ABUJA: ORIGIN AND MEANING

ORIGIN AND MEANING OF ABUJA

Abuja (/əˈbuːdʒə/) is the capital city of Nigeria located in the centre of the country within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). While FCT itself carved out of the present day Niger state but with some other portions from the present Nasarawa state (Old Plateau state) and Kogi states (Old Plateau state), but the bulk of its landmass was carved out of Niger State.

 

Abuja was created as Nigeria’s capital on the 3rd February 1976, but it replaces the country’s most populous city of Lagos as the capital on 12 December 1991 under the leadership of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babngida (President of Nigeria 1985-1993).

 

The name Abuja is coined out of the Hausa language and it was derived from the name Abubakar –Ja and Abubakar-Ja is derived from the name of a person called Mallam Abubakar JA and the name “Abubakar” is an Islamic name while the word “Ja” is referring to a red color in the Hausa Language; so Abubakar-Ja is literally translated as “Abubakar the Red” or “the Red Abubakar”, but its meaning is referring to one (Mallam/Mr./Alhaji) Abubakar who was Fair in Complexion in terms of his skin appearance and who was one of the settlers in the modern day Abuja long ago even before Nigeria was amalgamated in 1914.

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Mallam Abubakar was an indigene of the town, although he wasn’t the ruler of the town, but the neighboring communities describe this settlement as the town of Abubakar-JA.

ABUJA: ORIGIN AND MEANING
Abuja Mosque by dji camera

The reason for this was in the Sub-Saharan African nation’s villages and towns apart from the fringes of the Sahara desert where the Shuwa-Arabs exist as in the northern Borno and Yobe states or among some few Fulani ethnic clans, fair looking people in complexion are very few among the native African communities and where they do exist in the midst of the black majority people often describe them in accordance to their complexions for example even in the modern day Nigeria you can see people calling people in accordance to their complexion so it is common to hear Usman Bature, Modu Kime, Yellow man, red man, oyingo, Amina Nasa’ara etc. so this makes the town of Abubakar-JA to be called Abubakar-JA, but however because Abubakar is abbreviated as “Abu” in the Hausa language over time the name Abubakar-Ja was abbreviate to ABUJA.

 

Furthermore, it would be good to know that this Mallam Abubakar-Ja was also having a brother called Suleman, who was also fair looking in complexion like him and often people call him Suleman-JA, However the name Suleman is originally an Islamic and a Biblical name referring to prophet suleman (Alia his salam) in the Qura’an and Solomon in the Bible. But Suleman –Ja lived in a settlement very close to the Mallam Abubakar-JA’s settlement (Abuja) as a result people refer to his town as Suleman-JA meaning they named or described the town/settlement after him. which was initially called Suleman –Ja town, but because Suleman is abbreviated as “Sule” in Hausa language over time Suleman –Ja was abbreviate to Suleja.

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So both Abuja and Suleja were names derived from two brothers Mallam Abubakar-Ja and Mallam Suleman Ja.

 

Geographically both Abuja and Suleja were towns of Niger state, but with the creation of the Federal Capital Authority Abuja was carved out of Niger state to form the Nigeria’s new federal capital, while Suleja still remains in Niger state although as a result of rapid developments of Abuja the two cities are now connected together as such that even some workers of Abuja are residents of Suleja.

 

The geo political physical distance between Abuja and Suleja is just 0.7 miles or 1 KM (kilometers) and 112.26 meters. The indigenous inhabitants of Abuja are the Gbagyi (Gwari), with the Gbagyi language formerly the major of the region language, and others in the area being Bassa, Gwandara, Gade, Dibo, Nupe and Koro.

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Geo-Historical facts about Abuja:

In August 1975 the then Federal Military Government under Late General Murtala Muhammed convened a panel of experts to study, advise or recommend on the desirability of retaining Lagos as the Federal Capital of Nigeria. The panel recommended several alternatives such as Okene, Kafanchan, Markurdi, Ile, Auchi and Agege were also suggested. The panel’s recommendation for the setting up of the new Federal Capital City at Abuja was accepted and the Federal Government then promulgated Decree number 6 of 1976 which created the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

ABUJA: ORIGIN AND MEANING
Zuma Rock, Located in Niger State of Nigeria. Not far from Abuja.

Abuja officially became Nigeria’s capital on 12 December 1991. The master plan for Abuja defined the general structure and major design elements of the city that are visible in the city’s current form. Abuja has risen from a tiny village that was unknown in the 1960s by many Nigerians to become now the capital city of Nigeria.

 

It is located in the centre of Nigeria, within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Abuja is a planned city, which was built mainly in the 1980s. It officially became Nigeria’s capital on 12 December 1991, replacing Lagos, though the latter remains the country’s most populous city.

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Abuja’s geography is defined by Aso Rock, a 400-metre monolith left by water erosion. The Presidential Complex, National Assembly, Supreme Court and much of the city extend to the south of the rock. Zuma Rock, a 792-metre monolith, lies just north of the city on the road to Kaduna State. The master plan for Abuja defined the general structure and major design elements of the city that are now visible. More detailed design of the central areas of the capital, particularly its monumental core, was accomplished by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, with his team of city planners at Kenzo Tange and Urtec company.

 

Population of Abuja: At the 2006 census, the city of Abuja had a population of 776,298, making it one of the ten most populous cities in Nigeria. According to the United Nations, Abuja grew at the rate of 139.7% between 2000 and 2010, making it the fastest growing city in the world. As of 2015, the city is still experiencing an annual growth of at least 35%, still retaining its position as the fastest growing city on the African continent and one of the fastest in the world.

 

Abuja has witnessed a huge influx of people into the city; the growth has led to the emergence of satellite towns such as Karu Urban Area, Gwagwalada, Lugbe, Kuje and smaller settlements to which the planned city is sprawling.

 

The unofficial metropolitan area of Abuja has a population of well over three million and comprises the fourth largest metropolitan area in Nigeria, surpassed only by Lagos, Kano and Ibadan.

 

Climate of Abuja:

Abuja under Köppen climate classification features a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen: Aw). The FCT experiences three weather conditions annually. This includes a warm, humid rainy season and a blistering dry season. In between the two, there is a brief interlude of harmattan occasioned by the northeast trade wind, with the main feature of dust haze and dryness. The rainy season begins from April and ends in October, when daytime temperatures reach 28 °C (82.4 °F) to 30 °C (86.0 °F) and nighttime lows hover around 22 °C (71.6 °F) to 23 °C (73.4 °F). In the dry season, daytime temperatures can soar as high as 40 °C (104.0 °F) and nighttime temperatures can dip to 12 °C (53.6 °F). Even the chilliest nights can be followed by daytime temperatures well above 30 °C (86.0 °F). The high altitudes and undulating terrain of the FCT act as a moderating influence on the weather of the territory. Rainfall in the FCT reflects the territory’s location on the windward side of the Jos Plateau and the zone of rising air masses with the city receiving frequent rainfall during the rainy season from March to November every year.

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(Babagana Abubakar 2020)

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