Days that shook Nigeria | Welcome to Linda Ikeji's Blog





Saturday, 18 August 2007

Days that shook Nigeria

I did this post sometime in February this year...long before most of you discovered my thought to repeat it 'cos I'm sure most of y'all haven't seen this. This was one week of research work and if you type on google, this will probably be the only place to find an article like this.

I call it 'Days That Shook Nigeria'

There were days in the history of our beloved country that something happened to affect the lives of every Nigerian. Days that will forever remain etched in our memories, because the events that took place on those days were either painful, bittersweet, great but all unforgetable. Some of us weren't born when some of these events occured but we know it like we were there, because their stories have been told over and over again. Those days shook the very foundation on which our nation is built on. Some of these days changed the destiny of our nation.

Below is a list, with pictures, of days that shook Nigeria

Ikejia Bomb Blast. Dark Sunday as it popularly called, is a day that will forever remain etched in our memory. That was the day so many young children lost their lives. Lagosians were thrown into a state of confusion and pandemonium on January 27, 2002, as several bombs exploded at Ikeja military cantonment. Over 600 people lost their lives trying to scape from what they didn't know.

Bellview plane crash. Sunday Oct 23rd was a dark Sunday for most Nigerians. Not only did we loose our First Lady, we also lost 117 people on the ill-fated Bellview Plane that crashed near the village of Lissa, about 30 km (20 miles) north of Lagos, three minutes after take-off, killing everyone on board. The plane was headed to the Nigerian capital of Abuja from Lagos when it crashed. The plane was missing for hours before the wreckage was found shortly after dawn. There have been a few plane crashes in Nigeria in the last two years but I choose this particular crash because no victim of that crash was found. The plane had buried the passengers down, deep into the earth. A sad way to go.

MKO Abiola's death
Every Nigerian can remember exactly where they were when Abiola was reported to have died of a heart attack on Tuesday July 7, 1998 after falling ill during a meeting with a visiting U.S. delegation. Abiola was the apparent winner of the 1993 presidential elections that were canceled by the military. He was jailed the following year and accused of treason by dictator Gen. Sani Abacha.

His sudden death drew anger and disbelief, as a lot of people believed he would soon be freed from incarceration following Abacha's death. The days following Abiola's death was that of mayhem and destruction. Staunch Abiola supporters went to the streets, destroying lives and properties. It was a terrible period.

Biafra War. On May 30, 1967 following nationwide disturbances, the government of the then Eastern region, headed by Lt. Col. Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, broke away from the Federal Republic of Nigeria by declaring the Eastern Region of Nigeria the Republic ofBiafra. The Federal Government declared this move a rebellion and decided to nullify it. This led to the 30 months civil war which ended in victory for the Federal Government on January 12, 1970.

1994 African Cup of Nations
The 1994, the 19th edition of the African Cup of Nations was hosted by Tunisia. On April 10th, the finals was played between Nigeria and Zambia. Nigeria won 2-1. Nigeria went crazy. We celebrated like we had never done befoe. It was a day that brought us closer as a people. A day that made us forget our problems. A day that every Nigerian can say that they were truly happy.

The war on Odi
This incident also known as the Odi tragedy happened on November 20, 1999. On this date, the federal government of Nigeria in a swift move to track down some irate youths who had earlier in November 1999 alleged to have kidnapped and killed twelve policemen, declared a state of emergency on Odi community after a 14-day ultimatum that was yet to expire. On November 20, thousands of combined military personnel invaded the community and unleashed a heavy bombardment by artillery, air craft, grenade launchers, mortar bombs and other sophisticated weapons in replication of a typical invasion of an enemy territory in real warfare. The military invasion of the Odi community resulted in the loss of lives, properties were looted and virtually all the infrastructure in the community was either destroyed or torched. Many citizens of Odi who were lucky to be alive were bundled aboard trucks and taken to military barracks in Elele in Port Harcourt and Warri as prisoners of war. By the time the soldiers were eventually evacuated and replaced with men of the Nigerian police, Odi was in ruins. That was a day a lot of Nigerians wil never forget.

