History and Heritage

Nigerian Excellence Series Ep 4: OBJ Kingmaker:

The dispensation ushered in by the political events in Nigeria in 1999 brought with it a renewed hope for the country.

The 1999 political events culminated in the return to a democratic dispensation in May 1999 with a retired Head of State democratically elected as the new civilian President in the nation’s 4th Republic. After a series of nationwide elections, the elected president was sworn into office in 1999 taking the reins of the political affairs of the country, putting him in the position to lead the most populous Black nation for eight years.

In this installation of Nigerian excellence, we take a look at the one of the most formidable political stalwarts in Nigerian history especially as we prepare to cast our votes hoping to select a new Nigerian President over twenty years later.

Born on the 5th of March 1937, His Excellency Chief Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR served as the 5th and the 12th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Born to a farming family in Igbogun Olaogun, Obasanjo received his education largely in Abeokuta before he joined the Nigerian Army where he specialized in Engineering. A military and political leader, he contributed to several advancements and international to end conflicts initiatives across the African continent.

Following the assassination of General Murtala Mohammed in a military coup in 1976, General Obasanjo reluctantly stepped in as the new military head of state. in 1977, he formed the Nigerian National petroleum Corporation (NNPC) , organized the second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC ’77), established the Egbin, Ughelli and Afam thermal power stations, set up the Currupt Practices Bureau and helped both Angola and Zimbabwe achieve independence. He introduced the Nigerian National Pledge, indigenized the lyrics of the Nigerian National anthem and he also introduced the 20 naira note amongst other things. In 1995 he was unjustly jailed and was only released in 1998 after the demise of his jailer. During his two tenure civilian rule, his achievements include but was not limited to the renegotiation and eventual settlement of Nigerian debts, consolidation of the banking industry, opening up the telecommunications industry etc. Notably, several socio economic sectors of the country also recorded growth.

His passion for education, faming and conflict resolution coupled with his penchant for selecting the right professionals for the job are few of the things that are remarkable about Dr Obasanjo.

One of Nigeria’s most beloved and most written about Presidents; Dr Olusegun Obasanjo was one of the most interesting research on personalities I have conducted bar none.

Amongst the various roles he has played throughout the country’s history, he has impacted the country in so many ways. He is committed to his religious and ideological beliefs as a Nationalist and Pan Africanist. He is passionate about education and he recently obtained both his Master’s degree and his PHD in his 80s from the National Open University in Nigeria. He is a staunch believer in sustenance agricultural practices and is known to retreat to his farm in Otta at different points in his life. He has authored several books about his life, personalities and Nigeria. An elder statesman and a renowned teetotaller, Dr Olusegun Obasanjo is still actively involved in his life work, he is known to make insightful political commentary and has written several letters to the government since he handed over power in 2007.

While we are a nonpartisan platform, we believe it important to remind our readers of Nigerian greatness and while we acknowledge that while a lot of our featured personality’s achievements can be viewed from a political lens, we wanted to focus on the achievements of the man.

Wikipedia has a detailed account of the finer points of his biography and viable links for further study.

That being said, we would look forward to your comments and suggestions on notable Nigerian figures to be featured on the Nigerian Excellence series on our blog.


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In Honour of Women’s Month

The Month of March is usually marked for the celebration of women all over the world.

With the International Women’s Day celebrations and the Mother’s Day celebration both happening in the month of March, we at Experiencing Naija wish to continue the celebration by celebrating all our women and acknowledge their effort and impact on societal development.

International Women’s Day became mainstream after it was adopted by the United Nations in 1977 and every year, March 8th is celebrated as International Women’s Day around the globe.

In 1996, the United Nations announced the first theme for the International Women’s Day and subsequently, a new theme is announced annually against the International Women’s day to mark the celebrations and gender rights advocacy work. For the year 2022, the theme of “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” was chosen.

The United Nations Women on their website stated that the year 2022 is pivotal for achieving gender equality in the context of climate change and environmental and disaster risk reduction, which are some of the greatest global challenges of the twenty first century.

