TODAY IN HISTORY: Nigeria Changes To Left-hand Steering Driving And Pope John Paul The Second Dies

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Nigeria Changes To Left-hand Steering Driving 

On April 2, 1972, Nigeria officially changed from right-hand driving to left-hand driving. This means that the steering would no longer be on the right-hand but on the left-hand while drivers would ply on the right-hand side of the road.

To many people, Nigeria chose to break away from one of the legacies of its colonial master in the transport sector as Britain is known for right-hand driving. The shift to left-hand driving aligns with the style in use in some other developed countries such as France, Germany, and the US. This transition under General Yakuku Gowon (the-then Head of States) also prompted the enactment of the Right-hand Steering Drive Change-Over Act of 1972, which prohibited the importation and use of vehicles with right-hand steering in the country. Only vehicles with steering on the left-hand side were allowed into the country to ply the Nigerian roads.

Photo Credit: Aleksandr Zyablitskiy, Copyright Crezalyn Nerona Uratsuji

Why did Nigeria make the change?

As international trade increased and Nigeria modernized, it became clear that Nigerian drivers needed to adapt to left-hand driving. Its neighbouring countries colonized by France, such as Chad, Cameroon, and Niger, used left-hand driving, and this confused Nigerian drivers at borders and ports. Switching to left-hand steering driving made sense and resolved this issue.

Additionally, many major automobile-producing countries use left-hand driving, further necessitating alignment with this standard. Since then, Nigerians have continued to use vehicles with the steering on the left-hand. This also means that drivers will drive on the right-hand of the road.

Pope John Paul II Dies

Similarly, on this day in 2005, one of the most popular Catholic Popes that ever lived, Pope John Paul ll died. Pope John Paul II, born in Poland and originally called Karol Jozef Wojtyla, was regarded as the most travelled Pope in history and the first non-Italian to hold the exalted post since the 16th century. After studying Theology, he was ordained a priest in 1946. Subsequently, he completed two doctorates and attained the position of professor in moral Theology and Social Ethics. He later became a Cardinal and Archbishop of Krakow, and was elected the Pope and 263rd successor to Saint Peter on October 16, 1978.

In homage to the late John Paul I, he adopted the name John Paul II. Throughout his reign, he staunchly opposed communism, war, abortion, contraception, capital punishment, and homosexual relations, demonstrating firm and unwavering principles while preaching both forgiveness and peace. Interestingly, Pope John Paul spoke eight different languages (Italian, Polish, French, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin) which enabled him to easily communicate with faithful and several leaders around the world. He died at age 84 at his home in Vatican City leaving many Catholics around the world and other people in tears as they mourned him…..S££ MOR£

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