Thisday Newspaper – Friday. March 8, 2013

At the flag-off ceremony of Project Centenary on Monday, February 4, in Abuja, the Chief Servant 
of Niger State (as he would rather be addressed), Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, had circulated a pamphlet titled “Nigeria’s Centenary City: A case for Zungeru in Niger State”. In the said publication, Governor Aliyu laboriously argued that the proposed Centenary “smart” City should be sited in Zungeru in recognition of the historical significance of the town, among which is the fact that the ancient city was the birth place of both Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. Great!

The very kernel of his argument, in his own words was ” … for the specific needs of and objectives of Nigeria centenary celebration agenda, and for that singular profound exercise and wisdom of uniting the south and the north of the country which has, borne many immeasurable values for the country and humanity through numerous engagements at the world centre stage as well as the visible successes recorded as a nation, we believe that the own, Zungeru, where the amalgamation took place justifiably qualifies as the natural choice for the Centenary City”.

Whilst 1 recognize the choice of where such national monuments are sited as falling directly within the precincts of presidential prerogative, which does not require any academic debate, 1 however feel a : deep sense of duty to put the records straight, especially for the benefit of the younger generation to whom Nigeria Centenary II belongs.


Before 1 proceed with the raw facts which contradicts – and glaringly, too – Gov Aliyu’s afore-stated claims, let me quickly align myself with the position of the school of thought that insists that on the occasion of our centenary, Zungeru deserves some form of recognition for the singular reason that its place in the history of both pre-colonial and post-colonial Nigeria is undeniable. Zungeru, in my view, already possesses all that stands a city out for good measure; therefore does not require historical inventions, as Gov Aliyu had sought, to qualify for a centenary attention. Fortunately too, the Centenary Celebrations Planning Committee under the purposeful leadership of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) has since taken due 
cognizance of this fact.

Contrary to Gov Aliyu’s claims, the amalgamation of Nigeria took place in Lagos on January 1, 1914 and was merely proclaimed in Zungeru on January 3, 1914. According to the Nigeria Gazette of January 15, 1914, precisely No. 42 and contained on page 97, “The ceremony of reading the new Instrument of Government and of the Administration of the Oaths was held in the Court Room of the Law Courts at Lagos in the Colony on January 1st and at Zungeru in the Protectorate on January 3rd 1914”. For the avoidance of doubt, page 102 of same document records thus ‘The new Colony having thus been formally

constituted, the Governor announced that he had received a most gracious message from His Majesty the King (George RI), in the following terms: –

‘On the occasion of the formal Amalgamation of the two Nigerians (North and South) 1 wish to convey to the Emirs, Chiefs and inhabitants of the new Protectorate and the Colony my best wishes for their future happiness. Pray assure them of the great interest 1 take in their welfare and express my earnest hope that great prosperity may be in store for them’.

On his part, Mr. Harcourt, British Secretary of State for the Colonies, had this to say to Nigerians via a telegram which was read out to the mammoth crowd that had thronged the premises of the courtroom that overlooked Tinubu Square as early as 9am (local time) on that 1914 New Year day:

‘I offer you may (sic) congratulations on the completion of the arduous task of uniting Northern and Southern Nigeria in a common form of Government, and 1 trust that the new Administration now established may actively promote the well-being of all classes of the inhabitants of Nigeria and the development of its great resources’.

Paragraph 11 of the Gazette under reference clearly states that “on the Governor-General’s assumption of office a salute of seventeen guns was fixed”. Please note that the designation used in the extract from Paragraph 11 is “Governor-General”, not “Governor-General-Designate”. Mind you, all these happened in Lagos. It is also on record that after the ceremonies, and perhaps for the avoidance of doubt, the first Executive Council and 
Legislative Council meetings respectively were held, at which all members took their Oaths of Office. Earlier in the proceedings, Sir Edwin Speed and Mr. James had taken theirs as Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Administrator of the Colony respectively.

It was much later on in the day that the Governor-General, Lord Lugard, left Lagos for Zungeru, according to the Gazette, “in order to proclaim the new Government in the Protectorate”. He got there at about 3am on January 3. It is therefore historically incorrect to posit, as Gov Aliyu had done in error, that “By virtue of the amalgamation which occurred within the boundaries of Zungeru, Zungeru became the first capital of a 
new Nigeria”. Whereas Aliyu’s argument is clearly premised on the wrong point, its nuisance value should be optimized, as the nation cruises into her year of century. Taken as a whole, the content of Gov Aliyu’s pamphlet is an excellent case for a rigorous search for, identification of and due recognition for all Nigeria’s Zungerus, Lokojas, Lagoses, Abas, Calabars and their peers nation-wide.

This way, we will not only be laying a solid foundation for, but will also be placing, quite correctly, the building blocks of our dream post-centenary Nigeria. Akamadu is a member, Centenary Celebrations Planning Committee

Naija7wonders commends Wole Soyinka for visit Benin Moat

The Seven wonders of Nigeria project Director is commending Prof Wole Soyinka for visiting one of the least known of the 7 wonders of Nigeria site, The Benin Moat.

The Moat is one of the seven wonders of Nigeria and last week the Nobel Laureate paid a visit to the Moat on behalf of UNESCO.

