INDEPENDENT SPEECH|Abubakar Tafawa Balewa 1st October, 1960

​The Speech Declaring Nigeria’s Independence by

Nigeria’s First Prime Minister Alhaji Sir Abubakar

Tafawa Balewa – October 1, 1960

Today is Independence Day. The first of

October 1960 is a date to which for two years,

Nigeria has been eagerly looking forward. At

last, our great day has arrived, and Nigeria is

now indeed an independent Sovereign nation.

Words cannot adequately express my joy and

pride at being the Nigerian citizen privileged to

accept from Her Royal Highness these

Constitutional Instruments which are the

symbols of Nigeria’s Independence. It is a

unique privilege which I shall remember

forever, and it gives me strength and courage

as I dedicate my life to the service of our

country. This is a wonderful day, and it is all

the more wonderful because we have awaited

it with increasing impatience, compelled to

watch one country after another overtaking us

on the road when we had so nearly reached

our goal. But now, we have acquired our

rightful status, and I feel sure that history will

show that the building of our nation proceeded

at the wisest pace: it has been thorough, and

Nigeria now stands well-built upon firm


Today’s ceremony marks the culmination of a

process which began fifteen years ago and has

now reached a happy and successful

conclusion. It is with justifiable pride that we

claim the achievement of our Independence to

be unparalleled in the annals of history. Each

step of our constitutional advance has been

purposefully and peacefully planned with full

and open consultation, not only between

representatives of all the various interests in

Nigeria but in harmonious cooperation with the

administering power which has today

relinquished its authority. At the time when

our constitutional development entered upon

its final phase, the emphasis was largely upon

self-government: We, the elected

representatives of the people of Nigeria,

concentrated on proving that we were fully

capable of managing our own affairs both

internally and as a nation. However, we were

not to be allowed the selfish luxury of focusing

our interest on our own homes.

In these days of rapid communications, we

cannot live in isolation, apart from the rest of

the world, even if we wished to do so. All too

soon it has become evident that for us,

independence implies a great deal more than

self-government. This great country, which has

now emerged without bitterness or bloodshed,

finds that she must at once be ready to deal

with grave international issues. This fact has of

recent months been unhappily emphasised by

the startling events which have occurred in this

continent. I shall not belabour the point but it

would be unrealistic not to draw attention first

to the awe-inspiring task confronting us at the

very start of our nationhood. When this day in

October 1960 was chosen for our

Independence, it seemed that we were destined

to move with quiet dignity to our place on the

world stage. Recent events have changed the

scene beyond recognition, so that we find

ourselves today being tested to the utmost. We

are called upon immediately to show that our

claims to responsible government are well-

founded, and having been accepted as an

independent state, we must at once play an

active part in maintaining the peace of the

world and in preserving civilisation.

I promise you, we shall not fall for want of

determination. And we come to this task better-

equipped than many. For this, I pay tribute to

the manner in which successive British

governments have gradually transferred the

burden of responsibility to our shoulders. The

assistance and unfailing encouragement which

we received from each Secretary of State for

the Colonies and their intense personal interest

in our development has immeasurably

lightened that burden. All our friends in the

Colonial Office must today be proud of their

handiwork and in the knowledge that they

have helped to lay the foundations of a lasting

friendship between our two nations. I have

indeed every confidence that, based on the

happy experience of a successful partnership,

our future relations with the United Kingdom

will be more cordial than ever, bound together,

as we shall be in the Commonwealth, by a

common allegiance to Her Majesty, Queen

Elizabeth, whom today we proudly acclaim as

Queen of Nigeria and Head of the

Commonwealth. Time will not permit the

individual mention of all those friends, many

of them Nigerians, whose selfless labours have

contributed to our Independence. Some have

not lived to see the fulfilment of their hopes –

on them be peace – but nevertheless they are

remembered here, and the names of buildings

and streets and roads and bridges throughout

the country recall to our minds their

achievements, some of them on a national

scale. Others confined, perhaps, to a small area

in one Division, are more humble but of equal

value in the sum-total.

Today, we have with us representatives of

those who have made Nigeria: Representatives

of the Regional Governments, of former Central

Governments, of the Missionary Societies, and

of the Banking and Commercial enterprises,

and members, both past and present, of the

Public Service. We welcome you, and we rejoice

that you have been able to come and share in

our celebrations. We wish that it could have

been possible for all of those whom you

represent to be here today. Many, I know, will

be disappointed to be absent, but if they are

listening to me now, I say to them: ‘Thank you

on behalf of my countrymen. Thank you for

your devoted service which helped to build up

Nigeria into a nation. Today, we are reaping

the harvest which you sowed, and the quality

of the harvest is equalled only by our gratitude

to you. May God bless you all. This is an

occasion when our hearts are filled with

conflicting emotions: we are, indeed, proud to

have achieved our independence, and proud

that our efforts should have contributed to this

happy event. But do not mistake our pride for

arrogance. It is tempered by feelings of sincere

gratitude to all who have shored in the task of

developing Nigeria politically, socially and


We are grateful to the British officers whom we

have known, first as masters, and then as

leaders, and finally as partners, but always as

friends. And there have been countless

missionaries who have laboured unceasingly in

the cause of education and to whom we owe

many of our medical services. We are grateful

also to those who have brought modern

methods of banking and of commerce, and new

industries. I wish to pay tribute to all of these

people and to declare our everlasting

admiration of their devotion to duty. And

finally, I must express our gratitude to Her

Royal Highness, the Princess Alexandra for

personally bringing to us these symbols of our

freedom and especially for delivering the

gracious message from Her Majesty, The Queen.

And so, with the words ‘God Save Our Queen’, I

open a new chapter in the history of Nigeria

and of the Commonwealth, and indeed, of the


Published by


Nungkop Mishael S. (Peace Ambassador) was born in Jos, Plateau State 1986, He is from Pankshin LGA, From the Fier peoples group. Attended ECWA Transfered Primary School, Government Secondary School McAllen, and ABU pivotal Grade II Teachers College at the Jos Center. Taught in various schools for the period of 6 years as a Class Teacher before attending the Plateau State University Bokkos, graduated with a Bachelor's Degree (B.Sc) Political Science in 2014. Participated in the “Make We Talk” Programme One (1) Year Peer Facilitator/Educators and Project Management Training of the Society for Family Health (SFH) and Action Aid International, Nigeria in the year 2005. Also attended a Leadership Training Course (Course SH978) March 2016. At the Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre (Mountain School) Where Hills Jos. Participated in the Institute of Governance and Social Research (IGSR) Peace in Jos Project Early Warning Reporting and Response System Training, May 2016. Founder/C.E.O Spectroom Political & Social Advisory Consultancy, His. Business Manager @Max-Ray Communication and Computers School (MRCCS) 2007 – Date. Graphic Editor @WeJosRock™ Currently the Vice President and Project Manager of the Plateau Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (PYPAN) Camp 7, Course SH978, March 2016 to date. Worked with the Institute of Governance and Social Research (IGSR) – as a Research Assistant, Monitoring & Evaluation Task Force, of the Peace in Jos Project. May to July 2016. Interest: Teaching, Writing, graphics and Books too. Loves political & Social analysis. Very easy to get along with, enthusiastic, friendly. Enjoys public speaking, other passions and aspirations include Political journalism, photography, Fashion stylist...

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