KADUNA (Sundiata Post) – President Muhammadu Buhari has lauded Kaduna City for its stabilising role in the history of Northern Nigeria in particular and Nigeria in general. The President described it as a city chosen by destiny to play these significant roles in the development of the country.
Muhammadu Buhari made this declaration over the weekend in message to the Governor and people of Kaduna State on the occasion Kaduna City Centenary Celebration.
The President who was represented at the occasion by the Federal Capital Territory, Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello note that that Kaduna has served as both a seat of the government of Northern protectorate and sanctuary to the First Governor-General of Nigeria, Lord Frederick Lugard.
In his words, “This city also became the Capital of the Northern Region and the seat of government of the leader of the ruling party in Nigeria’s Capital of Lagos upon Nigeria’s attainment of independence. This is because, the eminent Gamji, Sir. Ahmadu Bello, Prime Minister of Northern Nigeria, held court in Kaduna.
“As the Capital of Northern Region, Kaduna indeed nurtured and groomed the present 19 states of Nigeria. In addition to all these outstanding roles, Kaduna has been and continues to be the military stronghold of the nation starting from Lugard’s period.”
The President described the occasion as even more significant because the City is turning 100 years under the progressive government of Malam Nasir El-Rufai.
President Buhari commended the numerous initiatives of El-Rufai’s administration designed to launch Kaduna City and the entire Kaduna State into a better future. According to him, “It is gratifying that you are turning the corner of history with a forward thinking, innovative and development-oriented government.”
Earlier in his keynote address, the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai announced that Kaduna has been expanded to 40km radius from the main post office, which is the centre of Kaduna city. Similarly, the City has been delineated into 12 districts with 2 districts specially earmarked for the military. He also rolled out plans for the reinvigoration of the industries for which Kaduna was known especially, the textile mills. Similarly, the water works is being modernized and expanded to provide adequate water supply for the city.
Governor El-Rufai recalled the reasons adduced by Lugard for the relocation of the capital of erstwhile Northern Protectorate from Zungeru in 1917 to Kaduna. These include, a favourable climate, fertile soil that is good for the growing fruits and flowers, pure water and situated 81 miles from the great trading centre of Zaria. This, Lugard noted, gave Kaduna a comparative advantage over other cities.
The event, for Governor El-Rufai, served to spotlight the critical role Kaduna State has played in the evolution of the Nigeria and Northern Nigerian political history and to celebrate the founding fathers of the city. El-Rufai, who is the 22nd Governor that had held court in the city, said; “the current generation of leaders needed to take a fresh look into its proud past and to unleash the forces that grew Kaduna for the future.”
He said that Centenary Celebration offers a chance to reclaim the lost glory of Kaduna which is today mired in intolerance, characterised by the segregated neighbourhood and conclaves of separate ethnicities. He declared that this must not be allowed to stand. His words, “the pains and losses of the past are not our destiny. Kaduna can and would be great again.”
In his Goodwill message at the occasion, the Shehu of Borno, Alh. Abubakar Umar El-Kanemi, extolled the founding fathers of the City right from Lord Lugard, Muhammed Sanusi, Kashim Ibrahim and Sir Ahmadu Bello. He highlighted the unifying role which Kaduna has played both in Nigeria and the North,and called for peaceful coexistence among all ethnic groups in the country.
The highpoint of the event was a splendid durbar staged by major emirates of the Northern Nigeria. It lit up the atmosphere as the emirates took turns to file past the spectators who rose now and again in a frenzy of excitement. Emir Lamido Sanusi of Kano easily stole the show by delighting the mammoth crowd with a majestic array of vassals laid out on columns of camels and horses bedecked with colourful costumes and ornaments, mere sight of which would easily have made Egyptian Pharaohs and the Roman emperors drool.