28 World Leaders to grace Nigeria’s Centenary Celebrations – Maku

The FG announced the centenary activities.

The Federal Government on Wednesday unveiled activities for the Nigeria Centenary celebrations stating that no fewer than 28 World leaders have indicated their intention to attend the celebrations.

The government has also set up a Board of Trustees which will be headed by former Head of state, Yakubu Gowon. The board is expected to manage funds realized from the Centenary Fund Raising Ball, which will be held on February 25 in Lagos to kick start activities for the centenary celebration.

The theme of Nigeria’s centenary celebrations is designed around the key concepts of unity, indivisibility, virility, progress, and promise of the Nigerian federation, the Information Minister, Labaran Maku, said on Wednesday.

Mr. Maku briefed journalists after the weekly meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation. Others who accompanied Mr. Maku during the briefing include the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Minister, Bala Mohammed; Foreign Affairs Minister of State, Viola Onwuliri; Labour Minister, Emeka Wogu; Minister of Mines and Steel, Musa Sada; Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi; Internal Affairs, Abbah Moro; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim; and Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Abbah Aji.

Mr. Maku said the theme of Nigeria’s centenary celebration is designed around the key concepts of unity, indivisibility, virility, progress and promise of the Nigerian federation.

He disclosed that President Goodluck Jonathan is expected to host an international conference on peace and security in Africa, which will be attended by the world leaders.

The International Conference which will hold on February 27 with international leaders and Heads of States from 28 countries in attendance. The conference will attempt to focus Africa’s attention on the need to tackle insecurity in the continent, Mr. Maku said.

President Jonathan is expected to present the lead paper at the security conference which will focus on how to secure the continent against terrorists. A communiqué will be issued at the end of the deliberations.

Responding to questions on the relevance of such a celebration at the moment when Nigeria was facing security challenges, Mr. Maku noted that “We are not just celebrating. No! It will focus on the impact of insecurity because these challenges are being experienced all over Africa. This celebration will also sell Nigeria to the world by exposing opportunities for investments in Agriculture, Power, Manufacturing and all other areas, to show hope to investors that this country is worth investing in”.

The programme will also highlight the conferment of Honours on 100 Nigerians. About 40 per cent of the awards would be given posthumously, to people who have made contributions to the development and sustenance of the country in the last 100 years, the minister said.

The Minister of Steel and Solid Minerals Development said government made the process for the selection of Awardees “very objective by advertising the call for nominations through newspaper adverts and letters written to states and local governments.”

“Jonathan will on the 28th, honour 100 Nigerians; 40 per cent of which will be post hummus for people who had made land mark achievements in the last hundred years. Government will also use the occasion to present his administration’s achievements in the last few years,” Mr. Sada said.

He added that the awards are in various categories, including political leadership category for those who midwifed the coming together of Nigeria as a nation, pioneers of commerce and industry, trade and businesses, and promoters of democratic transitions.

“Other include heroes and heroines in the sporting sector, accomplished pioneer civil servants, accomplished entrepreneurs, renowned Nigerian academicians, internationally acclaimed artists and literary icons, some of who have been honoured internationally.” He added that “Nigerians who also run international organizations are also billed to be honoured”.

“I am sure that at the end of the event, Nigerians will be happy with those who have been selected for these awards,” he said.

Mr. Maku also stated that “there is going to be a centenary lottery and the proceed will go to support this celebration and all the telecom companies and every Nigerian are being encouraged to be part if this programme.”

He also announced that government will present a focus on the history of the achievements recorded in the last 100 years; adding that the programme will be rounded off with a thanks giving service at the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja.

The FCT Minister disclosed that over 25,000 persons are expected to witness some of the events, including the multi-media show at the National Stadium, Abuja.

He further announced that the venues, including the National Stadium Abuja, the International Conference Centre, Abuja, and the venues for the religious services have been renovated and made ready for the events.

“Every state has been mandated to sponsor at least 200 delegates and one traditional ruler from each state of the federation, including FCT,” he said.

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