Sunday, January 25, 2009

Off to Abuja, Nigeria.

The photos are: 1) the Abuja skyline; 2) the Abuja National Mosque; 3) the Abuja City Gate; 4) Millenium Park; 5) the National Assembly Building; 6) the Nigerian Radio Corporation Headquarters; 7) the Abuja Space Center; and 8) Abuja Stadium.

Abuja is the capital city of Nigeria. It is located in the centre of Nigeria in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Abuja is a planned city, as it was mainly built in the 1980s and officially became Nigeria's capital on 12 December 1991, replacing the role of the previous capital Lagos. As of the 2006 census, the Federal Capital Territory has a population of 778,567.
Abuja's geography is defined by Aso Rock, a 400-metre monolith left by water erosion. The Presidential Complex, National Assembly, Supreme Court and much of the town extend to the south of the rock. "Aso" means "victorious" in the language of the (now displaced) Asokoro ("the people of victory").
Other sights include the Nigerian National Mosque and the Nigerian National Christian Centre. The city is served by the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, while Zuma Rock lies nearby. Abuja is known for being the best purpose-built city in Africa as well as being one of the wealthiest and most expensive; however, the population on the semi-developed edges of the city are living in shanty towns such as Karu. Karu, originally planned to house the capital's civil servants and lower income families, still has no running water, sanitation or electricity.

In light of the ethnic and religious divisions of Nigeria, plans had been devised since Nigeria's independence to have its capital in a location deemed neutral to all parties. The location was eventually designated in the centre of the country in the early 1970s as it signified neutrality and national unity. Another impetus for Abuja came because of Lagos's population boom that made that city overcrowded and conditions squalid. The logic used was similar to Brazil building its capital Brasília.
Construction broke ground and was dedicated in the late 1970s, but due to economic and political instability, the initial stages of the city were not complete until the late 1980s.
The master plan for Abuja and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was developed by IPA (International Planning Associates), a consortium made up of three American firms: Planning Research Corporation; Wallace, McHarg, Roberts and Todd; and Archisystems, a division of the Hughes Organization. The master plan for Abuja defined the general structure and major design elements of the city that are visible in the city's current form. More detailed design of the central areas of the capital, particularly its monumental core, was accomplished by Kenzo Tange, a renowned Japanese architect, along with his team of city planners at Kenzo Tange and Urtec company.
Most countries relocated their embassies to Abuja and many maintain their former embassies as consulates in Lagos, still the commercial capital of Nigeria.
Abuja is the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States or ECOWAS. It also has the regional headquarters of OPEC.

Abuja and the FCT have experienced huge population growth; it has been reported that some areas around Abuja have been growing at 20 – 30% per year. Squatter settlements and towns have spread rapidly in and outside the city limits. Tens of thousands of people have been evicted since former FCT Minister Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai started a demolition campaign in 2003.
The Phase 1 area of the city is divided into five (5) districts. They are Central, Garki, Wuse, Maitama, and Asokoro. There are also five districts in Phase 2. They are Kado, Durumi, Gudu, Utako and Jabi. And the Phase 3 districts are Mabuchi, Katampe, Wuye and Gwarimpa. There are also five suburban districts, which are Nyanya, Karu, Gwagwalada, Kubwa, and Jukwoyi. Along the Airport Road are clusters of satellite settlements, namely Lugbe, Chika, Kuchigworo and Pyakassa. Other satellite settlements are Idu (The Main Industrial Zone), Mpape, Karimu, Gwagwa, Dei-Dei (housing the International Livestock market and also International Building materials market).

Abuja's Central District (still under construction) is located between the foot of Aso Rock and into the Three Arms Zone to the southern base of the ring road. It is like the city's spinal cord, dividing it into the northern sector with Maitama and Wuse, and the southern sector with Garki and Asokoro. While each district has its own clearly demarcated commercial and residential sectors, the Central District is the city's principal Business Zone, where practically all parastatals and multinational corporations have their offices located. An attractive area in the Central District is the region known as the Three Arms Zone, so called because it houses the administrative offices of the executive, legislative and judicial arms of the Federal Government. A few of the other sites worth seeing in the area are the Federal Secretariats alongside Shehu Shagari Way, Aso Hill, the Abuja Plant Nursery, Eagle Square (which has important historic significance,as it was in this grounds that the present democratic dispensation had its origin in May 29th, 1999) and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier across the road facing it. The National Mosque and National Church are located opposite each other on either side of Independence Avenue. Buildings such as the National Assembly building in Abuja, Eagle Square, and Aso rock, the presidential villa, are situated in Abuja. Another well known government office is the Ministry of Defence, popularly nicknamed "Ship House".

