Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Emir of Abuja Visiting a Kent (UK) Farm in 1948

The Queens Tour - Second Battalian Nigerian Regiment

After her coronation in 1953 The Queen embarked on a series of overseas visits, including trips to parts of the Empire and Commonwealth never before visited by her predecessors.
She toured Nigeria from 28 January to 16 February 1956, stopping off to inspect the soldiers of the Nigeria Regiment. After the Queen's visit, the regiment (shown here parading in khaki drill with red fezzes, scarlet zouave-style jackets edged in yellow, and red cummerbunds) was renamed the Queen's Own Nigeria Regiment in her honour.

Queen and Duke talking to Nigerian Regiment, with the two children watching

Guards of the 2nd Battalion, Nigeria Regiment, Royal West African Frontier Force, dressing for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II, Lagos, Nigeria, 1956,


1958  Screen shots for the film. THREE ROADS TO TOMORROW . 'The film is about three Nigerian students from different corners of Nigeria who come to Ibadan University. While they sit talking in a dance club, the film traces back each of their journeys to the university. Scenes of their homes give a new impression of an old country, and we come to understand how a modern network of communications - all dependent on oil and petrol - has opened up what was not so long ago inaccessible territory' (Monthly Film Bulletin, 1961, 14).

France returns smuggled Nok artefacts to Nigeria

France has returned to Nigeria, five ancient terracotta sculptures smuggled out of the country in 2010.
The artefacts, of Nok origin, were found in the luggage of French citizen at a Paris airport.
Their exact value has not been disclosed, but they are believed to date back more than 3,000 years.
Nigeria's tourism minister said it was a "big achievement" in the country's campaign to recover its lost treasures from around the world.
"I feel extremely delighted," said Edem Duke, who attended the ceremony to receive the sculptures from French embassy officials in the capital, Abuja.
Over the last 85 years, Nok art has been discovered in a large area of north-central Nigeria from Jos to Kaduna.
It sends a very important signal to the rest of the world that we will continue to pursue the repatriation of our heritage assets and treasures wherever they are
                     Edem Duke Nigeria's tourism minister

Experts say Nok art, which often represents human heads, is the earliest attempt at portraiture yet discovered in Nigeria.
Nigeria's National Commission for Museums and Monuments believes that items of Nok culture show it was the first society to have used iron in sub-Saharan Africa.
Continue reading from source

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Sheffield Wednesday Nigerian Tour 1961 - NOSTALGIA


PRIVATE EYE 19th July 1968

War is big business to some ...whilst discussing aid to Biafra and the loss of two Brtish lives (Father M. Riddle and Mr. J. Ambache) in a land mine incident questions came up in the House of Lords regarding relief efforts and the supply of arms .

Hansard Lord sitting HL Deb 31 July 1968 vol 296 cc313-20 313

"My Lords, may I ask my noble friend how he reconciles this Statement on relief with the fact that we
are still sending arms to Nigeria for the purpose of destroying yet more Biafrans? In view of this, why
is he surprised that the authorities in Biafra regard us with some contempt and even cynicism?"

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The tailed head-hunters of Nigeria; an account of an official's seven years' experience in the Northern Nigerian pagan belt, and a description of the manners, habits, and customs of some of its native tribes.

Here is a page and some pictures from Arthur John Newmans book (1912) The tailed head-hunters of Nigeria; an account of an official's seven years' experience in the Northern Nigerian pagan belt, and a description of the manners, habits, and customs of some of its native tribes.

Its very interesting if only for historical interest and a look at perceptions of the time

The note at the bottom says ... DUSKY BEAUTIES..... at least their own men think them so. The girl on the left, Isa was from Bornu, the other three were pagan slaves freed from Filiani owners at Ilorin. The broad Hausa hats worn by Nos.1 and 3 are a good protection against the sun. Three of these women are wearing English blouses in addition to their Hausa clothes

 You can download the book here

Monday, 28 January 2013


1962 Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa on his farm in Bauchi Source. Drum
I LOVE THIS !! July 1965 Ahmadu Bello The man behind the Legend !!! Source. Drum

May 1955. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe ( on the right, wearing glasses clearly not fazed) swims to safety when the vessel he was in ran aground. He helped to refloat the vessel without any fuss! Source Drum


A telegram regarding the "Aba Womens Riots" 1929

 .... Telegram to Mr H Rising Esq, 17th December 1929 after the "Aba Womens Riots" and the issue of if European ladies should remain in Nigeria.

