Brief Biographies and Achievements of the Personalities on the Nigerian Naira notes

The Naira notes were first circulated in 1973. After its introduction, it took over from the British Pound Sterling that was in use during the British era. Personalities that are shown on the Nigerian Naira notes are mostly statesmen who helped forge the nation in various capacities and endeavors.  They have contributed directly and indirectly to the growth and development of Nigeria. Listed below are the personalities on the Nigerian currencies and their notable achievements –


The nation’s biggest currency was introduced ON 12th October, 2005. The N1000 note is the highest currency note adopted by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The note is printed with the image of Alhaji Aliyu Mai Bornu, the first indigenous Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria.

During his tenure, he helped stabilize the country’s economy through stability of the Naira.


Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe whose face is on the N500 was the first Nigerian President and served from 1960 to 1963. He was a political statesman who fought for nationalism and was known as the father of Nigerian nationalism. He helped fight for Nigeria’s independence after his foreign sojourns exposed him to democratically charged ideals.


Sir Ahmadu Ibrahim Bello is the face of the country’s third highest currency. He was the Sardauna of Sokoto and ruled from 1910 to 1966. He assisted in planning and governing the then northern region.


Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Premier of Western region comprising of most South-West states today is the face of the N100 notes. He was the first leader in his time to introduce free education in the then western region. His free education legacy helped position the region economically and educationally, and most states have now adopted same model as they strive to eradicate illiteracy.


When the N50 note was first introduced in October 1991, it was the nation’s highest denomination. Due to the economic misery brought upon by the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Programme, the note was dubbed ‘Better Life’.

The currency is very different from the rest and has four different personalities on the front of the banknote showing the diverse ethnicity of the country while the depiction of Nigeria’s rich fishing culture is expressed at the back.


It was introduced in January 1st 1973 and is imbued with the image of Ladi Kwali. She was a potter from the northern region and contributed greatly to the nation’s pottery culture.


Alvan Ikoku whose face is on the 10 Naira note was an educationist, activist, nationalist and a politician, from the eastern region of Nigeria.


Tafawa Balewa is notably recognized for his efforts in the smooth transition of power to the first elected civilian president without issues. He is also the first Prime Minister of Nigeria.  

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