Saturday, 27 April 2013


"In 1909 a team of itinerant geologists who were supposed to be looking for silver in this hilly area discovered the sub-bituminous coal which, subsequent investigations estableshed was available in commercial quantities.
The discovery came at a very opportune time, just before the outbreak of the first world war, 1914- 1918. The Goverenment of Nigeria decided to undertake the operation and the developement of the mines. Following the decision, a 151- mile railway route was built to connect the mining centre with the port of Port Harcourt . The first coal train steamed out of the coal mines in 1916. The settlement which grew out of the mines was called Enugu, an Igbo expression for top of the hill".

The colonial government needed Chief Onyeama of Eke. His drive and influence provided labourers from all over the surrounding villages who were set on the task of building the new railway line . nd

                                        A miner walking along the shaft of the Udi Mines

The coal that travels by aerial ropeway from the Hays Mines is loaded here at Ogbete Railway Marshalling Yard.

                                                 The main thoroughfare through  Enugu

                                                    The well shaded shopping centre

                                           The Roman Catholic Cathedral at Enugu c1961

Cricket: Nigeria v Ghana 1964

The Cricket score card from The Nigeria v Ghana Cricket match in Lagos on the 20th, 21st and 23rd March 1964.


I extend to our brothers from Ghana a right hearty welcome to Nigeria. I wish the the thrills of a tough game of cricket, which we hope to give them. I wish them plenty of fun and friendship.

Cricket is our common heritage - the strongest link that has bound our peoples together since the colonial days. That is why, whether in politics, or in business the Nigerian as well as the Ghanian can always trust to play the game according to the rules.

I hope that international cricket will continue to foster friendship between Nigeria and Ghana. Welcome friends and so to the pitch.
Chief A.S.E Agbabiaka

President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Vice Patron:
Minister of Labour and Social Welfare

Chief Justice of Eastern Nigeria



Hon. Treasurer:
(Lewis Street. Lagos)

Hon Secretary:
(Prison Street, Lagos)

Hon Assistant Secretary:

William Balfour Baikie (1825-1864)

Explorers like Ledyard,Lucas, Houghton, Hornman, and Mungo Parks all attempted to decipher  Western Africa but found it was no easy task. Death had other plans.

Africa was a riddle to outsiders and the biggest riddle was the River Niger! Dixon Denham and Hugh Clapperton had tried to cross it but failed. In 1830 the Landers Brothers (Richard and John) had managed to chart the course of the Niger from Bussa to the Delta but this was not enough because too many lives had been lost

In 1854 a noteable journey took place, when Dr William Balfour Baikie commanded an expedition up the Benue for more than three hundred miles without losing a single life; A new drug called Quinine was used for the first time. After this pioneering feat more ships started arriving, trade within the interior was increasing and the first missionaries landed.

In 1859 he set up base in Lokoja, it being the site of the model farm established by the Niger expedition in 1841 and abandoned on the death of most of the white settlers. After Baikie concluded a treaty with the Fula Emir of Nupe, he proceeded to clear ground and pave the way for a future city, which had almost 2000 representatives of the different tribes of West Central Africa trading in the first 3 years. After his death in 1864, Lokoja remained an influential trading post. The British then secured the district through the Niger Company and later became the Capital of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate when the British Government took over.

Interesting to note that in the Igbo language the word for “white man” is “Bekee” a corruption of his name and the name “Ala Bekee” means Britain, “Baikies Country”

Report on the countries in the neighborhood of the Niger 1863

Dejobbed, Bewifed And Much Childrenised

This is a 1929, letter by a man who apparently lost his job. I think the letter is a master piece!!. I wonder if this "dejobbed" "bewifed" and "much childrenised" man was ever "rejobulated." :D

(Source: The National Archives' Africa Through a Lens project.)


February 2nd 1929.

Kind Sir,

On opening this epistle you will behold the work of a dejobbed person, and a very bewifed and much childrenised gentleman.

