The Independence Memorial at Tafawa Balewa Square, named after Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (1912-66), Nigeria’s first and only Prime Minister after Independence, celebrates 1 October 1960 when Nigeria achieved Independence. There is a gate with impressive statues of four white horses on their hind legs and above them seven red eagles, as well as statues of Eyo Masqueraders. The horses hovering above the gate and the eagles are symbols of the national emblem signifying strength and dignity respectively. Behind them, there is a cricket oval. and two teams were enjoying a game. An eagle-topped monument to Nigeria’s first 50 years of independence stands nearby, annotated with the names of those present at the all-important 1958 Constitutional Conference. Democracy Day with musical jamborees and religious gatherings continues to be hosted here in a stadium which can accommodate 50,000 people.
The horses and eagles tend to be lost to the general view amidst a plethora of hawkers and passers-by. The square itself has greatly deteriorated since its inauguration in 1960 and is now a shadow of its former self.
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