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    FG to Prioritise Entertainment, Culture in Sports Development, Says Minister

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    Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh has said the federal government would place entertainment and culture at the forefront of sports development in Nigeria.

    This was even as the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri- Erewa, stressed that sports development in Nigeria would go a long way if those in the Diaspora are carried along through knowledge-sharing, expertise, skills and investment in the sector.

    Speaking at a reception ceremony organised by NiDCOM for the National Basketball Association (NBA) legends, “Lisa Leslie and Chinenye Ogwumike” in Abuja on Tuesday, Enoh said: “It is not just about their talent but collaborating cultural exchange; sport sector will not have made significant improvement without combination of entertainment and culture of our people and I am here to promote that.”

    The Minister said both legends were in Nigeria to provide invaluable guidance to reinforce cultural, social, political, and economic ties between the United States and Africa, and promote trade, investment, and educational exchanges between the United States and Africa.

    He said, “Beyond football we have several sports: What I am trying to do is balance that beyond football, we have other sports, this is not about football therefore, this is about basketball.

    “I am glad this is happening now that the U.S. President considered this as best time to send Leslie and Chiney to three African countries, it is good Nigeria is listed among the three.

    “In terms of the NBA and the Women’s NBA (WNBA), Nigeria performing talents have been incredible, notably in the increase of talents and their contribution.”

    NBA, a professional basketball league in North-America is composed of 30-teams, as major sports league in the U.S. and Canada. It is considered the premier basketball league in the world.

    Leslie and Chiney are members of the inaugural President Joe Biden’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement in the United States.

    Also speaking at the reception, the Chairman/CEO, of NiDCOM, commended Leslie and Chiney for their passion to grow sport talents in Africa, describing the likes of Leslie and Ogwumike as strategic and important for the advancement in sports development in Nigeria since they were embedded with skills and resources to groom home-grown talents as a way of volunteerism and giving back to Nigeria.

    She noted that there would be lots of engagement with the duo to promote growth of sports talent not just in Nigeria, but Africa at large.

    She added: “We believe as Africans you are diasporas, if we cannot make Africa the way it should be as a continent, the world will continue to look down on us as black people.

    “So, it doesn’t matter where you are, let us do all we can for the beauty and benefit of this continent.

    “We will continue to engage with you and we hope that the NBA Vice-President Africa, Gbemisola Abudu will do a lot more while here in Nigeria.”

    On her part, Abudu said since the establishment of the Council in Nigeria in 2022, there had been no opportunities to have the NBA legends in the country.

    The NBA vice-president said, “The fact both of you are here today is a big honour,” stating that: “in the history of the NBA we have had 120 players of Africa descent, more than 50 of those have been of Nigeria descent.

    “In the history of WNBA, we have had 10- First/Second generation WNBA-players of Nigeria descent and this tells you the level of talent Nigeria has, not just from talent standpoint, but commercial standpoint.”

    She said the organisation has since past 10-years reached 250,000 youths in Abuja through its Power-Point programme, adding that plans are underway to expand the programme.

    For his part, Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Tochukwu Ebere, said as a nation of more than 200 million people, the legends were celebrated for their doggedness.

    He noted that Nigerians have achieved remarkable feats in various fields of life, including science and technology, medicine, arts, American football among others.

    Ebere said: “We celebrate you and salute your sports doggedness, you came you saw and you both conquered.

    “Whenever women successes are ranked one thing remains sacrosanct, both of you are in there with the very best.”

    Meanwhile, Amb. Samson Itegboje, who represented the Minister of Foreign Affairs, extolled the NiDCOM boss for putting the event together to honour the legends.

    He said: “Leslie and Chiney have not just achieved unparalleled success in their respective fields, but become beacons of inspiration to countless individuals globally.

    “Their unwavering commitment to excellence, resilience in the face of challenges and dedication to making positive impact is now example for all of us.”

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    Traditional Ruler Extols Cultural Fiesta In London

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    Traditional Ruler Extols Cultural Fiesta In London

    The Chancellor, Federal Universi­ty, Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State and Chairman, Imo State Council of Elders, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, has urged all sons and daughters of Igboland living abroad to remain steadfast in supporting develop­ment at home.

    He also urged them to uphold the culture of the Igbo.

    Eze Ilomuanya, who is the Obi of Obinugwu in Imo State, made the call at the 9th Igbo Festival of Arts and Culture, which was held at Enfield, London on July 14.

    The 2024 edition of the festival attracted a large number of par­ticipants and guests, among them many non-Igbo and foreigners.

    The Igbo Festival of Arts and Culture is an independent cultur­al exposition that is held in Lon­don every year.

    Eze Ilomuanya, was elated at the tireless effort which the or­ganisers of the event led by Mazi Obi Okoli, put into “Elevate Igbo culture to international promi­nence”.

    He commended the festival which he said had been “helping in no small measure” to encour­age the younger generation to em­brace the values and tradition of the Igbo.

    The traditional ruler advocated for more “unity and understand­ing among our people”, assuring the Igbo abroad that the incidents of insecurity at home, which arose not too long ago is being combated, to ensure that Igbo people abroad are not hindered from periodically bringing back their families and children, es­pecially at festive periods, in an atmosphere of peace and security.

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    Lagos woos more for tourism, culture

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    Lagos woos more for tourism, culture

    Once again, Lagos is extending its excellence in commerce to tourism and culture with a nine-day festival expected to woo thousands of locals and visitors alike to the city later in the year.

    The state, through its Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture, is collaborating with the QDance Center to host Afropolis Lagos 2024.

