U.S. President Barack Obama has designated State Counsellor Thomas Shannon as the leader of a. presidential delegation to Nigeria’s centenary in Abuja.
A statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by the State Department said Shannon would meet with government officials and participate in high-level activities with other world leaders during the centenary.
The U.S official, who is expected to deliver a message from Obama to Nigeria, would also travel to Lagos for discussions on a range of issues of mutual interest and interact with Nigerian youths.
Meanwhile, Didier Burkhalter, President of the Swiss Confederation, has sent a letter of congratulations to President Goodluck Jonathan on the nation’s centenary.
Burkhalter would be represented at the celebrations by the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Hans-Rudolf Hodel.
“May the ties of confidence and friendship which so happily exist between our two countries continue to flourish in the coming centenary,” the Swiss president wrote.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a major highlight of the week-long activities include an international conference on peace and security in Africa on Thursday to be attended by several world leaders.
The British colonial authorities had on Jan. 1, 1914 amalgamated what were then the separate protectorates of Southern Nigeria and Northern Nigeria.
The amalgamation gave birth to the single geo-political entity known as Nigeria.
According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, no fewer than 28 world leaders have indicated their interest to attend the celebrations in Abuja.
The celebrations will also feature the conferment of honours on 100 Nigerians, with about 40 per cent of the awards to be presented posthumously. [NAN]