This year, the International Women’s day observance was in recognition and celebration of the women and girls who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation and response in a bid to honour their leadership and contribution towards a sustainable future.

However, the International Women’s Day website diverted from the UN given theme and announced “Break the Bias” as this year’s concept. This theme was explained to denote a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination, a world that is divers, equitable and inclusive, a world where difference is valued and celebrated.

So this month, we decided to triple the dose of Nigerian Excellence and highlight three women who personify Nigerian Excellence. Although the statistics about women in Nigeria are not great (Nigeria has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the world) we wanted to highlight three phenomenal Nigeria women moving the needle in favour of women both on a national and international level

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Born on the 13th of June 1954, Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian-American economist, fair trade leader, environmental sustainability advocate, human welfare champion, sustainable finance maven and global development expert. She is the first woman and the first African to lead the World Trade Organization as Director-General since March 2021. She currently sits on the board of several organizations such as MINDS, the Mandela Institute for Developmental Studies, Twitter etc. She also served as Nigeria’s first female Minister of Finance from 2003 to 2006 and 2011 to 2015. She also served as the coordinating Minister for the Economy from 2011 till 2015 and the Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006. At the World Bank she had a 25 year career as a development economist rising to become Managing Director of Operations from 2007 to 2011. Her legacy includes strengthening the country’s public financial systems and stimulating the housing sector. She empowered women and youth with different programmes creating several thousand jobs. One of Nigeria’s living legends, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has left a great international footprint especially in the developmental and economic field and has received a great number of awards for her endevours.

Professor Grace Alele-Williams (16th December 1932 – 25th March 2022) was a Nigerian Professor of Mathematics education who made history as the first Nigerian woman to receive a doctorate and the first Nigerian Vice Chancellor at the University of Benin and the first female vice-chancellor of a Nigerian university. Unfortunately, she passed on before the month of March was over. As a seasoned educationist, she had a special interest in women’s education especially concerned for the access of female African students to scientific and technical subjects. By serving in various committees and boards, she made useful contributions in the development of education in Nigeria. Her work in the continent of Africa led her to win various awards in light of her many contributions to education.

Amina J Mohammed: Born on the 27th of June 1961, Amina Mohammed is a British-Nigerian diplomat and politician who is serving as the fifth Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations. Previously, she was Nigerian Minister of Environment from 2015 to 2016 and was a key player in the Post-2015 Development Agenda process. She worked in various capacities within and outside the country on matters of sustainable development. She resigned from the Nigeriaan Federal Executive Council in 2017 and was appointed as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. in this capacity, she is a member of the UN Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (IACG)

A great tie-in to all that we have discussed this year, all three women in this post have attained great success in their respective fields, national and international recognition for their craft and the nation highest honours. They have garnered national and international acclaim in the fields of Education, Politics, Economic Development and Sustainability to name a few.

Their stories show the contributions of women in developing countries such as Nigeria on one hand and their advocacy for women is indicative of how much more we can do in terms of women’s empowerment on the other hand. They have paved the way for others and that in itself is Nigerian Excellence.

We look forward to reading your comments about the three women we have discussed in this post. Please keep the conversation going on all our social media platforms and ensure to leave us your suggestions on which other personalities we can discus in this series.

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Nigerian Excellence Ep2: Nigerian Royalty

The discourse of Nigerian royalty has been greatly debated all over the world from it its inception and longevity to the scandal wrought on it by the internet scammers or even its dominance and relevance in present day affairs.

If you have been reading this blog or have any knowledge or interest of Nigeria, it is easy to see that Nigerian royalty is a phenomenon that has been established since pre-colonial times.

All regions of the country have various royal families that serve as the traditional authority and the custodians of their people’s culture. Although this is one category that delineates from birth or bloodline hence not everybody can belong to this group, we believe that one of the hallmarks of Nigeria’s great cultural heritage is our culture and nothing speaks to Nigerian excellence on a cultural level like Nigerian royalty.