It says, " I have wired to the District Manager that Government recommends all European ladies to return to England in view of present unrest. It would appear that it was not the official intention to go so far as this and, as a fact, Mr Inglis seems to be in favour of women remaining if they have the feeling that they can do so.

I therefore cancel the telegram which went out yesterday and would ask you to read the recommendation as coming from myself and not Government.

What I have seen of the present disturbance leaves no doubt in my mind THAT THIS COUNTRY IS NO PLACE FOR A EUROPEAN LADY at the present time and I am sure most husbands will feel they do not wish their womenfolk to run any risk if such a thing can be avoided.

I might here add that I will not be recommending any wife be given permission to return to Nigeria until there is very definite assurance that the unrest is a thing of the past"


Cover photograph of KPFA (Magazine) Radio schedule. It was taken by Ken Heyman in Nigeria 1964

Sunday, 27 January 2013


1938 drivers licence of Mr H Rising (issued in Enugu, Nigeria)


This is an extract from a sex education school textbook for girls from the early 60s in the UK....It shows why the world was a much happier and peaceful place  LMAO!!!!

Capt. August “Augie”Harvey Martin (1919-1968) - The Biafran Hero

Capt. August “Augie”Harvey Martin (1919-1968). The first African-American to captain a U.S.-scheduled commercial air carrier. He died on a mercy mission to Biafra whilst attempting to land his plane during a severe rainstorm. The plane was loaded with emergency relief supplies.

Martin attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. Upon graduation in 1938, he returned to California to attend San Mateo Junior College.
While at San Mateo, Martin’s ambitions quickly turned to flying. He worked for the Oakland Flying Service, fueling and washing airplanes to earn money for flying lessons. After junior college, he entered the federally sponsored Civilian Pilot Training Program at the University of California. His first solo flight took place in 1940, in a Fleet Model 2 airplane, and by graduation he had earned his flight instructor rating, authorizing him to teach other aviation students.
In 1942, Martin returned to New York, this time to work for the Navy V-12 College Training Program at Cornell University. The following year Martin enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps.
He was sent to Tuskegee, Ala. to train with the famed Tuskeegee Airmen, the first group of black pilots in the armed forces. He earned his Army pilot’s wings on Sept. 8, 1945. However, World War II ended before his bombardment group was scheduled to go overseas, and Martin never saw combat.
After he was honorably discharged from the Army Air Corps in 1946, Martin had great difficulty finding a pilot’s job. The commercial aviation sector was flooded with thousands of unemployed pilots looking for work following the war and it was especially difficult for African-American pilots, to whom these jobs were not yet open.
Martin worked as an aircraft maintainer at Willis Air Service in Teterboro, NJ and flew part-time for Buffalo Skylines, El Al and World Airways. To support his family when there were no flying jobs available, he loaded ships on the New York City docks.
In 1955, Martin was hired by Seaboard World Airlines and became the first African-American to captain a U.S.-scheduled commercial air carrier. Seaboard was one of the largest air cargo companies in the country at the time, and the only one to have its corporate headquarters at Kennedy International Airport, then known as Idlewild.
The airline played a notable role during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, flying cargo jets from Washington State to the front lines. Through purchases in the 1980s Seaboard eventually became a part of what is now Federal Express.
In 1967, Martin helped to establish Negro Airmen International with Edward Gibbs, a civilian flight instructor at the Tuskeegee Airfield. NAI was the first black civilian aviation organization in the United States and today has 31 chapters across the country.
While on vacation from Seaboard in 1968, Martin, 49, volunteered to fly a mercy mission for the International Red Cross to Biafra, the eastern region of Nigeria embroiled in civil war at the time. He died in a crash while attempting to land his plane during a severe rainstorm. The plane was loaded with emergency relief supplies.

