Abuja: Capital of Nigeria or Northern Nigeria?

by Bode Eluyera

“Imagine a situation in which a good acquaintance – but not a close friend – suggests that you start a joint venture that requires you to invest all your savings. If you hesitate, he whips out a revolver and threatens to shoot your close relatives. This is how Russia‘s most recent suggestion for co-operation with the United States on a joint anti-ballistic missile defense system comes across. But the main point is that if the United States were to accept the Russian offer, it would have to entirely reject its present strategy of intercepting enemy warheads in space using missiles with a range of more than 2000 kilometers. In addition, the joint project would mean that the billions of dollars that the United States had already spent on its unilateral anti-system would be for naught. The other problematic aspect of Russia‘s proposal is that it would require an unusually high level of trust in each other to make this new relationship work. And Russia has done everything in its power to undermine this trust. A case in point: Ivanov has promised that if the United States does not cancel its plans to place a radar in the Chech Republic and elements of anti-missile batteries in Poland, Russia will deploy Iskander rockets in Kaliningrad aimed at U.S. installations in Europe. If Russia deploys these weapons, it will violate the terms of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. This in turn could lead to a new stand off with Europe. On the surface, Moscow has offered to create a joint global anti-missile system that would significantly improve U.S.-Russian relations. But Moscow has threatened a new military stand-off if Washington refuses its proposal anf if it develops its anti-missile system in Europe. Thus, Moscow has proposed an absolutely meaningless and unrealistic initiative that will only distract and irritate Washington at a time when the Kremlin is frantically looking for U.S. support for Putin’s successor.”

Alexander Golts. Columnist on Defense issues for Moscow‘s English language newpaper.
excerpt from recently published column titled; “An Anti-Missile Proposal Doomed to Fail.”


If you are ever asked to name the new capital of Nigeria and you mention Abuja, I am afraid to tell you that you are wrong simply because Abuja is not the capital of Nigeria. Or to be more precise, de jure, you may be right, but de facto, you are wrong. The reason for making this assertion will be stated in this article. But first, it is worth mentioning that the issue of the relocation of Nigeria‘s capital from Lagos to Abuja was addressed briefly in one of my previous articles titled “A battle cry to restore the poor state of the nation. (Part 1) (nigeriansinamerica.com)” However, because of the importance of this issue and the effect of this decision on Nigerians and Nigeria‘s economy, I have decided to devote a whole article to this topic in order to treat it comprehensively.

Undoubtedly, the costliest decision the North and the military have ever made was the choice of Abuja as the new capital of Nigeria. This is another case in point that the north has succeeded in manipulating the country to its own selfish interest at a great cost to the rest of the country. As could be recalled, the decision to relocate the capital was taken by Murtala Muhammed sometime in 1975. The official reasons given by the northern military government for relocating the capital from Lagos were the following:

(I) Security reason – Lagos due to its location was vulnerable to attack from the ocean.

(II) Lagos was too congested.

(III)Because of its location at the edge of the country, it’s not very convenient and expensive for other Nigerians to come to Lagos.

(IV) Lagos belongs to the Yorubas; one of the major tribes in Nigeria.

Let us examine these reasons one by one together objectively and verify whether they hold water or not.



Has the relocation of the capital from Lagos to Abuja made the President of Nigeria safer in any way? The answer is a capital NO! Why? You don’t have to be a military expert to know what is called ICBM – Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles. In case you don’t know or have not heard of this acronym before, these are missiles that could be shot from one continent to hit a target or targets located in another continent. In other words, supposing Nigeria is at war with another country, the enemy can fire rockets/missiles at Abuja even from the open water/sea/ocean or from land/air – outside Nigeria‘s territory or air space or even outside Africa . I will like to remind you that when the Iraqi war started, the American soldiers started by shelling and bombing Baghdad from the sea. Later Iraqi’s capital was subjected to another heavy bombing from the air. It was after the massive bombings that the American soldiers entered Iraq. Therefore, security wise, Nigeria‘s new capital has in no way become safer due to the relocation.