In line with our theme of Nigerian Excellence, we wish to discuss today, a paragon of quintessential Nigerian Excellence who just happens to be royalty.

Born in Kano on the 31st of July 1961 to a Prince and Diplomat father of the Sullubawa clan ruling class family, HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is a revered economist, banker, writer and Islamic scholar. A unique Nigerian figure, he served as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria spanning the political office of two Nigerian Presidents. In this position, he introduced several innovative economic reforms which are still in practice today. He won the prestigious international award of Central Banker of the year and criticized the corruption in the Nigerian financial sector which led to his suspension from the position of the Central Bank governor. Subsequently, he succeeded his great-uncle HRH Ado Bayero to the throne on the 8th of June 2014 until his dethronement on the 9th of March 2020 by the Kano state government. An astute scholar, he spent most of his reign advocating for cultural reform in Northern Nigeria.

HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is a prominent traditional and religious figure in West Africa as the leader of the Tijaniyyah Sufi order in Nigeria, he has political and spiritual authority over the second largest Sufi order with over 30 million adherents. Some critics describe him as a rebel due to the controversy that he has had throughout his public career. There had been speculation by several people that he was going to venture into politics in times past due to his socio political views but he has always taken his own path.

His story, like the stories of other Nigerian trailblazers, tells a tale of a steadfast commitment and great contributions to the growth of Nigeria. A cursory look at his Wikipedia chronicles a large aspect of his life and career; his controversies as well as his achievements and accolades.

Like all other personalities on our Nigerian Excellence series, there is a lot we can learn from his story. His commendable commitment to socioeconomic issues and the growth and advancement of the country is worthy of emulation. In addition to his ability to lead the charge for large scale reform in key sectors of the country, we admire his foresight, his resilience and his hard work. Nigerian Excellence at its finest.

This blog post is merely a small introduction to the legend that is HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and we encourage your respectful contributions in the comment section. We reiterate that our platform is non-partisan and we encourage our readers and other participants leaving their comments in the comment section to be respectful in their comments. We also urge you to leave your suggestions on which exemplary Nigerian we should feature in the Nigerian Excellence series.

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Money Series Ep2: The Ten Naira Note

In the second instalment of the Money Series, we are taking a step up the currency ladder and discussing the ten Naira note.

As the second note in the Naira ascendancy, the ten naira note shares a similar origin story as the five naira note before it. The Naira was declared the official currency of exchange for Nigeria in 1973 wherein the Central Bank of Nigeria issues the bank notes in several denominations. There are currently eight bank note denominations in circulation today and the ten naira note is one of the bank notes that has been in circulation from 1973 to date.

The earlier version of the ten naira note from 1973-1978 was carmine and dark blue on multicolour underprint with a bank building at the left center in the front. The back of the note had a carmin dam at the center.

In 1979, a new ten naira note was created which is similar to the form obtainable today. The red on multi coloured underprint ten naira banknote shows the portrait of Nigerian educationist, statesman, activist and Politian Alvan Ikoku on the front side and two Fulani milkmaids carrying calabashes on their heads on the reverse side. The illustration of the Fulani milkmaids on the reverse side of the ten naira note was culled from a photo taken by John Hinde. Other featured emblems include the Nigerian National Coat of Arms, a sketch map of the nation and the denomination in various languages.

Alvan Azinna Ikoku (1900-1971) was born in present day Abia State and received his education at the Hope Waddell College Calabar. He earned his degree from the Univerity of London in 1928 through its external program and began tutoring in 1920. In 1932, he established the Aggrey Memorial Secondary School and by 1946 he was nominated to the Eastern Nigeria House of Assembly and assigned to the Ministry of Education. In 1946 he became part of the Legislative Council in Lagos as one of the three representatives of the Eastern Region. He championed may causes in the educational development in Nigeria through many endeavours. Several national monuments have been commemorated in his memory such as the Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education in Owerri, Imo State.

