida ignores the domestic riots and calls from the Western world to release Abiola. He uses Nigeria’s strength as an oil producing nation to stave off the empty threats of economic sanctions.
January 1994: For the first time in history, Nigerians put aside ethnic and religous differences in an effort to reinstate MKO Abiola as the rightful president. The unions collude to bring oil production to a standstill. Abiola is released from prison and Babangida crosses his heart and hopes to die that he will handover “soon”
June 1994: Amidst econimic uncertainty, the Super Eagles become the first African team to lift the World Cup after defeating Brazil in 3-2 in the final. Rasheedi Yekini scores a hat-trick in the last match thus equalling Gerd Muller’s record of 10 goals scored at a single World Cup. Clemens Westerhof is immediately granted full Nigerian citizenship and offered the job of sports minister. He refuses.
August 1995: MKO Abiola is sworn in as president of Nigeria. The outgoing defence minister, Sani Abacha, is sent into exile. He escapes to America where he is mistakenly shot dead by a hunting party who mistook him for an oversized, human shaped bat.
1996: Ken Saro-Wiwa becomes the third African to win the Nobel prize for Literature.
July 1998: President MKO Abiola dies after heart failure. His vice president, Baba Gana Kingibe, is sworn in as president.
February 1998: Fela Anikulapo-Kuti is awarded a posthumous lifetime achievement award at the Grammys.
1999: To much public incredulity, the now retired Olusegun Obasanjo contests in the presidential election flying the flag of the newly created People’s Democratic Party. He loses out narrowly to Olu Falae who represents the Alliance for Democratic party.
2000: Olusegun Obasanjo re-enlists with the Army with the ultimate aim of staging a coup and seizing power. However, he is forced to wait two further months to hatch his evil plan as his old uniform no longer fits, and a custom made one is on order from Switzerland. He feeds his pigs as he waits for the FedEx to arrive.
2001: Field Marshall Olusegun Obasanjo (NCC, RSM, PHD,ABC, 123, BBC, etc,) gains control of Aso Rock. He promptly resigns his army commission and leads the country under the guise of a “civilian”. Nigerians fail to notice the difference as they are all too busy sending txt msgs wiv their nu fones. After all, they say, a president that gifts cellular telephony to the masses can’t be all that bad.
2003: President Obasanjo or Sege as he insists on being called (just call me Sege) is quite enjoying this democratic lark as it actually affords him more flexibility than he had as a dictator. He sweeps the election and gains a second term.
May 2007: Despite Obasanjo's efforts for a third term election, he reluctantly hands over to the newly elected president, Umaru Yar'Adua. The new president gains instant kudos by successfully rising from the dead, Lazarus style. The world waits for him to form his new cabinet.
July 2007: The world waits a bit longer... any second now
January 2008: The world gets sick of waiting and after much meandering Yar'Adua becomes the first President ever to occupy all 40 ministerial positions at once. He specially advises himself, bodyguards himself, baths himself and can even write his own speeches himself.
Nigeria is fortunate to have him.