Secondly, another question we need to ask is what was the probability then – when the decision to move was taken – and now, of Nigeria going to war with another country? I would rather say that the probability was very low then, and is still low now. Despite the fact that Nigeria played a major role in the campaign against apartheid regime in South Africa, nevertheless, the probability of Nigeria going to war with South Africa was practically zero.

Thirdly, even if the probability was high then, we did not have to move the capital because of that. During the second world war, when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, what the Russians did was to shift the capital ‘temporarily’ to Kirov. Europe for centuries had been battle ground where many wars were fought. But, there were no cases of relocating capitals permanently because of a likely outbreak of another war.

If you don’t mind me asking you for a little favour. Could you please log onto Google and check out where the respective capitals of the following countries are located on the world map:

(1) Washington – United States; (2)Ottawa – Canada; (3) London – Britain; (4) Rome – Italy; (5) Tokyo – Japan; (6) Stockholm – Sweden; (7) Oslo – Norway; (8) Helsinki – Finland; (8) Dublin – Ireland; (9) Moscow – Russia; (10) Lisbon – Portugal; (11) Rejavick – Iceland; (12)Monrovia – Liberia; (13) Freetown – Sierra Leone; (14) Accra – Ghana; (15) Lome – Togo; (16) Cotonou – Benin Republic; (17) Dakar – Senegal; (18) Bissau – Guinea Bissau; (19) Mogadishu – Somalia; (20) Tripoli – Libya; (21) Algiers – Algeria; (22) Rabat – Morocco; (23) Cairo – Egypt; (24) Luanda – Angola; (25) Maputo – Mozambique; (26) Buenos Aires – Argentina; (27) George town – Guyana; (28) Caracas – Venezuela; (29) Havana – Cuba; (30) Nouakchott – Mauritania; (31) Peking – China; (32) Sidney – Australia; (33) Tehran – Iran; (34) Seoul – Korea; (35) Pkhenyan – North Korea; (36) Libreville – Equatorial Guinea; (37) Abuja – Nigeria; (38) Lagos – Nigeria


I will like to share my observations with you. They include the following:

(1) With the exception of France (Paris) and Spain (Madrid) all the other countries of the G7, i.e. the 7 richest countries in the world, have their capitals located right by the sea just like Lagos. By the way, though Paris and Madrid are not located right by the sea but are quiet very very close to the sea.

(2) Practically all the countries in West Africa have their capitals located right by the Atlantic Ocean like Lagos.

(3) Practically all African countries that are not land-locked have their capitals located right by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans or very close to them like Lagos.

(4) Even China with the highest growing economy in the world has its capital, Peking, located very very close to the sea, almost like Lagos.

(5) The United States with the largest economy in the world has its capital, Washington, located right by the ocean just like Lagos.

(6)Dublin, the capital of Ireland, with the fastest growing economy in Europe, is located right by the sea just like Lagos.

(7) All the Scandinavian countries with the highest standard of living in the world have their respective capitals located right by the sea just like Lagos.

(8) Apart from the fact that the capitals of these countries are located right by the sea/ocean, they are as well located at the “edge” of their respective countries like Lagos too. These include Moscow, Paris, Brasilia, New Delhi.

(9) The 3 biggest countries in the world by landmass Russia, Canada, and the United States have their respective capitals located at the edge like Lagos, and two of them, with the exception of Russia have their capitals located right by the sea just like Lagos. It is worth mentioning here that though Moscow is not located right by the sea, but it is very very close to the sea and the Moscow river had been dredged to give it access to the sea. There is a port in Moscow. In fact, Moscow is called ” The port of seven seas” because it has access to seven seas.

(10) The 3 most populated countries in the world China, India and the United States all have their capitals located at the edge like Lagos.

(11) Nigeria is practically the only country in the world with its capital, Abuja, located in the center!

