Request a Demo

Edit Template

NECO History Syllabus

Are you writing History in your NECO O’level exams? Download the recommended History syllabus to excel in your exams.

Home » NECO Syllabus » NECO History Syllabus

About NECO History Syllabus

Are you writing History in the upcoming NECO exam or do you know anyone who is? Share this with them. This NECO History syllabus aims to provide students with a comprehensive list of topics that will make up the exam questions and textbooks that will make the reading process easy and smooth.

The exam will test you:

i. knowledge of your national histories from earliest times to 2000 with emphasis on the relationship between the peoples and states;

ii. intellectual capacity and skills of historical interpretation and analysis;

iii. ability to use acquired skills in relating the past to the present;

iv. appreciation of factors that make for national unity and global understanding; 

v. exposure and appreciation of the similarities and differences in the National, social and political institutions; 

vi. knowledge of the main historical developments in West Africa from earliest times to 2000

The NECO History syllabus covers various periods, regions, and themes, and ensures you gain a wide perspective on global history. From ancient civilizations to contemporary events, you will learn about significant historical moments and their impacts on society.

By studying with the NECO History syllabus, you will learn about diverse cultures, political systems, and economic developments. This knowledge will further equip you with the tools needed to answer questions on historical narratives and understand the complexities of human interactions over time.

Marking Guide & Sections

Here’s everything you need to know about the structure of The NECO History Exam, how to answer each section, and how it’s all scored. This should help you prepare and understand what to expect. This exam has two parts, both of which you’ll take in one sitting.

Paper 1

Paper 1 is a multiple-choice test with 50 questions that covers West Africa and the wider world from the earliest times to 2000. You’ll have 1 hour to answer them all, and this section is worth 40 marks in total. It’s quick, so make sure you’re familiar with the key facts and concepts in history to answer the questions efficiently.

Paper 2

Paper 2 is an essay-based exam, which gives you 2 hours to answer sets of questions on the history of specific countries. It’s a longer test, with a total of 60 marks available. This paper focuses more on the national histories of specific West African countries over the same period.

Paper 2 Structure

Paper 2 contains questions on the histories of specific countries, with three sections for each country. The sections are divided based on different periods:

Section A covers the earliest times to 1800.

Section B focuses on the 19th century.

Section C explores the 20th century, from 1900 to 2000.

There will be three questions in each section. You will need to answer four questions in total, choosing at least one question from each section. This format allows you to demonstrate your knowledge across different periods and themes.

Each answer in Paper 2 will carry a portion of the total 60 marks, so take the time to plan your answers and make sure you address all parts of the question.

With this guide, you should have a good idea of what to expect in the NECO History Exam. Good luck, and remember to review key events, practice writing essays, and sharpen your multiple-choice skills.

Download NECO History Syllabus


Best candidates study smart and hard. Know what’s expected of you. 

Download the NECO recommended History syllabus  

The NECO History Syllabus

1Historiography and Historical Skills-What is History and why do we study History? Sources of History;
Historical skills
(ancient and modern approaches); Prospect of ICT in historical studies.
2Trans – Saharan Trade-Origin, organization and the effects on the development of West African
3Islam in West Africa-Introduction, spread and effects.
4European Contact with West Africa-Reasons for their coming, immediate effects and West African reaction
5Trans-Atlantic slave trade-Origin, organization, effects and suppression.
6Christian Missionary Activities in West Africa-The suppression of slave trade. Christian Missionary activities and their
impact on West Africa.
7The Scramble for and Partition of West Africa-The Industrial Revolution, Scramble for colonies, Colonial subjugation,
Occupation and West African reaction.
8Colonial Rule in West Africa

-Patterns of colonial rule, consolidation of European culture in Africa,
colonial economy and the underdevelopment of Africa: colonial Africa and
the two World Wars
9Problems of independent West African States

-Nature of politics: neo-colonialism and economic underdevelopment,
unequal development within states and instability, the Military in West
African politics,boundary disputes and threat to West African Unity.
10West Africa and international organizations(i)United Nations Organization (U.N.O.)/United Nations (U.N);
(ii)Organization of African Unity (O.A.U)/African Union (A.U.);
(iii)Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); Etc.
Membership, aims and objectives, achievements and failures.
1Historiography and historical skills-What is History and why we study History; sources of History;
Historical skills
(ancient and modern approaches); Prospect of ICT in Historical Studies.)
2Land and peoples of Nigeria:

-Main geographical zones in Nigeria: impact of the environment on human
activities e.g. hunting, fishing, farming, etc.
3Centers of ancient civilization:

-Nok, Ife, Igbo Ukwu, Benin.
4Centralized and non-centralized states:(a)Centralized and non-centralized states:
(i) Kanem and Borno;
(ii) Hausa;
(iii) Nupe;
(iv) Oyo;
(v) Benin;
(vi) Igbo;
(vii) Efik;
(viii) Tiv.

