Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Photosplash from AKWAABA 2010

Tourism Minister Abubakar Mohammed, KGB Oguakwa, Danny Joordan, and others assist Sir Dawda in cutting the tape flagging off the 2010 Akwaaba African Travel Market.
Sir Dawda Jawara poised to cut the tape.
Chief Obasanjo (left) and Sir Dawda (middle).
One of the Award presentation scenes.
Otunba Runsewe (left) presenting an award on the occasion.
Another presentation scene.
L-R: Ikechi Uko, Chief Obasanjo, Sir Dawda and Danny Joordan.
An African Pride: Sir Dawda Jawara.

NB: MAURICE ARCHIBONG is author of the accompanying report, while the above pictures are used courtesy of ATQ (African Travel Quarterly).

Akwaaba 2010 was best outing ever

Obj, Tourism Minister hail Runsewe and Akwaaba organizers
Less than a month after the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) was roundly praised for recording a historic celebration of the World Tourism Day (WTD) in these climes, the Corporation’s Director General; Otunba Olusegun Runsewe again had accolades showered on him by Nigeria’s former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
The former president commended the NTDC DG for his dynamic leadership of the body as evident in phenomenal strides witnessed in the country’s tourism industry over the last four years. The former No.1 Citizen of Nigeria rendered his ode to Runsewe at Eko Hotel and Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos; during the presentation of “Kairaba”, an autobiography by Sir Dawda Jawara, former president of the Gambia.
That book launch was one of several exciting events lined up for the 2010 Akwaaba African Travel Market (AfTM) fair. This year’s AfTM was the sixth edition of the ever-growing annual event, which; apart from the book launch, also featured intermittent performances by Ghana Cultural Ensemble throughout the three-day fiesta that ran from 23 October to the 25th.
Many papers; including “Africa’s World Cup Experience” (the Lead Paper) by Danny Jordaan, CEO, 2010 World Cup; “Financing Hotel Investment in West Africa” by Obi Nwogugu; “Training Pilots in West Africa” by Capt Adebayo Araba of NCAT; “Gambia and the Roots experience” by Binta Jobe, DG of Gambia Tourism Authority; “The Carnival: Experience and Challenges” by Elenda Dokubo, Executive Secretary of Carnival Calabar; were also presented during Akwaaba 2010 African Travel Market.
The event also elicited goodwill messages from various governments, ministers, heads of delegation, African Ambassadors and the Special Guests of honour as well as press conferences by Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Zita Okaikoi and Golden Beach Hotels, Ghana. The just concluded fair was organized by ATQ (African Travel Quarterly) magazine in partnership with the NTDC, which; alongside many other governments and corporate bodies within Nigeria and the West African sub-region, mounted well attended international exhibitions at the venue. Otunba Runsewe OON served as Chief Host.
Aside Sir Dawda, who was, expectedly, accompanied to Nigeria by a number of other dignitaries from the Gambia, as well as Dr Danny Jordaan and Hon. Zita Okaikoi, all already mentioned; the Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Prof Zahi Hawass as well as Richard Sandalls of the World Bank; were also among other very important non-Nigerian personalities that attended this year’s edition of Akwaaba African Travel Market.
Speaking further during the presentation of Sir Dawda’s autobiography, where Chief Obasanjo was chief launcher; Nigeria’s former head of state declared: “You need an energetic, enthusiastic and rightly-oriented young man, like Runsewe”, to continue to stoke the flame and sustain the growing interest in Nigeria’s tourism industry.
Chief Obasanjo, who rightly described tourism “as a key player in the economic development of most countries”; subsequently went on to advise Runsewe not to relent in the drive at transforming Nigeria’s tourism industry. Chief Obasanjo reminded that the hospitality industry has the capacity to reduce unemployment; and, therefore, needed to be properly tapped. Reiterating his belief in tourism as a veritable job-creator and revenue generator for the country, Obj added that Nigeria was finally placing tourism on its proper pedestal.
“Whatever we do, I still believe that tourism should be one of the foreign exchange earners and employment generator for the country”, continued Obj, who; for emphasis, stressed; “I believe in tourism; and, we have to make our modest contributions to move the sector forward”.
Chief Obasanjo also extended his commendations to Cross River State, where tourism has been launched to virtually unparalleled heights, through, among others; the Carnival Calabar, “which is adjudged the best street party in Africa”. “You must not allow the light to be dimmed, it must be in the International Tourism Calendar”, Obj enthusiastically advised on Carnival Calabar.
