Since December 1974
Committee Chair: Dr. Augustine Esogbue
Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu
Also known as "Èkó", Lagos has been Nigeria's premier city since at least 1861. With its adjoining conurbation, Lagos is the largest city on the African continent and is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Lagos initially emerged as a port city which originated on a collection of islands, which are contained in the present day Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Lagos Island.
Lagos was previously Nigeria’s seat of government from the colonial days through its independence from the United Kingdom and continuing util the mid-80s, the capital was moved to Abuja in 1991.
The city of Lagos is a major economic focal point in Nigeria, generating around 10% of the country's GDP. Most commercial and financial business is carried out in the central business district situated on the island. This is also where most of the country's commercial banks, financial institutions, and major corporations are headquartered. Lagos is also the major Information Communications and Telecommunications (ICT) hub of West Africa and potentially, the biggest ICT market in the continent.
The Port of Lagos is Nigeria's leading port and one of the largest and busiest in Africa. It is administered by the Nigerian Ports Authority and it is split into three main sections: Lagos port, in the main channel next to Lagos Island, Apapa Port (site of the container terminal) and Tin Can Port, both located in Badagry Creek, which flows into Lagos Harbour from the west.
The Lagos metropolitan area is also a major educational and cultural center. It is famous throughout Africa for its music scene and has a vibrant nightlife that has given birth to a variety of styles such as Sakara music, Nigerian hip hop, highlife, juju, fuji, and Afrobeat. Lagos is also home to the University of Lagos, the National Library, the Lagos City Libraries, and the National Museum.
About the Partnership
The sister city relationship between Atlanta and Lagos dates back to 1974 under Mayor Maynard Holbrook Jackson whose sister was married to a Nigerian living in Lagos. Additionally, several Nigerian scholars campaigned for the partnership after returning to Nigeria as a means to continue their relationship with their Atlanta alumni institutions.
Since, there have been several cultural and trade missions between the two cities—delegation led by former Lagos Mayors Prince Olorun Nimbe, Prince Luqmon Ajose, and the immediate past Mayor the Honorable Wasiu Sanni. Former Atlanta Mayors Maynard Holbrook Jackson and Ambassador Andrew Young have also led delegations to Lagos.
The Atlanta-Lagos Sister City Committee played a major role in the establishment of the Consulate General of Nigeria in Atlanta and the addition of Delta Air Lines’ direct nonstop flight between Atlanta and Lagos.
Through these efforts there has been a steady rise in Atlanta’s Nigerian population and Nigerian organizations in the metro Atlanta area. Atlanta is now home to the fifth largest Nigerian diaspora population in the United States. Through the Welcoming Atlanta initiative and the Office of Immigrant Affairs, Mayor Reed has worked identify opportunities to engage local immigrant communities with a focus on supporting and highlighting the cultural and economic contributions of immigrants—including the 20,000 Nigerian residents in the metro Atlanta region.
Additionally, the Atlanta-Lagos Sister Cities Committee assisted the Georgia Institute of Technology in developing strategic partnerships with four Nigerian universities focused on advanced technical programs and capacity building. Through the Atlanta-Lagos Sister Schools Program, the Committee also provides schools supplies and promotes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programs with four schools on Lagos Island.
The Lagos Sister City Committee began the year by exploring a partnership with Lagos East City Council and Modern Montessori Center to support youth development programs.
As the pandemic began to impact communities, the Lagos Committee was a key partner in creating assistance programs for individuals impacted by the pandemic. In April, the Committee began providing distribution assistance and provided individuals with food and palliatives in Lagos. Lagos was also a part of the Sister City Diplomacy and COVID-19 Virtual Summit.
Dr. Augustine Esogbue, Committee Chair of the Lagos-Atlanta Sister City Commission, presented his work with Lagos at the Diaspora Day global webinar to connect the Nigerian diaspora around the world. He also participated in the Sister Cities International (SCI) webinar on Emergency Municipal Management in November, which showcased SCI’s collaboration with Africa Fire Mission to provide firefighting assistance throughout Africa. In addition, an African Sister Cities event took place in July, where committee members participated in a series of webinars to study the practices, opportunities, resources, and projects for U.S. cities to form relationships with African cities.
The Atlanta Sister Committee endorsed the #StopSARS demonstrations, speaking out against the killings of innocent and unarmed protestors in Lekki, Lagos. However, the committee condemned rioting, violence, and property destruction.
The Committee Chair participated in a webinar by Sister Cities International on Emergency Municipal Management, showcasing SCI’s collaboration with Africa Fire Mission to provide fire-fighting assistance throughout Africa and explored opportunities for Lagos.
In 2014, Mayor Kasim Reed met with then-Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to discuss future cooperation in trade and investment between Atlanta and Nigeria while at the 2014 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. To continue this momentum, Claire Angelle, Director of the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, led a fact-finding mission to Lagos in July 2014.
The Atlanta-Lagos Sister Cities Committee also focuses efforts on educational programs and supporting Atlanta’s Nigerian population and organizations—including the Nigerian Diaspora Diagnostic and Trauma Foundation, the Nigerian Organization in Georgia, and the EKO Club Atlanta. In December 2016, the Committee supported the fundraising efforts for the EKO Club Atlanta and the Committee’s first Vice President was also installed a Patron of EKO Club of Atlanta on this occasion. During the previous month, the Lagos Committee also supported the major annual fund raising event, Taste of Africa, which raised funds for the Africa’s Children’s Fund.
Committee Chair, Dr. Augustine Esogbue, represented the Atlanta-Lagos Sister Cities Committee in New York at the annual Africa-America Institute fundraiser in September. The event worked to raise funds for educational programs in Africa and honored the joint STEM program of Carnegie Mellon University and the government of Burundi as well as the entrepreneurial and charitable leadership of Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote.