The 100 years of Nigeria’s amalgamation anniversary will provide 15,000 jobs for Nigerians, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Pius Anyim, said on Tuesday.
Mr. Anyim said this before the House of Representatives Committee on the proposed centenary celebration in Abuja.
On January 16, President Goodluck Jonathan had in a letter, requested for a convenient date to brief the House on the programme for the centenary celebration. The briefing was done on Tuesday by Mr. Anyim.
“With the support of and active participation of the private sector, the centenary celebration will provide 5,000 jobs directly and more than 10,000 jobs indirectly.
“It will also provide an economic boost, especially to the informal sector, the petty traders and the hospitality sector service providers.
“We must celebrate because our unity is the common symbol of our collective existence that has put the nation on the path of development and potential global ascendancy,” Mr. Anyim said.
Mr. Anyim could not convince lawmakers on Tuesday that Nigeria’s planned centenary celebration will be wholesomely funded by the private sector, and will receive no government “kobo”.
Mr. Anyim told the Senate and the House of Representatives at separate meetings that the federal government was not considering a budget for the celebrations, which has already drawn criticisms.
Lined up projects, including a commemorating event, the building of a centenary city in Abuja, a new Abuja city gate, recreational facilities, ICT centers in all universities amongst others, will be funded by private companies, Mr. Anyim said.
“It will be completely private sector-driven,” Mr. Anyim said. “The idea is that every company that has succeeded in Nigeria has to contribute to the success story of Nigeria.”
A national lottery will also be conducted while private sponsors will buy adverts.
“If we have a good drive, we can get sponsors who can advertise for years,” he said.
But the idea immediately triggered concerns from the senators who queried the prospect of success without government funding.
Announcements of budgets for such celebrations in the past, like Nigeria’s 50th independence anniversary, have sparked intense condemnations for past governments.
Lawmakers subtly registered their fears the executive was hijacking the planned celebration and sidelining the lawmakers.
Senate president, David Mark, said if there were no plans for funding, then there was no need for the meeting.
“I am just worried if this is truly private sector driven,” Mr. Mark said. He raised issue with how funding will be drawn for the planned movements of youth for the celebration in Abuja.
“If the youth will be transported, I’m just wondering who will fund that. Who will pay for the ultramodern national conference centre that is planned?” he said.
A senator asked how many lawmakers will be on the committee planning the celebrations.
Mr. Anyim explained that the celebration would be multi-faceted and multi-location event that would boost corporate commercials.
He said that the celebration would hold in all the state capitals, Abuja and some historic towns, cities, including other foreign cities.
He explained that the project would be largely self-funding as it is a private sector initiative.
The centenary celebration is aimed at marking the 100 years of the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914 to form Nigeria.
Courtesy Premium Times
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