Situated in the centre of Lagos Island’s commercial district, Tafawa Balewa Square was where Nigeria celebrated its independence on 1 October 1960 only that it was just a mere race course then.
The Tafawa Balewa Square, (TBS) is a 14.5-hectare (35.8-acre) ceremonial ground (originally called “Race Course”)
TBS was constructed in 1972 over the site of a defunct rack for horse racing. It is bounded by Awolowo road, Cable Street, Force road and Catholic Mission Street. The square has a capacity for 50,000 people. Facilities at the square include a shopping center, Airline’s Travel Agencies, restaurants and car parking and a bus terminal.
Tafawa Balewa Square Layout
The entrance to the square has gigantic sculptures of four white horses hovering above the gate and seven eagles, which are symbols from the national emblem signifying Strength and Dignity respectively. Other monuments in the square include the Remembrance Arcade (with memorials to World War 1, World War II and Nigerian civil war victims) and the 26-storey Independence House, built in 1963 which was for a long time, the tallest building in Nigeria. The entrance of TBS alone is a striking feature that will elicit awe into visitors. Indeed the square is historic in all ramification.
A short walk from the square you’ll find the National Museum, featuring the Benin City brasses, traditional ivory carvings, royal crowns and the Nok Terracottas — some of the world’s most ancient artwork. The museum also contains a non-profit crafts centre and parades the ill-fated black Mercedes benz Limousine where former admirable Head of state, General Muritala Ramat Mohammed was slain on his way to Dodan Barracks a day before Velentine in 1976.
Some major national events that took place in TBS includes, Nigeria’s independence celebration which took place on 1 October 1960 with the Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa, delivering his speech. Democracy Day was also celebrited in the Square, as well as other multifarious events such as musical jamborees and religious gatherings.