Lagos, a metropolitan city and supposed economic capital of African holds many treasures. Nigeria’s first independence day celebration took place at Tafawa Balewa Square on Lagos Island.
The Tafawa Balewa Square, (TBS) is a 35.8-acre ceremonial ground in Nigeria designed for elegance and functionality. It was named after the nation’s first Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa. Unfortunately, he was overthrown and murdered in a military coup on January 15th, 1996. The square is a prominent site for tourism and urban rejuvenation.
Here are reasons everyone should visit Tafawa Balewa Square
1. Historical Significance: Nigeria’s independence celebration was a memorable day for citizens from various ethnic groups and cultural backgrounds, they gathered to witness the splendid event with Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa, delivering his independence speech at TBS (see October 1 by Kunle Afolayan). The celebration took place on October 1st, 1960.
Although, there are annual national events like the Armed Forces remembrance day arcade and many others within the confines of the square. In my opinion, it should be a preferred venue for recurring independence day celebrations asides Abuja.
2. Architecture: TBS is a 50,000 capacity public space, the design style is Colonial Architecture (correct me in the comment boxes if I’m wrong) and has an even blend of old and new, the building features reinforced concrete (primary material) for beams, columns, cantilevers, balustrades and seating. Walls are ornamental and painted gray and steel trusses are implemented for roofing.
In 2017, Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode commissioned an ultramodern bus terminal (BRT) that added a modern-touch to TBS.
The bus terminal enhances aesthetics on the exterior of the building, it also beautifies the scenery and landscape of environs. For roofing, a white fabric material was stretched on steel members welded and bolted at joints. The concept is an undulating, wavelike pattern.
Altogether, TBS is an open space pleasing to the eye; it is properly planned (good site layout) and doesn’t disturb pedestrian or vehicular circulation into or around the square.
3. Symbolism: The square stands out from neighbouring buildings, its entrance has 4 white giant horses adjourned above the gate and 7 red eagles; these are symbols from the national emblem signifying Strength and Dignity.
TBS was originally called “race course”, the remembrance arcade has memorials to WW1, WW2, and Civil war victims. It is adjoined by the 25-storey independence building erected 1963, which was for a long time, the tallest building in Nigeria.
There are iconic monuments beyond the walls of TBS, after a tour of the premises you can stroll to the National Museum (article in the works). It’s pretty close.
4. Events: If there’s anything at all TBS should be known for the series of diverse events it has hosted in recent times. Apart from been the chosen site for Eyo festival and Oba of Lagos ceremonial coronations, celebrity shows, stunt shows, boxing tournaments, musical concerts (OLIC) and religious gatherings (Experience) all happen here.
Check your calendar to keep tabs, Eventbrite could be of help.
5. Business Opportunities: Asides architecture firms like AEK Design services, Design Group Nigeria operating within the premises, many spaces are occupied by law offices, open markets, retail stores, show rooms etc. Some of them are currently vacant and harness great promises for entrepreneurs.
There’s a vision for the square, BHS International (private developer) is expected to transform TBS into a world-class facility that will boast of a 5000-seater convention centre, conference halls, a 5-star hotel, 1,500 spaces shopping mall, 10 floor creativity block, 60-floors offices, 200 luxury apartments and 10,000 spaces of car park.
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