The year 2014 marks a significant milestone for the people of Nigeria, as the most populous African nation celebrates 100 years of unification. In 1914, British Governor-General Frederick Lugard officially brought together Nigeria’s Southern Protectorate with its Northern Protectorate to form one united colony under the British crown. Nigeria achieved independence from Great Britain in 1960.
Over the past century, the Nigerian people have worked to build up the country’s infrastructure, economy, and educational system. Officials and citizens have designed numerous events over the course of 2013 and 2014 to pay tribute to prominent Nigerians who have assisted in the development of their country.
In April 2013, the nation set aside two days to honor Nigerian women in centenary celebrations. The conference, “Celebrating 100 Years of the Nigerian Woman: Achieving 50/50 by 2020,” also called for a greater female presence in Nigeria’s public and governmental life and increased attention to ensuring full equality.
The conference celebrated great Nigerian women of the past and present, including the legendary warrior queen Amina of the medieval kingdom of Zaria, known to students of history as a great strategist on the battlefield. Among the other women honored were 20th-century educator and women’s rights activist Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, political leader and civil rights pioneer Margaret Ekpo, and Hajiya Gambo Sawaba, who fought to secure rights for women and children in need.