The ten naira note is a more popular lesser denomination Naira note and although like the five naira note, its purchase value has greatly reduced, it still operates as it always has as a means of exchange. Can you remember what your favourite thing to do with the ten naira note growing up was? For one, there was a time when the best biscuits at your neighbourhood kiosks cost ten naira. Fun times.

Please share your experiences with the ten naira note in the comment section and do remember to keep the conversation going on all our social media platforms

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League Of Presidents

With the clamour for the 2023 election year upon us, we at Experiencing Naija thought that it will be befitting to discuss Nigeria’s highest political office, the Presidency.

Let’s face it, if we are heralding Nigerian Excellence there truly is no better place to discuss.

The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the head of state and head of government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The President of Nigeria is also the nation’s commander-in-chief of the Nigerian Armed forces.

Especially in this political climate, Nigerians are familiar with a couple of Presidential aspirants past and present and have their opinions about who they think should occupy the coveted position.

But being a non-partisan enterprise, we focus on all the individuals who have held the position of President of the most populous black nation in the world.

If you have had the chance to study the Nigerian Presidency, you will discover that there has been quite the evolution of the name and role of the Nigerian President since Nigeria got her independence in 1960. In addition, Nigerian is currently in a democratic dispensation and holds her presidential elections after four years. The office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria constitutionally allows for a maximum of two tenures of four year term per tenure. As the 2019 elections resulted in an incumbent President, the nation is gearing up for a new President in 2023.

Nigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960 with Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa serving as Prime Minister and Nnamdi Azikiwe as the first governor-general of a federation of three regions. On the 1st of October 1963, Nigeria became a Federal Republic and an amended constitution replaced the office of the governor-general with that of the President. Nnamdi Azikiwe was sworn into office of president on the 1st of October 1963. A failed coup d’etat in January 1966 resulted in General Aguiyi-Ironsi being named as Military Head of State. By July 1966 another coup led to the appointment of General Yakubu Gowon as the head of the new military government. In 1975, General Gowon was deposed by General Murtala Mohammed as head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria until his assassination in 1976 after which General Olusegun Obasanjo assumed office of head of state. General Obasanjo saw to the completion of the democratic transition and in 1979, Nigeria adopted a federal presidential constitution with Alhaji Shehu Shagari becoming the first democratically elected President. In December 1983, Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s government was overthrown and General Muhammadu Buhari emerged as the new head of state. In August 1985, Major General Ibrahim Babangida peacefully overthrew General Buhari’s government becoming President and Chairman of the Armed Forces ruling council. in August 1993, General Babangida stepped down and chose an interim government to replace him. Ernest Shonekan became the interim President. in November 1993, General Sani Abacha seized power and became the President till the 8th of June 1998 when he died at the Presidential villa in Abuja. Major General Abdulsalami Abubakar became the new President and stepped down on the 29th of May 1999. the country returned to a democratic system of government and former president Olusegun Obasanjo became the President serving two tenures before handing over to Umaru Yar’Aduwa in May 2007. President Yar’Aduwa died on the 5th of May 2010 and Vice President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in on the 6th of May 2010 as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. President Goodluck Jonathan served as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria till 2015 when a new president was elected. President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 29th of May 2015 as the 15th Nigerian President, the coveted position he still holds till date.

Like most countries around the world, it is clear that the office of the Nigerian President has had a colourful history which is to be expected from a diverse country such as Nigeria.

More Nigerians than will care to admit have wondered what it would be like if they were to be President for a day. I mean, beyond your typical primary school essay, we have wondered about the President and what he does as a President of Nigeria.

Even as this post focuses largely on the history of the Presidents of the country, we would like to hear more historical facts in the comments and plead that the comments are respectful.

Please keep the conversation going on our social media platforms and share the blog posts across your social media platforms.