Extolling the virtues of Sir Dawda Jawara, whose book launch attracted a huge attendance; Chief Obasanjo described the octogenarian Gambian statesman as “a counsellor and confidante, who transformed the Gambia into a tourism haven”. Hear Obj: “I doff my cap to you for your statesmanship, reconciliation and magnanimity, which have made all Gambians happier”.
The former president of Nigeria subsequently presented Sir Dawda’s book with the following remark: “I have the pleasure of presenting this book for the education and enlightenment of our people and to the glory of God”. Chief Obasanjo had also commended the organizers of the travel fair for their initiative, especially in the decision to honour Sir Dawda and Dr. Danny Joordan, whom he described as “Great Africans”.
Apparently responding to the encomiums showered on him by Chief Obasanjo, Otunba Runsewe recalled Obj’s roles in the development of Nigeria’s tourism industry. The NTDC DG had reminded that such contributions date as far back as the days, when then General Obasanjo was a military head of state (13 February, 1976 to 1 October, 1979). Runsewe buttressed his assertion with a reminder of how, in 1976, the General Obasanjo-led military government donated N1million naira to each of the then 19 federating states for tourism development.
He further explained that it could be recalled that it was also the Chief Obasanjo-led civilian government that created the current Ministry of Culture and Tourism, shortly after assuming the presidency in 1999. It was also in Chief Obasanjo’s time as President that Nigeria hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2003 and the All Africa Games in 2006 in Abuja, Runsewe expatiated.
The NTDC helmsman went to reiterate that since “Tourism is big business and the highest employer of labour in the World”; Nigerians “need to celebrate what we have” because “there is a new wind blowing across Africa today”. Runsewe subsequently stressed the need to streamline all tourism products and festivals in the country to pre-empt unnecessary clash in dates. Where such unhealthy clashes were avoided, tourists could plan and have better opportunity at choosing from the variety of products available, he explained.
This “Otunba” also told his audience, which comprised principally of eminent personalities; that Dubai generates $17million (over N2.6billion) annually from visa procurement alone. Interestingly, some 45 percent of the N2.6billion generated by Dubai from visa applicants comes from Nigerians, it was revealed. This ostensibly explained Otunba Runsewe’s joy, when he expressed happiness that Akwaaba, the only regional travel market in Africa is making progress. “Akwaaba”, he enthused, “is now expanding, and getting bigger every year”.
The Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed, had; like Chief Obasanjo, also commended the Akwaaba organizers for the efficient and enviable way that they succeeded in putting the fair together. “You have done Africa Proud”, declared the minister, who mused that nobody can portray Africa better than Africans.
The minister noted that instead of Africans always going to other continents to attend exhibitions, it is also good to have people from other parts coming to Africa; and that Akwaaba was a good example of this positive development. According to Alhaji Abubakar, the presence of major airlines and world class hotel chains at the event was very heart-warming and a pointer to the need to sustain the fair.
Alhaji Abubakar, who described Nigeria as a choice destination to visit, subsequently enjoined all stakeholders to join forces to also make the African continent a choice destination. He also echoed comparative advantage for Africa in global tourism, through his observation that, “All aspects of Tourism are in abundance in Africa”.
Mr. Ikechi Uko is ATQ Publisher and Chairman of Akwaaba organizing body: When asked during a telephone conversation; if this year’s fair met his expectations of the best AfTM ever, since the fair’s debut six years ago, this is what he had to say; “While that of last year was no fluke, the 2010 Akwaaba could be said to be the greatest so far. We had in attendance two ex-presidents, a serving governor, who sent a representative; a former governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, two ministers of tourism, one from Ghana; three countries’ Directors General of Tourism; from Ghana, Gambia and their Nigerian counterpart; Danny Joordan and other eminent personalities”.
Sir Dawda Jawara flagged off the 6th Akwaaba African Travel Market on 23 October, 2010 at Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos. The former president of the Gambia was supported by Nigeria’s Tourism, Culture and National Orientation Minister, Abubakar Mohammed; NTDC DG, Otunba Runsewe; House Committee on Tourism Chairman, KGB Oguakwa; Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, and the DG of Gambia National Tourist Board, among others.

In Ohafia: Pa Ibe Uduma Ukonu burial on Saturday

Pa Ibe Uduma Ukonu burial on Saturday

The burial of the late Pa Ibe Uduma Ukonu will take place at Ibe Uduma’s residence in Amuke, Ohafia, Abia State on Saturday, 30 October.


