Nigeria history Leaders

Most Consequential Events in Nigeria’s History (1920-1959)

Business registration

Who can tell which of today’s events will prove most consequential in the future? Here, i present my list of events which proves to be one. This list covers the periods 1920 to 1959. Trust the other years up to the 100 years promised in the title of the video to be added in the first week of the new year. Stay with Cynthia for the best!

Many things happen every single day. Only the future can tell what would emerge the most consequential


  • The first craft school in former Northern Nigeria set up in Bida.
  • First Inter-House sports in King’s College Lagos, marking a golden era of sport that lasted for 50 years.
  • Catholic Church comes to Kafachan through Igbos who work for the railways
  • Ademola II, Alake Egba mounts the throne, preaches Free Trade 
  • Following the German surrender in December 1918, Alaafin Ladigbolu is honoured in Oyo palace by the British colonialists in January


  • Census holds in Nigeria, going beyond Lagos to include few more urban towns within the Lagos colony.
  • Ernest Ikoli starts African Messenger to be third with already established Weekly Record and Nigerian Pioneer
  • Ownership of Lagos lands decided in favour of natives as Amodu Tijani wins case against government in London with the assistance of Herbert Macaulay 


  • Bala Fredrick Mainasara becomes the first indigenous Hausa man to be ordained an Anglican cleric 


  • Unilever comes to Nigeria as United Africa Company, UAC
  • Party politics begins in Nigeria with Herbert Macaulay’s Democratic Party dominating
  • Akinwande Savage, Lagos medical doctor sets up his own Saturday newspaper, Nigerian Spectator


  • First airplane lands in Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Oba of Lagos, Eleko Esugbayi sacked
  • First Christian Oba of Lagos, Ibikunle Akitoye, installed
  • Construction work starts in Christ Church Cathedral, Lagos
  • Seraphim Band, now Cherubim and Seraphim Church founded in Lagos by Tunolase Orimolade 



  • Famine in Northern Nigeria with high death toll.


  • St Gregory’s College founded in Lagos
  • Sanusi Olusi succeeds Ibikunle Akitoye, Oba of Lagos who died 
  • Railways Department dismisses Michael Imoudu for organising workers for action



  • Nigeria Police established
  • As first step in post-secondary education in Nigeria, the Yaba Medical School was established to train medical assistants with the award of a diploma
  • Joseph Ayo Babalola’s revivals enlivens Christian life in Ilesa


  • British Treaty cedes Bakassi to Germany


  • The first foreign firm of chartered accountants in Nigeria established as Edward Casselton Elliot & Co.
  • Igbobi College established
  • Falolu becomes Oba of Lagos


  • Ahmadu Bello, the great-grandson of Dan Fodiyo, wants to be Sultan, but loses the contest to his cousin, Abubakar Sidiq III who is installed with the help of British troops.
  • Middle Belt People’s Party co-founded by Sunday Olawoyin
  • National Bank of Nigeria established 


  • Nnamdi Azikiwe comes back to Nigeria with a string of degrees from the U.S.
  • National Youth Movement founded
  • First Argungu Festival held, as a goodwill gesture and celebration of peace between the people of Sokoto and Argungu
  • Teacher salary structure of 1926 is downscaled by up to 20 percent as global Great Depression hits Lagos




  • Traditional rulers in Yorubaland meet face to face for the first time
  • Awolowo with Samuel Akinsanya organizes a successful 8-day strike of motor transport owners in the Western Region
  • Eleko Esugbayi reinstated as Lagos Oba after fierce legal battle
  • Nnamdi Azikiwe moves to Lagos to start the West African Pilot


  • Nnamdi Azikiwe’s National Youth Movement wins election to Lagos Town Council 
  • Shell enters into collaboration with British Petroleum (formerly Anglo-Persian Oil Company) for oil prospection in Nigeria.
  • More Ife sculptures discovered when builders laying the foundation of a house. First discovery was 28 years prior.
  • Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole (The Forest of a Thousand Daemons) by D.O. Fagunwa published. 
  • Ikoyi Club 1938 founded
  • Timothy Odutola announces the emergence of a new class of educated leaders in his essay. Among his mentions are Obafemi Awolowo and Samuel Akinsanya