Read more in the Queens Chronicle

Saturday, 26 January 2013


Amos Tutuola 1920-1997, Tutuola completed his first full-length book, The Palm-Wine Drinkard, within a few days. After he had written his first three books and become internationally famous, he joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation in 1956 as a storekeeper in Ibadan, Western Nigeria. Tutuola became also one of the founders of Mbari Club, the writers' and publishers' organization. In 1979, he held a visiting research fellowship at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) at Ile-Ife, Nigeria, and in 1983 he was an associate of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. In retirement he divided his time between residences at Ibadan and Ago-Odo. Tutuola died at age 77 on June 8, 1997 from hypertension and diabetes.

Despite his short formal education (6 years in total) , Tutuola wrote his novels in English. His most famous novel, The Palm-Wine Drinkard and his Dead Palm-Wine Tapster in the Deads' Town, was written in 1946, published in 1952 in London by Faber and Faber, and translated and published in Paris as L'Ivrogne dans la brousse by Raymond Queneau in 1953. The noted poet Dylan Thomas brought it to wide attention, calling it "brief, thronged, grisly and bewitching". Although the book was praised in England and the United States, it faced severe criticism in Tutuola's native Nigeria. Part of this criticism was due to his use of "broken English" and primitive style, which supposedly promote the Western stereotype of "African backwardness". The Palm-Wine Drinkard was followed up by My Life in the Bush of Ghosts in 1954 and then several other books in which Tutuola continued to explore Yoruba traditions and folklore. Strangely the narrative of the Palm-Wine Drinkard refers back to The Bush of Ghosts several times even though the latter was written and published later. However, none of the subsequent works managed to match the success of The Palm Wine Drinkard. Many of Tutuola's papers, letters, and holographic manuscripts have been collected at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin

First page of Amos Tutuola's original manuscript for The Palm-Wine Drinkard.

First page of Amos Tutuola's original manuscript for The Palm-Wine Drinkard.      


1979 ALIEN. Bolaji Badejo, the man behind the film’s title creature.

Originally published in the Autumn 1979 issue of Cinefantastique magazine, this is Alien actor Bolaji Badejo’s only interview.  Obtained from

The Alien you don’t get to see in ALIEN was played by 6″10, 26-year-old Nigerian Bolaji Badejo. Bolaji is a student of graphic arts in London, and has travelled extensively with his parents: to Ethiopia where he studied fine arts; and to the United States, including a three year stay in San Francisco. He landed the role of “The Alien” purely by accident, a turn of events that reads like a publicity agent’s tall tale. The production had apparently put out a casting call for a very tall, very thin actor. Bolaji bumped into agent Peter Archer while having a drink in a London West End pub. Archer thought of ALIEN as soon as he spotted Bolaji, and offered him the chance to try out for the part.
“As soon as I walked in,” said Bolaji, “Ridley Scott knew he’d found the right person.” Scott had been looking at basketball players, and had tested Peter Mayhew [Star Wars' Chewbacca] for the Alien, but it was Badejo’s combination of height, slimness and an erect posture that cinched him the part. Bolaji was signed for the part in May, manufacture of the suit began, and the filming of the Alien scenes started in August at Shepperton.
Ridley Scott originally intended Bolaji to be part of a team of three artists needed to play the Alien, including a mime specialist and a karate expert. When other experts of Bolaji’s unique proportions could not be found, a stuntman was substituted for the dangerous and physically grueling action and Bolaji began to take miming lessons. Most of the footage shot of the Alien didn’t work, but there is one brief cut of Bolaji going through one of his miming routines in the suit, in the sequence where he attacks Veronica Cartwright. ”The idea,” says Bolaji, “was that the creature was supposed to be graceful as well as vicious, requiring slow, deliberate movements. But there was some action I had to do pretty quick. I remember having to kick Yaphet Kotto, throw him against the wall, and rush up to him. Veronica Cartwright was really terrified. After I fling Yaphet Kotto back with my tail, I turn to go after her, there’s blood in my mouth, and she was incredible. It wasn’t acting. She was scared.”