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The Money Series Ep1

If making a lot of money was on your agenda for 2022 and you don’t mind a little bit of Nigerian History, this is the series for you!

it is common practice that countries worldwide can choose to honour its exemplary citizens by immortalizing their likeness on the country’s currency, postal stamps or other national tokens.

In this series, we focus on currency and explore the Nigerian legal tender and its history.

The Nigerian currency is called the Naira and it is divided into subsets of the Naira and the kobo in a way that a hundred kobo makes one Naira.

Working our way up the naira notes in an ascending order, the smallest denomination of the Nigerian naira currently obtainable is the five naira note.

The naira note was introduced on the 1st of January 1973 replacing the Nigerian pounds sterling.

The Central Bank of Nigeria issues the Nigerian Naira currently in 8 different denominations.

The 5 Naira bill is Nigeria’s lowest value banknote. On the first side of the 5 Naira note is the portrait of Sir Tafawa Balewa, former Prime Minister of Nigeria. The other side of the 5 Naira note shows traditional Yoruba drummers.

It can be argued the relevance of the five naira note these days but as Nigerians, we’ve all seen, earned and used one. We probably have fond memories of the five naira note as children and all the things we could do and buy with it. Although these days, few things cost five naira but we can all agree that the five naira note still has its uses as with most legal tender.

It still adds up to bigger amounts of money.

Keeping in the theme of heralding Nigerian excellence, the person on the five naira note is worth discussing.

Born in December 1912 in modern day Bauchi State, Sir Tafawa Balewa was the first and only Prime Minister in Nigeria. A seasoned educator turned politician, Sir Tafawa Balewa earned his education degree at the University of London’s Institute of Education. He became an Inspector of Schools for the colonial administration and later entered politics. He served as a minister for Transport and Works before being elected and subsequently re-elected to serve as the country’s Prime Minister. His achievements are manifold and cut across various sectors within the country such as education and indigenous rule to the country’s foreign policy as the Foreign Affairs advocate for Nigeria. His term in office was turbulent and he was later assassinated in the January 15th 1966 coup. One of the most prominent northern Nigerian politicians till date, his efforts has earned him a noteworthy position in the annals of Nigerian political history.

As always, we will love to hear your thoughts on the five naira note. Please keep the conversations going in the comment section and on our social media platforms.

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2022, The Year of Nigerian Excellence

Happy New Year!

People commonly start off a New Year refocusing their goals and aspirations and creating plans for the necessary changes and adjustments in order to improve the quality of their lives.

This year, we at Experiencing Nigeria intend to do just that. We would like to dedicate a good majority of our 2022 blog posts to Nigerian Excellence.

The acclaimed Giant of Africa, Nigeria is a country with a diverse population known for their hospitality, their resilience and a penchant for success. It is undeniable that Nigerians irrespective of their chosen field or country excel in whatever they choose to do so there is a lot to celebrate.

The 2020s have been difficult for a lot of us so far. In addition January 2022 ushered in the New Year with a whopping six weeks in its calendar which is frankly very daunting considering January is often wrought with bills and seems to drag on forever! But, we shall not be deterred because thankfully, the 6 weeks of January went by pretty quickly.

The best place to begin our journey to all things Nigerian greatness is with the nation’s highest honours. Largely, the highest of honours conferred on distinguished Nigerians are awards of great exemplary service to the country and are conferred by the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to deserving citizens. Among the nation’s highest honours include Orders and Medals.

There are two categories of honorary Orders which are the Order of the Federal Republic and the Order of the Niger. The Order of the Federal Republic consist of various awards including the Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR), Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR), Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) and Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR). On the other hand, the Order of the Niger consists of various awards such as the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) and the Member of the Order of the Niger (MON). The medals that can be conferred on deserving citizens include Forces Service Star (FSS), Grand Service Star (GSS), Distinguished Service Star (DSS), Meritorious Service Star (MSS), Command Medal of Honour (CMH) and the Command Medal (CM).

According to Wikipedia, the GCFR and GCON are customarily respectively bestowed on former occupants of the office of the President and Vice President of Nigeria including former military heads of state of Nigeria and Chiefs of General Staff. The GCON is also customarily bestowed on the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the President of the Nigerian Senate during their first year in office, while the CON is customarily bestowed on Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.  Other deserving Nigerians have also been honoured with the nation’s highest honours either as a result of their craft cutting across all works of life.

The national honours of the Federal Republic of Nigeria represent the pinnacle of nationwide success and recognition, the quintessential example of what it means to aspire towards greatness and a collective confirmation of Nigerian excellence. But as excellence goes, the sky is the limit to what we can achieve if we apply ourselves, by a dint of hard work and focused effort whatever your 2022 goals may be. We hope we’ve been able to inspire you to focus on your personal greatness and that there is no true excellence completely devoid of serving others. We are optimistic that 2022 will be a great year for all of us. We at Experience Naija wish you an amazing and a fantastic 2022.

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Why is Ladi Kwali famous? | Ladi Kwali Biography

Nigerian 20 naira note back

The frontierswoman of modern pottery in Nigeria left behind the bequest of creativity and artworks that blended traditional African and Western pottery.

The Nigerian potter Hadiza Ladi Kwali was born in 1925, in the village of Kwali in Gwari region of Northern Nigeria. Over there, pottery was a very common occupation amongst the women, she learnt the art of pottery from her aunty at 9 years old using the traditional coiling method.

Ladi Kwali

During her early professional years, the traditional cultural environment endeared her to produce pottery crafts that were influenced by the Gbagyi tradition and focused attention with personal idioms. She made big pots used as water jags and cooking pots from coils of clay, beaten from the inside with a flat wooden paddle, beautified with incised geometric and stylish figurative patterns. She had no form of formal education.


Ladi Kwali became world-famous for practising a hybrid of traditional African and Western studio pottery styles. As a result, she conducted workshops, demonstrations and exhibitions held in London, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and all over the United States.

Ladi Kwali hybrid technique added a blend to the customary Gwari method and the traditional coiling method which she learnt from her Aunt with Western techniques of wheel throwing and glazing, which she acquired a knowledge of from the Abuja Pottery Training Center. While still using the traditional open firing method with herbal glazes, Ladi Kwali’s pottery modified the face of modern pottery around the world.

In acknowledgement of her achievements and hard work, Nigeria graced the Nigerian 20 Naira note with her picture, she’s the only woman to have such honour. The only woman of Nigerian currency.

Her works are displayed in prominent places like the National Museum Lagos, the Barbier-Muller Museum Geneva, Switzerland, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, and Albert Museum, London.

Ladi Kwali Awards

This is a breakdown of the pioneer’s biographical timeline:

1934: Ladi Kwali began learning pottery making as an apprentice to her aunt.

1950: An English potter, Michael Cardew (pottery officer in the Department of Commerce and Industry) was sent to Abuja area by the colonial government to develop a ceramic industry. Cardew noticed Ladi Kwali’s pots at the palace of the Emir of Abuja, Alhaji Suleiman Barau, who had many of her pieces.

1952: In April 1952, Michael Cardew opened the Abuja Pottery Training Centre in Suleja.

1954: Ladi joined the Abuja Pottery Training Centre, with the invitation of Cardew. She was the Centre’s first female potter.

1958: Ladi Kwali’s pots were featured in the international exhibition of Abuja pottery organized by Cardew in London.

1959: Kwali’s work was shown to great acclaim in London at the Berkeley Galleries.

1960: Her works were displayed at the Nigerian Independence Exhibition during the Independence Day celebration.

1961: She gave demonstrations at the Royal College, Farnham, and Wenford Bridge in Great Britain.

1962: Ladi Kwali conducted a workshop in London.

1963: Ladi Kwali was awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). She conducted a series of workshops and exhibitions in Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.

