The question ‘what state or city was the first capital of Nigeria” is very popular question amongst Nigerians and other foreign nationals and in this article, we shall be providing comprehensive and verified answer(s) to this question and some other related questions too.
As regards this question, many unverified and controversial answers have been provided by some online information/history websites and physical publications and these answers have little or no official evidence to back them up.
Presently Abuja is the capital city if Nigeria and it hasn’t always been like that. Abuja is a well-planned city and it replaced Lagos as the capital city of Nigeria on the 12th of December, 1991.
There have been claims by some Nigerians and other media agencies that before the capital territory of Nigeria was moved to Abuja, other major Nigerian cities like Lokoja, Asaba and even Calabar have been the capital of Nigeria and the aim of this article is to find out which one of them was truly the first capital of the country.
Let’s take a look at these claims and ultimately find the first capital city of Nigeria.
Was Calabar The First Capital Of Nigeria?
As you should have known by now, Calabar is the current capital city of Cross River state and it is located in the Southern part of Nigeria precisely the Niger Delta area.
Now according to the Wiki of Calabar on Wikipedia and other sources, Calabar served as the first capital of the Southern Protectorate, the Oil River Protectorate, and Niger Coast Protectorate and all these happened before the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914.
Since what we now know as Nigeria (an amalgamation of the various Protectorates) didn’t exist at that time, it is very INCORRECT to say that Calabar was the first capital of modern-day Nigeria.
With Calabar eliminated from these claims, let’s take a look at the other Nigerian cities which are also believed to be the first capital city of Nigeria and whether these claims are true.
Was Asaba The First Capital City Of Nigeria?
According to various sources and Nigerian history books, the British colonial masters began administration and settled down in Asaba when they arrived in Nigeria. They also did all administration duties from there.
All the activities highlighted above took place before the amalgamation of all the protectorates to form what we now know as Nigeria so it is wrong to refer to Asaba as the first capital of Nigeria.
We have now confirmed that Asaba was not the first capital of Nigeria so let’s take a look at the two other cities which were claimed to have been the first capital territory of the country.
Was Lokoja The First Capital Of Nigeria?
According to Wikipedia and other reliable online and offline educational sources, Lord Fedrick Lugard who was the first Governor-General of what we now know as Nigeria ruled the region from Lokoja before the Southern protectorates and Northern protectorates were amalgamated.
Another thing you should also know is that Flora Shaw who was the lady that named Nigeria and the wife of Lord Lugard – the governor-general as at that time was settled in Lokoja then.
With the facts listed above, we can conclude that Lokoja was never officially the capital of Nigeria as any point in time even though Southern protectorates and Northern protectorates which we now know as Nigeria were ruled from there by the Governor-General as at that time.
So Which City Was Officially The First Capital Of Nigeria?
Before the amalgamation of Southern protectorates and Northern protectorates to form what we now know as Nigeria, Lagos was the administrative centre and capital of the Southern protectorate from 1906 after Calabar which was the first.
After the amalgamation of these protectorates in 1914, Lagos was officially named as the first capital of Nigeria. Lagos was the capital territory of the country until December 12, 1991, when it was moved to Abuja by General Ibrahim Babangida who was the Head of state as at that time.
With the facts above, we can conclude that Calabar was the first capital of the Southern protectorate and not the first capital of Nigeria. Lagos and Abuja are also first and second capital cities of Nigeria respectively and there is no third capital city at the moment.
So instead of just telling you a direct answer this question of which city was the first capital of Nigeria, we provided a lot of information in the article and we believe it would help you explain the facts whenever the argument on whether a city was the first capital of Nigeria or not.
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