Born on 17 June, 1938; Pa Ukonu passed on at the age of 72 years on 13 June, 2010.


The interment follows a Funeral Service billed to start at 10am; however, Saturday’s service and the Biblical dust-to-dust ceremonies will be preceded by a Service of Songs, which begins at 6pm, on Friday, 29 October.


The late Pa Ibe Ukonu was a scion of the Umu Elege kindred of Ohafia. A deceased successful entrepreneur, Pa Ibe Uduma Ukonu is survived by a widow, children, grandchildren, a brother and an uncle, among others.

Presentation of the cheque for victims of flooding in Nigeria

ECOWAS President, Victor Gbeho(L) presents $291,000 cheque to Hon. Min. of State, Foreign Affairs, Hajiya Salamatu Suleiman. DS

ECOWAS donates N43m for Nigeria's flood victims

ECOWAS doles out N43m to flood victims in Nigeria
Countless victims of flooding in different parts of the country should soon enjoy succour, following a huge financial support from the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Commission.
According to a press release, No. 169/2010 issued by ECOWAS Secretariat, Abuja on 26 October 2010; President of the ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador James Victor Gbeho, “in support of victims of the recent floods in the country which have displaced over two million people and caused substantial damages to farmland and other property”; presented a cheque of US$291,000 (over N43million) to the Government of Nigeria in Abuja on Monday, 25 October. The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Salamatu Suleiman, received the cheque on behalf of the Nigerian Government.
This latest gesture follows an earlier (mid-July 2010) donation by ECOWAS Commission in collaboration with the Red Cross, of various items valued at US$100,000 (roughly N15million) to victims of the Jos crisis in central Nigeria, which reportedly claimed over 500 lives and displaced some 5,000 people.
At a brief presentation ceremony, Ambassador Gbeho, who described the amount as symbolic, explained; “We realize that the needs of the State to cater for the victims of this catastrophe go beyond what we are offering you. But, this is a way the ECOWAS Commission shows its support and assistance to the affected population at their point of need”.
Gbeho added that the ECOWAS Commission had begun to demonstrate, by providing assistance, “which goes directly to touch the lives of the affected population during times of crisis”. This, he intoned, is proof that the ECOWAS Vision 2020, which aims at morphing from an “ECOWAS of States” to an “ECOWAS of peoples”, was not mere slogan.
Hear Ambassador Gbeho: “The ECOWAS Commission is developing durable strategies and solutions to respond to catastrophes in Member States, thereby moving away from an ad-hoc response to a more coordinated approach that will guarantee effective response to victims of crises and disasters in Member States”.
The Commission’s President went on to add that ECOWAS is assisting Member States to establish and identify national platforms and focal institutions on emergency management and response in Member States as well as to strengthen existing ones. According to him, these platforms would be equipped to enhance their capacity to respond to crisis and emergencies, either by themselves or in collaboration with other Member States and international organizations.
Furthermore, the Commission is in the process of developing a humanitarian policy and response mechanism to guarantee comprehensive and efficient regional approach to emergency management and response, Gbeho revealed. Referring to the ECOWAS Humanitarian Depot in Bamako, Mali; the Commission’s President, said the depot; when completed, would complement other efforts to facilitate prompt delivery of relief materials to victims of humanitarian emergencies in the region.
While lauding the efforts of the Nigerian Government, Ambassador Gbeho urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to synergize with other bodies in the region and assist in building capacities of relevant agencies with lesser aptitude to deal with emergency situations.
In her response, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Alhaja Sulaiman, while expressing appreciation to the ECOWAS Commission for the “laudable humanitarian gesture”; rued that “these are very hard and trying times for Nigeria”. She, however, subsequently assured that the donation would be judiciously used to assist families and communities affected by the floods.
The Under Secretary (Africa) in Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Adamu Abbas; Director, ECOWAS Division, Mr. Babatunde Nurudeen; NEMA Director-General, Mr. Muhammed Sani Sidi as well as select foreign service and NEMA top officials witnessed the presentation ceremony. Others, who attended the event, include ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Gender, Dr. Adrienne Diop; the ECOWAS Director for Humanitarian Affairs, Dr. Daniel Eklu and Acting Director of Communication, Mr. Sunny Ugoh.