  • Governor-General of Nigeria passes time in a bunker during the second World War at a location now occupied as railway staff quarters.
  • Palm Wine music plays for the first time in Lagos


  • Schism in Ilesa based revival movement leads to the founding of The Apostolic Church and the Christ Apostolic Church
  • Egba indigines gear up to support colonialist against Hitler, “aware of the true position of affairs in Europe”


  • For fear of attack from Vichy France during the second World War, an order was made for the cessation of lighting at night in the city of Ibadan


  • British Council commences operations in Nigeria


  • Following the Ikoli-Akinsanya affair, embittered Nnamdi Azikiwe leaves the National Youth Movement to join hands with Herbert Macaulay and forms the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroon, NCNC
  • Margarete Ekpo starts her political career as she joins the NCNC
  • Anthony Enahoro becomes the editor, the Southern Nigerian Defender, Ibadan, in 1944 at the age of 21
  • The Nigerian regiment returns from engagement abroad during the second World War
  • First Nigerian record label that will discover talents like Sunny Ade, Tunde Nightingale, Idowu Animashaun, Kayode Fashola, among others; TYC Records, is formed.


  • Egba women’s riots which temporarily deposed the Alake monarch earns Nigeria the abolition of the poll tax on women and the institution of the Universal Adult Suffrage
  • Henry Carr, great mathematician, dies
  • Herbert Ogunde founded company, Ogunde Concert Party, which is Nigeria’s first professional theatrical company


  • In October, Ogunde’s budding theatrical campaigns takes him to Jos where he stages Sank and Hunger, a play which highlights the plight of workers, and he incurres the wrath of the colonial lords who bannes his work and fines him £125.
  • Lagos women close their shops to show respect as Herbert Macaulay dies


  • Victor Olaiya’s music career begins in Lagos with the Ekpo Band, a street band with three instruments, two drummers and six sticks players
  • Obafemi Awolowo publishes book; Path to Nigerian Freedom


  • University College Ibadan is opened October 1 at 56th General Military Hospital on Eleyele Waterworks Road, the temporary campus.
  • Cyprian Ekwensi publishes his novella, When Love Whispers
  • Alfred Rewan– led protest against racism of Bristol Hotel leads to Governor-General Arthur Richard banning all forms of racial segregation in Nigeria.


  • Nigerian Tribune Newspapers established by Obafemi Awolowo in November
  • Ladoke Akintola returnes from the UK to join politics 
  • Adeniji Adele named new Oba of Lagos
  • Foundation stone of All Saints’ Cathedral , Onitsha laid in November by Governor-General John Stuart Macpherson
  • Massacre of twenty-one coal miners November 18 at Ivy Valley Enugu amplifies call for independence among Zikists
  • Teslim Balogun earnes the nickname “Thunder” for his performance in the Nigerian Challenge Cup finals 
  • Novelist D.O Fagunwa publishes Igbo Olodumare
  • Kingsway Stores completes and gets opened by the British Governor of Nigeria.


  • Karim Babalola Olowu wins two silver medals as Nigerian representative at the British Commonwealth Games
  • Herbert Ogunde’s group is outlawed and he is arrested for sedition by the colonialists when he stages Bread and Bullet in the city of Kano
  • The Nigeria Amateur Boxing Association, NABA, is formed 


  • Ogunde sings Yoruba Ronu
  • Awolowo and colleagues form the Action Group (AG)
  • AG turnes the tables on Zik’s NCNC through grassroot canvassing. Zik retreats to the East “whence he came”
  • Awolowo resumes office as Premier of the Western Region under colonial rule
  • Shell in collaboration with British Petroleum exploits 450 barrels of oil in Akata I oil well


  • Gabriel Okara wins the first ever National Poetry Prize
  • Novel by Amos Tutuola, The Palm-wine Drinkard is published and becomes the first Nigerian book to achieve critical acclaims and international fame.
  • Akintola Williams arrives from UK to establish, at 32, Africa’s first indigenous chartered accounting firm.


