African Climate Change Research Centre (ACCREC)
Village Development Office, Investment House, Dutse,
Jigawa State, Nigeria
A visit to Addis Ababa, Addis as it is popularly said by Ethiopians, made one curious about the history of the Place that is generally believed by Historians, as the oldest human inhabited areas in the world. Addis Ababa, meaning “New Flower”, is one of the high altitude cities of Africa that houses the continental organization, African Union (AU), formerly known as Organization of African Unity (OAU), founded by Emperor Haile Selassie. It is as high as from 2,200-3,200 metres above sea level.
One of the most beautiful things about the City is its very good climate and weather. Coming out of the Addis Airport, the coolness and serene nature of the environment are indeed remarkable. The Place is quite cool year-in-year out. The nature of the types of buildings the Ehiopians have, reminded one of ancient Ethiopia, because the old designs represent traditional Ethiopian architecture compared to modern ones, which depict modern Ethiopia as one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. Because of the coolness of Ethiopia, the residential, institutional and commercial buildings here are devoid of any cooling system. This is to say that they do not simply require any cooling effect by air conditioners or fans. Hence, marketability of building cooling systems in Ethiopia, especially at Addis Ababa, is just near zero.
Ethiopia has never been colonized by any European power until 1936, but nonetheless, several colonial powers had interests and designs on Ethiopia, especially in the context of the Nineteenth Century “Scramble for Africa”.
However, the most remarkable thing about the people’s culture here, is their overwhelming hospitality and cuisine they offer to visitors. Even though the country is not well endowed with natural resources such as petroleum, gold or diamonds, but the Ethiopians have already consolidated on their Airports and Hotels. Ethiopian Airlines, popularly known as the Ethiopian, is one of the bests in the world, and the very best in Africa. And one means it, the best in Africa with all sense of seriousness. People here are generally socially fabulous to the extent that they run their country using the money they get from the airport and tourism. In fact, Ethiopians have gone far by throwing lots of challenges to countries such as Nigeria that cannot even maintain or secure a befitting Airliner for itself not to talk of getting a competent one for over fourty (40) years now. What one saw, particularly the Airport’s architectural design, aesthetism and maintainability at Addis, can never be compared with the child’s play that we have at Ikeja in Lagos. (Please see below the pictures of Addis Airport Foyer and internal decorations that were taken for your own viewing).
Jibo Nura standing close to the Foyer of Addis Airport
Front view of Addis Airport
Jibo Nura right inside the Addis Airport
Interior décor of the Addis Airport
It has never occurred to one’s wildest imagination that a country such as Ethiopia can survive and thrive on airport and tourism alone! It indeed beats one’s imagination that upon all the vast resources that we have in Nigeria, we cannot possess a national airliner as the so-called African giant. All we are good at is political manipulation of figures by politicians who problematize the Nigerian leadership from beginning to end, conering public funds from left, right and centre by stashing them in foreign banks for their kith and kin, leaving the entire citizenry hopeless in terms of development planning of rural and urban infrastructure such as airports. All what our Airlines management and operators so-called know is nothing other than specializing in changing names from “Nigeria Airways”, to “Virgin Nigeria”, which is yet to prove its virginity and recently to “Air Nigeria and/or Nigerian air?” and all that.
Remarkably, the Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) is now working towards a greener Ethiopia. It has already launched a campaign on environmental protection and sustainability. This campaign is one of the multitudes of social responsibilities very close to the hearts of Ethiopian Airlines.
For instance, in 2008 Ethiopian Airlines in collaboration with Greener Ethiopia has unveiled joint plans to plant 2.5 million trees throughout Ethiopia during the Ethiopian Millennium year, launching a long term environmental campaign known as FLY GREENER, said Grima Wake, Chief Executive Officer of the Ethiopian Airlines. Another planting of a further 5 million trees was followed in 2009. And the Ethiopian has pledged to plant a tree for every passenger flown. What a vision!
