Socio-Political and Cultural Context of Independence in 1960: Perceptions, Lived Experiences in Middle Belt Areas and Lessons (Not Learned?) for Modern Nigeria

Sam O Smah


Nigeria’s political independence on October 1st 1960 was highly ‘emotional’ among citizens in different parts of the country at that moment. This paper examines some critical socio-cultural issues veritable to the formation of a new nation. Information in form of reports, written testimonies, and related archival materials were examined from the National Museum and National Archives, Jos in writing the paper. In-depth/personal interviews were also conducted in Jos and Makurdi. From the analysis and interpretation of information for the study, the following constitute major findings: 1, while the whole country was said to be ready to receive independence in 1960, not all known regional interests, such as those of the Middle Belt minorities were accepted and included in the national agenda 2, the demand for the creation of Middle Belt region (along with those proposed for the Mid-West and COR States) was perceived by ‘majority’ political actors as ‘extraneous’ to the planned independence, and 3, since hopes of Middle Belt minorities for a separate region of theirs were dashed, the overall perception of independence was suspect and morale low. The implication is that since the ‘celebration’ of the first independence suffered an initial ‘social fracture’, the rapid integration of various ethnic nationalities into mainstream post independence Nigeria has been faced with daunting difficulties, which the alienation and exclusion of majority of citizens from participating in the nation’s petro-economy represent focal loci of social helplessness. Occasions of national celebration of 1st independence in 1960 should not have been hastily contrived which leaves the country now undergoing unnecessary birth pangs, if it was a nation for all citizens with equal rights, obligations and privileges.

Keywords: independence, ethnic nationalities, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, oppressors, domination, Nigeria.

Full Text: PDF
Download the IISTE publication guideline!

To list your conference here. Please contact the administrator of this platform.

Paper submission email:

ISSN 2422-8443

Please add our address "" into your email contact list.

This journal follows ISO 9001 management standard and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Copyright ©