On Guinea’s postponed presidential election run-off


On Guinea’s postponed presidential election run-off
ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) has expressed satisfaction with the recently held consultations that culminated in a consensus choice, which led to the appointment of Brigadier General Siaka Toumany Sangaré as President of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) in charge of organizing the second round of the presidential election, in Guinea.
“It is the hope of ECOWAS that this appointment, and that of the two vice-presidents; will provide a lasting solution to the leadership crisis within that body”, stated ECWAS in a press release, No.168/2010, issued in Abuja by the regional body’s headquarters on 25 October 2010. “ECOWAS”, the statement adds; “Has also taken note of the useful consultations that resulted in the postponement of the Second Round of the Presidential Elections, previously scheduled for 24 October, 2010”.
The regional body has also urged all CENI members to strengthen unity and inclusiveness around the new leadership and to collaborate with all stakeholders involved in the preparations for the elections, in order to overcome all identified challenges and thus decide; as soon as possible, on a new date for holding of the second round of the presidential elections; to ensure the best conditions for calm and peaceful polling in Guinea.
Disturbed by the sporadic and recurrent acts of violence that have characterized Guinea’s presidential election campaigns, and in conformity with the spirit of the Protocol on Peaceful Elections signed in on 3 September 2010 in the Burkinabe capital, Ouagadougou, by the two candidates in the presidential election run-off, ECOWAS also reiterated its appeal for calm as well as implored everyone interested in the process and the entire Guinean population to put national interest above ethnic or any other factor.
ECOWAS has, therefore, congratulated General Sékouba Konaté, the Transitional President, for his commitment and leadership in the search for a peaceful solution to the political stalemate that has bedeviled the electoral process in the past few weeks. The regional body has also encouraged General Konaté to continue his invaluable efforts for the successful conduct of the democratic electoral process in Guinea.
“ECOWAS reaffirms its commitment to support Guinea in this critical process to ensure a return to political integrity, cohesion, unity and constitutional order in the country”, the statement concluded.
- By MAURICE ARCHIBONG

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hurray! AKWAABA 2010 opens today