It may interest the reader to know that most of the trees planted here so far are trees that greatly contribute to sustaining the environment by preventing soil erosion. According to Grima, the Moringa trees for example, are believed to be of immense help and benefit towards combating food shortages.
The Ethiopian after landing us at Bamako, Mali
Nonetheless, Ethiopian Airlines provides material support to Greener Ethiopia’s international campaign to mobilize funds from international and local sources as well as Ethiopians living abroad in order to support the expansion of farmers’ activities from backyard planting to large scale reforestation of degraded lands, community woodlots and primary forest protection ( Please see SELAMTA, the In-Flight Magazine of Ethiopian Airlines, Volume 27, Number 2, April-June 2nd Ed., Page 1 for detailed role on the Ethiopian going greener).
With a friend, Remi Hemeryck, DG., SOSSAHEL
With Engr. Nasir at Addis Airport, discussing International, France, aboard Bamako the future of Nigeria
after discussing the agronomy and Climate of Sahel Region of Africa
Sadly, one wonders what the “Nigerian Airlines” are “planting” for their citizens. One also wonders what kind of public service(s) the “Nigerian Airlines” are offering towards sustainable life for the citizenry?
The way things are going at our Airports both domestic and international, is quite unfortunate. The African Climate Change Research Centre (ACCREC) has no choice than to collaborate with the Ethiopian and rescue Nigerian Airlines by showing them how to contribute their quota to nation building. Our Airports need to be shown the importance of going green in order to counter the effect of bad weather and climate that affect safe take-off and landing. And very soon ACCREC will join the international collaborative campaign with Greener Ethiopia in order to drive home some wave of change to our environmental sustainability. May God save Nigeria!
Again, one thing that caught attention was ample tourism destinations-the repository of an assortment of archeological and cultural artifacts of the country are quite interesting to hear about. Here one can view the Lucy (Dinknesh), discovered in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia’s Afar region. It is believed to be the world’s second oldest, but most complete, and best preserved adult Australopithecine fossil. Lucy’s species is named Australopithecus afarensis, which means “Southern ape of Afar”, after the Ethiopian region where the discovery was made. Lucy is estimated to have lived in Ethiopia 3.2 million years ago. Of course, there have been many other notable fossil findings in the country, but the recently found potential early hominin Ardipithicus ramidus, Ardi, is another historical edifice.
An original Lucy (Dinknesh) fossil that existed 3.2 million years ago
So also the Mount Entoto- the highest peak in Addis with an altitude of 3200m really captured and generated attention like a lady’s Skirt(long enough to cover its historic subject matter, but close enough from Beshale and M.N International Hotel rooms to make one retain interest and curiosity). Entoto is the site for the first Palace of Emperor Menelik II. Here you see Saint Mary Church, where Emperor Menelik crowned as Emperor in it. From its top, you will also admire the panoramic view of the city with its surrounding forests.
Original orthodox Christians in veil on their way to Saint Mary Church up Mount Entoto.
The picture was taken by this writer on the way to their place of worship.
Indeed, it’s an interesting encounter and experience(s) with orthodox Christians on their way to their trinity cathedral – a very big Church with a baroque style of European Architecture, which is important to Ethiopian orthodoxy and their imperial families. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was founded in the fourth century by Syrian monks. In the Old Testament, it was asserted elsewhere that the state of Sheba where Queen of Sheba existed is sometimes believed to be in Ethiopia, but more often is placed in Yemen. According to the Ethiopian legend, the Queen of Sheba was tricked by King Solomon into sleeping with him, resulting in a child, named Ebn Malek( Emperor Manelik I). In fact, the tradition that the biblical Queen of Sheba was a ruler of Ethiopia who visited King Solomon in Jerusalem in ancient Israel is supported by the 1st century AD Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who identified Solomon’s visitor as a queen of Egypt and Ethiopia. (Please see Encyclopedia Wikipedia, 2010 updated version).
