It is the much expected day of jubilation and excitement,as the long fought battle of Nigeria Independence from the hand of British colonial leadership finally arrived.Many were excited about this experience while others are just indifferent about this development.
The entire country were thrown into this historical celebration mood which will usher in;a new phase of beginning for the people of Nigeria. Lagos, the then capital of Nigeria was the peak of the whole celebration as the excited Nigerians stormed the Tafawa Balewa Square(TBS) Lagos and the atmosphere was filled with joy and anxiety.
Finally the very day has arrived and it was Saturday, 1st of October, 1960. Nigerians of various class, size, background trooped out to be part of this historical event. TBS was full to its brim with the animated crowds of students, civil servants, market men and women, traders.Not forgetting that entertainers (cultural dancers, masquerades, acrobats etc.) were also standing by to paint the celebration red with their breathtaking performances. Some of them have rehearsed for up-to six months for this grand and historical event.
To such an event, security men such as:- policemen and Nigeria Armies stood in bands at different strategic locations across the square to prevent or suppress any form of unwanted intrusions and disturbance. The security was absolutely tightly held; as people’s lives and properties were guided so that they can enjoyed the hand over ceremony. What a colorful day as many who couldn’t make it to the stadium; watched the whole event at home from their various TV Set(black and white television).
After the introductory entertainment interlude Nigeria first Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa kicked-off the ceremony with his eloquent speech; where he expressed his joy and happiness for the new nation, Nigeria and her people. His speech were full hope, sincere appreciation to the colonial masters for all they did for Nigeria and he went further promising them that Nigeria will remain in good terms with the British government. After his speech, he greeted with various expression of ovation from Nigerians present in the stadium that day.
The event of the day continued with a significant part of the event as the first national anthem composed by Lillian Jean Williams was sung; and the Nigerian flag was hoisted in replacement of the British flag.The Nigeria flag was designed by Taiwo Akinkunmi in 1959.
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On the procession,Sir Jaja Wachukwu, Nigeria’s first indigenous speaker, received Nigeria’s instrument of freedom (also known as ‘Freedom Charter’) from Princess Alexandra of Kent, a member of the British royal family who represented Queen Elizabeth at the ceremony. This is the highest peak of the historical ceremony. At this point, Nigerians seated in the stadium and those at home watched carefully as the handover took place.
Immediately Sir Wachukwu received the Freedom Charter, the stadium went wild with jubilation. Different colorful shades of fireworks, Dance displays(acrobatics, Masquerades and traditional),Smiles hugs,Cheers,Foods,Drinks were at displays. Nigerians were super excited at the final arrival of their freedom from the colonial masters.
In the evening of that day, there was a state banquet which was held Federal Palace hotels, Victoria Island Lagos where dignitaries from other countries were entertained by Nigeria musicians and entertainers gave them a grand reception that event.