Bolaji worked approximately four months on the film, through final shooting at Shepperton in November. He usually worked only three or four days in the week, sometimes on weekends, and kept getting called back to redo shots when the action didn’t work. “They’d say, ‘Come back and do this shot again,’ but when you get there they’d want you to do something else. New ideas were always coming into their heads.”
Only Bolaji and HR Giger were allowed to watch the rushes of the Alien footage with Ridley Scott, so they could work out problems together on how best to show the Alien and represent the movements and actions required. Most of the footage Bolaji filmed never made it into the movie, due to problems.
“Ridley had a lot more ideas than what you see on the screen, but some things were impossible. There was one part where I was hanging from a wire about ten or fifteen feet above the ground, and I curled up. I was like a coccoon of my own, and I come out very slowly and stretch out. But I couldn’t do it. I was held up by a harness around my stomach, and I was suffocating trying to make these movements.”
Scott filmed several variations of his concept of the monster descending from above onto Harry Dean Stanton, but none of them worked. In one set-up, Badejo was strapped onto a large see-saw like boom arm that could be raised from the ground to tilt straight up some 20 feet in the air. When it came down full circle, Bolaji was upside down, with blood just rushing to his head, feeling very dizzy. Enough was enough! Bolaji declined to repeat the stunt, so Scott got the stuntman to try it, but he fainted! Eventually, Scott rigged the boom arm with a dummy suit and tried to film the same action, but it wouldn’t work without a host to animate the Alien’s movements. Scott filmed some footage of the stuntman being lowered head-first on wires, picking up another stuntman doubling for Harry Dean Stanton, and whisking him back up to the ceiling of the ship, out of frame. In the end, Scott was forced to resort to closeups and quick cuts to suggest the action of the sequence.
HR Giger made the Alien suits worn by Bolaji and the stuntman out of latex, at a cost of more than $250,000. The suit consisted of some ten to fifteen separate pieces, worn over a one-piece black body suit, needed underneath to disguise the fact that the Alien fitted together in sections, and because you could see through parts of it, like the ribcage. The ribcage was put on like a sweater, over the head. The legs and hips were put on separately as sleeves, fitted over with gloves for the hands. The tail was attached separately and operated by a series of wires. Feet were worn like shoes. The head was placed on last. Bolaji likened wearing it to having your head stuck up the middle of a huge banana.
“The Nostromo set itself was only about 6’6 high. I’m 6’10, 7′ with the suit on. I had to be very careful how I spun around or did anything. It was terribly hot, especially the head. I could only have it on for about fifteen or twenty minutes at a time. When I took it off, my head would be soaked.”
In addition to the non-mechanical head for actions scenes, Bolaji wore Carlo Rambaldi’s articulated head for special effects shots. ”It was all manual, remote controlled,” said Bolaji. “There’s still a space in it for my head. I had it on just to make sure nothing goes wrong with the posture of the head or how tall it is in comparison to the other sequences. They must have had about 2000 tubes of K-Y Jelly,” he laughed, “just to get the effect of that slime coming out of his mouth. A lot of it was spread around on the face. I could barely see what was going on around me, except when I was in a stationary position, while they were filming. Then there were a few holes I could look through.”

Continue reading here  (with thanks to

Contrary to rumours he did not commit suicide! he lived well into the late 1980s.  He owned and ran a highly successful art gallery located in Falomo, Lagos, Nigeria, and resided at Olonode Street, Yaba on mainland Lagos. His eventual death was as a consequence of an inherited blood condition.


 Malam Umaru Altine - In 1952 he became the first elected Mayor of Enugu a post he held till 1958

