We want to say thank you to FIFA for keeping faith in us, and for ignoring the antics of our detractors, by awarding the hosting right to us. We especially want to thatnk FIFA for ignoring our foibles and inability to get our house in order in a timely fashion. We thank them for giving us added time to sort ourselves out. While some sceptices lost faith, FIFA never did, while our detractors even suggested other countries to replace Nigeria, FIFA never bought those suggestions, instead they kept urging us to get it right, and it has all paid off handsomely.
At this point, congratulation is in order for the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the contry’s football governing body. The Presidency and the good people of Nigeria without whom, this tournament will not be. Despite all the challenges and distractions that ensued, we are hosting the world once again at last. Let someone pop the campagne and shout hurray! Especially should the residence of the host cities congratulate themselves, if nothing this event is a veritable opportunity for the upgrade of some essential social infrastructures, for the benefit of the masses.
It is not only the football community that benefits from this event, but all of us. As a matter of fact, my constituency, tourism is the biggest gainer. And why not? All our guests will be hosted somewhere; do I hear you say, the hotels, and exotic resorts? Sure. And, after we have all shouted ourselves hoarse, and drained our emotions supporting our countries on the pitch, we definitely need somewhere to unwind, relax and refresh. The host nation has made adequate arrangement to cater to all our needs in this critical area. Opportunities abound for us to unwind, all the hosting cities have a vibrant night life to enable us catch some healthy fun as well.
In Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria, there are numerous places to unwind.
Night life in this city of aquatic splendour, which is also known as the centre of excellence is thrilling to night crawlers. Your night life may not be complete without a visit to the African Shrine in Ikeja. Neither will your stay complete without your exploring the long stretch of unpolluted beaches along the Lagos Epe corridor and Badagry.
Night life in Calabar and Abuja is quite vibrant; there are clubs and other fun spots that serve this very improtant purpose. There are good foods. Local delicacies and intercontinental dishes are there to make ones palate and visit pleasant and memorable. Trust Calabar, it has all that and even more in abundance. Abuja too is not left behing in this area, given it’s status as the capital of Nigeria, Abuja the centre of unity boasts of beautiful relaxation spots and hotels to cater to any taste. Other hosting cities such as Bauchi, Kaduna, and Kano in northern Nigeria have a lot to thrill our visitors. A stay in Bauchi is incomplete without a visit to the Yankari Games Reserve.
Enugu fans are something else, they are unique they are special, and they are the best. Why? Enugu fans make you feel the world cup fever months before the event kiicked off. No doubt, any visitor to Enugu will be treate to a memorable football festival that will not be forgotten in a hurry. They love soccer in this host city, and it is obvious in their interactions.
For those who will be in Ijebu Ode, a visit to the famous Olumo Rock, Abeokuta will further enrich their stay. The good people of Ijebu Ode, a city in Ogun state, south west Nigeria, are very friendly. A memorable tour awaits any tourist who does so. Lastly, whatever World cup host city you may find yourself, the joy of the world cup will not be complete, unless you take time to sample our culture. Sample our foods, drinks, dance, language, dress, and what have you. Welcome, welcome to my land.
I want to say thank you to Miss Lydia Oseghale, without whom today’s post may have failed.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Last week was one helluva week for me. I had so much to do and so little time to accomplish them. Hence I went off your radar. Let’s hope I will be consistent from now on. In view of the fact that Nigeria is warming up to host the world in the Under 17 World Cup, we shall have to rest our discussion on illicit drugs and focus on that event as it affect tourism. Let me welcome you to my land and its’ potentials for tourism.
In just a matter of days, Nigeria shall roll out the red carpet to welcome the world. In less than two days, we shall be playing host to our brothers from all the continents of the globe. Namely Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, North America, to mention just a few. We should congratulate ourselves as a people, you know, give ourselves a pat on the back for pulling this off, why? Despite all the negative publicity, via the news and entertainment media, District 9 inclusive, despite all the back biting by some naïve neighbours, who swallowed the bait of our detractors to pull us down. Nigeria is hosting the world.
