Oxford Street London Christmas decorations are world famous. The decorations are mainly put up by the shops in the street. It an annual event bringing in millions of people to watch and more importantly to buy goods on the street for the Christmas and New Year festivities.

New York also has a tradition of Christmas decorations on 42nd street and the ice rink on Fifth Avenue.

In parts of Houston – public spirited individuals decorate their houses every year. It is now a tradition, prices are given, and the decoration encourages goodneighbourly backyard barbecues and great camaraderie.

Sydney in Australia is steeped in Christmas decoration tradition especially highlighting their famous Sydney Theatre (Opera House) and the Sydney Bridge. Because Sydney is 12 hours ahead of the GMT, it is one of the earliest Christmas and New Year nights that is seen from this end of the world. Beijin, Hongkong,Shangai follow with spectacular decorations and extraordinary fire works displays; those fire works are designed to make us remember that gun powder and fireworks were first invented in Japan and China before being carried by Marco Polo to Italy. (Ice Cream and spaghetti were also invented in China).

How about Nigeria? Some states take Christmas very seriously. This year AkwaIbom, outdid itself by producing the world’s largest choir of some 9900 people. In Cross River December, since the days of Donald Duke, was for Christmas. It is now so popular that people all over Nigeria go to Calabar for holidays in December. The people are gracious and welcoming. Many turn unused rooms in their homes to bed and breakfast accommodation. Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Rivers to name a few.

Lagos since Governor Fashola has gone far to show the spirit of Yuletide and New Year. He has decorated various parts of Lagos – although the Marina and the Bar Beach have taken the prize.

I must, however, praise the efforts of Jim Ovia and Zenith Bank. They have claimed exclusive proprietary right in bringing world class decorations and lights to Ajose Adeogun in Victoria Island. Every year Zenith gets better and this year was definitely the best. Lagosians flocked to Ajose Adeogun to see the decorations causing human traffic jams – people taking photos and generallyhaving a rocking good time.

The lights were amply supported by the lovely lights put on by Lagos state on the Bar Beach, with stands and stages for concert shows (I believe in collaborationwith Nigerian Breweries).

Christmas and New Year festivities afford one more opportunity for the state and business to come together to make the city even more beautiful. It was sad to see so many big businesses and banks show little interest in the beautification of Lagos during this season. Some may have been deterred because of religious doubts – this howevely is a cope out this, however, is a cop-out. It was the end of the year when every one wishes every one else a happy new year. The most obvious failure of corporate responsibility was the business in the second half after the round about at Adetokunboh Adamola Street Victoria Island, Lagos. On one side of the street the giants of Lagos business did not put up one bulb for the season of festivities. Not one bulb. And they are building a new Atlantic City near by!! Something should have pricked their conscience into action.

I know the owners well and have been friends with them for over 50 years. Their generosity knows no bounds and is legendary. Friends should be able to tell oneanother the truth and on this issue, either by oversight or lack of their usualsensitivity these extremely generous and good Nigerians missed the boat. Shameful

As for the other banks companies on the other side of the road, night clubs other hotels, UBA, schools, the BUA group etc please get together and next year make us proud. Meanwhile heartfelt thanks to Jim Ovia and Zenith Bank.

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