John Shiklam in Kaduna
Traditional rulers, governors of the 19 northern states and thousands of citizens yesterday converged on Kaduna to mark 100 years of the Northern city.
This took place as President Muhammadu Buhari described the ancient city as the melting point of Nigerian politics.
Kaduna became the capital of the northern protectorate in 1914, when the colonial Governor General, Lord Fredrick Lugard relocated the capital from Zungeru, Niger state, to Kaduna.
The city served as the capital of the northern region before the creation of states. It has remained the political capital of the north even with the creation of states.
The celebration, which started last week, was rounded up with a colourful durbar led by traditional rulers, including the emirs of Kano, Zazzau, Keffi, Misau, Katsina and the Shehu of Borno among several others.
Speaking at the event which was attended by thousands of northerners, President Buhari described Kaduna as crucial to Nigerian politics.
Represented by the minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Alhaji Muhammad Bello, the President noted that the city is still playing a significant role in the development of the region and Nigeria
â€œSo celebrating the 100 years of its existence as a political capital is by no means a childâ€™s play and I am happy this celebration is happening under a progressive governmentâ€, Buhari said.
The president said Kaduna state has achieved a lot under Governor Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai, who is a progressive governor, as he has started implementing the vision he wants to see the state attain in the next 100 years.
The President reiterated the determination of his administration to solve the power problem bedevilling the nation, saying, â€œOnce this is done, many industries in Kaduna that are comatose will be back as well as other states in the country.â€
Speaking earlier, Governor El-rufai said he was optimistic that in spite of the challenges the city had passed through, Kaduna can be better â€œand we are determined to regain its glory.â€
â€œWith joy, I welcome our distinguished guests to the celebration of the centenary of Kaduna city. We pay tribute to those who made this city, and we honour the resilience of its residents. We must make the next century one of peace, harmony and prosperity.
â€œThus, we celebrate the first 100 years of Kaduna, not because they have been perfect. We celebrate, not because there have not been regrettable incidents in this city. We celebrate because the promise of Kaduna endures.
â€œWe celebrate because its residents are resilient. We celebrate because there is a future, a chance to reclaim the glory, break new ground and make Kaduna an example of diversity and integration, a dynamo of progress and a model of development.
â€œWe celebrate because the stains and losses of the past are not our destiny. We celebrate because we know that we can be better, and Kaduna is ready to be great againâ€ the governor said.
Dignitaries who attended the event, which was held at the Murtala Square, include former Vice President Namadi Sambo; Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno; Governor Aminu Bello Masari; deputy governors of Zamfara, Bauchi, Plateau as well as Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, among several others.