1964: Ladi Kwali featured in the group exhibition at the Tenth International Exhibit of Ceramic Art, Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

1964-1965: Ladi Kwali conducted workshops in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and other major cities in the US. She received the Silver Award for Excellence, Tenth International Exhibit of ceramic Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

1970: Ladi Kwali toured America with Michael Cardew. She gave workshops and demonstrations in Washington DC.

1974: Ladi featured in a group exhibition at ‘Contemporary African Arts’, Field Museum of National History, Chicago, USA.

1977: Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria awarded her with an honorary doctorate. She spent a session at Ahmadu Bello University giving classes on her pottery-making techniques.

1980: In 1980 the Nigerian Government invested in Kwali the insignia of the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award (NNOM), the highest national honour for academic achievement. The Abuja Pottery Centre was renamed the Ladi Kwali Pottery Centre.

1981: Ladi Kwali received the National Honour of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON). A major street was named Ladi Kwali Road in Abuja. Sheraton Hotel housed the Ladi Kwali Convention Center, one of the largest conference facilities in Abuja with ten meeting rooms and 4 ballrooms.

1984: In 12th August 1984, Hadiza Ladi Kwali died in Minna, Niger State, Nigeria.





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Do You Know The Real Owners Of Abuja?

Abuja City Gate

Lots of Nigerians don’t know much about the history of Abuja nor the real people who own Abuja, that is, the real owners of Abuja whose land was taken from them to form the seat of POWER.

Somewhere far in the obscure land of Abuja, (now the capital city of Nigeria), lives the Gbagyi (Gwari) people, who were the original settlers before it was set out to be the seat of POWER. The then military government in 1976, had the clever idea to discover a ‘no man’s land’ that’s located in the geographical centre of the country, which no tribe could lay claim to and an area in which Nigerians could unite as one.

Except for the 8,000 hectares of land upon which the capital city stood, that includes the Presidential Villa, the National Assembly and most of the Federal Government institutions and parastatals, suburban neighbourhoods and big malls, which was the Gbagyi’s land. These people were forced out of their land by the then military government to make way for the construction of the capital city and promised the Gbagyi people compensation and resettlement. The government underestimated the population of the Gbagyi people living in the territory as they went on with their plans for the land.

Many of the displaced families were given housing, but some of them lived in transit and settlement camps for a very long time while the Federal Government compensation plans were bungled. Decades later, the ethnic group feels that the Federal Government has cheated them, and deprived them of their heritage and land. However, let us show you the rich culture and heritage of the Gbagyi (Gwari) people.

Culture and Heritage of the Gbagyi (Gwari) people.

Culture and Heritage of Gbagyi people

Gbagyi (Gwari) are the Nupoid-speaking people living in North-Central geo-political zone of Nigeria who are artistic, peaceful, and agricultural inclined. They generally live in Niger, Kaduna and the Federal Capital Territory. They are also found in Nasarawa and Kogi States in central Nigerian areas. Gbagyi (Gwari) is the most populated indigenous and ethnic group in Abuja and their major occupation is farming.

According to oral lore, the first settler was a hunter who went hunting in Paikokun land, a forest in Abuja. Paikokun was the name of the mountain the first settler settled. The Gbagyi originally used to live on mountain tops because they believed they were safer on the mountain before the western civilization made most of them to relocate from the mountain.

How To Identify Gbagyi (Gwari) People

gbagyi people placing loads on their shoulders

Very peculiar to the Gbagyi women is placing of goods on their shoulder no matter how heavy it is. They believe the head signifies the “control” for the whole body. Hence, it shouldn’t be stressed. They call the part of their body they use to carry their loads Bwapa. They also believe that carrying of loads on the shoulder is lighter than using the head. It is still very much in practice.


Marriage among the people of Gbagyi is immersed in deep tradition. When a man makes known his intentions to marry a woman, he is made to serve 7 years in the woman’s father’s farm, labouring and supplying grains and other farm produces to the woman’s house for her to be well fed. Nowadays, the man simply pays the bride’s price instead of serving 7 years.


