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    Alara Of Epe Makes Historic Visit To Antigua And Barbuda, Set To Explore Tourism Offerings

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    It was a season of the first of some sort recently, when the Alara of Epeland, Oba (Dr) Olufolarin Kayode Ogunsanwo, accompanied by his retinue of palace officials and dignitaries, made a historic visit to Antigua and Barbuda.

    Interestingly, this is happening at a time when Africa is trying to make other inroads into this island, which is noted as one of the most blessed Caribbean islands.

    Recall that the island was one of the islands in the Caribbean that were built by the sweat, brawn and brains of slaves from Africa.

    What is playing out right now is what may be described as ‘Return to Motherland’, a new move which is speared by renowned Nigerian and African leading tourism developer and investor extraordinaire, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, who is the Founder and President of La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort and also Motherland Beckons, among other entities.

    Through Motherland Beckons, Akinboboye is presently making a historic effort to create the first-ever Africa Tourism Free Trade Zone on the Island.

    The first phase of this historic project, which is meant to make the island the sixth region of Africa, as it will be a playground for Africans and the world to interact and savour once again the best of Africa’s art, culture, heritage, music, dance, fashion and lifestyle among others, has since begun, with the construction of the first in the series of resorts that would dot the tourism free trade zone in progress.

    The visit afforded Alara the opportunity to explore the richness of the island and how his kingdom can use the new vista now on the horizon, to export its art, culture, heritage and gastronomic offerings, among others for the mutual benefit of his kingdom and the island.

    What makes the visit most significant is the fact that it is the beginning of a long envisaged partnership as Alara will in the coming days on a regular basis visit the island in furtherance of the dream of establishing a cultural and economic link between his kingdom and the island.

    For many, it is the dawn of a new cultural alliance between Africa and the Caribbean made possible by this new activation of Motherland Beckons, Antigua and Barbuda, which is expected as part of the new vision to play host to African monarchs.

    The vision of Akinboboye for the African Tourism Free Trade Zone is among others geared at creating a return for people of African descent. As recently noted by him, ‘‘We believe that the movement should begin from where it started from the monarch.

    ‘‘It is in this regard that African royalties will form a major part of this Return to Motherland movement on cruise ships and luxury airliners. This is because the monarchs’ visits will be weaved round cultural, economic and educational prospects to help with the growth of the continent of Africa.’’

    It was through the partnership of some African monarchs that Africans were traded off and shipped to the island during the slave trade era. Therefore, it is only natural and fitting that through these same monarchs, the Return to Motherland is effected as the monarchs are in a better position to explore and promote this new move given the permanence of their thrones.

    Antigua and Barbuda, will according to Akinboboye, serve as the neck in this new nexus, noting, ‘‘Africa is a body without a neck.

    The heads (Africans) in the continent and the Diaspora, don’t have a neck to connect them to the body. But now, Antigua and Barbuda, which was the middle passage, will be the neck and connecting link to connect Africans from within the continent and those in the Diaspora to the Motherland (Caribbean), where a new marriage is proclaimed.

    ‘‘The monarchs will be part of the centrifugal element that would make this happen and when it does happen there will be business opportunities in all spheres to explore because what has been missing before now is that connection, which Antigua and Barbuda now offers.’’

    One of the signature activities that would herald this new move is Ipada Carnival (The Return), an annual “pilgrimage” of people of African descent to the motherland.

    It would feature among others live music from 54 African countries, cuisine and fashion from the six regions of Africa and six Caribbean countries, Nefratiti – the Queen of Africa beauty pageant, Ose award – to appreciate one African that has made an impact in the world and Africa.

    In the coming days, you will be spoilt for choice when you visit Antigua and Barbuda, as you would have the opportunity of exploring endless options in tourism and business. It is this yearning gap that the Alara of Epe is hoping to latch on to promote his kingdom and fuse with the Caribbean.

    Ogunsanwo is the 55th Alara of Ilara, Epe Division and the Vice Chairman of the Lagos State Council of Obas.

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    Renaming National Theatre after Soyinka a fitting recognition – NFVCB DG

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    Renaming National Theatre after Soyinka a fitting recognition – NFVCB DG

    The Director-General of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), Shuaibu Hussaini, has commended President Bola Tinubu for renaming the National Arts Theatre in Lagos, after Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka.

    Hussaini, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, described the development as “the kind of recognition one will wish for a giant like Wole Soyinka”.

    Akonitv that the President disclosed this in a tribute personally written and signed by him on Friday in Abuja, to mark Soyinka’s 90th birthday.

    The President renamed the National Theatre as Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts.

    It read: “Professor Soyinka, the first African to win the Nobel Literature Prize in 1986, deserves all the accolades as he marks the milestone of 90 years on earth.

    “Having beaten prostate cancer, this milestone is a fitting testament to his ruggedness as a person and the significance of his work.