We are not new to hosting high level, crowd pulling events, after all, we hosted the world in FESTAC 77 32 years a go where the world tasted firsthand, our hospitality. We equally did invite the world over for another taste of our generosity with football in 1999, tagged Nigeria 99. That is not all; we equally did so a few years a go at the CHOGHM events, a gathering of all commonwealth heads of states and governments in Nigeria. Not to mention the hosting of our African brothers and sisters to the All Africa Games tagged COJA 2003. Therefore, it is not strange to us; the world has been drinking steadily and regularly from our ever flowing fountain of hospitality.
As usual, the world is about to witness a unique way of hosting an event, we will do it the unique Nigerian way. The world is about to be treated to undiluted, unadulterated, pure fun. Welcome! Welcome to Nigeria, the home of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the land that gave birth to John Fashanu, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo, Akeem The Dream’ Olajuwon to mention just a few. Welcome, have fun!
We have all it takes to leave lasting, pleasant memories in your minds, we have all it takes to make you ask for more, the people, the spirit, the skills, the sites, you just name what is required by a good host for a memorable occasion, and we have got it. Let me flaunt some of the beautiful, breathtaking, heart thumping tourist sites and sceneries that we have got to show the world. Obudu Cattle Ranch, with its electric cable cars, and beautiful sceneries, Tinapa with its beautiful well laid out shopping malls, cinemas, spas and sceneries. Badagry with its’ historic relics of the slave trade era and a stretch of unpolluted beach, Argungu with its fishing festivals and Durba games, Lagos and its’ famous Eyo festivals, Yankari, with its’ game reserves, to mention but a few. Interestingly, these tourist sites are managed by capable hands in the business.
To be concluded.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Last time we had commenced the discussion on the negative effect of illicit drugs on tourism, today we shall continue in that line. But permit me for not keeping to my usual schedule, I went on official assignment to Ghana via the West Coast and could not really do much. The experience from that mission shall be shared with you all. Hopefully we will not have to experience this often. So let us continue with our discussion.
Already there have been cases of addicted train crews, bus/truck drivers, company managers, doctors, teachers and others in authority who have created dangerous situations through ‘going on a mission’ while on duty.
Not surprisingly, burglaries, mugging, and prostitution mushroom when drugs take root in a community thus making it unsafe, for all and most especially unattractive to the tourist. Other crimes are committed to facilitate drug trafficking. In order to keep drugs flowing smoothly from one area to another, the traffickers try to corrupt or intimidate officials. The effects of drug itself may lead to criminal activity. Family members maybe abused by chronic drug users like we often see on our TV sets.
Activities of drug dealers could make the neighbourhood unsafe for all after dark. Drug is one of the prime causes of crime and violence. Drugs remain one of the greatest generators of terrorism and criminal violence in the world. ‘Drugs are tearing apart our societies, spawning crime, spreading diseases such as AIDS, and killing our youth, and our future’ said Koffi Anan, a former Secretary General of the United Nations.
To be concluded.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Twenty six year old Natasha Ashley, eight months and half pregnant, is talking with a female friend on the sidewalk in a section of New York City called Little Italy in the United States. Suddenly a car jumps the curb, hitting both women and pinning Ashley’s left leg against a light post, severely crushing it from knee down. The friend’s leg is also broken. The police found the driver in a drugged stupor in his car, still clutching a hypodermic needle in his hand. He had overdosed while driving. Driving a car under the influence of marijuana or LSD can be every bit dangerous. Drug users make the streets unsafe for all of us including our tourists; imagine Natasha Ashley to be a tourist in our land. That ugly incidence would cast a question mark on our hospitality and our tourism potentials. It could scare away all of her friends who may be intending to visit our land.
A 17-year-old crack addict goes on a robbing spree to support his drug habit. By the time he is apprehended eight days later, he has killed five people and wounded six others. “All of the victims were innocent working people,” noted the chief of detectives.
The above are but a few of the many drug-related incidents that could scare away potential tourists from our country, thus denying us our fair share of the income that could be generated via tourism.
How safe would you feel on the highway knowing that a certain percentage of the other road users have taken a drug that impairs their judgement or reflexes? How safe would a tourist feel on such highways? Would a tourist venture out again to such countries after a near death experience? Also drug users are also 3 or 4 times more likely to be involved in accidents at work. Would you be calm when boarding a bus, plane, or train while recognising that those responsible for your safety may be under the influence of drugs? Would a tourist be calm in such unfortunate life threatening circumstances? Would he readily recommend our tourism destinations to family and friends back home?
To be concluded.