History of Abuja:
The land of Abuja was the southwestern part of the ancient kingdom of Zazzau (Zaria). The name “Abuja” was derived from Abu Ja, a brother to Muhammadu Makau, the last hausa ruler of Zaria. Makau had left Zaria after being defeated by the Fulani and settled in the area now known as Abuja. In 1825 his brother Abu Ja succeeded him as the 62nd King of Zaria.
The full name of Abu Ja was Abubakar (shortened to “Abu”) and the name Ja was given to him because he was light in complexion (“Ja” means red or fair in Hausa). Hence he became known as “Abu-Ja”, “Abu the fair one” (other sources claim that the name “Ja” was derived fron the last name of his father which was “Jatau”).
Abu Ja built a new capital for his Kingdom and named it “Abuja” after himself.
In August 1975 the then Federal Military Government under Late General Murtala Muhammed convened a panel of experts,under the Chairmanship of the Honourable Justice T.A. Aguda, to study and advise on the desirability of retaining Lagos as the Federal Capital of Nigeria.
The panel was also empowered to recommend a suitable alternative location should it determine that the Federal Capital be moved from Lagos.
Abuja was not the only place considered, several areas such as Okene, Kafanchan, Markurdi, Ile, Auchi and Agege were also suggested.
The panel’s recommendations for the setting up of the new Federal Capital City, at Abuja (carved out of three states Niger Plateau and Kogi (formerly Kwara)), were accepted and the Federal Government then promulgated Decree number 6 of 1976 which created the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
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Mrs Olubola Adeleye
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