    “It is also fitting we celebrate this national treasure while he is still with us.

    “I am, accordingly, delighted to announce the decision of the Federal Government to rename the National Theatre in Iganmu, Surulere, as the Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts.”

    Hussaini commended the President for his interest and passion for the arts.

    “It takes somebody who is passionate to remember that this kind of man needs to be recognised with this kind of iconic structure like the National Theatre.

    “It is a welcome development. I am happy because there is nothing you want to name after Soyinka that will be enough compared to what he has done in the literary world.

    “So, this is a fantastic news and welcome development. It is also the President’s interest that made him create a separate ministry for arts, culture, and creative economy because culture has always been an appendage of the Ministry of Information.

    “For us in the arts, this is a fitting reward and recognition for the great feat that Wole Soyinka has achieved, not just for himself, but for Nigeria and Africa as a whole,” Hussaini said.

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    Ecobank’s “Adire Lagos” opens in grand style with over 100 exhibitors

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    Ecobank’s “Adire Lagos” opens in grand style with over 100 exhibitors

    The annual Ecobank “Adire Lagos” exhibition has taken off in grand style with over 100 exhibitors showcasing their wares. The 4-day fair which opened June 14 and ends 17th, is taking place at the Ecobank Pan African Centre (EPAC) in Lagos.

    Originating from Abeokuta in Southwestern Nigeria, Adire textile is an indigenous indigo-dyed cloth made by using different wax-resistant methods to create dazzling designs.

    The four-day Adire exhibition, returning for the third year in a row, is to promote culture, tourism, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and enable them benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Some of the international exhibitors at the fair include Adire Oodua, Tampoori, Jide Batik, Janae, Asologe and host of others.

    The fair is set to witnessing influx of topflight exhibitors, government functionaries, culture enthusiasts, social media influencers, artistes, local and foreign tourists, traditional rulers, and members of the diplomatic community. It provides an exceptional opportunity to network with entrepreneurs, shoppers, and everyone in the business of Adire.

    Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Executive Director, Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Kola Adeleke said the exhibition is part of the efforts of the bank to support the creative industry in the country, adding that it was also to promote micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and help them benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

    According to him, “As you all know, we are part of a Pan African bank which operates in 33 countries of Africa. We always look out to support various initiatives on the continent and this adire exhibition fits into the scheme. As you can see, today, we have over 100 merchants who are being given the opportunity to showcase their adire products. This is the biggest that we’ve ever seen.

    It is an international exhibition. We want to support them all the way, train them and make them international brands with indigenous backgrounds. We want to ensure they are able to export their locally-created products across the continent. This is also one way to support the Nigerian economy.”

    Exhibitors and attendees alike were enthusiastic and full of commendation for Ecobank. Ecobank Nigeria, a key driver of tourism, culture and the creative industries in Nigeria, recently hosted the +234Art, a 10-day art fair dedicated to nurturing and uplifting the burgeoning art industry in Nigeria.

    The fair provided a platform to support emerging artists and encourage increased interest in art acquisition; the bank organised the Photography, Art, and Design Exhibition (PADE) to commemorate World Photography Day in 2022; the bank also partnered “Songs & Stories” With Cobhams Asuquo; Redbull Dance Your Style; BellaNaija Style Summit and Loosing Daylight (An exhibition of the history of Nollywood organised by Nse Ikpe-Etim)

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    Makinde Inaugurates New Olubadan Palace, Says 11 LGAs To Maintain Edifice

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    Makinde Inaugurates New Olubadan Palace, Says 11 LGAs To Maintain Edifice

    Ahead of the formal coronation of the new Olubadan of Ibadan Land on Friday, July 12, 2024, the new Olubadan Palace was on Wednesday evening commissioned in Ibadan, by the Oyo State governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde.

    Akonitv reports that the new Palace project was initiated by the immediate-past administration of late Governor Abiola Ajimobi.

    Governor Makinde, who took to his verified social media handles on Wednesday night to disclose the development, thanked the late Governor Ajimobi; a former President of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), Chief O. O. Bello; Chief Bayo Oyero, and all Ibadan indigenes, who contributed to make the project a reality.

    He added that for the second phase of the palace, the State government will include renovating the Bower’s Tower in order to boost tourism in the State.

    Makinde wrote: “This evening, we commissioned the new Olubadan Palace in Ibadan. The event gave us an opportunity to acknowledge and thank everyone who made it possible including former Governor Abiola Ajimobi who started it, the former President of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), Chief O. O. Bello, Chief Bayo Oyero, and all Ibadan indigenes who contributed to make the project a reality.

    “To maintain this new palace, we have established a process where all 11 local government councils in Ibadan will contribute to its upkeep on a monthly basis. For the second phase of the palace, we will also include renovating the Bower’s Tower, to boost tourism in our dear State. We are looking forward to the coronation of our Olubadan this Friday.”

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