(b) Inter-group relations: economic activities, intermarriages,
bilingualism, etc.
(c) Impact of migrations; wars and politics on inter- group relations.
5Indigenous crafts and industries;

-Pottery, salt making, iron working, gold mining, soap making, leather
works, weaving, carving, bronze casting, tie and dyeing, bead making,
boat building – technology; social and economic importance.
6External Influences(a)Contact with North Africa: trans-Saharan trade, Islam(Borno and
Hausaland) and impact
(b)Early European contact with coastal states; trade, Christianity and
impact .
7Nigeria and the trans-Atlantic slave trade-Origin, organization and effects
8The Sokoto Caliphate-Establishment, administration, relations with its neighbours and impact
of the Sokoto jihad on Nigeria.
9Borno under the Shehus:-The emergence of El-Kanemi, developments under El-Kanemi
and Shehu Umar, development under the later Shehus, the fall of Borno
10Christian Missionary Activities-activities, impact.
11Yorubaland in the 19th century-Era of Ibadan dominance; increased British pressure on Yorubaland;
12Benin in the 19th century 
13The first phase of the British conquest of Nigeria:
14The second phase of the British conquest in Nigeria
1900- 1960
a.The early phase 1900-1914: the amalgamation of 1914 and its significance
b. Later phase 1914-1960
(i) central administration;
(ii) indirect rule;
(iii) the colonial economy;
(iv) social developments.
15The decolonization process in Nigeria, 1922-1960-Origin of nationalism, nationalist movements after the Second World War,
the road to and the attainment of independence.
16Nigeria since independencea. The First Republic, 1960-1966;
b.The coups d’etat, military rule, civil war and reconstruction, 1966-1975;
c. The military administration – Murtala/Obasanjo regime of 1975-1979;
d. The Second Republic, 1979-1983;
e. The return of military rule – Buhari/Idiagbon regime, 1983-1984
f. The Ibrahim Babangida regime, 1985-1993
g. Interim national government and Abacha regime, 1993-1998;
h. Transition to fourth republic and Olusegun Obasanjo administration;
i. Emerging issues up to 2000: poverty, corruption, youth unemployment,
religious crisis, terrorism, etc.
17Nigeria and thea. United Nations Organization (U.N.O.)/United Nations (U.N);
b. Commonwealth of Nations;
c. Organization of Unity (O.A.U)/African Union (A.U.);
d. Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS);
e. Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
18Global issues-West Africa in Diaspora; Racism, Debt relief and International aids;
Peacekeeping and socio-political interest of developed societies;
World peace (armament, nuclear science); Millennium Development Goals

