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Tafawa Balewa Square: Things You May Not Know About This Popular Venue



The Tafawa Balewa Square, or TBS, was formerly called Lagos Race Course.

It is a 14.5-hectare (35.8-acre) ceremonial ground in Lagos Island, Lagos.

In the 19th Century, during the colonial times in Nigeria, it was a place where parades were held.

The land was provided to colonial authorities by Oba Dosunmu in 1859, who thereafter, built up the surrounding areas.

TBS was a sport field that hosted horse-racing. It also has a section for football and ground to play cricket.

Tafawa Balewa Square

In 1960, the race course was redeveloped to celebrate Nigeria’s independence and the lowering of the union jack. It was there that Abubakar Tafawa Balewa delivered his speech on October 1, 1960.

The course was later demolished and the current edifice was constructed by the Gen. Yakubu Gowon administration in 1972 and named after Nigeria’s first Prime Minister, Sir Tafawa Balewa.

When Lagos served as the country’s seat of government, the National Assembly complex was within the complex.

Also in the square are the National Broadcasting Commission office, the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency office, shopping centres, travel agencies, restaurants, car parking lots, and a bus terminal.

The entrance to the square has gigantic sculptures of four white horses hovering above the gate and seven red eagles, which are symbols from the national emblem signifying Strength and Dignity respectively.

Tafawa Balewa Square

The TBS has hosted some of the country’s memorable events such as Independence Day in 1960, when Nigeria gained independence from Britain; the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, which was celebrated annually on January 15 to commemorate the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1969.

Tafawa Balewa Square is located on 45/57 Massey Bamgboshe Street, Lagos Island, Lagos, Nigeria.

It is bordered by Awolowo road, Cable Street, Force road, Catholic Mission street and the 26-storey independence building.

Other monuments in the square include the Remembrance Arcade (with memorials to World War I, 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 square has a capacity for 5000 people. Facilities at the square include a shopping center, Airline’s Travel Agencies, restaurants and car parking and a bus terminal.

The Cricket Ground

The cricket ground, the Tafawa Balewa Square Cricket Oval, is widely considered as the ‘traditional home of cricket’ in Nigeria. It hosted matches in the North-Western sub region of the 2018–19 ICC T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier tournament.

Major national events at TBS includes Nigeria’s independence celebration which took place on 1 October 1960 with the Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa, delivering his speech. Democracy Day, as well as other multifarious events such as musical jamborees and religious gatherings.

The Experience, an annual gospel concert, considered as the one of the biggest gospel concerts globally, holds at the Tafawa Balewa Square.


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