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#DemocracyDay: 5 Nollywood Movies That’ll Take You on a Cinematic Journey through Nigeria’s History

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You would agree that Nollywood has done quite a good job as a medium for educating Nigerians about the country’s rich history. Taking cues from real-life historical events, filmmakers are entertaining audiences and creating a visual record of the past – to ensure that future generations have a tangible way to connect with the pivotal moments that shaped Nigeria into the nation it is today.

October 1,” “Half of a Yellow Sun,” “76,” and “93 Days” exemplify this. These films expose audiences to the struggles and triumphs of the Nigerian people, through fictional stories around significant historical events. For instance, “93 Days” tells the story of Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, the physician who curbed the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria despite tragically succumbing to the virus.

By bringing these stories to life on screen, Nollywood is preserving history and fostering an understanding of the elements that continue to shape Nigeria’s present and future.

To celebrate Democracy Day, we’ve compiled a list of 5 must-watch historical Nollywood movies that will take you on a cinematic journey through Nigeria’s story. So grab your popcorn and settle in for an educational and entertaining experience.

Half Of A Yellow Sun

Twin sisters, Olanna and Kainene (played by Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose), from a wealthy Nigerian family choose different paths in life. Yet, both are drawn into the fight for Biafran independence. Based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s bestseller, the film intertwines the lives of four characters caught in the Nigerian Civil War.

War erupts in late 1960s Nigeria, fracturing families and forcing displacement. Odenigbo (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Olanna face escalating conflict, fleeing their university home and straining their relationship with Kainene. As the war intensifies and Biafra’s situation worsens, Odenigbo, Olanna, and their family fight to survive mounting hardships.

“Half of a Yellow Sun” portrays the human cost of war and celebrates the resilience of the Nigerian people.

October 1

September 1960. Nigeria teeters on the brink of independence from British rule. Dan Waziri (Sadiq Daba), a northern Nigerian detective, is dispatched by the colonial government to Akote, a western trading post to solve a series of female murders that have struck horror in the hearts and minds of the local community.

As Dan Waziri arrives, the body count rises. Tensions soar, and he races to find the culprit before more women are killed. Released in 2014, the film explores the complex socio-political climate leading up to Nigerian independence, highlighting the nation’s struggle for identity, justice, and unity at this pivotal moment.


Starring Rita Dominic, Ramsey Nouah and Chidi Mokeme and set in 1976, “76” offers a gripping narrative centred on the aftermath of a military coup in Nigeria. The 2016 film follows the life of Joseph Dewa, a young military officer accused of being involved in a failed coup against the government of General Murtala Mohammed.

With its realistic portrayal of the political unrest and intrigues during the military era, “76” provides a window into a tumultuous period in Nigeria’s history.

93 days

Bimbo Akintola, Danny Glover and Somkele IyamahIdhalama star in director Steve Gukas’ riveting real-life thriller about courageous healthcare workers in Lagos battling the Ebola outbreak in 2014. The film centres on the courageous medical professionals who risked their lives to contain the deadly virus.

“93 Days” pays tribute to the selflessness and dedication of healthcare workers and celebrates Nigeria’s resilience in overcoming a major health crisis.


When commercial-grade oil was discovered in the small village of Oloibiri, Nigeria, prosperity and employment became their way of life. Two decades after the last drops were drilled and the US oil companies abandoned them, all the village was left with was polluted water, sick children, and an unstable economy. When a new multinational corporation strikes oil again, rage intensifies and Nigerian militants, led by a hardened killer named Gunpowder (Richard Mofe-Damijo), seek revenge on the greedy foreigners by kidnapping Powell, (William R. Moses) the company’s CEO. Families become divided as the village elder, Timpriye (Olu Jacobs) struggles with saving the life of this man who represents all the evils that oil brought to his village so many years ago.

A 2016 Nigerian action thriller, “Oloibiri” exposes the exploitation of newfound oil in Oloibiri by the government and corporations.

Star Features