Who was violently dejobbed in a twinkling by your goodself. For Heavens sake Sir consider this catastrophe as falling on your own head, and remind yourself as walking home at the moon's end of five savage wives and sixteen voracious children with your pocket filled with non-existent £ S D; not a solitudery sixpence; pity my horrible state when being dejobbed and proceeding with a heart and intestines filled with misery to this den of doom; myself did greedily contemplate culpable homicide, but Him who did protect Daniel (poet) safely through the lion's dens will protect his servant in his home of evil.

As to reason given by yourself — goodself — esquire for my dejobbment the incrimination was laziness.

No Sir. It were impossible that myself who has pitched sixteen infant children into this valley of tears, can have a lazy atom in his mortal frame, and the sudden departure of eleven pounds monthly has left me on the verge of the abyss of destitution and despair. I hope this vision of horror will enrich your dreams this night, and good Angel will meet and pulverise your heart of nether milestone so that you will awaken, and with as much alacrity as may be compatable with your personal safety, you will hasten to rejobulate your servant.

So mote it be - Amen

Yours despairfully

Sgd. Asuquo Okon Inyang.


Thursday, 18 April 2013

Bishop Ajayi Crowther

Bishop Adjayi Crowther with converts persecuted at Bonny, and idols surrendered to him by King Ockiya.

Bishop Samuel Adjayi Crowther (c. 1809 – 31 December 1891) Was the first African Anglican bishop in Nigeria. Born in Osogun (in today's Iseyin Local Government, Oyo State, Nigeria).

His grandson Herbert Macaulay became one of the first Nigerian nationalists and played an important role in ending British colonial rule in Nigeria.

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Lagos Light House 1947

"The Lagos light house, built in 1891, is about half a mile to the west of the harbour entrance and rises 100ft above the flat, sandy seashore.

The light is not electric but is produced by burning kerosene.
Every possible care is taken to avoid failure of the light and a mantle is replaced by a new one after three nights of use."

The Lamp of Lagos lighthouse surrounded by lenses and prisms to collect and direct the light given out by the incandescent mantle

Dandeson Coates Crowther

Picture Rev. Dandeson Crowther and his household n.d

Dandeson Coates Crowther
1844 to 1938
Anglican (CMS)

Son of Bishop Ajayi Crowther and Uncle to Herbert Macaulay
Dandeson Coates Crowther was a West African church leader. Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Crowther was the youngest son of Anglican Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther. Ordained by his father in 1870, Crowther joined the Niger Mission of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) the following year and became archdeacon of the Niger Delta in 1876. He was indefatigable organizer and inspirational leader; it was mainly due to his enthusiasm and evangelistic zeal that a mass movement toward Christianity grew in the Niger Delta during the 1870s and 1880s. However, the Niger crisis of the early 1890s (which produced racial conflict, high-handed reform by the CMS missionaries, and rebellion of the national leadership) marked a turning point in his career. Among other things, European agency was introduced into the hitherto all-African Delta Mission, ultimately causing the Niger Delta to secede from the CMS. This revolt was spearheaded by Crowther. Then, in April 1892 he launched the Niger Delta Pastorate. This experience of independence lasted for only six years, but it represented one of the first significant, wholly African attempts to establish a self-supporting, self-governing church in western Africa. As its prime mover, Crowther deserves special recognition in the study of Christian missions.
- From The Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Josiah Olutunji Majekodunmi

Josiah Olutunji Majekodunmi (April 12, 1927 – October 9, 1996) was an athlete from Nigeria.
He competed at the 1950 British Empire Games at Auckland, New Zealand where he won Nigeria's first medal in any international sports, a silver medal in the Men's High Jump event. Prior to the Commonwealth games, he captained Abeokuta Grammar School Athletics team to win the prestigious Grier Cup for Nigerian high schools in 1947 for the first and the last time. Majekodunmi was also at the 1948 London Olympics, and placed 9th in the high jump event at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

He was also the father of Miss Olawunmi Majekodunmi, the African Table Tennis champion for most of 1970s and 1980s.