Of all the seven wonders sites in Nigeria the Benin Moat is the one that has received the least attention from government and the people of Edo state as a tourist attraction.. Mr. Uko believes that the visit to the moat by someone as important and prominent as Prof. Soyinka draws attention to the Moat.

The Naija 7 wonders team has had problems organizing an expedition to Benin to study and draw global attention to one of the greatest works of man in Nigeria and is thrilled the Prof has helped the cause with his visit.

The expedition to the moat is expected to happen this year if all the necessary logistics are in place.

This comes as the project Director of the seven wonders of Nigeria and Travel expert Mr. Ikechi. Uko is proposing to build an Aviation Musuem for Nigeria using the abandoned aircraft as exhibits.
In a proposal he developed for the Aviation managers, he suggest that Naija 7wonders be allowed to develop an Aviation Musuem in Nigeria that will warehouse some of the disused aircraft.
Nigeria needs an Aviation Musuem with a hall of fame that will inform, preserve and promote Aviation history of Nigeria, the players and the incidents that have shaped the industry over the years. This Musuem will fit  properly with the transformation agenda of the Government of leaving lasting legacies on the ground. It  is part of the ideals set out by the seven wonders of Nigeria project which is to present Nigeria in a new light to grow National pride and generate Tourism income.
An Aviation museum the first of it’s kind in this region will attract tourism traffic and will educate and empower a new generation of Aviators. Instead of destroying the aircrafts they can be put to beneficial use in educating the youths and drawing tourism income. Some of the aircraft are out of production and can be treated as vintage crafts if well packaged.
Naija7wonders is proposing to work with the authorities to make this project a success in the shortest possible time using time tested methods.
As a travel promoter I do know that with the cooperation of stakeholders the Musuem will be up and running within a calendar year.
Naija 7 wonders is the search for the unique wonders of Nigeria a project started with over 50 judges including journalists, tour operators and other professionals. After 24months 7 unique sites were chosen as the seven wonders of Nigeria. These sites are , Obudu mountain resort, sukur landscape in Adamawa, Oke Idanre in Ondo state, Benin moat, Kano walls, Osun groove and National war Musuem Umuahia.
The second phase of the project is the differentiation and promotion of the sites and an Aviation Musuem sits properly in that list considering the impact Aviation has had on Nigerias history.{jcomments on}

World premiere: a marriage proposal in Space

 On February 14, 2013, Sebastian, a 35-year-old French man, will be the first man to propose to his girlfriend in Space, at an altitude of 30 kilometers. The space flight will be entirely filmed, from the launch to the arrival of the message of love in the stratosphere.

For 4990 euros, the man called on the services of the French company ApoteoSurprise, a romance expert specialized in planning spectacular marriage proposals in Paris. On Valentine’s Day, the picture of the couple and the message « Vanessa, will you marry me?

» will be attached to a giant helium-filled balloon and released in the sky by professionals operating in the space exploration area. The set will be supplied with a video recording equipment which will film the message and the surrounding scenery during the whole flight, from the launch to the arrival in Space.

After two or three hours, the message of love will arrive at an altitude of 30 kilometers, and the last footage will be shot with the wonderful blue planet in the background. The balloon will blow up, a parachute will open, and the video equipment will fall back to Earth. The footage will be recovered and a montage will be edited, so the man can show the astounding film to his girlfriend. The lady will then become the first woman being proposed in Space.

The scenario « Say I love you in Space » is the 2013 brand new package from the catalog of 30 romantic experiences available on the The official launch of this scenario, allowing men to take the stars out of the sky for their Valentine, will be taking place on February 14, 2013.

About ApoteoSurprise : Based near Disneyland Paris, ApoteoSurprise is a French event planner specialized in setting up elaborate marriage proposals in the city of love. The company was Founded in 2006 by Parisian entrepreneur Nicolas Garreau, with the unusual mission to help men, in Paris for a romantic getaway, to amaze their loved one in both a unique and memorable way. The agency offers 30 all-inclusive proposal packages, including a Cinderella’s carriage appearing at Moulin Rouge with a magical shoe, an airplane displaying the proposal message on its wings while flying over Notre Dame, and even a shower of 1000 red roses fully covering a yacht during a VIP dinner-cruise on Seine river. Prices range from 490 euros for a limousine tour with a personalized message appearing on a giant LED screen at the Eiffel Tower to 15900 euros for a private aerial patrol drawing a white smoke heart in the Parisian sky. In 7 years, more than 1000 lovers, coming from all over the World, called on the expertise of ApoteoSurprise to express their love in Paris.


Gambia International Roots Festival

 The Gambia’s biannual Roots International Festival (formerly Homecoming) commemorates the forced enslavement and shipment of millions of Africans to the Americas and the Caribbean region. Africans and friends of Africa from the Diaspora are invited to attend and participate in the festival. It provides opportunities for atonement and reconciliation for those whose ancestors were engaged in slavery and the descendants of Africans forced into slavery. Its rich programme of events includes cultural performances from different ethnic groups, tours to historic sites such asJuffure & James Island, dance & drum workshops, carnival parades, symposia, trade fairs, traditional sporting events and religious services.