The Garki District is the area in the southwest corner of the city, having the Central District to the north and the Asokoro District to the east. The District is subdivided into units called "Areas". Garki uses a distinctive naming convention of "Area" to refer to parts of Garki. These are designated as Areas 1 to 11. Garki II is used to differentiate the area from Garki Area 2. Visitors may at first find this system of names confusing.
Garki is presently the principal business district of Abuja. Numerous buildings of interest are located in this area. Some of them include the General Post Office, Abuja International Conference Center located along the busy Herbert Maculay Way, Nicon Luxury Hotel (formally known as Abuja Sofitel Hotel and Le Meridian), Agura Hotel and Old Federal Secretariat Complex Buildings (Area 1).
Area 2 is mainly used for residential purposes, although a zoological garden as well as Garki Shopping Center are located in Area 2. Several banks and other commercial offices are located along Moshood Abiola Way in Area 7. The Headquarters of the Nigerian Armed Forces, namely Army Headquarters, Airforce Headquarters and Navy Headquarters are all located in the Garki District.
The tallest building in this district is the Radio House, which houses the Federal Ministry of Information and Communications, and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Stations and Corporate Headquarters are also based in Garki. The Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) which oversees and runs the Administration of the Federal Capital Territory has it offices in Garki. The Office of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja is located in Area 10. Other places of note include the Arts and Culture Center and The Nigerian Police Mobile Force Headquarters in Area 10. The Abuja Municipal Area Council, which is the local Government administration has its headquarters in Area 10. The new United States Embassy is also located in the Garki district.

Wuse District is the northwestern part of the city, with the Maitama District to its north and the Central District to its south. The District is numbered Zones 1-8. The Wuse Market is Abuja's principal market (Zone 5). The second most important Post Office in the city is located here. This district also houses the Sheraton Hotel and Towers (Zone 4), Ibro International hotel, the Foreign Affairs Ministry Headquarters (Zone 1) and Nigerian Customs Services Headquarters, Corporate Affairs Commission (Zone 5), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), National Agency For Food And Drugs Administration (NAFDAC) (Zone 7), Wuse General Hospital, and the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation. Just as Garki District has Garki II, Wuse has Wuse II. This is distinct from Wuse Zone 2.

Maitama District is to the north of the city, with the Wuse and Central Districts lying to its southwest and southeast respectively. This area is home to the top bracket sections of society and business, and has the reputation of being very exclusive and very expensive. Interesting buildings include the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, National Communications Commission Headquarters (NCC), National Universities Commission(NUC), Soil Conservation Complex, and Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC). The British High Commission is located along Aguiyi Ironsi Way, in Maitama. Also, the Maitama District Hospital is another notable building in Maitama.
Maitama District is home to many of the European embassies in Nigeria.
The Maitama Amusement Park is another exciting place where children and adults go to have lots of fun.

Asokoro District, the doyen of all the districts, houses all of the state's lodges/guest houses. The ECOWAS secretariat is a focal point of interest. Asokoro is located to the east of Garki district and south of Central district. It is one of the most exclusive districts of Abuja and houses virtually all of the federal cabinet ministers; in addition, the Presidential Palace (Aso Rock) is located in Asokoro district. By virtue of this fact, Asokoro is the most secured area of the city.

Gwarimpa is the last district located in the Abuja Municipal Area Council. It contains the largest single housing estate in Nigeria, called the Gwarimpa Housing Estate. The Estate was built by the Administration of General Sani Abacha and is the largest of its kind in Africa. It provides residence for the majority of the civil servants in Federal Ministries and government parastatals. The ECOWAS Court has an official quarters for the President and Members of the Court in Gwarimpa.

Today's Jumble (01/25/09):
His marriage to the math teacher failed because she had ---

Today is A Room Of One's Own Day. Don't let anyone else enter your room. And for those who like Apple, it is Macintosh Computer Day.

