US embassy cable - 85KADUNA1154

25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS IN KADUNA

Identifier: 85KADUNA1154
Wikileaks: View 85KADUNA1154 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Kaduna
Created: 1985-10-02 15:12:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PGOV NI
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 021512Z OCT 85
FM AMCONSUL KADUNA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8120
INFO AMEMBASSY LAGOS
UNCLAS KADUNA 1154 
 
E.O. 12356:  N/A 
TAGS:  PGOV, NI 
SUBJECT:  25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS IN KADUNA 
 
1.  CEREMONIES MARKING NIGERIA'S 25TH ANNIVERSARY 
CELEBRATION AT KADUNA'S MURTALA MOHAMMED SQUARE WERE 
LOW-KEY AND ATTENDED BY A CROWD ESTIMATED BY THE PRESS 
AT 20,000.  WEATHER CONDITIONS WERE IDEAL--PLEASANT 
TEMPERATURES AND OVERCAST, BUT NONTHREATENING, SKIES. 
HEADING THE LIST OF DIGNITARIES WERE A DELEGATION OF 
TRADITIONAL CHIEFS, LED BY THE EMIRS OF ZARIA AND KATSINA, 
AND HIGH-RANKING MILITARY OFFICERS, INCLUDING AFRC MEMBER 
AIR VICE MARSHAL MOHAMMED YAHAYA AND NDA COMMANDANT MAJOR 
GENERAL PAUL TARFA.  ALSO IN ATTENDANCE WERE STATE 
COMMISSIONERS, POLICE OFFICIALS, AND TOP MEMBERS OF THE 
JUDICIARY.  DIGINITARIES, INCLUDING THE OFFICIAL HOST, 
KADUNA GOVERNOR MAJOR ABUBAKAR UMAR, ARRIVED ON TIME AND 
WITH LITTLE FANFARE.  THE CEREMONIES WENT OFF WITH NO 
NOTABLE HITCHES AND WERE COMPLETED WELL AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, 
ACTUALLY CLOSING AN HOUR EARLIER THAN ADVERTISED. 
 
2.  THE CROWD WAS GENERALLY WELL-BEHAVED AND NOT 
PARTICULARLY ENTHUSIASTIC.  ONLY THE DESCENT OF THREE 
PARACHUTISTS, THE OCCASIONAL BASHING OF PICKPOCKETS BY 
POLICE, AND THE HIGHSTEPPING ANTICS OF EXUBERANT 
YOUNGSTERS ON PARADE WERE ABLE TO GENERATE MUCH CROWD 
INTEREST.  GOVERNOR UMAR'S SPEECH, THE ONLY ONE ON THE 
AGENDA, WAS BRIEF AND DELIVERED IN A STRONG, CLEAR VOICE. 
THE SPEECH WAS A REPEAT OF PRESIDENGIDA'S EARLIER 
REMARKS BUT WAS NOT IDENTIFIED AS SUCH.  IT WAS GREETED BY 
POLITE APPLAUSE FROM THE AUDIENCE. 
 
3.  GOVERNOR UMAR HOSTED A LATE AFTERNOON GARDEN PARTY AT 
GOVERNMENT HOUSE, DISTINGUISHED PRIMARILY BY THE CASUAL 
NATURE OF THE GATHERING (NO SPEECHES) AND BY ITS BREVITY 
(THE NIGERIAN ANTHEM WAS PLAYED AT 5:45 PM, SIGNALLING THE 
END OF THE EVENT, FIFTEEN MINUTES BEFORE THE ALLOTTED HOUR 
WAS UP).  THE GARDEN PARTY WAS WELL ATTENDED BY NOTABLES, 
INCLUDING FOUR EMIRS, SENIOR MILITARY AND CIVILIAN 
OFFICIALS, AND SELECTED RETIRED OFFICIALS.  GOVERNOR UMAR 
APPEARED CONFIDENT AND AT EASE IN HIS ROLE AS HOST. 
 
4.  COMMENT.  THE STREAMLINING OF THE CEREMONIES WAS THE 
ONLY NOTABLE DIFFERENCE FROM OTHER SUCH OCCASIONS WE HAVE 
SEEN HERE UNDER THE PREVIOUS REGIME.  CROWD SIZE AND THE 
LEVEL OF PARTICIPATION BY NOTABLES WERE TYPICAL FOR EVENTS 
OF THIS TYPE.  THE REDUCTION IN THE NUMBER OF SPEECHES AND 
THE LENGTH OF THE FESTIVITIES WAS A BLESSED RELIEF MUCH 
APPRECIATED BY ALL, MOST ASSUREDLY INCLUDING THE CONSULAR 
REPRESENTATIVES IN ATTENDANCE.  THE EVENT WAS NOTABLE FOR 
ITS LACK OF TRADITIONAL DANCERS AND SINGERS; MILITARY 
DRILLS, MARCHING YOUTHS AND MARTIAL MUSIC PROVIDED THE 
BULK OF THE ENTERTAINMENT.  THE USUAL DISTRIBUTION OF 
PRINTED VERSIONS OF MAJOR SPEECHES IN BOTH ENGLISH AND 
HAUSA WAS ALSO DISCARDED.  THESE MINOR CHANGES PROBABLY 
REFLECT EQUALLY THE NEW ADMINISTRATION'S DEDICATION TO AN 
AUSTERITY PROGRAM AND THE SHORT LEADTIME AVAILABLE TO 
PREPARE FOR THIS YEAR'S CELEBRATIONS.  END COMMENT. 
 
LEE 

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