Even though, majority of the approximately 83, 000,000 Ethiopian populations are Christians, but the latest 2007 national census record indicated Islam as the second most widely practiced religion in Ethiopia after Christianity, with over 25 million (33.9%) of Ethiopians adhering to Islam. Indeed, Islam is the overwhelming religion of majority of people in Somali, Afar, Argobba, and Harari and more so among the largest group of Oromo people of Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Bilal, was one of the foremost companions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the first Muazzim (caller to prayers) that is well known in Islam. When the Prophet Mohammed saw that the persecution of Muslims was becoming unprecedented, and Muslims were subjected to all sorts of torture in Mecca, he told them to find safe haven in northern Ethiopia, Abyssinia, where they would "find a king there who does not wrong anyone." And this was contained therein the Holy Koran as the first hijra (migration) in Islamic history.
Today, Ethiopia is home to Harar, which according to UNESCO, is "considered 'the fourth holy city' of Islam," with 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines.
However, early history indicated that Ethiopia has seen human habitation for longer than almost anywhere else in the world, possibly being the location where human civilization began. The first record of Ethiopia came from rock art writing. The other records of Ethiopia proper came from Egyptian traders from about 3000 BC, who referred to lands south of Nubia or Cush as Punt and Yam. Trade between the two countries existed from the beginning of Ancient Egypt’s time overland down the Nile and its old kingdom of Ethiopia, i.e. between the 30th and 25th centuries B.C. The river-routes were kept in order, and Egyptian ships sailed the Red Sea as far as the Myrrh-country.
The first known voyage to Punt therefore occurred in the 25th century B.C under the reign of Pharaoh Sahure. The most famous expedition to Punt, however, was during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut probably around 1495 BC, as the expedition was recorded in detailed reliefs on the temple that she built at Deir el- Bahri at Thebes. Even though, detailed information about these two nations (Ethiopia and Egypt) is sparse in modern history, and there are many theories concerning their locations and ethnic relationship of their people, the Egyptians sometimes called Punt land as Ta-Netjeru, meaning “Land of the Gods”, and considered it their place of origin.
Nonetheless, there is some confusion over usage of the word Ethiopia in ancient times and the modern country. The ancient Greeks used the word (Αιθιοπία) to refer to the people’s living immediately to the South of ancient Egypt, specifically the area now known as the ancient Kingdom of Kush, now a part of modern Nubia. But modern usage has transferred this name further South to the land and peoples known in the late 19th and early 20th century as Abyssinia. The relationship between Egypt and Ethiopia is as old as the Twenty-second dynasty of Egypt, beginning with Piye, a ruler of the Twenty-fifth dynasty. Though occasionally the two countries were under the same ruler, but their capital was initially in the north of modern Sudan at Napata. In the ancient times, however, the name Ethiopia was used to refer to the nation based in the upper Nile Valley South of Egypt, also called Kush, which in the 4th Century CE was invaded by the Axum from the highlands close to the Red sea. The Kingdom of Aksum, which sometimes was designated as Ethiopia dates as far back as the first half of 4th century since th inscription of Ezana Habashat( the source of Abyssinia), is mostly translated in Greek as “Aethiopia”.
Below is King Ezana’s Stele pictorial view at Axum for your own looking.
King Ezana's Stele in Axum
According to Encyclopedia Wikipedia, the first verifiable kingdom of Great Power to rise in Ethiopia was that of Axum in the first century AD. It was one of many successor kingdoms to Dʿmt and was able to unite the northern Ethiopian plateau beginning around the first century BC. They established bases on the northern highlands of the Ethiopian Plateau and from there expanded southward. The Persian religious figure Mani listed Axum with Rome, Persia, and China as one of the four great powers of his time. The origins of the Axumite Kingdom are unclear, although experts have offered their speculations about it.
Modern historians are still contesting over the earlier known kings, empires and dynasties that existed in Ethiopia and most of their assertions and findings are contestable, because they remain to be substantiated.