The execution of Ken Saro Wiwa
Ken Saro Wiwa was a Nigerian author, television producer, and environmental activist and President, of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), In May 1994, he was arrested and accused of incitement to murder following the deaths of four Ogoni elders. Saro-Wiwa denied the charges, but was imprisoned for over a year before being found guilty and sentenced to death by a specially convened tribunal, during which nearly all of the defendants' lawyers resigned in protest to the trial's cynical rigging by the Abacha regime. Very few observers were surprised when the tribunal declared a "guilty" verdict, but most were shocked that the penalty would be death by hanging for all nine defendants. However, many were skeptical that the executions would actually occur, as the Nigerian government would face international outrage and possible sanctions and other legal action should the penalties be carried out. But on November 10, 1995, Saro-Wiwa and eight other MOSOP leaders (the "Ogoni Nine") were executed by hanging at the hands of military personnel. According to most accounts, Ken was the last person to be hanged and thus forced to watch the death of his colleagues. It was a day that threw Nigerians into shock and thousands were seen crying openly

Aba women riot
This was touched off by the imposition of direct taxation and the introduction of new local courts and especially of warrant chiefs. Ten thousand women rioted and the demonstrations swept through the Owerri-Calabar districts.The women attacked three specific targets:The Native Courts, all European-owned factories and warrant chiefs from Native Courts where sessions were in progress. One warrant chief was pushed of his bicycle, his gun was taken away and the women chased him into the bush. The British then decided to use force to restore law and order and over 32 women, including the leader died. This effectively ended the Warrant Chief system. It is an unforgetable day in the history of Nigeria.

The death of Sani Abacha
Abacha died while in the company of two Indian prostitutes. Though the official cause of his death was a heart attack, according to a widely held belief amongst Nigerians and Western diplomats he overdosed on Viagra or Burantashi, on June 8th, 1998. Almost every Nigerian can remember where they were when they heard the 'happy' news. Market women went into the streets singing and dancing. Nigerians were happy to hear of his death. There was even a story that went around at the time that armed-robbers didn't operate for a while in celebration of the death of Nigeria's most hated leader of all time

The death of Stella Obasanjo. Very early in the morning of Sunday 23 October 2005, it was announced live that our beloved First Lady and mother of the nation, Chief Mrs Stella Obasanjo had passed on after under-going cosmetic surgery. It turned to a sour day for most Nigerians because no one expected such a vibrant, kindhearted and beautiful woman to pass on when she did. She was loved by most and her untimely death at the age of 59, caused alot of pain for Nigerians

1966 Military coup
On January 15, 1966, some members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria toppled the Civilian Government in a miliary coup. Alot of top Nigerian government officials lost their lives, including the then Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa. The coup was led by Major Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. Major-general Aguiyi Ironsi emerged the Head of State and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces after the coup and was later arrested and executed.

Atlanta '96
August 3rd 1996 was a day alot of Nigerians will never forget. It was the day that enemies became friends, drinks were freely given, landlords forgot their rent money, bank MD's embraced their drivers, Monarchs kissed their boy-in-waiting, police and thieves shook hands. It was a day a nation jubilated and celebrated like never seen before in our history. Every Nigerian felt like a winner. The under-23 soccer team, led by Kanu Nwankwu put Nigeria in the world map by winning and making us the first African country to win the gold medal in a football event at the olympics

The visit of Pope John Paul II
March 22 1998, was a historic moment for Nigerians. As that was the day Pope John Paul II visited Nigeria for the second time. The first time being in 1982. His visit threw Nigerians into a celebatory mood.

Agbani Darego becoming Miss World
On Novenber 16 2001, a nineteen year old girl single handedly put Nigeria on the world map by winning the 2001 Miss World pageant in South Africa, beating 92 other girls and setting a world record as the first black African Miss World. It was a day Nigerians openly celebrated and every one felt proud to call themselves Nigerians

There was also the 1976 Dimka coup plot that resulted in the death of General Murtala Mohammed, the then head of state.

These are some of the days I can remember that shook Nigeria. What days do you remember? What event shook you the most?


chidi said...

nice & sad 2

Anonymous said...

great piece of work! thanks for the historic reminder especially for lost nigerians like moi!
also, i gotta commend u for ya articles as well cos they make so much meaning as i do relate to them!

Keep up ya good work gurl... greatness starts from lil places, i know its only a blog! said...

Mehn, the way the riot broke out all of a sudden as the news of Abiola's death filtered in to Lagos via the evening news wire was scary; I was glad I made it alive after spending 3 days at a friends place until the situation calmed down in Lagos. People got killed and 'area boys' started attacking Hausas. Can't forget that day!

