President Buhari who is currently on a state visit to China, visited the
Former Chinese Imperial Palace otherwise known as China’s Forbidden
city today April 12th. Read a brief history of the forbidden city as
written by Special Adviser to Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi
Adesina, after the cut.
city was built from 1406 to 1420 in the reign of the Ming Dynasty Yongle
Emperor. It served as the seat of power for 24 emperors, over the
course of 491 years. And why is it called the Forbidden City? Because it
was not just for anybody. Not for the hoi polloi, nor the flotsam and
jetsam of society. Not for the proleteriat, but only the privileged and
dignified. The poor enter at their own peril. It was off limits to them.
But then, the Hausa say “Seriki goma, zamani goma” (Ten kings for ten
epochs) and then times and seasons would change. The Forbidden City,
located over vast hectares of land, with over 8,000 buildings and
1,800,000 sets of artifacts, fell to the 1911 Revolution led by Dr Sun
Zhongshan. Yes, the good does not last forever, neither does the evil
last forever. The Qing Dynasty (which was ruling then) came to an end,
and the city was turned to a museum. Millions of tourists throng the
place today from differnt parts of the world. A place that was once
forbidden to commoners is now host to anybody and everbody. That is why
it is good to belong to everybody, rather than to a privileged few.
A tour guide took us round the Forbidden City, with its galleries of
ceramics, clocks and watches, and other treasures, most in pure gold.
Members of the dynasty really lived it up, drawing the wine of life to
the full, and “the mere lees is left the vault to brag of.” (William
The palace museum is believed to be the largest surviving wooden palace
structure in the world. Most of the treasures, in gold, silver, jade,
pearls and other precious materials, represent the highest artistic
level of their time, and the splendour of the imperial family. Those of
them who had died before the Forbidden City became a public place, would
turn in their graves, if they know what has become of their much
vaunted royal abode. The good does not last forever, neither does the
evil last forever. Seriki goma, zamani goma. The pauper can become a
prince, while the prince can become a pauper. Time and chance pertains
to them all.