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Nigerian Colonial Postcards

Aro-Chuko Women, Southern Nigeria 1912

The Lagos Canal, Labourers at Work.

Rescued twins with their mothers

Orphans rescued by the Missionary sisters.

Mission in Nigeria

Angas Devil House, Bauchi Plateau.

Lagos : Protest against land taxes

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Sunday, 14 April 2013

Nigeria: Lokoja in the Centenary Celebration

Every Easter Monday, the historic importance of Lokoja, the colonial capital of Nigeria is re-enacted as indigenes of the State, via-a-vis politicians, technocrats top military brass and corporate citizens congregate atop popular Mount Patti.
According to the Times of London in its edition of January 8, 1897 (a few days before Oba Ovonramwen of Benin Kingdom was taken to Calabar after the punitive expedition) ,Sir Goldie left England on December 4 and reached Lokoja, the Military capital of the Niger Company on New Year's Day.
That settlement in the Northern fringe of Nigerian by the Niger Delta company inaugurated the historical and political interference with indigenous administrative systems by the British invading exploiters.
Interestingly as it were, it is also atop this 1,500 miles above sea level mount Patti, a point from where one can get an artistic view of where Niger and Benue rivers come together to form the Niger Delta that emptied into the ocean and thus define our great country, Nigeria that Mungo Park, the acclaimed discoverer of the Niger was conquered.
So, the yearly retreat to Mount Patti every Easter is both symbolic as it is ritualistic. It's symbolism lies in the fact that just as Christ died and rose on Easter Sunday and through his resurrection guarantee salvation and freedom to humanity, such retreat to the mountain in all its ritualistic paraphernalia re- affirms the people's joy in their new lease of life through political and economic freedoms.
Lokoja is also important in another great sense. It was in this great town that the British flag, Union Jack replaced the Niger Company's flag on 1 st January, 1900. And also,Lugard, Nigeria's first Governor General assumed office in the city of Lokoja.
But Nigeria's centenary celebration is next year 2014. And as usual the streets of Abuja will be lined up with masquerades, girls in skimpy skirts, school children lining the routes ... But, where does Lokoja, the cradle of great Nigerian story come in?
Given the historic place of Lokoja in Nigeria's history, the question is now asked: what is the place of this historic city in the planned 2014 centenary celebration by the Federal government?
It is our thinking that the whole idea behind this celebration is to wake up those places that the county's rich and dynamic history took places. Come 2014, Abuja will become part of this history. But viewed carefully, one can argue that the city of Abuja is too young now to be the centrifugal force for such a celebration.
Does this sound controversial? Yes, I love controversy. It makes the world go round.
Viewed from all angles, Lokoja is, if not one of the fit places , the most appropriate place to host this national party. First, its geographical location is very excellent and provides the needed conjugal environment for this kind of show.
Staged atop'this historic mount Patti, spectators like people sitting on a theatre stage will eternally savour from the arresting beauty of Benue and Niger confluence as different carnival floats regale the audience with unmatched displays.
Given also the importance of Lokoja, telecommunication giants like MTN and Glo can come in to make hosting of centenary in Lokoja a dream come through. With their partnership with State government, it will be possible for an exhibition of the nation's rich arts and culture to be hosted and in this way help open up Mount Patti and the entire state as another significant tourist destination point.
This is also the time that parastatals of culture like National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism should make the states to feel the impact of budget allocations to their sectors and stop behaving as if the budgets are only meant to run for Abuja activities.
Beyond configuring Lokoja into the Centenary routes, there is also nothing wrong with the President making Lokoja a kind of Camp Davies, Nigerian version of American President's retreat home. After all, Abuja is home for the Ministries and parastatals and also the chaos that accompanies such environs.
Receiving important dignitaries atop Mount Patti and having dinner with them there with a view of the confluence, the very heart of Nigeria will leave a lasting memory and impression in their minds.