    The maiden edition of the nine-day festival will take place from October 26 to November 3, 2024 at the J.K Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History, Onikan, and its environ.

    Speaking on the import of the festival at a recent Town Hall Meeting, Toke Benson-Awoyinka, Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts, and Culture, said that the event, which seeks to celebrate creativity and innovation, is aimed at transforming Lagos into a vibrant hub of artistic and technological excellence.

    “The essence of Afropolis lies in its ability to bring together a diverse array of creative minds. Imagine the vibrant fusion of traditional and modern expressions that will be on display, from indigenous crafts to cutting-edge digital art.

    “This melting pot of ideas and talents promises to be an unforgettable experience for both participants and attendees,” the commissioner said.

    Explaining the choice of J.K Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History as the venue for the festival, she highlighted the historical significance of Onikan, which has long been a cultural hub, and hosting Afropolis here would be a fitting tribute to its legacy.

    “The J.Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History, in particular, stands as a beacon of our rich heritage and offers the perfect backdrop for this celebration,” she said.

    The essence of Afropolis festival, according to the commissioner, lies in its ability to bring together a diverse array of creative minds.

    “Imagine the vibrant fusion of traditional and modern expressions that will be on display, from indigenous crafts to cutting-edge digital art. This melting pot of ideas and talents promises to be an unforgettable experience for both participants and attendees,” she assured.

    On his part, Qudus Onikeku, head of the QDance Center, explained that Afropolis would showcase the whole gamut of creativity as well as transform Onikan’s main street and JK Randle Road, into a lively arts and tech assemblage.

    Highlighting programmes of the nine-day event, Onikeku said Afropolis would feature among other things, pop up fashion stores, arts and craft market, live performances, street arts, street food, street vendors, music concerts, DJsets, master classes, meetings and networking.

    “The rest are talks and round tables, gaming, innovation, exhibition, children playground and urban culture display,” he said.

    According to him, Afropolis will also see a range of smaller break-outs as well as highly interactive sessions and master classes focused on topics across creative sectors.

    “It is projected that Afropolis will attract more than 1,000 creatives and exhibitors from Arica and the diaspora.

    “We also expect more than 20,000 visitors, buyers and delegates from Africa, the diaspora and the rest of the world.

    “It provides a platform for young talents to showcase their ideas, and stimulate economic growth for local vendors, artisans and global African creatives to showcase their product or services.

    “It will position Lagos as a hub for technology, creativity and innovation by leveraging the festival to showcase African advancements in art, tech, gaming, design, fashion and other creative fields,” Onikeku said.

    The nine-day festival will culminate in a curated marketplace over the weekend, where participants will showcase their local and international innovations and works.

    From a partner’s perspective, Blessing Azubike, senior programmes manager, CC Hub, one of the partners in the festival, expressed excitement being on the project, saying that her outfit is passionate about anything co-creation, which is what it is on board to do.

    “We will be serving on the technology component of the gathering,” she noted.

    Ajibade Adewale, group head, partnerships, Wema Bank, assured revellers of safety with their finances in the course of business transactions during Afropolis carnival.

    “We will ensure your transaction is taken care of digitally, we are also there to guarantee that your money is safe with CC Hub because we are partnering with them as well,” Adewale said.

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    China, Nigeria Commit to Promotion of Tourism, Cultural Exchange

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    China, Nigeria Commit to Promotion of Tourism, Cultural Exchange

    The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Abuja has reiterated its commitment to promote tourism and cultural exchange with Nigeria within the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in order to enhance the two countries’ bilateral relations.

    The Embassy made the pledge at the weekend during a Seminar on “Promoting Culture and Tourism Exchange in BRI Cooperation”, jointly hosted by the Chinese Embassy, China Alumni Association of Nigeria and University of Abuja.

    Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy, Mr. Li Xuda said that the embassy has always regarded promoting people-to-people ties between China and Nigeria highly because cultural and tourism exchange plays a special and important role in societal progress and national development.

    Li also added that the joint construction of BRI takes “Five Cooperation Priorities” as the main content: Policy Coordination, Facilities Connectivity, Unimpeded Trade, Financial Integration and People-to-People Bond.

    He said: “The people-to-people bond, one of the five cooperation priorities of the BRI, goes beyond culture and tourism exchange and seeks to build common understanding out of respect for countries and regions in its big family.

    “Both China and Nigeria are cultural giants with fabulous ancient civilization and rich tourism resources.
    “Since six years ago, China and Nigeria became close partners in jointly building BRI, which made our bilateral exchange even more in-depth and practical.

    “I firmly believe that our culture and tourism will be further promoted in the new stage of high-quality joint construction of BRI and some of our cultural gaps and exchange barriers will be bridged.”

    On his part, the Executive Secretary/CEO , National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Otunba Biodun Ajiboye, expressed gratitude to the Chinese government for their continuous support in developing Nigeria’s culture and tourism sector.

    He noted that Nigeria has a large wealth of natural and cultural attractions ranging from stunning landscapes of its national parks to the historic landmarks and vibrant cities that tell the story of the nation.

    He said: “We must therefore leverage the BRI to enhance our tourism infrastructure, promote sustainable tourism practices, and create unique cultural experiences for visitors.

    “By doing so, we can attract more tourists, generate revenue, and create jobs while preserving and celebrating our cultural heritage.

    “We will work closely with our Chinese counterparts to develop joint projects, exchange programmes and collaborative initiatives that have mutual benefits for both countries.”

    The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 to invest in more than 150 countries and international organisations.

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