Kunle ADELABU & Ebunolowa AFOLABI (SIWES student)
As part of its plan to mobilise more residents of Ikorodu to be part of its ‘Ikorodu in Diaspora Tour’, Ikorodu Tourism Limited has organized a symposium to educate residents of Ikorodu on importance of its planned tour to Ghana.
Aside exposing participants to the importance of tour, the symposium, which was held at the Ikorodu Local Government Secretariat hall on Friday, October 4, 2019, also gave participants insight into what to expect in Ghana, why they need to have some information on tour destination and the need to have adequate knowledge of their own environment too.
Speakers at the symposium were Mr Okeke Dennis, Chief Executive Officer of Big Time Africa, Mrs Orepekan Aisha, Chief Executive Officer of Zeezah Travel and Tours and Kunle Adelabu, Pubisher/Reporter-in-Chief, THE IMPACT Newspaper and Co-Chairman, IREP –Ikorodu Division Rebirth Fundation.
Mr Ogunsanmi Morufu Hassan, the Chief Executive Officer, Ikorodu Tourism Limited, stated that Ikorodu Tourism Project is all about rebranding Ikorodu and helping to develop its untapped tourism potentials.
“As a tourist, I have travelled far and wide and I can tell you that the impression and notion about Ikorodu out there is not satisfactory as expected. The fact that our potentials are untapped alone is a huge concern.
“One of the aims of this project is to use Tourism to rebrand our image as a people and as a country.
“The beginning of this year (February) saw the birth of a brand registered under the Nigeria Corporate Affairs Commission with its trademark logo. However, the long term goal of this brand (Ikorodu Tourism Limited) is to promote businesses and cultural heritage of Ikorodu and beyond.
He also listed some of the achievements that the organization has been able to record in terms promoting Ikorodu’s cultural values.
“Aside registering the body, our other achievements so include oragnising Ikorodu Food day.
“Because the drive is all about landmark achievement and cultural renaissance, we hosted the maiden edition of the annual Ikorodu Chef Competition (now known as Ikorodu Food Day) which recorded huge success.
“Young Chefs in Ikorodu were given opportunity to compete by cooking Ikorodu local delicacies in the presence of dignitaries from Ikorodu and abroad”.
Explaining the reason behind the Project Diaspora, Mr Hassan stated that the idea is to use the project as a means of exposing residents to other environment and also sell the huge potentials in Ikorodu to residents in diaspora.
“Because we don’t want our people to be stagnant or tagged “local champions”, that’s the reason we are exploiting every opportunity to attract growth. The essence of our campaign is to also aid our rebranding process which will let people in diaspora to see Ikorodu as not just a potential tourism destination, but also a friendly environment for investors.
‘This is an ample reason to reach out to the world and let the people know the opportunities embedded in this town.He added that same strategies were used by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to market Dubai”, he stated.
He stated further that, “By doing this, we have started to write our stories by ourselves; we’ll write and promote our culture by ourselves.
“This will snowball into developing tourist attractions in Ikorodu, both natural and artificial”.
While speaking on the first phase of Project Diaspora which is a planned trip to Ghana, Hassan gave insight into the trip scheduled for end of October 2019.
‘’It’s a four-day cultural promotional and adventure trip.
“For Day 1, we will depart Lagos in the morning and arrive in Accra in the evening, seven hours journey with entertainment on board (feeding, watching of television and sightseeing of Benin Republic and Lome) with lots of fun.
“On arrival in Ghana, our contingent will be checked into their accommodations in the heart of Accra and served with delicious dinner (African Cuisine).
“On Day 2, we are going to move around Accra in a full Air conditioner tour bus to places of interest that are culturally meaningful. This is to enable our adventurers to experience other African Culture. After taking the three square meals, we’ll retire to our hotel for relaxation and discussion on how we can tap into what we experience.
“The discussion will be aided with pictorial explanation of the places visited”, he explained.
“On Day 3, we shall be having program with Ikorodu community in Ghana and the Nigeria Ambassador to Ghana to discuss, display and promote Ikorodu in Ghana. This will involve Nigeria Embassy and Ghana Arts and Culture”, he explained.
Meanwhile, the first resource person to speak at the event, Mr Okeke Dennis, the Chief Executive Officer of Big Time Africa, stated that “Tourism is the act and process of spending time away from home in pursuit of recreation, relaxation, and pleasure while making use of the commercial provision of services”.
He listed Morocco, South Africa Tunisia, Algeria and Mozambique and few other countries as the major tourist destinations in Africa while regretting that Nigeria is not benefitting as it should have from tourism.
Stating the importance of tourism, Okeke stated that, “Tourism is a tool for economic growth and stability and also for job creation.
“It is very important for Nigeria to develop her tourism because it will help to improve her gross domestic product, by increasing production and creating a good environment for foreign investors.
“Tourism serves as a medium of culture exchange and mingling”.
He added that tourism also stimulate infrastructural development in a country.
Another speaker, Mrs Orepekan Aisha, CEO, Zeezah Travel and Tours, who centred her talk on ‘Why people should go on tour from time to time’, explained that tour affords people the opportunity to know more about other environment outside theirs.
She also added that going on tour has several opportunities, one of which she is a living example.
Also, Kunle Adelabu, the Publisher of THE IMPACT Newspaper, emphasized the need for tourists to have adequate knowledge of their own environment, seek information about their tourism destination before venturing out and the need to be law-abiding in other people’s environment.
“Going on tourism is very good because of the benefits that it offers but there is need for you to have adequate information about your environment. This is because you are not just going out on sight-seeing but also as an ambassador of your environment.
“It is only when you have adequate knowledge of your own environment that you will be able to sell the cultural, traditional, natural and other values that are in your own environment to those in places that you are going and make them to visit your own place too.
“It is also important that you must seek for information about the place that you are going to at least to have some understanding and when you get there, there is absolute need to abide by their laws and respect their customs”, he advised.
Aside the three recognized tourism sites – Old Ayangbure palace, Osugbo at Ajina, Ijede Spring and two festivals – Asa and Ikorodu-Oga Day which are approved by the Lagos State Government, THE IMPACT Publisher also listed Agemo festival, Igbogbo Day, new Ayangbure palace, Ebute-Iga palace, Egbin Thermal Station, body of waters surrounding the division among many others as tourist attractions in Ikorodu division.