Tafawa Balewa Square, popularly known as TBS, is in Lagos Island. It was built in 1972 over the site of a now-defunct Lagos Race Course.
Lagos Race Course was a sports field that hosted games like horseracing, football, and cricket. It was the venue for Nigeria’s first independence celebration in 1960, where the late Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa delivered his speech. TBS is named after the politician.
Tafawa Balewa Square has a capacity of 50,000. It is surrounded by Awolowo Road, Cable Street, Force Road, Catholic Mission Street, and the 25-storey Independence House, which was commissioned by the British government as an endorsement of Nigeria’s independence.
At the entrance to the square are sculptures of four white horses and seven red eagles. Both symbols from the national emblem, the horses signify dignity while the eagles denote strength. Inside the square is the Remembrance Arcade, which houses memorials to World War I, World War II, and the Nigerian Civil War victims; the multi-purpose Onikan Stadium; and the National Assembly Complex.
Not so far away is the National Museum. In the National Museum are Benin City brasses, traditional ivory carvings, royal crowns, and ancient Nok Terracottas. There is also the black Mercedes Benz car in which former head of state General Murtala Muhammed was assassinated on 13 February 1976.
Tafawa Balewa Square also serves as a venue for a wide-ranging variety of activities: exhibitions, trade fairs, carnivals, festivals, conferences, and religious gatherings.
Uzoma Ihejirika is a Nigerian creative writer and journalist. He is an editor for the AfroAnthology Series and a copy editor for Minority Africa and has written for Open Country Mag. He has a short story on Lolwe.