Other things on this day in history:

41 - After a night of negotiation, Claudius is accepted as Roman Emperor by the Senate.
1327 - Edward III becomes King of England.
1494 - Alfonso II becomes King of Naples.
1533 - Henry VIII of England secretly marries his second wife Anne Boleyn.
1554 - Founding of São Paulo city, Brazil.
1573 - Battle of Mikatagahara, in Japan; Takeda Shingen defeats Tokugawa Ieyasu.
1755 - Moscow University established on Tatiana Day.
1787 - American Daniel Shays leads rebellion to seize Federal arsenal to protest debtor's prisons.
1791 - The British Parliament passes the Constitutional Act of 1791 and splits the old province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada.
1792 - The London Corresponding Society is founded.
1858 - The Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn becomes a popular wedding recessional after it is played on this day at the marriage of Queen Victoria's daughter, Victoria, and Friedrich of Prussia.
1879 - The Bulgarian National Bank is founded.
1881 - Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell form the Oriental Telephone Company.
1890 - Nellie Bly completes her round-the-world journey in 72 days.
1909 - Richard Strauss' opera Elektra receives its debut performance at the Dresden State Opera.
1915 - Alexander Graham Bell inaugurates U.S. transcontinental telephone service, speaking from New York to Thomas Watson in San Francisco.
1918 - The Ukrainian people declare independence from Bolshevik Russia.
1919 - The League of Nations is founded.
1924 - The 1924 Winter Olympics open in Chamonix, France (in the French Alps), inaugurating the Winter Olympic Games.
1937 - The Guiding Light debuts on NBC radio from Chicago. In 1952 it moves to CBS television. Still airing, it's the longest running US broadcast program.
1941 - Pope Pius XII elevates the Apostolic Vicariate of the Hawaiian Islands to the dignity of a diocese. It becomes the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu.
1942 - World War II: Thailand declares war on the United States and United Kingdom.
1945 - World War II: Battle of the Bulge ends.
1946 - The United Mine Workers rejoins the American Federation of Labor.
1949 - At the Hollywood Athletic Club the first Emmy Awards are presented.
1955 - Soviet Union ends state of war with Germany.
1959 - Pope John XXIII proclaims upcoming Second Vatican Council.
1960 - The National Association of Broadcasters reacts to the Payola scandal by threatening fines for any disc jockeys who accepted money for playing particular records.
1961 - In Washington, D.C. John F. Kennedy delivers the first live presidential television news conference.
1971 - Charles Manson and three female "Family" members are found guilty of the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders.
1971 - Idi Amin leads a coup deposing Milton Obote and becomes Uganda's president.
1971 - Himachal Pradesh becomes the 18th Indian state.
1981 - Jiang Qing, the widow of Mao Zedong, is sentenced to death.
1986 - The National Resistance Movement topple the government of Tito Okello in Uganda.
1990 - The Burns' Day storm hits northwestern Europe.
1990 - Honduras becomes a member of the Berne Convention copyright treaty.
1990 - Avianca Flight 52 crashes, killing 73 passengers.
1993 - Five people were shot outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia resulting in two murders.
1994 - The Clementine space probe launches.
1995 - The Norwegian Rocket Incident: Russia almost launches a nuclear attack after it mistakes Black Brant XII, a Norwegian research rocket, for a US Trident missile.
1998 - During a historic visit to Cuba Pope John Paul II demands the release of political prisoners and political reforms while condemning US attempts to isolate the country.
1998 - Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide attack on Sri Lanka's Temple of the Tooth, killing 8 people injuring 25 others.
1999 - A 6.0 Richter scale earthquake hits western Colombia killing at least 1,000.
2001 - A 50-year-old Douglas DC-3 crashes near Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela killing 24.
2002 - Wikipedia switches to the new version of its software ("Phase II") aka Magnus Manske Day.
2004 - Opportunity rover (MER-B) lands on surface of Mars.
2005 - A stampede at the Mandher Devi temple in Mandhradevi in India kills at least 258.
2006 - Three independent observing campaigns announce the discovery of OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb through gravitational microlensing, the first cool rocky/icy extrasolar planet around a main-sequence star.

No comments: