Democracy Day is a public holiday in Nigeria and is always celebrated on 29 May. It marks the return to democratic rule in May 1999.
After gaining independence in 1960 from Great Britain, Nigeria fell prey to civil war and the first of many military coups took place in 1966.
Democracy was briefly restored from 1979 to 1983, but for most of its independent history, Nigeria was ruled by a series of military juntas.
The military ruler of the junta, General Sani Abacha, died suddenly in 1998. His successor, General Abdulsalami Abubakar promised a return to democracy, and accordingly a new constitution was adopted on 5 May 1999.
The new democracy was based on the American model, rather than the British one which had been the basis for the government at the time of independence.
On 25 May 1999, the hand over to civil rule took place. Elections were held and retired General Olusegun Obasanjo, who had previously governed Nigeria as a military ruler, was elected the new president.
Today Nigeria is the world's fourth largest democracy.