Photo Source. National Mirror

Nigeria's forgotten railroad history

Historian John Godwin walks between two abandoned train cars in Lagos, Nigeria, on Saturday, April 13, 2013. The Nigerian Railway Corp., while recently restarting service from Lagos to the northern city of Kano, still has relics from the past littering the grounds of its headquarters in Lagos. Historians hope to preserve some of these old locomotives and train cars for future generations to see. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

Train horns now sound again across Nigeria's lush south and the encroaching desert of its north, but the history of the nation's 100-year-old railroad still sits rusting away.
Old steam locomotives and railway cars that hold special places in the story of Nigeria sit in large storage barns at the Nigerian Railway Corp. headquarters, a huge compound inside the megacity of Lagos.
One car once carried Queen Elizabeth II during her 1956 visit to Nigeria when it was still a British colony, historian John Godwin said. Another nearby transported Nigeria's first and only prime minister, the assassinated leader Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, through the country's northeast, Godwin said.
Today, though, much of the legacy of the railroad continues to rot away, including large locomotives bearing the names of Nigeria's military rulers, including the feared dictator Sani Abacha, whose death while in power ushered in a return to democracy for the nation in 1999.
Some, like Godwin and the historical preservation society Legacy1995, have made preserving the railroad's past a priority. Working with the state-run railway company, they have remodeled a colonial-era building to house a museum. Talks continue about how to save the other memorabilia and huge train cars and locomotives hidden in the tall grasses and barns at the railway's headquarters.
By JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press.

An Advert from a 1950s Magazine for the Nigerian Railway Corporation

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Friday, 5 April 2013

They just keep coming in !

Look what we got today ! The agreement between the then Governor of the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, Sir Walter Egerton and the Hope Waddell training institute Calabar regarding financial duties by the government to the institution in 1911

What is Hope Waddell Training Institution?

The Hope Waddell Training Institution (HWTI) is a school in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria founded by missionaries from the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 1895. It is named after the Reverend Hope Masterton Waddell.

The Scottish missionary Mary Mitchell Slessor, who had done much work with the Efik people around Calabar, was a driving force behind the establishment of the Institute. Edinburgh was hesitant about accepting Slessor demand to establish an industrial training center, but eventually decided to set up an institute on similar lines to its two existing ones in Africa, Lovedale Institute in South Africa and Livingstonia in Nyasaland. Robert Laws, a United Presbyterian minister who had been involved with both of these institutions for a long time, was sent to make a feasibility study. Laws expressed complete confidence that the success of the other two schools could be replicated in Calabar.

The institution was established in 1894. The first school building was a prefabricated classroom block of corrugated iron sheets and Scandinavian pitch pine, built by a Glasgow firm and shipped to Calabar where it was assembled in 1894. By March 1895 teaching had commenced. By 1900 the school had forty-two students. Two were doing gardening, five printing, eight tailoring, five engineering, eleven carpentry and eleven baking. According to Henry Carr the boys were "well disciplined, and their appearance... cheerful and healthy." They generally spoke English well and had good penmanship. However, the instruction programs were somewhat haphazard, dictated by whatever job the department was undertaking at any given time.

The school was more expensive that other missions, since it required machinery for industrial training, and by 1902 the mission was forced to accept government funding As the school became established, competition for places became intense since graduates were guaranteed employment by the government, the mission or other local businesses, or had the opportunity to go on to higher studies.The balance of pupils, at first dominated by coastal communities, gradually shifted to include more from the hinterland. In 1919 the school had 31 Ibibio pupils compared to 82 Efik. By 1927 there were over 50 Ibibio pupils and by 1931 86 Ibibio, with 119 Efik. But students came to the school from all over West Africa, including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Dahomey, the Cameroons and Fernando Po