Quoted from Chief Mbazulike Amechi, a nationalist who was
secretary-general of the Zikist Movement and first republic Minister of Aviation - "It will interest you to know that Malam Umaru Altine was not appointed. He was elected Mayor of Enugu two time
s. Malam Umaru Altine was the Vice Chairman of the NCNC Youth Association at Enugu. He identified with the NCNC as a political party. During elections NCNC decided to nominate him at Coal Camp where he lived. He contested and won the election in the same manner as we did that kind of thing in many places. After what happened at Ibadan and the crisis it precipitated in the East, Altine was fully involved with us. He was arrested with me as I told you, and we were imprisoned together. That was in 1952. I shared the same prison cell with him and one Ernest Obianwu and one Akunne Nwanolue, and one Okeke, a blacksmith from Awka.Later, one M. E. Ogon from Ogoja later came and joined us. When Altine won the election, we decided that this man did not see himself as a Fulani man but a nationalist. And we NCNC we believe in one Nigeria. So, let him be the Mayor of Enugu. In the same manner, John Umoru, from Etsako in today’s Edo State which was then in the Western Region, was presented by the NCNC as a candidate for the House of Assembly, and he won to represent Port Harcourt in the Eastern Nigerian House of Assembly. Later, Zik appointed him as Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier. That was the way we saw Nigeria at that time. When the Eastern House of Chiefs was constituted Malam Umaru Yushau, the Sarkin Hausawa or chief of the Hausas at Onitsha, was elected as a member of the Eastern House of Chiefs. He was there until the military coups of 1966.I must mention that a year or two before the coup, the Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of Northern Region, reciprocated our gesture by appointing one Felix Okonkwo, then known as “Okonkwo Kano”, as a special member of the Northern House of Chiefs. He was the leader of the Igbo State Union, which was very strong. It had Igbo State primary and secondary schools everywhere, including the North."

He contested twice for the post of Mayor of Enugu against Igbo opponents and won twice. The second election was even more significant in the sense that NCNC had asked him to step down for somebody else and he refused. Instead, he resigned from NCNC, ran as an Independent candidate and beat the NCNC candidate.

Still on the controversy of Chinua Achebes memoirs........

From a past post 
I encourage more memoirs to be written as long as the writer writes it from truth, personal experiences and observations. Irrespective of the outcome.
Today the politician Alex Ekweme turns 80, now, I would love to read his memoirs!. Someone like MT Mbu, who had a lot to say about the way history has presented itself eg his surprise declaration that Tafawa Balewa died of an asthma attack not a gun shot wound never wrote his memoirs.

Its true when they say ‘Each time an old man dies a library is burnt.’

The Jan 1966 coup was the excuse given for the genocide that proceeded in Nigeria that ultimately led to the civil war.

People will like you to believe the first military coup was an Igbo affair. But how could it have been, when the objective was to free Awolowo and install him as leader? But no doubt that coup became the reason for a chain of events that would change the political culture of our Nation.

I still feel the truth has not fully been told. Maybe its just my suspicious mind and the conspiracy theorist within, but I think that the plotters (and some of the victims) were specifically chosen as part of an elaborate grand plan.

Maybe a memoir would have explained the bewilderment of someone like Nzeogwu, an outstandingly meticulous, young Major, clearly in possession of his senses. But uttered these words when he gave himself up:

“We have pledged allegiance to
General Ironsi on behalf of all men who were for some unknown reasons,
referred to as ‘rebels’. We feel that it is absurd that men who risked their
lives to establish the new regime should be held prisoners. We wanted to
change the government for the benefit of everybody else...” ....This reeked of betrayal.

How else do you explain their treatment?
The assassins of our founding leaders apparently going scott free?. Crazy! Nzeogwu and his colleagues were never court -martialed. Instead, they remained on government payroll and were set free after some time in protective custody. They were allowed to communicate with their families and friends.
Even when Nzeogwu was killed in the East his body was taken to Kaduna and given the honour of a military burial.

I have come to realize these young men, must have done something grossly
appreciating for the successive Juntas and governments!

Its my personal opinion that Nzeogwu was a tool in the hands of superior officers, including those who emerged as major beneficiaries of his action and they used the July counter coup of ridding those that would stand in their way.


Yesterday, I received a unique insight into British Colonial life via 100s of the personal documents of two people from 1917 to 1960. There are a quantity of items relating to their colonial life in Nigeria. Including invites from the Governor, various press cuttings, local drama group programmes, dance cards, driving license etc and even a few describing an incident in the "Aba Womens Riots" of 1929. I really want to thank Mark Rowlands for this priceless gift....giftsssssss!!! LOL


Hussey College Warri is a secondary school located along Upper Erejuwa Road in Warri, Delta State, Nigeria. Hussey College was founded on February 3, 1947 as the first college in Warri by two outstanding Itsekiri nationalists, Chief Ogbemi Newe Rewane, the late Ologbotsere of Warri and Chief Elliot Nekapenami Andrew Begho, the late Iserigho of Warri kingdom. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious colleges in Delta State and Nigeria, having produced many notable figures in the Nigerian professional and political scenery

The list of the Hussey's old students include Former Military Governor of Lagos State Brigadier General Mobolaji Johnson, Former military Administrator of Enugu and Abia States, Navy Commander Temi Ejoor  and Niger Delta Nationalist Major Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro

Former vice president of Nigeria  Dr Alex Ekwueme  was Physics Master between 1950 and 1952.


