Evidence of Utilisation of the Lessons of History for Planning and Development in Nigeria: The Example of the Contrast Between Lagos and Abuja
The paper examined how the lessons of Lagos, Nigeria’s former capital, were utilized for the choice of location, planning and development of Abuja, the new capital. It questioned the view that the dichotomy between Abuja and Lagos with regard to beauty, cleanliness, functionality, organization and development control is an anathema arising mainly from the neglect of Lagos. Contrarily, it argued that the differences between the two regions of the country is not mainly due to the neglect of Lagos, the former capital, considering the fact that it was the shortcomings and inadequacies of Lagos that provided the lessons for the choice, designing, naming, development, development control, and even recently, the “reform agenda”, in Abuja. The paper posited that, notwithstanding the perceived neglect of the former capital by the federal government, contrary to its promise when the capital was relocated to Abuja in 1991, the dichotomy between Lagos and Abuja is essentially clear evidence that the country has, for once, benefitted from its history in the development of the new capital. If the contrary was the case, as it was in the pre-2003 era, it would have been another sad commentary on the ability of the country to learn and benefit from its history. The focus of the paper, therefore, is how the inadequacies and shortcomings of Lagos provided the lessons for the development of Abuja.
Key words: Background, Designing, Naming, Development, Abuja, Lagos, Reform
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