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NIGERIA: Centenary Celebrations: 28 Heads of State to Converge on Abuja

As Nigeria celebrates its 100 years of existence as a nation, 28 Heads of State and government are expected at the international security conference to be hosted by President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday next week in Abuja.
 
Also, activities to mark the event was unveiled.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, disclosed this yesterday while briefing journalists shortly after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
 
He noted that the federal government had already set up a Board of Trustees (BoT), to be chaired  by former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon.
 
The board, according to the minister, is expected to manage funds realised from the Centenary Fund Raising Ball, billed for February 25, in Lagos.
 
He said the theme of the centenary celebrations was fashioned around the key concepts of unity, indivisibility, virility, progress and promise of the Nigerian federation.
 
The ministers who flanked Maku at the briefing, included the Minister  of the Federal capital Territory (FCT), Bala Mohammed, Minister of State  for Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, Ministers of Mines and Steel, Musa Sada, Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, Internal Affairs, Abbah Moro.
 
Also at the briefing, were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim and Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Abbah Aji.
Maku said the international conference would focus Africa’s attention on the need to tackle insecurity in the continent.
 
Jonathan, according to the minister,  is expected to present the lead paper at the security conference with a focus on how to secure the continent against activities of terrorists. Adding that communique will be issued at the end of the deliberations.
 
Responding to questions on the relevance of such celebration at the moment when Nigeria is facing security challenges, Maku said:  â€œWe 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.”
 
Anyim also disclosed that the programme would  highlight the conferring of honours on 100 Nigerians out of which about 40 per cent of the awards will be given posthumously to people who had made contributions to the development and sustenance of the country in the last 100 years.
 
 
The Minister of Steel and Solid Minerals Development, Musa Sada 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.”
 
Sada added that the awards are in various categories, including political leadership category for those who midwived the coming together of Nigeria as a nation, pioneers of commerce and industry, trade and businesses, promoters of democratic transitions.
 
Others according to him, “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 honored internationally.”
 
Sada added that those Nigerians who also run international organisations 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.
 
Maku further added that “there is going to be a centenary lottery and the proceed will go to support this celebration and all the telecoms companies  and every Nigerian are being encouraged to be part if this programme.”
 
The minister equally announced that government would present a focus on the history of the achievements recorded in the last 100 years, adding that the programme would be rounded up with a thanksgiving service at the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja.
 
The FCT Minister, Mohammed on his part, said over 25,000 people are expected to witness some of the events, including the multi media show at the National Stadium, Abuja.
 
 
“Every state have been mandated to sponsor at least 200 delegates and one traditional ruler from each state of the federation, including FCT,” the minister added.

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