Nigeria celebrates its independence day annually on the 1st of October. On October 1, 2017 it became 57 years since the country gained independence and while there are always varied emotions shared by Nigerians on the day, it is still a day worth celebrating.
As Nigerians celebrated Nigeria at 57, there was no deviation from the norm. Some Nigerians took to social media to complain about the country’s stagnancy over a number of issues while others declared their commitment to the country which they hailed as still having a lot of potential.
One thing is for sure, as Nigerians enjoy the holiday courtesy of Nigeria at 57 it is certainly appropriate to look back at some of the proudest moments in the country’s history and what exactly made them so.
Before we jump into that, however, it is needless to say that Nigeria at 57 would not be a thing without the country’s independence in 1960. It is one of the country’s proudest moments, heralding the birth of a nation with so much potential and promise.
Here are five other proud moments that the country has enjoyed since then.
Nigeria At 57; Five Proud Moments
Wole Soyinka’s Nobel Win
What a great moment for a growing country. Having the literary accomplishments of the nation lauded with a win by one of their own was, and remains till today, a proud moment for many Nigerians.
Match that to the fact that the great Wole Soyinka was the very first African laureate and you may begin to understand why that is still a very proud moment for Nigeria at 57. The Nobel Foundation described him as one of the finest poetical playwrights that have written in English.
His win in October 1986 continues to inspire generation after generation of Nigerian writers to reach as far as they can with the art and since then, the country has recorded some other amazing literary wins.
Nigeria’s Olympic Gold Win in 1996
Anyday and anytime, an Olympic gold has the capacity to make an individual or a country proud. Now, imagine all the high emotions that this particular Olympic Gold win in Atlanta 1996 elicited.
On this momentous occasion, Nigeria became the first African country to win the Olympic Gold after winning Argentina 3-2 in the finals. Of course, to even get to the finals, the country also had to beat Brazil in the semi’s, doing so with an incredible score line of 5-3.
Nigeria’s Return To Democracy
Almost as momentous as the country’s Independence was its return to democracy in May 1999 after 19 years of uninterrupted military rule. It ushered in an air of optimism in the country as the feeling of taking their fate in their hands was distilled across the board.
Over the years, a scattered minority of Nigerians may have a return to the days of military rule due to the failures of leadership in Nigeria under democracy but that idea may never be embraced mainstream as a majority of Nigerians still see the time of military dictatorship as very dark days.
Agbani Darego’s Miss World Crown
In November 2001, the beautiful Agbani Darego wore the Miss World Crown and made the hearts of many Nigerians swell with pride. Agbani Darego had been the reigning Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria when she ran but no one had really expected a black woman to go far in the competition.
The beautiful woman became the first black African woman to claim the crown and forever gave us the words declared over and over by black women everywhere; “Black is beautiful!”
The proud moment in most recent history that has inspired a film, several think pieces and National pride that will go on for a long time. By the time the Ebola virus had been kicked out of Nigeria, 8 people had lost their lives but thanks to the collective effort of people in the country it was not the sweeping disaster that it could very easily have been.
September 2014 will always be one of Nigeria’s prouder moments when people like the late Dr Ameyo Adadevoh showed great patriotism and intelligence, containing the spread of the virus and saving countless lives.