Nigeria

Viviana Pineda

LOCATION

Nigeria, officially called the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country located in West Africa.

CAPITAL

The capital of Nigeria is Abuja. Built in the 1980s, Abuja is one of the most well planned cities in the country. It became the capital of Nigeria on December 12, 1991, replacing Lagos. The city is home to major attractions in the country such as the Nigerian National Mosque and the Nigerian National Christian Center.

GEOGRAPHY

Nigeria is a country covering a total area of 356,667 square miles. As of 2011, the country has an estimated population of 167 million; it is the seventh-most populous country in the world.

LARGEST CITY

Lagos is the largest city in Nigeria covering an area of 385.9 square miles. It is the third-most populous city in Africa with an estimated population of 7,937,932. As of now, it is the second-fastest growing city in Africa. It was once the capital of the country, and is the economic and financial capital of the country at present

Countries Border

Nigeria is bordered by the Republic of Benin on the west, Chad and Cameroon on the east, and by Niger in the north. On the south it borders the Gulf of Guinea.

Administrative Divisions

Nigeria is a country comprising thirty-six states and one Federal Capital Territory. The states are further divided into 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs).

Official Language

English is the official language of Nigeria and is extensively used for education, business transactions and for official purposes. Despite being the first language, English is not spoken at all in some rural areas. Because the majority of the population of the country stays in rural areas, indigenous languages such as the Yoruba and Igbo are spoken by the majority. A derived language called the Nigerian Pidgin English, also called the 'Pidgin' or Broken English is also a popular lingua-franca in the country.

National Day of Nigeria

The national day in Nigeria is celebrated on October 1 every year. The day is celebrated to commemorate the independence of Nigeria from the United Kingdom on this day in 1960. The country was declared a Republic on October 1, 1963.

Political Leaders

The government of Nigeria is a presidential federal republic.
President - Muhammadu Buhari
Vice President - Yemi Osinbajo

Political History

British influence and control over what would become Nigeria grew through the 19th century. A series of constitutions after World War II granted Nigeria greater autonomy; independence came on October 1st, 1960. Following nearly 16 years of military rule, a new constitution was adopted in 1999, and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed. The government faces the daunting task of reforming a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement, and institutionalizing democracy. In addition, the defusing longstanding ethnic and religious tensions are a priority if Nigeria is to build a sound foundation for economic growth and political stability. Although the April 2003 elections were marred by some irregularities, Nigeria is currently experiencing its longest period of civilian rule since independence. General elections in April 2007 were considered significantly flawed by Nigerian and international observers but they marked the first civilian-to-civilian transfer of power in the country's history. President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua took office on 29 May 2007.

ECONOMY

Nigeria has the second-largest economy in Africa. It is classified as an emerging market owing to its rich reserves of natural resources, and well-developed financial and communications sectors. The transportation sector and stock exchange of the country add to the finances. The Nigerian Stock Exchange is the second-largest in Africa. Petroleum is a major product playing a significant role in the economy of the country; it is the twelfth-largest producer of petroleum in the world.

Manufactured products like leather, textiles, t-shirts, plastics and processed food enhance the economy of the country. Agriculture is also important, employing almost sixty percent of Nigerians. Cocoa, sugar cane, yams, maize, palm oil, groundnuts, coconuts, citrus fruits, pearl millet, and cassava are the major agricultural products.

However, health care, education, and general living conditions in Nigeria are poor, and these pose a serious threat to the otherwise advancing country.

CURRENCY

The Naira denoted by the ISO 4217 code NGN) is the official currency of Nigeria. It is subdivided into 100 kobo

CULTURE

National Pride

Along with South Africa, Nigeria is considered a super-power in the African continent and consequently Nigerians are generally proud of their country. It has the largest population in Africa and the land is endowed with vast quantities of natural resources. It is the sixth largest oil-producing nation and has a well-educated and industrious society. They are fond of the expression, "When Nigeria sneezes, the rest of the African nations (with the exception of South Africa) catch cold."

The Family

Extended families are still the norm and are in fact the backbone of the social system. Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers and in-laws all work as a unit through life.
Family relationships are guided by hierarchy and seniority. Social standing and recognition is achieved through extended families. Similarly a family's honour is influenced by the actions of its members. Individuals turn to members of the extended family for financial aid and guidance, and the family is expected to provide for the welfare of every member. Although the role of the extended family is diminishing somewhat in urban areas, there remains a strong tradition of mutual caring and responsibility among the members.

Hierarchy

Nigeria is a hierarchical society. Age and position earns, even demands, respect. Age is believed to confer wisdom so older people are granted respect. The oldest person in a group is revered and honoured. In a social situation, they are greeted and served first. In return the most senior person has the responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of the group.

RELIGION

Nigeria is a multi-religious country. Fifty percent of the population practice Islam while the rest adhere to Christianity. The other minority religions in the country include Hinduism, Judaism, the Baha'i Faith, and Chrislam (a syncretic faith that contains elements of Christianity and Islam)

ETHNIC GROUPS

Nigeria is a country of rich ethnic diversity composed of over 250 ethnic groups. The three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. The other major tribes in the country include Edo, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, Ebira Nupe and Tiv. Also there are minority groups of British, American, East Indian, Chinese, white Zimbabwean,Japanese, Greek, Syrian and Lebanese immigrants in Nigeria.

FESTIVALS

ARGUNGU FISHING FESTIVAL

The popular Argungu Fishing Festival is one of the most famous and exciting traditional festivals in Nigeria. The four-day annual festival dates back to 1934 and has continued with more alluring dynamics every year. The festival is an all-men affair; women can only be there as spectators.