Recommended Texts For NECO History Exam

  1. Abba, A (2006): The Politics of Mallam Aminu Kano, Kaduna Vanguard and Publishers.
  2. Ayandele, A. E. et al (1986): The Making of Modern Africa, The Twentieth Century Vol 2., Longman.
  3. Ajayi and Crowther (1971): History of West Africa Vol. I, London, Longman.
  4. Ajayi and Crowther (1974): History of West Africa Vol. II, London, Longman
  5. Akinloye, S. A. (1976): Emergent African States: Topics in Twentieth Century African History, Longman.
  6. Akinyemi, A. B., Agbi, S. O and Otunbanjo, A. O. (eds) (1989): Nigeria since Independence: The First 25 years. (International Relations) Vol x, Heinemann. Ibadan.
  7. Anene J. C. and Brown, G (1966): African in the 19th and 20th centuries, Ibadan: University Press.
  8. Anene J. C. (1966): Southern Nigeria in Transition, 1885 – 1906, Cambridge: University Press.
  9. Anene, J. C and Brown, G (eds) (1972): African in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: A Handbook for Teachers and Students, Ibadan: University Press and Nelson.
  10. Ashiwaju A. I., Croder, M and Denzer, I. R. (eds) Tariki 25, Grassroots Leadership in Colonial West Africa, Vol. 7, London: Longman.
  11. Atanda, J. A. Ashiwaju, G and Abubakar, Y. (eds) (1989) Nigeria since Independence: The First Years: Religion Vol. i., Ibadan Heinemann.
  12. Barkindo, B. et al (1989): Africa and the Wider World, Vol. 1. Lagos: Longman.
  13. Barkindo, B. et al (1996): African and the Wider World, Vols. 2 and 3, Lagos: Longman.
  14. Boahen, A (1969) The Revolutionary years: Africa since 1800 Longman publishers.
  15. Boahen, A (1969): The Revolutionary years: West Africa since 1800, Longman Publishers
  16. Sokoto Caliphate: History and Legacies, 1804 – 2004, vols. I and II, Kaduna: Arewa House.
  17. Celeman, J. S. (1986) Nigeria: Background to Nationalism, Benin: Broburg and Wistrom.
  18. Clerk, T. A. (1991): Right Honourable Gentleman: The Life and Times of Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Zaria: Hudahuda Publishing Company.
  19. Cohen, D. I. and Daniel, J. (eds) (1981): Political Economy of Africa: Selected Readings, London, Longman.
  20. Crowther, M. West Africa: An introduction to its History, Longman,1977.
  21. Crowther, M. Nigeria: An introduction to its History, London:Longman,1979.
  22. Dike, K. O. (1956): Trade and Politics in the Niger Delta, London: Oxford University Press.
  23. Ekeh, P. P and Ashiwaju, G. (eds) (1989): Nigeria since Independence: The First 25 Years: Culture, Vol. VII, Ibadan: Heinemann.
  24. Falola, T. et. al (1989): History of Nigeria Vol. I, Lagos: Longman.
  25. Falola T. et. al (1989): History of Nigeria Vol. 2 and 3, Lagos: Longman.
  26. Gboyega, A., Abubakar, Y and Aliyu Y. (eds) (1989): Nigeria since Independence: The First 25 Years Public Administration, Vol. III, Ibadan: Heinemann.
  27. Hallet, R. (1975): Africa since 1875, Ibadan: Heinemann.
  28. Hopkins, A. G. (1973): An Economic History of West Africa, Longman.
  29. Ikime, O and Osoba, S. O. (eds) Tarikh: Independence Movement in Africa (Part I), Vol. 3, No. 4 London: Longman.
  30. Ikime, O and Osoba, S. O. (eds) Tarikh: Government in Pre-Colonial Africa, Vol. 4, No. 2 London, Longman
  31. Ikime, O and Osoba, S. O. (eds) (undated): Peoples and Kingdoms of West Africa in the Pre-colonial Period, Vol. 5, No. 1 London: Longman.
  32. Ikime, O (1977) The Fall of Nigeria: The British Conquest, London: Heinemann.
  33. Ikime, O (ed) (1974) Leadership in 19th Century Africa: Essays from Tarikh, London: Longman
  34. Ikime, O. (1968) Merchant Price of the Niger Delta, London: Heinemann.
  35. Ikime, O. (ed) (1980) Ground work of Nigerian History, Ibadan: Heinemann.
  36. Iseihei, E. (1983) A History of Nigeria, London: Longman.
  37. Jorre, J. D. (1972) The Nigeria Civil War, London: Hordder and Stoughton.
  38. Kani, A. M. and Gandi, K. (1990) A State and Society in the Sokoto Caliphate, Series I, Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto.
  39. Mahdi, A., Kwanashei, G. A and Yakubu M. (eds) (1994) Nigeria: The state of the Nation and the Way Forward, Kaduna: Arewa House.
  40. Martin, P. M and Omera, P. (1995) (eds) Africa (Third Edition), Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  41. Mohammed, B. (1982) Africa and Non-alignment: A study in the Foreign Relations of New Nations, Kano: Triumph Publishers.
  42. Mohammed A. S. and Adamu, S.(eds) (2005) Nigeria and the Reform of the United Nations, Zaria: Hanwa.
  43. Nzula, A. T., Potekhin and Zusmanovich (1979) Forced Labour in Colonial Africa, London: Zed Press.
  44. Offiong, D. A. (1980) Imperialism and Dependency: Obstacles to Development, Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishers.
  45. Ojigbo, O. (1982) Shehu Shagari: The Biography of Nigeria’s First Executive President, Yugoslavia Mlandiska Knjiga.
  46. Oliver, T. and Afmore, A. (1996) Africa since 1880 (Fourth Edition) New York: Cambridge University Press.
  47. Olusanya G. O. (1973) The Second World War and Politics in Nigeria, 1939 – 1953, Ibadan: Evans.
  48. Omar O. (1966) The Zulu Aftermath: A Nineteenth-Century Revolution in Bantu Africa, London: Longman.
  49. Omolewa, M. (1986) Certificate History of Nigeria, Lagos: Longman.
  50. Onoja, I. (1998) Peace-keeping and International Security in a Changing World., Jos: Mono Expressions.
  51. Onwubiko, K. (1983) School Certificate History of West Africa, Onitsha: African – First Publishers.
  52. Tamuno, T. N. and Atanda A. (eds) (1989) Nigeria since Independence: The First 25 Years. Vol. III, Ibadan: Heinemann.
  53. Tamuno, T. N. and Atanda J. A. M. (eds) (1989) Nigeria since Independence: The First 25 Years. (Government and Public Policy), Vol. IV, Ibadan: Heinemann.
  54. Tamuno, T. N. and Ukpabi, S. C. (eds) (1989) Nigeria since Independence: The First 25 Years (The Civil War years). Vol. IV, Ibadan: Heinemann.
  55. Thompson, L. A. (2000) History of South Africa, Yale: Yale University Press.
  56. Usman Y. B. (ed) (1979) Studies in the History of Sokoto Caliphate, New York: Third Press International.
  57. Usman Y. B. (ed) (1981) The Transformation of Katsina, 1400 – 1883, Zaria: Ahmadu Bello University Press.
  58. Usman Y. B. (ed) and Alkali M. N. (1983) Studies in the History of Pre-Colonial Borno, Zaria: NNPC.
  59. Usman Y. B. and Kwanashei, G. A. (eds) Inside Nigeria History 1950-1970: Events: Issues and Sources (Presidential Panel on Nigeria: Since Independence), University of Ibadan.
  60. Usman Y. B. (ed) (1989): Nigeria since Independence: The First 25 Years: The Society Vol.I, Ibadan: Heinemann.
  61. Usman Y. B. (2002) Election Violence in Nigeria: The Terrible Experience, 1952 – 2002, Zaria: Abdullahi Smith Centre for Historical Research.
  62. Webster, J. B. and Ikime, O. (eds) Tarikh: Early African Christianity, Vol. 2. No. 1. London: Longman.
  63. Wilmot, P. F. (1980): Apartheid and African Liberation: The Grief and the Hope, Ife: University of Ife Press.
  64. Yakubu, A. M., Jumare, I and Saeed, A. G. (eds) (2005) Northern Nigeria: A century of Transformation, 1903 – 2003, Kaduna: Arewa House.
  65. Yakubu A. M. (2006) Emirs and Politicians: Reform, Reactions and Recrimination in Northern Nigeria, 1950 – 1966, Kaduna: Baraka Publishers.