The school provided practical training to male students in carpentry, masonry, blacksmithing, coopering, naval engineering, brickmaking and bricklaying. Female students were taught dress-making and tailoring, domestic science and accountancy. The school soon became the largest vocational training institution in West Africa. The school maintained a vessel on the Calabar River, "The Diamond" for use by students studying maritime subjects. The region of Calabar called Diamond Hill takes its name from the vessel. In 1898 the school began teaching tailoring and bakery, with the products sold in the city markets. Agricultural students who worked on maintaining the botanical gardens and public parks in Calabar were given free board, clothing and tuition and some pocket money. They showed that new plants to the region including mango, banana, coffee and especially lemon and orange could flourish, although local farmers resisted these innovations.
In 1902, Rev. James Luke introduced soccer into the timetable despite opposition by parents, who thought it was a waste of time. Luke defended the sport as being healthy and teaching children cooperation and self discipline. In the first two decades of the twentieth century, many Hope Waddell graduates moved to Lagos, from 1906 the capital of the new Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, to take white-collar jobs with the government. They brought with them their love of soccer, fostering the growth of teams in the city. Luke, who had picked up the game during seven years as a missionary in Jamaica, could thus perhaps be credited with introducing soccer to Nigeria.
A large wharfedale flat-bed printing press was donated by "friends in Scotland" in 1903 and was still in use after 1960. Students worked in the print works and also as journalists on the Observer, Calabar's first newspaper, which was produced on the mission press. In 1903 the HWTI added classes in typing, shorthand, bookkeeping, business management and commerce. The school also included a standard all-ages school section giving primary and secondary education, with fees required for secondary school students. In 1921 Calabar was designated by the government as a secondary examination center for the Cambridge Local Examination. That year eight students passed the examiniation out of fourteen candidates from HWTI, which was considered an excellent result.

Notable Alumni

Eni Njoku (b. 6 November 1917), first vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos
John Ogbu (9 May 1939 – 20 August 2003), Nigerian-American anthropologist and professor
Kingsley O. Mbadiwe (1915-1990), nationalist, politician, statesman and former government minister.
Dennis Osadebay (29 June 1911 — 26 December 1994), politician, poet, journalist and premier of the Mid-Western Region of Nigeria.
Akanu Ibiam (1906–1995), medical missionary, Governor of Eastern Region, Nigeria (December 1960 - January 1966).
Anya Oko Anya (b. 3 January 1937), professor of Parasitology
Eyo Ita (b. 1904), leader of the Eastern Government of Nigeria in 1951
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (16 November 1904 – 11 May 1996), Nigeria’s first president,
Vice Admiral Edet Akinwale Wey, Chief of Naval Staff and later Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters.
Mr. Onuegbu Precious Tobechukwu, poet, writer, artiste, lyricist, philosopher, pan-African Human right activist.
- Wikipedia

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Hill Station, Jos

Hill Station Jos n.d

A Mambila Baby

"A Mambila baby shelters from the sun in its mothers carrying basket. The Mambila are recognized as some of the finest craftsmen In basket ware " Nigeria Magazine1960

The Mambilla or Mambila people of Nigeria live on the Mambilla plateau (in 'Sardauna' Local government area of Taraba State in Nigeria). A small fraction of Mambilla migrants left the Mambilla Plateau for the Ndom Plain (also known as the Tikar Plain) on the Cameroon side of the international border as well as in a couple of small villages, such as New Namba, further north towards the towns of Gashaka and Banyo. The preferred ethnonym is Mambila in Cameroon and Mambilla in Nigeria. "Norr" is also used (the word for person in Nigerian dialects of Mambilla)(Bami-Yuno, ms).

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Abuja 1950

The Abuja Medical Clinic - The Emir had just arrived by car to pay a visit of inspection 1950

"In Abuja town and on some of the new village sites, swings and see-saws have been provided for the children " -The Nigeria magazine 1950

Abuja school boys shooting the rapids 1950