Saturday, October 08, 2016



The 3rd of October, 2016 was World Architecture Day. Every first Monday in October has been set aside annually to celebrate architecture and its practitioners. World Architecture Day which also coincides with the World Habitat Day of the United Nations was created in 1985 by the International Union of Architects (UIA), a global federation of national associations of architects that represents over 1.3 million architects in 124 countries and territories.

In its 2016 address, the UIA noted that “as the range of global challenges grows and intensifies, the role of architecture, planning and design are becoming ever more critical to ensuring a better future for all people". The International Union of Architects went further to call upon all architecture organisations everywhere to highlight the essential role of design in alleviating human suffering, reducing planetary burdens and enhancing the quality of life.
Nigeria was not left out in the global celebrations. In line with this year’s theme of ‘Design a Better World’, one of the activities organised to mark the day included a conference hosted by the Kogi State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Architects with a sub theme of ‘Architectural Solutions to Everyday Living’.  In attendance were members of the Executive Council of the Nigerian Institute of Archictects led by its President, Arc. Oliver Braide whose speech at the event can be read after the pictures.  
L-R, Arc David Majekodunmi (Chairman, Student Affairs Committee), Arc. Abimbola Ajayi (Honorary General Secretary, NIA), Arc. Oliver Braide (President, NIA), Arc. Enyi Ben-Eboh (3rd Vice-President, NIA)

Some other participants at the NIA- Kogi State Chapter hosted conference



It is with great joy that I stand with my colleagues in Lokoja, the
epi-center of Nigeria to celebrate the World Architecture Day.  NIA
Kogi State Chapter has done very well to bring this event to prominence
at a time when a very dynamic transition has happened in our political
history.  Leadership in the State has moved into a generation that will
be in touch with the millennials who shall be the vibrant driving force
in Kogi State and indeed Nigeria in the next decade.

The World Architecture Day is a day set aside to celebrate the role
architecture has played and will continue to play in preparing a good
life for people.  This year’s theme is DESIGNING A BETTER WORLD.
This world should be one free from human suffering and experiencing a good
reduction of planetary burdens.

William Balfour Baikie founded Lokoja in 1857 on a site which had the
first model farm in Nigeria set up by the Niger Expedition in 1841. 
Lokoja is a naturally picturesque town with the confluence of the Niger
and Benue Rivers and lots of greenery.  The town which is a transit
route for goods and people to 16 States in Nigeria is also contiguous to
9 states, serving as a gateway to Abuja and the FCT.  Lokoja should live
up to its calling and should be a confluence to indeed all Nigerians and
not the two rivers alone.

The city has strong historical antecedents making its tourism potential
very high.  Being a center for slave trade in the 18th and 19th
centuries, it transformed into a center for freedom when Bishop Ajayi
Crowther erected the Iron of Liberty at a symbolic spot where slaves
were set free in the town.  Lokoja also has the first primary school in
Northern Nigeria built by the same Ajayi Crowther.  This further gave
the town prominence as a center for those seeking freedom from

When the colonialists conquered the Northern Protectorate of Nigeria,
Emirs who opposed Colonial rule were exiled to Lokoja.  This included
the Emirs of Bida, Kano and Zaria.  These were the first Nigerian
Leaders to show great pragmatism for African Independence.  They are our
first heroes who died in exile and were buried in Lokoja.  These three
Emirs exhibited great capacity as they developed a mechanism to
communicate with their subjects despite the distance.  This was simply
beyond the imagination of the colonial masters.  The tombs of these
Emirs should become beacons in our country’s history and points of
touristic value.

Many buildings of architectural historic value also adorn the town. 
These include Lugard House, the first Primary School in Northern
Nigeria, first Cantonment Church and first Hospital in Northern Nigeria.
  Lokoja is also the resting place of many Europeans having the largest
European cemetery in Nigeria, because this town hosted the first British
settlement in Nigeria as the first inland port and centre of regional
mercantile exchange.  It was therefore a point of international
significance for over one hundred years, attracting several indigenous
tribes and settlers and developing a strong cosmopolitan brand.

Lokoja lost its prominence due to political shifts and preferences but
with the creation of Kogi State, it now has the opportunity to
experience a renaissance.

This is what Architecture can do for the City!

The adjoining Steel Complex at Ajaokuta can become an industrial hub,
taking advantage of the multitude of deposits in Iron Ore and good
supply of natural gas.  West African Ceramics have taken berth in the
region along with Dangote Cement.  We call on Government to key into
this industrialization drive by providing an enabling environment to
attract more industries, particularly in the manufacture of
architectural components, hardware and ironmongery.

This will bring a stimulus for growth and Architecture will rise to the
challenge to build a modern metropolis in Lokoja.  A high speed train
linkage to FCT will further create multiplier benefits to the city by
being in close proximity to the rising expansion in Abuja.

As a pristine location, Lokoja has the potential to develop 100% Green
Neighbourhoods.  All buildings will be designed with energy efficiency
considerations and some Estates could be executed totally with renewable
energy.  This will be communities for the future giving a quality of
life unsurpassed in our nation’s development.  Lokoja can develop
another run as a first amongst equals by transforming into Nigeria’s
first Green City.  The city has the capacity for this change, having the
right cosmopolitan mix, a growing academic population, an emerging
industrial base, excellent transportation interface and a strong
youthful and vibrant leadership.  This is the City of the Future.  There
is therefore no better place to celebrate the 2016 WORLD ARCHITECTURE
DAY in Nigeria than, Lokoja ……. the City for the New Millennium.

As President of Nigerian Institute of Architects, I give a charge to the
Kogi State Chapter to celebrate 2017 which will be the 160th Anniversary
of the creation of modern Lokoja. LOKOJA 2017 shall be a 10month
spectacle having events every month from January to October.  This will
involve lectures, drama, art festivals, music festivals, re-enactment of
colonial life through street theatre, launching a Green Revolution in
Architecture in Nigeria and a grand finale celebrating WORLD
ARCHITECTURE DAY 2017 and the emergence of a new milieu in leadership in
Nigeria.  The Chapter will achieve this by developing a partnership with
Kogi State Government.  Other partners of interest should be British
Companies operating in Nigeria, British Cooperation, Cultural and
Development Agencies.  The event should bring to focus the condition of
the architectural artifacts and monuments dotted in the State and raise
funding for their immediate restoration before October, 2017.  We must
not allow the erosion of our monuments as seen recently in Lagos (re:
Ilojo Bar).  Buildings under protection MUST be restored to enjoy their
true value and form a continuum of our heritage for future generations.

I see a new horizon of hope in the future leadership of Architecture in
Nigeria in the personae of Kogi State Chapter Chairman Arc. Kayode
Oloninisi.  There is no doubt that Kogi State Chapter can contribute to
LOKOJA 2017, 160 new and documented architectural / urban interventions
of global significance to be built in Lokoja and the emerging towns of
Kogi State.  These projects shall be beacons for each of the 160 years
of the city of Lokoja.

Starting from today, Nigerian Institute of Architects will embark on the
journey to entrench the role architecture will play in delivering a
better future for the people of Kogi State with real time interventions
to be seen in 360 days.

I thank you for your kind attention.

May God Bless Nigerian Architecture, May God Bless Kogi State, May God
Bless Nigeria.

Arc. Tonye Oliver Braide, fnia

President, Nigerian Institute of Architects


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