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abm1900@mail.ru August 21, 2007 - 4:48 pm

Nigeria itself is a fake country. The idea of a "One Nigeria" is an illusion. There has never been "One Nigeria," there is no "One Nigeria" now and I am sorry to say that there will never be "One Nigeria." The concept of "One Nigeria" itself is a fraud. Nigeria is a country that emerged out of "forced" and "unequal" marriage between the North and the South. We should forget about "One Nigeria," because it is not possible. Left to me, I strongly believe that the best thing is to let the North go and even take Abuja with them. We can use Abuja as a "trade off" to get our independence from the north. If they leave, I believe 75% of our problems will be solved. That's the ideal solution. In addition, I strongly believe that if the whole of the South remains as one country, in case of the break up of Nigeria, we will be much stronger together than if we are to go our seperate ways. We have a lot in common. Moreover, we compliment one another. The South West and South East have human resources which if put to the wright use and together with the oil resources in the South South could multiply the oil resources many folds. We don't have to be emotional when it comes to analysing our past and mapping out a new future for ourselves. If you are driving and don't have or look at the "rear mirror," I am afraid to say that most likely, you will have accident and consequently not get to your destination. Therefore, I believe that we must continue to analyse past historical events and decisions at least, in order to avoid falling into the same pit twice. Nigeria and Nigerians are paying a very high price today for the wrong decision to build a new capital from "scratch." Moreover, the struggle is about "Justice." Is it fair to build a new capital in Abuja with the oil resources of the South South while the bonafide owners of the resources wallow in abject poverty? So, the issue is about justice. We are in mess today because of many wrong decisions that were taken in the past and are still been taken today. As I have already said, it is absolutely unacceptable to me to build the so called "One Nigeria" at the expense of others. This has nothing to do with tribalism. All what I wrote is my personal and objective analysis of events. I realise that the problem most Africans face is the inability to make good analysis and/or "emotional" commentaries of events like "but no one gets anywhere by looking into the rear mirror of their vehicles, we are where we are, let us make the best use of it." With this kind of thinking, we won't get anywhere as a nation. It's just a matter of "fairness" and "principle." Personally, I am ready to fight for this no matter how long it takes. WE ARE GOING TO START A CAMPAIGN FOR THE RELOCATION OF THE CAPITAL FROM ABUJA BECAUSE IT WAS NOT ONLY A WRONG DECISION, IT WAS ALSO A "FRAUDULENT" DECISION THAT HAS COST THE COUNTRY/SOUTH BILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND IF THE PROJECT IS NOT STOPPED NOW WILL COST THE COUNTRY MORE.

If that is not attainable, then we should fight for Federalism. Federalism is the only compromise possible. Nobody is calling for another civil war. At the same time, it is unacceptable to build the so called "One Nigeria" at the expense of others, which is exactly what the North has been doing since independence. Nigeria has never been "

Mike August 20, 2007 - 9:03 pm

an excellent analysis of possible motives ..but no one get anywhere by looking into the rear mirror of their vehicles. We are where we are, let us make the best use of it. The new Nigeria will not be North dis, Yoruba that..your era of tribalist is a dying breed…from your ashes a new Nigeria shall arise. Nigeria where all genders, tribes, and creed can excel irrespective of where they come from. It is already taking place before your own eyes.

tunde adekeye August 20, 2007 - 8:49 am

Good thinking, thought provoking. I'm no pacifist but don't you think essays like this could fan the embers of war?….. It's not as if any of us is afraid of the resultant armed struggle if we all decide to go our separate ways…but would it solve anything? Wouldn't the struggle for the Niger Delta be the death of all of us???

julius August 19, 2007 - 12:49 pm

Except if you decided to be blinded by foolish patriotism, almost all Nigerians were well aware that the movement of the capital from Lagos to Abuja was just to satify the northern rulers not for the benefit of Nigeria as a whole. Nigeria is a great country but certainly Nigeria would be better off as 3 independent countries.


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