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Nigeria is a Democracy.

What does that mean?


Democracy is a form of government that lets every adult who is a citizen of a country choose/vote in that country decide who should lead them. You could say that democracy allows every day people to pick who will make decisions that affect them.


There are two common forms of democracy:


Parliamentary Democracy - a parliamentary democracy is led by a Prime Minister - but the Prime Minister is not directly chosen by the people. This is a form of democracy where the people vote for a representative/law maker in parliament for their area and when those representatives get chosen they then in turn will pick a Prime Minister. Typically the political party with the largest number of chosen representatives gets to form the 'government' and their leader becomes the Prime Minister. In a parliamentary democracy the executive arm of government and the legislative arm of government are the same. 

Presidential Democracy - which is what we have in Nigeria works differently. The people choose/elect their President and governors. They alongside their ministers/commissioners make decisions on how to run the country and work in cooperation with the legislative arm of government - the National Assembly, which has also been elected by the people and the judiciary - the courts, which are monitoring the law and deciding when the laws are being broken.

Nigeria hasn't always been a Democracy.

Early History

  • circa 800 BC  :  Jos plateau settled by Nok - a neolithic and iron age civilisation.

  • circa 11th century onwards : Formation of city states, kingdoms and empires, including Hausa kingdoms and Borno dynasty in north, Oyo and Benin kingdoms in south.


  • 1472 : Portuguese navigators reach Nigerian coast.

  •  15th century : Benin began to trade with the Portuguese, selling slaves and acquiring spices, firearms, the art of writing and the Christian religion.

Colonial Rule

  •  18th century : the British had displaced the Portuguese as leaders of the slave trade.

  •  1807 : the missionaries’ campaign against slavery had gained support, leading the British parliament to ban the slave trade. The navy began to patrol the coast, arresting slavers and settling captured slaves (most of them Nigerians) in the resettlement colony of Sierra Leone. Several missionaries in Nigeria were themselves freed Nigerian slaves who had converted to Christianity in Sierra Leone.  A new trade in palm oil  began, and the economies of southern Nigeria became increasingly powerful. 

  • 1809 : Single Islamic state - Sokoto caliphate - is founded in north.

  • 1861 : The Yorubas drew closer to Britain, which annexed Lagos.  

  • 1884 : British control expanded with the creation of the Oil Rivers Protectorate, set up under treaties with Yoruba rulers, and then the north, while the Igbo were conquered.

  • 1900 : Britain had control of Nigeria.

  • 1914 : Almagamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates by Sir Fredrick Lugard. The Colonial Office adopted the system of indirect rule, with traditional leaders continuing in power while owing allegiance to the colonial authority.

  • 1919 - 1925 : Sir Hugh Clifford was the Governor of Nigeria. He disposed off Lugard's council and established the elective principle for the first time in Nigeria.His constitution gave way to the establishment of political parties in Nigeria.

  • 1923 : Herbert Macaulay founded the first political party in Nigeria, the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), and also established a newspaper called the West African Pilot.

  • 1939 :


Military Rule

[Jan 15th 1966 - 1979 ]

[Dec 21st 1983 - May 1999 ]

Democratic Periods

[May 29th 1999 - Till date ]

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