Meet Sir Dawda Jawara, Danny Jordaan, World Bank, foreign ministers, others at Eko Hotel
With the successful completion of preparations, including completion of the construction of stands yesterday; Friday, 22 October, all is now set for the opening of this year’s Akwaaba African Travel Market (AfTM) fair at Eko Hotel Expo Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos today, Saturday, 23 October. Akwaaba is organised by ATQ (Africa Travel Quarterly) Magazine in partnership with Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC).
The Director General of NTDC, Nigeria’s apex tourism body; Otunba Olusegun Runsewe OON, will serve as Chief Host; and, a former president of the Gambia, Sir Dawda Jawara; CEO of FIFA World Cup 2010, Dr Danny Jordaan and Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Prof Zahi Hawass as well as three ministers from Ghana and the Gambia are among other very important personalities, whose attendance of this year’s edition of Akwaaba African Travel Market; has been confirmed.
Although Akwaaba African Travel Market 2010 is billed to run till 25 October, only exhibitors, invited guests and the organizers will, however, be admitted to the 23 October events’ venue, while the fair will be open to the general public on both 24 and 25 October.
Programmes’ guide
The 2010 AfTM is the sixth edition of the ever-growing annual event, which will feature intermittent performances by Ghana Cultural Ensemble throughout the three-day fiesta.
Stands’ set-up will take place from 6am to 11am this morning, followed by formal Opening Ceremony at 12noon by Sir Dawda Jawara. Next to be rendered would be goodwill messages from various governments, ministers, heads of delegation, African Ambassadors and Special Guests of honour.
The morning segment will be rounded off with an Award Session and the launch of Sir Dawda Jawara’s biography. The post-lunch session starts at 2pm with a seminar featuring Richard Sandalls of the World Bank, whose 20-minute presentation will include Question and Answer segment. This will be followed by another 20-minutes lecture on Financing Hotel Investment in West Africa by Obi Nwogugu; while Capt Adebayo Araba of NCAT has 10 minutes to speak on Training Pilots in West Africa.
Capt. Araba’s presentation would precede an interregnum featuring an international festival parade, where the DG of Gambia Tourism Authority, Binta Jobe, will speak for 10 minutes on “Gambia and the Roots experience”; followed by a 10-minute address by Elenda Dokubo, Executive Secretary of Carnival Calabar on “The Carnival experience and Challenges”.
Gabe Onah, Special Adviser on Tourism in Cross River is expected to handle the Q&A session, there after; ahead of the day’s Lead Paper, “Africa’s World Cup Experience” by Danny Jordaan, CEO 2010 World Cup. Jordaan’s presentation will bring to a close that day’s seminar at 5pm and dinner will start 7pm.
The Ghana Dance Ensemble is billed to stage a dance and drama presentation before 7.30pm, when the second Award Session begins. Additionally, there will be a performance by the Cross River Carnival Band before the Award Dinner ends at 9pm.  
The fair continues from 10am on Sunday, 24 October with an exhibition, which opens in the morning preceding a 2pm Press Conference by Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Zita Okaikoi. Beyond 5pm, when the exhibition is billed to end; there are scheduled private cocktails by exhibitors.
Exhibitions will continue from 9am on Monday, 25 October, even as a Press Conference by Golden Beach Hotels, Ghana is slated to start at 1pm. Exhibitions are expected to close by 5pm ahead of raffle draws. Presentation of Special Awards will also take place.
Akwaaba, from the horse’s mouth
A release signed by Mr. Ikechi Uko, CEO of ATQ and Chairman of the organizing body, described Akwaaba African Travel Market as “the only international travel fair in West Africa”. In the statement, Mr. Uko revealed; “World Bank confirms its participation and intention to use AfTM as a stakeholders’ forum”.
In the same vein, “New York, US-based Africa Travel Association (ATA) will participate at the board level” and “there will be awards for airlines, Travel agents and pioneers at the Award Dinner to be graced by African Ambassadors and the first female airline Captain Irene Mutungi of Kenya Airways”, continued Mr. Uko, who said the Director General of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe OON, will be the Chief Host.
According to the fair’s organisers, “Akwaaba African Travel Market has been designated by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) as the official travel exhibition in Nigeria, and this year’s edition of the fair, will be the largest gathering of World Class Hotels in West Africa.
“All major international hotel chains and brand hotels that operate in the region are booked to exhibit at this year’s expo. For The Starwood group comprising Sheraton, Meridien and Four Points; it will be their first time as a group joining others like the Protea Group, Golden Tulips, The Legacy Group, The Golden Beach Group, The African Sun Group and The Southern Sun Group”. Also, Eko Hotels, Colonades, African Regents, HSSL, Alisa Hotel, Coconut Groove and Bon Voyage, among other outstanding hotels, have, Uko continued; “all signed up for the biggest global show in West Africa”.
“Over the last 5 years, the AfTM has become the most important travel marketing platform in the (West African) region drawing attendance from over 20 countries, including 12 foreign Airlines and leading African hotel chains. It is open to all as it is “where Africa meets the world”, Uko enthused, adding that “All international Airlines operating in Nigeria, except a few have all signed to participate in the big event including first timers like Lufthansa German Airlines and Afriqqyah Libyan Airlines”. Ethiopian Airlines, he continued, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary at the fair, and the government of Ghana is coming down with a full complement of Tour operators and cultural troupe just as The Gambia repeats it huge campaign started last year”.
This year’s event will feature “My African Travel Experience”, an essay writing competition for school students, and cash prices will be awarded to the best essays, while tickets from Ethiopian Airline, Lufthansa, Afriqyyah and Emirates will be won by lucky visitors to the trade fair.
Ikechi Uko again: “The success of AfTM attracted the presence of the former President of the Gambia Sir Dawda Jawara, the former Secretary General of the British Commonwealth Sir Emeka Anyaoku and the former Vice president of Nigeria, Sir Alex Ekwueme as guests among over 10,000 visitors that attended the event last year. AfTM has become a major fixture in the events calendar for Africa, listed by UNWTO as the only travel event in West Africa. Africa Travel Association (ATA), based in New York, has also signed Akwaaba as its partner event in Africa.
“Akwaaba was admitted this year into the prestigious International Tourism Trade Fair Association (ITTFA) further establishing it as an prestige event in the region. The organizers of Akwaaba are delighted to belong to the well respected and influential group of global exhibitions represented by ITTFA,” declared Mr Uko; who observed; “This membership offers us an opportunity to network, learn and operate amongst shows of the highest standards. It offers us the opportunity to provide our audience with the combined experience of our peers in the association thus bringing to the shores of West Africa global best practices in the exhibition business. Membership of this elite group will further position AfTM as an international event that takes place in Africa, integrating the African Travel practitioners into the global community.” 

