50th anniversary of independence in Nigeria


BBC World Service, BBC World News and bbc.com/nigeria50

London, 30 September 2010. As Nigeria, along with a host of othercountries across the continent, marks 50 years of independence in 2010, the BBC's international news services will be live from Nigeria on 1 October to reflect on what this anniversary means to people today.

From Nigeria
Komla Dumor has visited President Goodluck Jonathan's home state of Bayelsa toexamine the role of the oil industry, reporting for The World Today on BBC World Service, and BBC World News. On Friday 1 October, Komla Dumor for BBC World Service and BBC World News will be reporting live from Abuja on the day that marks 50 years of independence, whilst Caroline Duffield will be reporting from Lagos.

Africa Business Report, presented by Komla Dumor, travels to Nigeria in October, to find out if this huge nation has fulfilled its potential, as it celebrates 50 years of independence. This special edition of the monthly business show will also feature reports from other nations as it takes an in-depth look at doing business on the continent. AfricaBusiness Reporton BBC World News on 23 and 24 October.

Go to bbc.com/nigeria50 for more information, includingkey facts, video, timelines and archive material

Special documentaries on BBC World Service and BBC World News

The Ballad of Africaon BBC World Service on Saturday 9 October explores through words and music the issues that have dominated the continent for the past half-century. Featuring over 20 African contributors, including senators, musicians, leading business figures, doctors, Activists and journalists, The Ballad of Africa examines the highs and lows of the continent's post- independence history: post colonial development, self-rule, overcoming civil wars and apartheid, rebuilding a country after genocide and building a future based on economic growth and political stability. From Mali to Ethiopia, Rwanda to Cape Town, African voices unite to discover their lives and history. The documentary's musical soundtrack features Grammy winners Ali Farka Toure and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the irrepressible Oumou Sangare, and a specially commissioned piece from Sophie Nzayisenga, Rwanda's last remaining female player of the traditional harp, the inanga.

Stages of Independencewill premiere on 16 October on BBC World Service, in conjunction with the British-African theatre company, Tiata Fahodzi. This drama presented and narrated by Hugh Quarshie, features performances from a range of African plays from across the continent, all produced over the last five decades. From comedy to tragedy, highlights include the Oedipus myth from an African perspective in Ola Rotimi's The Gods Are Not to Blame; an ebullient comedy about a young woman's family trying to get the highest bride-price for her in Guillaume Oyônô-Mbia's Three Suitors: One Husband from Cameroon; a seminal lesson on the art of war in The Death of Chaka by Seydou Badian from Mali; sexual politics in Burkina Faso in Ousmane Sembenè's Moolaadé, and two plays from Nigeria's Nobel prize-winning playwright, Wole Soyinka, satirising African heads of state in A Play of Giants, and looking at life in Lagos under military rule in The Beatification of Area Boy.

In thenew series, My Country - Nigeria, renowned local broadcaster Funmi Iyanda provides her own unique snapshot of life in her country, from the streets of Lagos to the different parts of the countryside. The series features interviews with contributors from a cross-section of society, including politicians, celebrities, activists, housewives, farmers and hunters. My Country – Nigeria will transmit from Saturday 2 October on BBC World News.

Our World – Nigeria: The Legacy of Empirewill broadcast on BBC World news from Saturday 2 October, 04.10 GMT. This documentary follows former colonial officer John Smith 50 years on from independence, as he leaves his home in Cheltenham, UK, to revisit northern Nigeria where he began his career. Aged 23, he was responsible for 1,000 square miles of British territory around the ancient city of Kano. As the tide of history turned against Empire, John trained young Nigerians to become administrative officers running the country after independence. Now 82, John has returned to visit one of his old students, Sulaiman Baffa, who went on to become a prominent banker and head of the Nigerian Mint. Together they explore and assess Britain's colonial legacy and Nigeria's mixed fortunes as an independent nation. This documentary will also air on BBC World Service - The Empire's Last Officers, on Friday 1 October.

BBC World Service's programming for Africa will be dominated by Nigeria's 'Golden Jubilee' Independence, in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the formation of the nation. Featuring a specially-commissioned Independence signature tune, composed by Michael Appoh, highlights include interviews with Nigerian literary giant, Chinua Achebe, former Nigerian heads of state and the founding fathers of Nigeria's independence, such as the country's first Petroleum Minister, Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno. There will also be a special feature on the man who designed Nigeria's national flag 50 years ago, and an 'Ode to Nigeria' by famous Nigerian poet and playwright, Odia Ofeimun, written exclusively for the BBC. BBC World Service will also examine Nigeria's cultural influence in music, films and literature, with features on Nollywood and cultural icons such as Fela Kuti.

BBC World Service will also examine the role of the military and the key role Nigeria has played on the international stage, specifically examining its foreign policy and the role the country has played on the continent - from the setting up of the Organisation for African Unity, to the struggle against apartheid, or peacekeeping during major conflicts both within Africa and beyond.

The documentary drama, The Woman Who Named Nigeria, tells the story of how the name 'Nigeria' was coined in the late 19th century by Flora Shaw, the future wife of a British colonial administrator (Saturday 2 October at 08.30 in East Africa and at 10.30 in West Africa; repeated at 19.30 GMT on Sunday 3 October and available as a podcast from bbcworldservice.com/podcasts).

On the day of the anniversary, on Friday 1 October, a special two-hour news and interactive special, Naija at 50, from 16.00 GMT, will offer a hub for discussions on some of the major challenges facing the country. Co-presented by Bilkisu Labaran in London and Peter Okwoche in Abuja, Naija at 50 will be reporting on the celebrations around Nigeria. With contributions from special guests as well as ordinary Nigerians, the programme will reflect on the major political, economic and ethnic challenges the country still faces. Audiences around the world will be joining by phone and text. There will be special reports from Ghana, Kenya, Jamaica, South Africa and India where Nigeria's athletes prepare for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

BBC Hausa
BBC Hausalaunches its Nigerian anniversary programming at 13.45 GMT on Friday 1 October with a live broadcast from the celebration event at Eagle Square in Abuja. The broadcast will include a special edition of the interactive programme, Ra'ayi Riga(Have Your Say), debating how people see the challenges faced by Nigeria.

During a week of special multimedia content – on radio and online on bbchausa.com – BBC Hausa will explore a range of issues including the state of inheritance from British colonialism and how the country has been governed during the 50 years, a focus on oil and its role in the country's economy and a focus on Nigeria's population and ethno-religious tensions. BBC Hausa will also look at comparisons with other countries including Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore which also gained their independence 50 yearsago.

BBC Hausa will feature interviews with former military heads of state, former civilian presidents, experts and former British Native Authority officials as well as interviews with Nigerians born on 1 October 1960

A range of multimedia content on bbchausa.com also trails the history of Nigeria over the past 50 years including a brief history of the civil war, military coups and the country's democratic experience.