Know Your Neighborhood Saturday-Festac Town
Today’s KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD Saturday takes us to the mainland. We will be taking a brief look at the town that came about as a result of the Second World Black And African Festival of Art and Culture, which took place in Lagos in the yaer 1977, tagged FESTAC77. The festival was initially scheduled for 1975 which meant that the town would have been known as the aftermath of FESTAC75 but due to some political issue’s the event was moved to 1977 during General Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime as the Military Head of State.
To host this one month long event, the then Fed govt. came up with the initiative to develop a town with about 5000 residential units with the capacity to host about 50,000 visitors & Nigerian employees & officials for the festival. The town was referred to as Festival Town until it became widely known as Festac Town
For this development an expanssive amount of land was required. Hence, the original acquisition for Festac town covers approximately 19 km 2 (1,900ha) with a perimeter of about 220 km. But in resent times the land size has gone beyond this due to land encroachment. To acquire this land the Fed Govt. relied on Decree 40 of 1973 to construct a massive estate which was then re-planned to suit the housing needs for this world festival.
With the intention to evoke a modern & state of the art facilities, a lot of money was spent on the development of Festac Town as well as promises of state sponsored economic development powered by oil revenue, actually at this time the country was enjoying oil boom and the excess revenue coming from it as it were.
Some of the facilities includes state of the art electrical generators, police and fire stations, access to public transportation, supermarkets, banks, health centres, public restrooms, & postal services etc.
At the conclusion of this festival, the Fed Govt. of Nigeria then allocated the housing units and landed properties out. This was done by organising a ballot process which then chose eventual winners. This ballot was conducted under the supervision of Mr S. P. O. Fortune Ebie, first General Manager of the Federal Housing Authority, FHA, and administrator of Festac from 1976 to 1983.