Kunle Filani's exhibition at Quintessence


Kunle Filani's latest outing opens at Quintessence, today
An exhibition of works by Kunle Filani (PhD) opens today, Saturday, 23 October, 2010 at Quintessence, Falomo Shopping Centre in Ikoyi, Lagos. Filani is one of many distinguished citizens groomed at University of Ife (Obafemi Awolowo University) by, among others, Prof Agbo Folarin, who passed on last Thursday, 21 October.
Afolarin was Filani's sculpture lecturer in 1976 and 1977, when the latter was in his freshman and sophomore years.
Titled “Doctrine of necessity”, Filani’s latest presentation comprises 21 works; and, includes, surprisingly, five photographs.
The remaining 16 works are paintings, for which Filani, exponent of “Ona” Art; is famous, aside being a respected art historian and educator.
Doctrine of necessity is billed to close on 13 November, Filani, Rector, College of Education, Osiele in Ogun State told “mauricearchibongtravels”.

The late Prof Agbo Afolarin

The late Prof Agbo Folarin, who died on Thursday, 21 Oct. 2010. Photo: Courtesy B. Ademuleya PhD
Prof Agbo Folarin is dead
Prof Agbo Folarin, a renowned sculptor and art scholar, is dead. He was born in Ibadan in 1936. Prof Folarin, a founding member of the Department of Fine Arts at then University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), died in the United Kingdom on Thursday, 21 October, 2010.
According to Dr. Babaseinde Ademuleya, incumbent Head of Department (HoD), Department of Fine Arts at OAU; Prof Folarin, who was married to a Briton, frequently travelled to the UK, where his family resides; and news of his death filtered in from Europe-based relatives.
Although OAU’s Fine Arts Department was formally launched around 1975, Folarin was already working at that institution, years before then, through his involvement in the “Ori Olokun” project, which subsequently morphed into various departments around 1957/1958; added Visual Artist and African Art Historian Dr Ademuleya, who further recalled that Folarin was one of the earliest applicants to be interviewed and subsequently employed to work at Ife University those days. Folarin’s contemporaries at that time included Prof J. R. Ojo and theatre scholar Prof Ola Rotimi (also deceased), who later relocated to University of Port Harcourt.
Folarin studied art at Yaba College of Technology from 1955 to 1958, before proceeding to Regent Street Polytechnic and Central School of Arts and Design both in London to further his education, after a stint working as a graphic designer in the Federal Ministry of Information, Lagos. Upon returning from London, Folarin joined the staff of Ife University and by 1966 was already a Junior Research Fellow. Although “Ori Olokun” had been tactfully phased out around 1972, Prof Folarin finally retired from Obafemi Awolowo University in 2003 or 2004.
Aside holding two master’s degrees, in sculpture and architecture, Folarin was also a notable writer as borne out by “Maternal goddess in Yoruba Art: A new aesthetic acclamation”, one of his books. Folarin’s sculptures are in major collections in different parts of the world; and, in Nigeria, the Omoba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation has some of his works.
Incumbent Commissioner for Tourism in Ondo State, Chief Tola Wewe, is one of the numerous prominent citizens Professor Folarin helped to groom in his many decades as lecturer at Ife University. Other products of the Fine Arts Department of “Great Ife” include Kunle Filani (PhD), Yomi Ola, Victor Ekpuk and Wole Lagunju. The last three of this foursome and Tola Wewe made “Daily Times”, incontestably, the leading force in the Nigerian media as far as illustrations were concerned, while Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi and Dr. Femi Sonaike held sway as MD of Daily Times Plc and Daily Times Editor respectively.
In a telephone conversation with mauricearchibongtravels Chief Wewe, said he will always remember the late Prof Folarin for the man’s invaluable contributions at seminars, and also for the deceased’s fantastic and futuristic sculptures.
“He was very articulate, very sound and ostensibly well read. He was not only a great art scholar, his sculptures were fantastic and futuristic; they do not belong to this age”, enthused Wewe, one of Nigeria’s foremost painters.
“I knew he was somewhat down. He taught me at Ife, so I could tell he wasn’t looking as strong as he used to be, but still I am shocked and unhappy that he has left us”, rued Wewe as he recalled the last time he met the recently departed Folarin.
That encounter took place in Lagos in March this year. Both men served on the jury of a painting contest, which was an adjunct of the 2010 Black Heritage Festival. Art historian, painter and a former Dean, Faculty of Environmental Design at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Jerry Buhari; Chairman, Lagos Chapter, Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), Mr. Oliver Enwonwu and Ms Ndidi Dike were among other jurors of the international art competition, dubbed “City of a thousand mask”, where Wewe last saw his now-deceased former teacher.
A former Deputy Rector of Yaba College of Technology, Dr. Kolade Oshinowo confirmed he had also heard about Folarin’s transition as did Mr. Simon Ikpakroyin, Acting Director, Research and Education at the National Gallery of Art (NGA). For Ikpakroyin, who said news of the painful development hit him Friday morning on his way to the office; Prof Folarin’s death could compel a scholastic shift. Prof Folarin’s biography is one of the subjects of Mr. Ikpakroyin’s doctoral programme, and he had discussed with the respondent; who, the NGA director said; had agreed to the exercise and given him a date for a meeting at the subject’s Ibadan home.
“Now, the man has gone”, lamented Ikpakroyin; who added: “he has gone with his wealth of knowledge and it is very sad because this was knowledge acquired over many years but, which had not been tapped for the future generations”.
As acting director of research at NGA, Ikpakroyin sure knows what he is talking about. Hear him: “I’m very sure; no one has done any extensive study on Prof Folarin’s life and work. And, his death is another lesson to all art historians and other scholars to work on the few master artists still alive. We should take the bull by the horn because some of them are very old and time is not on their side”.
The late Prof Agbo Folarin is survived by his widow and children, including Evelyn Adeola Folarin, who was born in 1970; among others.
- By MAURICE ARCHIBONG

