Nigeria flags off a series of events to celebrate 100 years of its unity as a nation
| By Pita Ochai | Feb. 18, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
NIGERIA has rolled out the drums to celebrate its union as a nation. The celebration, which will last for two years, was flagged off with a dinner attended by President Goodluck Jonathan and some former presidents and heads of state at the State House, Abuja, on February 4. In attendance were Muhammadu Buhari, former head of State and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), ex-Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, and Shehu Shagari.
From the speeches made at the dinner, it was obvious that the past Nigerian leaders are all passionate about the need to maintain the unity of the country as well as tackling the challenges it has faced in the last 100 years. To the past leaders, the challenges which include inadequate infrastructures, socio-economic cum religious problems and insecurity should not stop the commemoration of the centenary. According to them, the centenary is an opportunity to renew the citizens’ trust in the country, be more committed to it and drive the nation to greatness just as it was envisaged by the founding fathers. Abubakar, in his speech, said that the centenary commemoration should be a time to rebrand, rejuvenate and pursue the true ideals for Nigeria.
The 24-month-long commemoration is packed with activities that would be hosted by t
he different historical towns and cities in the country. In the outline for the project, there are specific events and activities for each month. According to a statement on the activities for the celebration, “Nigeria is a beautiful mosaic with a national identity defined by its history and contemporary culture. The arts are fundamental to our existence drawing out the nation’s soul for the world to see. Our commitment to transform Nigeria will be strengthened by a new understanding of our history, the visions of our founding fathers, our collective achievements and the promise of the nation of our dreams.”
According to the organisers, there will be arts expos, literary festivals, essay competitions for students of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, a photo exhibition from many personal archives, carnivals, film festivals, staging of the landmark plays of the country, telling stories of the country through captivating poetry among others.
Some of the culture and arts projects include the 100 years of Nigerian theatre, centenary concerts in Lagos, Abuja, London, United States, centenary music competition, comedy night, and centenary international fashion shows in Lagos, Abuja, London and the US, all in the month of July.
The month of November dubbed the month of heritage has centenary festivals and carnivals including adopting some of the existing carnivals, then a day of celebration of culture and lifestyle which would be a night of Nigerian traditional dances. There will also be arts and craft exhibitions and competitions, essay competitions — Nigeria in the next 100 years, history photo contest, designed to unearth the many dated photos of Nigeria and its people and locations taken by or in possession of citizens, food fair, celebration of the media and 100 years of Nigerian literature.