8 Nigerian Movies That Cover Its Colonial And Political Origins

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Nigerian Movies Colonial Political

Nigeria has had an eclectic political history; from pre-colonial times to the era of British rule and the post-colonial period, the Nigerian diplomatic scene has undergone several transformations. The capturing and documentation of these times, which hold great significance for Nigeria as a nation, is not always easy since it requires a lot of research, facts, and funding. Despite the challenges that surround its documentation, some Nigerian movies have been able to depict Nigeria’s rigorous colonial and political history properly.

Here are 8 Nigerian movies that have acted as excellent vessels to portray the country’s colonial and political narrative:

October 1 

Produced and directed by Kunle Afolayan, October 1 was released in 2014 and set in Nigeria’s pre-colonial times just before the country gained independence. The movie tells the story of Danladi Waziri (Sadiq Daba), an incorrupt police officer who was deployed from Northern Nigeria to a Western town called Akote in Yorubaland to uncover the mystery of a serial killer, Prince Adereropo (Adedamola Adedoyin), who had been taking the lives of young girls. Nollywood actress, Kehinde Bankole plays the role of Miss Tawa who was the village belle and the killer’s first love who he was obsessed with. The film aptly shows many vices that existed in the pre-colonial era: discrimination against women as Miss Tawa believed she was not taken to the city because she is a female, ill practices meted out by white men to the policemen, and sexual harassment. Other actors featured in the movie include Kanayo O Kanayo, Fabian Adeoye, Abiodun Aleja, and Femi Adebayo.

Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun is an Anglo-Nigerian movie released in 2013 and directed by Biyi Bandele based on the novel of the same title written by award-winning author, Chimamanda Adichie. The film explores the plight of Nigerians during the civil war based on the story of twin sisters; Kainene and Olanna from a wealthy home who return home in the 1960s and are forced to choose different parts as the war breaks out and they struggle to survive. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Onyeka Onwenu, Anika Noni Rose, Joseph Mawle, Genevieve Nnaji, OC Ukeje, and John Boyega, the film explored the war, inter-tribal killings, love, and the struggle for Biafra’s independence.

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace is focused on one of the biggest highlights of Nigerian history; the slave trade. Released in 2006, and produced by Jeta Amata and Alicia Arce, the British-Nigerian drama tells the story of a British slave trader, John Newton who sails to Nigeria to buy slaves but has a change of heart after witnessing the brutality of slavery and almost losing his life. Believing that the grace of God saved him, he gives up slave trading and becomes an Anglican priest who writes the now-famous hymn, Amazing Grace. Starring Fred Amata, Joke Silva, Mbong Amata, Nick Moron, Zack Amata, and Mbong Odungide, the movie was able to portray the violence that came with the British trans-Atlantic slave trade, how Nigerians dropped their traditions, mode of dressing, and religion to adapt to the western lifestyle. It was a movie that remains relevant as a visual representation of the slave trade.


Directed by Izu Ojukwu and produced by Adonaijah Owiriwa and Izu Ojukwu, 76, formerly titled Lions of ’76, is a 2016 Nigerian historical fiction drama film starring Ramsey Nouah, Chidi Mokeme, Rita Dominic, and Ibinabo Fiberesima. Set six years after the civil war, a young officer from the Middle Belt gets into a romantic relationship with an O-level student from the Southeastern region. However, their relationship is strained by constant military postings. The soldier gets accused of being involved in the unsuccessful 1976 military coup and assassination of General Murtala Mohammed, and the heavily pregnant wife gets entangled in an emotional dilemma. The historical account in ’76 went through a seven-month approval period at the Nigerian Military before filming started. The film, which is set in the 1970s, was shot in Ibadan, Oyo. The film, which was shot on a 16-millimetre film with an Arriflex 416 camera, was in production for about five years.


Oloibiri is a 2016 Nigerian action thriller film directed by Curtis Graham, produced by Rogers Ofime and starring Olu Jacobs and Richard Mofe Damijo. The film tells the story of how government agencies, along with oil companies exploited the newly discovered oil in the historic town of Oloibiri. The film had its premiere on 21 October 2016 at the Shell Nigeria hall, Muson Centre, Onikan. The former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, and former Secretary general of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku were present at the event. Speaking to Channels TV after watching the film, former Minister for Information, Professor Jerry Gana described the film as having a “clear and powerful message” on the sufferings of people in the Niger Delta. He also encouraged other filmmakers to make more of such films. Richard Mofe Damijo, who played the role of a disgruntled indigene, who became a militant, “Gunpowder” in the oil-rich town described his role as a “modern-day Robinhood.” He also stated that he hopes the government and international organisations will come to the aid of people in the Niger Delta.

4th Republic

Directed by Ishaka Bako, 4th Republic follows the story of Ikechukwu Obiano, a young idealistic deputy campaign manager for industrialist Mabel King, who is competing against incumbent Governor Idris Sani in her bid to become the first elected female governor in the country. The movie’s title, for anyone who is quite eschewed with the political system of Nigeria, talks about the country’s return to democracy in 1999. The Nollywood movie was co-written by Emil Garuba and Zainab Omaki. The 2019 movie tells the story of Kogi State’s political history and to a large extent tells an incisive truth about the Nigerian state. The movie stars Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Enyinna Nwigwe, Sani Muazu, Ihuoma Linda Ejiofor, Bimbo Manuel, Yakubu Muhammed, Sifon Oko, Jide Attah, and Preach Bassey and is produced by a collaborative effort between Amateur Heads and Griot Studios. Distributed by Netflix, the movie was released on the 12th of April, 2019.

The Herbert Macaulay Affair

Produced by Nigerian filmmaker, Imoh Umoren, The Herbert Macaulay Affair tells the story of Nigerian Nationalist, Herbert Macaulay, his rebellion against the colonial government, and the events that led to his death. Set in the 1920s, the movie begins with young Herbert Macaulay stepping off from a ship after schooling in England in 1893 and proceeds to his passionate pursuit of a fair society through opposition to colonial positions on land rights, taxes, and racial segregation as it existed in colonial Nigeria. The movie was able to explore the story of a very important man whose history is shrouded in mystery for no good reason just like his appearance in the now outdated One-naira note. The film starred William Benson as Herbert Macaulay and Saidi Balogun as Eshugbayi Eleko.

Invasion 1897

Produced by Lancelot Imasuen in 2014, Invasion 1897 is a  Nigerian movie that re-enacts the 1897 invasion, the destruction of the ancient Benin kingdom, and the betrayal and exile of its once-powerful king, Oba Ovoramwen. The story was narrated by a young prince of Benin, who was arrested and brought to trial for stealing historical artefacts from a British museum. Featuring Mike Omoregbe, Segun Arinze, Rudolph Walker, Charles Inojie, Paul Obazele, Justus Esiri, Charles ‘Chucky’ Venn, and Leo Mezie, it was able to show some parts of the history of the longest-standing Nigerian empire; the Ancient Benin Kingdom, it’s unique traditional history and the events that shaped up the empire to what it is today.


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