  • Process for Nigeria’s independence begins with first Constitutional Conference in London
  • Fatai Olagunju starts his musical career after encountering the music of legendary artists like Tunde King and Irewole Denge
  • Northern NPC parliamentarians rejects self-government, asking to first consult their 123 constituencies.


  • Nnamdi Azikiwe becomes the Premier of the Eastern Region
  • Azikiwe leads the African delegation to the Pan-African congress in Manchester, England, alongside Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah and Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta.
  • Emmanuel Ifeajuna wins gold at the 1954 Vancouver Empire Games 
  • Victor Olaiya launches his own band, the Cool Cats at the West End Café in Lagos and became popular, promoting himself with numerous recorded hits.
  • Novelist Mabel Segun is published in German anthologies, becoming arguably Nigeria’s first female to be published.
  • Cyprian Ekwensi’s People of the City brings him to limelight
  • Margaret Ekpo, women activist meets counterpart, Funmilayo Kuti in Abeokuta
  • Nigerians expelled from Ghana
  • Oba Adeniran Adeyemi, the Alafin of Oyo asked by Western region government to go into voluntary exile


  • Awolowo declares free education in the Western Region
  • Socony Vacuum (now Mobil), a global giant, granted oil prospecting license in Nigeria
  • Railway Act of 1955 enacted 


  • Oil is struck in commercial quantity at Oloibiri
  • Queen of England visits Nigeria
  • Osita Osadebe begins his professional musical career 
  • Anthony Enahoro moves a motion for self-government in Nigeria
  • John Amata makes film, Freedom, abroad


  • Ladoke Akintola moves a second motion for independence in Parliament and asked for Nigeria to gain independence from the British in 1959. This motion was passed by the Federal House but the British authorities refuses to acquiesce to it.
  • Benjamin Adekunle a.k.a. Scorpion, enlists in Nigerian army
  • Willink Commission reports that the Niger Delta people are poor, backward and neglected, and should be on the concurrent list as a “special area” needing special attention”.
  • Abubakar Tafawa Balewa coins National Unity Tenet – Unity in Diversity 
  • University College Hospital Ibadan moves to its permanent site.


  • Discovery of Bomu oil field in Ogoniland brings Nigeria into the committee of global oil producing states
  • Motion for independence on April 1, 1960, moved by AG Parlimentarian, Remi Fani- Kayode is accepted and acquiesced to by the British
  • Constitutional conference holds in Lancaster House in London
  • Chinua Achebe, a 28-year-old broadcaster, introduces the world to African Literature through Things Fall Apart.
  • FRA Williams becomes first African to be appointed Queen’s Counsel, QC
  • Olusegun Obasanjo enlists in the Nigerian army.
  • Liberty Stadium (now Obafemi Awolowo Stadium) officially opened
  • Future Cardinal of the Roman Catholic, Arinze Francis becomes an ordained priest
  • Adelabu Adegoke, leader of the opposition in the West, dies in motor accident. He is called penkelemesi because of favourite phrase ‘peculiar mess,’ frequently used by him to describe the opposition.


  • At the instance of the British who needed a few more months, Tafawa Balewa moves a final motion for independence in October 1 of 1960 instead of April 1.
  • Southern Cameroun, formerly part of Nigeria, joins the Republic of Cameroon after a referendum 
  • Federal elections holds. Zik’s NCNC placed second to the Northern Peoples’ Congress (NPC), thus choosing to enter into an alliance with the winning party making Awolowo’s AG an opposition party.
  • Hezekiah Oladapo Davies appointed as Queen’s Counsel
  • First major play by Wole Soyinka , The Invention, is staged by the Royal Court London where he works as teacher and actor
  • Western Nigeria Television, WNTV (precursor to Nigeria Television Authority) conceptualized by Premier Awolowo becomes Africa’s first TV station as it commences operation in Ibadan.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

Are you interested in receiving the latest grant, funding, and business opportunities? Join our newsletter for free and stay updated!

Click here to join our newsletter

Join our community:

Join our WhatsApp group

Join our Telegram group

Join our Facebook group

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top