Some Gbagyi believes in SHEKWOI, the God who was there before their ancestors, but they’re also devoted to appeasing deities of the god, MAIGIRO. Originally their main religion is KNUNU, which they believe protects them from the evil in their community. They appease Knunu by offering fowl and alcohol as a sacrifice to a particular tree found deep in the forest. Within the inception of westernization, Islam became well known among the people after the Fulani jihad while Christianity was introduced to the people by the Surdan Interior Mission, also locally known as Evangelical Church of Africa. Gbagyi people embraced Islam more than Christianity because some practices done by Islam such as devotion, using amulets and polygamy were also practised in their religion.


Gbagyi loves making a meal called Wyizhe. The meal is made from guinea corn which they also use to make a unique drink called Zhepwo. Gbagyi people also take pleasure in drinking a soup called Knadolo made from locust beans.


The Gbagyi (Gwari) people wear tie and dye clothing known as Ajeside, made from local cotton and traditional woven and dyed.


The Gbagyi people are mainly farmers although they are also good in wood fetching, pottery, and blacksmith. They were also popular for their visual art most especially pottery. Other arts practised by them are sculpture, iron smelting, domestic craft and smelting.

These are the real owners of Abuja and this is their way of life. Nigeria no doubt is rich in culture and diversity. Follow us as we show you the rich and accurate cultural heritage of this great nation, Nigeria.  Kindly  Follow on Instagram,  like on Facebook, and Twitter and check us out our amazing documentaries on Youtube. You won’t regret you did.

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Sokoto; A Mix Of The Modern Capital and Ancient Sokoto Caliphate

Sokoto Caliphate

The Modern-Day Sokoto

Located in northwest Nigeria, Sokoto sits near the confluence of the Sokoto River and the Rima River. Sokoto is the modern-day capital of Sokoto State (and its predecessor, the north-western State).


The name Sokoto is of an Arabic origin which means market, commonly called “The seat of the caliphate” or the Sokoto Caliphate. Sokoto is in the north-west of Nigeria near the confluence of the Sokoto River and the Rima River, with a population of about three 3.7million people.



Being the former seat of the caliphate, most of its inhabitants are Muslims and greatly depend on Agriculture and Craft making for livelihood. The city also shares boundaries with Kebbi and Zamfara states. The city is greatly decorated with many tourist attractions, most of which are historical sites.

The Sultan of Sokoto’s Palace is a major archaeological and historical site. It is a majestic building constructed in 1808 to house the Sultan of Sokoto who is the traditional and spiritual leader of the city and 65 million Muslims in Nigerians. The trumpeters and the entire inhabitants dress in beautiful regalia during special occasions and shower praises on the Sultan in scintillating style.

The Surame Cultural landscape which was declared an ancient Nigerian National Monument 1964 is also located in Sokoto state. It was built by the first king in the 16th century. The city contained fourteen gates, made up of seven great gates connecting the city to the outside world, and the other seven sare destroyed, there are a few still standing, including the “ Dashe Tree Gate”.

Within the Surame Cultural Landscape is a baobab tree which has a history of the nagging wife of Kanta who was thrown in the trunk. The trunk is called “Siradi”. It is a place where trails were carried out on offenders in the kingdom, traditionally. It is believed that if a person falls into the Siradi, he is going to hell, and anyone who escapes will dwell in paradise.


Other Tourist Destinations

Other tourist destinations of unique Archaeological features and great historical background in Sokoto are:

The Usman Dan Fodio Tomb (the tomb of the founder of the Sokoto caliphate), and
• The Danfodiyo University (UDUSOK), Waziri Junaidu History & Culture museum (houses, reserves, and display all relics and tells the story of the people in a unique way through art)
The Goronyo Dam, which supplies water within Sokoto, and Kebbi state.

Goronyo Dam, Sokoto, Nigeria | Source:

• The Shehu Kangiwa Square, which was dedicated to the first civilian governor of the city.

Embed from Getty Images

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