1962- The Advert says "We were surprised to learn that a group of students at Hussey College in Nigeria (without any encouragement from us ) have formed a club called the society of Parker Pen Owners. Its slogan is "Aut calamus optimus aut nihil" (Either the best pen or none.)
Why would they do a thing like that?
Nigerians are hungry for education and literate people are highly respected. By wearing the society's emblem, and a Parker pen, they identify themselves immediately as men of education.
Here in America, where educational is universal, Parker pens are prized for different reasons. Take the remarkable 61 - finest Parker of all.
It fills itself by the magic of capillary action in just ten seconds.
It is virtually leakproof.
Its classic design is a delight to the eye. Its exquisite balance , a pleasure in the hand.
Its 14k solid gold point skims gracefully across a page. It responds to your every "inflection" and gives your handwriting a real "first-person look"
There is no greater compliment you can pay a friend than a giftof this superb pen.
To avoid becoming envious, why not buy one for yourself too? it's worth everycent of the $15 (minimum) it costs.

PARKER - Maker of the worlds most wanted pens".


The Berlin Conference 1884. (The Scramble For Africa) With the support from the British, and the initiative of Portugal, Otto von Bismarck, (The first German Chancellor ), called on representatives of Austria–Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia,Spain, Sweden-Norway (union until 1905) and The Ottoman Empire, to take part in the Berlin Conference to work out policy regarding Africa. Its outcome, the General Act of the Berlin Conference, can be seen as the formalisation of the Scramble for Africa. The conference ushered in a period of heightened colonial activity by European powers, while simultaneously eliminating most existing forms of African autonomy and self-governance.

Before the conference, the competition in Africa was so fierce, that European countries feared war amongst themselves. To prevent conflict 14 Europeans nations met at this conference. To lay down rules for the division of Africa. These European countries divided the Continent with little thought about how the African ethnic and linguistic groups were distributed .

As the “scramble” for the continent’s riches got underway.....haggling......and partitioning the African map. I have to make it clear that AFRICAN LEADERS WERE NOT INVITED TO THE MEETINGS REGARDING AFRICA'S FATE!!!!

This conference represented the Bismarckian “Curse of Berlin” on Africa.

KIRBY HISTORIES - The Almond Project

Magnum Photos

Scientia potentia est "Knowledge is power"


I have a fascination with West African history, mainly because that's where my heritage lies. Growing up in London I was not privileged to learn about my history but finding such amazing groups like The Nigerian Nostalgia project (on Facebook) has been priceless and also inspiring. I have started this blog because I have discovered very interesting aspects of our history and I feel there is a need to share.

Visual literacy is the ability to interpret and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image (photograph, web page, movie, object, etc.) The Almond Project will use visual aids to share the knowledge.  Its aim is to help allow people engage in several multi sensory activities through out, via objects, videos and pictures.....learning history through images is so much more interesting!!

I have been very privileged to have access to many primary sources which I intend to share via planned exhibitions and multi visuals via this blog.

How can you put into words what you see with your eyes?

The Almond Project is targeted at the youth Between 11- 17 but of course everyone is welcome to take part.
My aim is to show children that the study of history can be an exhilarating adventure and a worth while experience.

Knowledge is the basic building block for a successful life. Unfortunately a generation of our youth have grown up without knowing who Zulu Sofola the first published female Nigerian playwright and dramatist was or thinking that Mr Bode Thomas was a man who owned a street .

If our children don't know our past, do not know who we are or what we have done as a people, how will they come to love our Nation, refute her enemies or lead her selflessly?

The Almond project can not and does not claim to be the solution, but this small project can make a big difference.