SHARO/SHADI FESTIVAL

The Sharo (also called Shadi) Festival is celebrated among the Jafun Fulani. Referred to as the Flogging Competition, it is a traditional rite for young men. The participants are escorted by girls to the event venue and led into a ring formed by spectators, their chests exposed. They are not allowed to wear shirts or cover the upper part of their bodies. The drumming, singing and cheers of the crowd combine to create an atmosphere of excitement.


NEW YAM FESTIVAL

The New Yam Festival is a popular annual cultural festival in Igbo land, Southeast Nigeria. The festival is held at the end of every farming season, usually in August, to mark the beginning of harvest. Symbolically, the festival, known as Iri ji ohu, Iwa ji or Ike ji in the Igbo language presents the people with the opportunity to make sacrifices and thank their gods for granting them a bountiful harvest. Iri ji or Iwa ii literally means "eating new yam".


OFALA FESTIVAL

The traditional institution of the Igbo people is made more prominent by the celebration of Ofala Festival by various traditional rulers. The word, "ofala" is derived from two Igbo words - ofo, which means "authority" and ala, which means "the land". The summation of these words forms the word, ofala, which means "the authority of the land".

ONITSHA IVORY FESTIVAL

Among the Igbos, the Onitsha Ivory Festival is one of the most famous. Ivory - the substance elephant tusks are made of - is regarded as a very expensive item for the traditional institution in Igbo land. It is, therefore, usually worn by a select category of women who can afford it. They are usually the wives of wealthy and powerful men in society.


CALABAR FESTIVAL AND CALABAR CARNIVAL

Since Cross River State held the first edition of the Calabar Carnival in 2004, it has become one of the most famous festivities in the country. The carnival is one of the efforts aimed at making Cross River State an all-important tourist centre. It kicks off at the end of the annual Calabar Festival, which takes place in December every year. The Calabar Festival is a celebration of the diverse culture of the people of the state.

The Calabar Carnival is a very spectacular event, with dancers in colourful costumes and long, feathered headdresses dancing along the major streets in the state capital, as sonorous music fills the air. The street parades showcase up to 50, 000 young people, twisting their supple bodies into admirable spectacles. The occasion attracts no less than two million people from different parts of the country and beyond to Calabar every year.


EYO FESTIVAL

The Eyo Festival, otherwise known as the Adamu Orisha Play, is a Yoruba festival unique to Lagos. Traditionally performed on Lagos Island, the festival is presently showcased by the people of Lagos as a major tourist event.

The word 'eyo' refers to the costumed dancers, known as masquerades, that perform during the festival. The origin of its observance is found in the clandestine activities of secret societies. It is believed that the play is one of the manifestations of the customary African revelry that serves as the forerunner of the modern carnival in Brazil.

Climate

Nigeria's climate varies with equatorial weather in south, tropical in the center, and arid in north. Rainy seasons vary within the regions: May- July in the south, September - October in the west, April - October in the east and July - August in the north.

INTERESTING FACTS


1. Nigeria takes its name from the Niger River, the third largest river in Africa.

2. Nigeria is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest growing economies.

3. Nigeria has one of the world’s greatest birth rates for twins.

4. It is Africa’s most populous country and one of the continent’s top oil producers.

5. The largest butterfly diversity in the world can be found in the areas around Calabar, Cross River State.

6. The drill monkey, one of the most endangered mammal species in Africa, can only be found in the wild in Nigeria and its neighboring country of Cameroon. (A sub-species is found in Equatorial Guinea.)

7. Majek Fashek, one of the more popular reggae artists from the ’80s and early ’90s, is a Nigerian.

8. In Nigeria, the terms “010,” “101,” etc. refer to meals in a day. “010” means to skip breakfast and dinner but eat lunch, while “101” means to skip lunch but to eat breakfast and dinner.

9. Chinua Achebe, author of the successful novel “Things Fall Apart,” was born in Southeastern Nigeria in 1930.

10. When a Nigerian man gives a gift to a woman, he would say that the gift came from his wife, mother, sisters, etc., and not from himself.

Nigeria's Top Attractions

  • Lagos - The commercial capital of West Africa, Lagos is a spirited, bustling place with a population of 10 million. The city has an excellent nightlife, many street markets, and a decent National Museum. If you take basic safety precautions you'll enjoy urban Africa at its most vibrant.
  • Yankari National Park - Nigeria's most popular national park is located in the savanna of the north-east. Yankari is a popular eco-destination, with lots of wildlife including elephants, and wonderful hot springs.
  • Jos - Jos is really a very pleasant city with an interesting museum and small wildlife park where pygmy hippos are the main attraction. The climate is nice and cool and who would miss a chance to visit a city
  • Kano - the main city in northern Nigeria has lots of interesting sights for visitors, including traditional Hausa homes, markets, mosques, the emir's palace, and original dye pits.

Holidays

Jan 1

  • New Year's Day


Jan 2

  • Id el Maulud


Mar 8

  • Women's Day


Mar 20

  • March equinox


Mar 28

  • Presidential Election Day


Apr 3

  • Good Friday


Apr 4

  • Holy Saturday


Apr 5

  • Easter Day


Apr 6

  • Easter Monday


May 1

  • Workers' Day


May 27

  • Children's Day


May 29

  • Democracy Day


Jun 12

  • Commemoration


Jun 21

  • June Solstice


Jul 17

  • Id el Fitr


Jul 18

  • Id el Fitr


Jul 20

  • Id el Fitr additional holiday


Sep 23

  • September equinox


Sep 24

  • Id el Kabir


Sep 25

  • Id el Kabir additional holiday


Oct 1

  • National Day


Oct 15

  • Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year)


Dec 22

  • December Solstice


Dec 24

  • Christmas Eve


Dec 25

  • Christmas Day


Dec 26

  • Boxing Day


Dec 31

  • New Year's Eve