I was in Abuja when Abacha died and I was fortunate to see the convoy of cars headed back to Kano, his home state. People were scared of talking about Abacha's death in Abuja as we all whispered it hush hush and there was no celebration; but you can tell everyone was glad inside that the dictator passed on.

There are a couple more Nigerian history I witnessed which is not listed here.
I witnessed the Ife/Modakeke war live; my wandering behind saw me visiting friends at the University of Ife and I got caught on the Ife end of the battle. It was a scary experience; traditional war armory at it's best as tribal neighbors were fighting each other; got lucky as I survived that experience as well.
Lastly, I saw the victims of the Oct 1998 Jesse oil disaster in Delta State that killed thousands of oil saboteurs. Worst oil disaster ever in modern Nigerian history!

This post brings back alot of memories. Great post!

Anonymous said...

Well done Linda, great post!

Anonymous said...

well written Linda.I really must commend you here!

Dith said...

i gtta say i dislike this post. a perfect mood ruiner

Anonymous said...

This post is excellent!

One of ur best....leanrt a couple of things i never knew.


de'tente said...

i remember all.especially the ikeja bomb blast and stella's death.really sad....
mko's death almost caused a civil war.(me and my sibs were actually sent away,lol),im not an ardent football follower but boy was i interested in that particular edition of the african cup of nations and then atlanta 96.We all went wild at the time.was so proud to be Nigerian,just like when agbani won.The down side of that though was when our miss world hosting rights was cancelled some days into the competition.What a bummer!I guess abacha had it coming.Ken saro wiwa most certainly did not deserve to die then.
The Bellview crash just has to clinch the top spot(at least in recent times).That was just too sad...
Highly intellectual post linda.

Anonymous said...

The bellview crash really brings back dark memories.God bless Nigeria

Pyeri Boy said...

Linda this is the best post i have read on blogville today...

Dagg, the day Abacha died...i remember i was writing my SSCE...we all dropped our pens and started partying...the invigilator joined us sef.

Unknown said...

Hey Linda, great write up! Brought back those memories. I was in Ikeja during that bomb blast and I remember seeing so much fear on peoples faces when they didn't know if a war was going on or Osama bin laden had attacked Lagos ... LOL. How ignorance can mislead ..
How you dey? Long time

Unknown said...

Like the balanced report, good and bad. Keeping the pendulum at a midpoint.

LurLar said...

i Loff the post...of course the plance crash,nd bomb killing is a sad history....may their souls rest in peace!!!

Mrs Somebody said...

Great post Linda!

Anonymous said...

Update pls.

Anonymous said...

The first letter bomb blast that finally led to Dele Giwa's a historic one for me

Unknown said...

Very sad
I'd have to say the bomb shocked and shooked me... I was close to where the incident happened... I remember feeling the effect of the bomb.. the whole ground of akute (outskirt of lagos)..alagbole, ojodu berger shaked... It felt like an earthquake. My sis and I were supposed to go to the everning service but we made sure everyoen went and decided to stay home and watch tv. The whole house started shaking and we got scared... "I think Jesus is coming o.. let's go to church and he'll meet us there," i said in fear... my sis just took her scarf and her bible and we hurried to church which was a few mins from home...

On getting there, everyone ws outside the church talking about what they thought happened? We kept hearing the sound and we were feeling the effect.. everywhere scattered and we could not do the service. We heard so many rumors that night and we started to pray and call ... I ot into a corner and started crying when I was told where the incident was taking place... "what what of temii (as I love to call him)?" was my thot. That was my f and he was at ikeja... well enuff f that. I thank God nothing happened to him, his family, or my famiyl.. it was a memorable event (very sad)

Unknown said...

The day Abache died
boyyyyyywe had a blast
We had a fiesta

princesa said...

All these event affected Nigerians one way or the other.

I'll rather remember the positive ones tho.

Nice post.

Anonymous said...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

no no no, Linda update now shuo..
ok I've been stalking ya blog, help!

Unknown said...

interesting post.

Unknown said...

U r quite intelligent

Anonymous said...

I miss posts as this. brilliant. I recall where i was when i heard of those happenings. oh well....

Anonymous said...

deep post, nice one. in forging ahead we should not forget our past so we dont make the same mistakes again

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that 'Coming to America' didn't make your list of 'must-see' movies...

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