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    Unveiling Nigeria’s hidden treasures: Tale of British-trained Photographer

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    Unveiling Nigeria’s hidden treasures: Tale of British-trained Photographer

    Nigeria, popularly known as the Giant of Africa, is endowed with immense tourism attractions capable of attracting international tourists and investors.

    The black nation, covering an area of about 923,769 square kilometres, with a population estimated to be over 230 million, is the most populous country in Africa and the world’s
    sixth-most populous country.

    Nigeria, with its numerous beautiful landscape, waterfalls, caves, hills, creeks, rock formations, green vegetation, beaches, culture, arts and crafts, could yield huge economic benefits when these tourism potentialities are adequately explored.

    British-trained Nigerian documentary photographer, Dayo Adedayo, expresses great love for his Fatherland , investing his resources in documenting Nigerian tourism sites.

    Adedayo, also a Cultural Anthropologist and Author, describes Nigeria as the most beautiful country in the world, but most difficult to photograph due to the series of bottlenecks he encountered while documenting Nigerian tourism potentials in photography.

    Speaking extensively on the enormous tourism opportunities in the country, Adedayo says Nigeria has no business being poor neither does any of its citizens.

    He says having gone round the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory , the 774 local government areas in the last 21 years, there are lots of tales of hidden treasures to unravel to Nigerians, who remain unconscious of the immense opportunities they live with.

    He further explained that Ogun State should be considered the religious hub of the nation, where religious tourism could be developed for wealth creation.

    Adedayo explained that churches and Islamic gatherings that accommodate the largest members were all located in Ogun State.

    He says government needs to look in this direction of developing religious tourism in Nigeria, which can be a money spinner for the nation.

    “Ogun State should be the “Jerusalem” and “Mecca” of Nigeria. All the largest churches in Nigeria are domiciled in Ogun, the Redeemed Christian Church of God that attracts at least one million visitors every month is there.

    “The largest Islamic gathering is also in Ogun State, the Living Faith Church, with their large congregation; the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) , which used to be the largest church in the world is also in Ogun.

    “The founder of this church was also buried in Imeko, Ogun, where adherents go to yearly for ‘pilgrimage’ of sorts; the biblical Queen Sheba was also buried in Oke-Eiri, Ijebu area of in same Ogun State. The same Ijebu-Ode hosts an annual “carnival” Ojude-Oba.

    “These are iconic structures and beautiful potentialities to develop religious tourism in Nigeria.

    “Saudi Arabia generates a minimum of $20 billion from religious tourism annually.

    “Jerusalem and Israel are also making a lot of money from religious tourism, Nigeria needs to look in this direction,” he said.

    Speaking on the traditional religion, known as “Ifa”, Adedayo says Ifa is the fastest growing religion in Mexico and Cuba, which could be related to developing one of Nigeria’s United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage sites- the Osun Osogbo groove.

    The professional photographer still speaking on the beauty of the nation, Nigeria, said every geo-political zone of the nation could boast of at least a unique tourism asset.

    He says the South East region should be proud of the numerous breath-taking and beautiful caves like Ogba-Ukwu, Awhum, Arochukwu and Amanchor caves.

    “The South-South will be proud of the lovely creeks in the Niger-Delta. The North-Central ordinarily should have been the richest zone in Nigeria due to the huge tourism potential domiciled there.

    “We have the Katampe hills, Zuma Rock, and Farin Ruwa- the most spectacular waterfall in Nigeria, located in Nasarawa State.

    “In the North East we have the Kurara hills, Sukur heritage site and more. And in the North-West, we have the Sokoto Museum, the best in terms of content.

    “Lagos is also massive for tourism, it is the Athens of Africa, with numerous historical heritage sites, the Lagos Island is full of historical colonial heritage sites that can be tapped.

    “The largest monument ever built- Sungbo-Eredo heritage site in Epe is also a beautiful one, we have several beaches and clubs in Lagos,” he said.

    Speaking on his challenges, Adedayo says he has been arrested several times while trying to take photographs of iconic tourism sites within the country.

    He said at another occasion, his expensive camera got damaged as particles of sand dunes got into the lens.

    He said Nigerians had to change their perception of the tourism industry, as the industry should be seen as a huge economic booster that could be embraced by any individual.

    He explained that marketing Nigeria at this point of her development should be encouraged, government should encourage photographers to take pictures of tourism sites.

    “Photographing Nigeria has been a life project for me, I started documenting Nigeria in 2003, that was my first time in Abuja and I was blown away with what I saw, how beautiful Abuja was, sparsely populated and the greenery.

    “Going on top of the hills, seeing the green vegetation, the black tarred roads and the white demarcation marks, so beautiful, that was what developed my interest in photographing Nigeria.

    “I also observed that countries like Kenya, South Africa and Ghana have books about their nation but I didn’t see a book on Nigeria, that was what made me develop interest in documenting Nigeria.

    “And 21 years after, I have over 4 million Nigerian images in my archives, travelling by road to states, Nigeria is indeed a beautiful country with beautiful landscapes,” he said.

    According to Adedayo, the most captivating of these tourism sites in Nigeria is the Mambilla Plateau, located in Taraba State, which measures 122 km from its bottom to the top.

    He said right on the plateau, he could sight the cloud coming towards him, describing the experience as heavenly.

    “Right there at the Mambilla Plateau, I said to myself, “We are not selling Nigeria, we need to market this beautiful nation”.

    “In Asia, China is the largest and their economy is booming, Germany is the largest in Europe with a booming economy, so what happened to Nigeria, the largest in Africa?.

    “We must tap into our tourism potentialities and the other non-tangible assets we have to occupy treasured positions.

    “So at age 60, am trying to lay a legacy to establish an experience centre that would be named, Dayo Adedayo Photography (DAP) Experience Centre, where over 10 million images of this beautiful Nigeria will be domiciled for generations yet unborn to see our civilisation.

    “There will be a museum and a boat room in the experience centre, where people can virtually have same experience I had when I was in the Niger-Delta creeks. It is a beautiful country and we need to sell ourselves,” he explained.

    According to Adedayo, the experience centre located in Lekki, Lagos, is currently under construction and would be completed and ready for use before the third quarter of 2025.

    He said building of the experience centre was designed to last over 200 years, to survive the worst kind of earthquakes, and its fittings also designed to be anti-rust because of its location.

    “I plan to build at least six of the experience centres, one in each geo-political zone. This is meant to inspire the younger ones, so that they can aspire to achieve more than me.

    “There at the DAP Experience Centre, we will have the digital floor where documentary of Nigeria will be constantly aired, there will be children’s arena for them to learn the history of Nigeria, also the history and evolution of photography and videography will be on display,” he explained.

    Adedayo says Nigerians should project the positive image of the nation more, change their wrong perception about Nigeria and begin to think and talk positive of the nation.

    He says their negative thoughts about Nigeria would affect their progress on the land, while every positive thought would definitely go a long way in making them realise their goals.

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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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