Frequently Asked Questions About the NECO History Exams

What topics are covered in the NECO History syllabus?

The NECO History syllabus covers a wide range of topics, including ancient civilizations, medieval periods, modern history, and contemporary events. It also explores themes like political systems, economic developments, cultural interactions, and significant historical figures.

How is the NECO History exam structured?

The NECO History exam consists of multiple-choice questions and essay questions. It is designed to assess your knowledge, understanding, and analytical skills related to historical events and processes.


How can I prepare effectively for the NECO History exam?

You can start by studying the topics in the syllabus above, and regular practice with past exam questions. You can also engage in group study sessions and discussions that can improve understanding.


What is the importance of studying history according to the NECO syllabus?

Studying history helps students understand the present by learning from past events. It fosters a sense of historical consciousness, and civic responsibility, and provides insights into cultural diversity and human interactions over time.


How can I access past NECO History exam questions?

Past NECO History exam questions can be gotten at bookstores and markets all around you. You can also download it online.


What careers can benefit from studying NECO History?

Studying history can lead to careers in education, research, journalism, public service, law, archaeology, and museum curation. The skills acquired, such as critical thinking and analysis, are valuable in various professional fields.


Download NECO History Syllabus


Best candidates study smart and hard. Know what’s expected of you. 

Download the NECO recommended History syllabus  

Welcome to We’re on a mission to empower learners of all ages and backgrounds with educational resources they need to succeed academically and professionally

Professional Certification

CIBN Syllabus

CITN Syllabus

CIPM Syllabus

APCON Syllabus



Media Kit


© 2024 Created with Page 5 Digital
Download Syllabus