Prof Agbo Folarin is dead

Prof Agbo Folarin is dead
Prof Agbo Folarin, a renowned sculptor and art scholar, is dead. He was born in Ibadan in 1936. Prof Folarin, a founding member of the Department of Fine Arts at then University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), died in the United Kingdom yesterday, Thursday, 21 October, 2010.
According to Dr. Babaseinde Ademuleya, incumbent Head of Department (HoD), Department of Fine Arts at OAU; Prof Folarin, who was married to a Briton, frequently travelled to the UK, where his family lived; and news of his death filtered in from family sources there.
Although OAU’s Fine Arts Department was formally launched in 1975, Folarin was already working at that institution, years before then, through his involvement in the “Ori Olokun” project, which subsequently morphed into various departments around 1957/1958 added Dr Ademuleya, who further recalled that Folarin was one of the earliest applicants to be interviewed and subsequently employed to work at Ife University those days.
Folarin’s contemporaries at that time included Prof J. R. Ojo and Prof Ola Rotimi (also deceased), who later relocated to University of Port Harcourt. Although “Ori Olokun” had been tactfully phased out around 1972, Prof Folarin finally retired from Obafemi Awolowo University in 2003 or 2004.
Incumbent Commissioner for Tourism in Ondo State, Chief Tola Wewe, is one of the numerous prominent citizens Professor Folarin helped to groom in his many decades as lecturer at Ife University. Other products of the Fine Arts Department of “Great Ife” include Kunle Filani (PhD), Yomi Ola, Victor Ekpuk and Wole Lagunju. The last three of this foursome and Tola Wewe made “Daily Times”, incontestably, the leading force in the Nigerian media as far as illustrations were concerned, while Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi and Dr. Femi Sonaike held sway as MD of Daily Times Plc and Daily Times Editor respectively.
In a telephone conversation with mauricearchibongtravels Chief Wewe, said he will always remember the late Prof Folarin for the man’s invaluable contributions at seminars, and also for the deceased’s fantastic and futuristic sculptures.
“He was very articulate, very sound and ostensibly well read. He was not only a great art scholar, his sculptures were fantastic and futuristic; they do not belong to this age”, enthused Wewe, one of Nigeria’s foremost painters.
“I knew he was somewhat down. He taught me at Ife, so I could tell he wasn’t looking as strong as he used to be, but still I am shocked and unhappy that he has left us”, rued Wewe as he recalled the last time he met the recently departed Folarin.
That encounter took place in Lagos in March this year. Both men served on the jury of a painting contest, which was an adjunct of the 2010 Black Heritage Festival. Art historian, painter and a former Dean, Faculty of Environmental Design at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Jerry Buhari; Chairman, Lagos Chapter, Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), Mr. Oliver Enwonwu and Ms Ndidi Dike were among other jurors of the international art competition, dubbed “City of a thousand mask”, where Wewe last saw his now-deceased former teacher.
A former Deputy Rector of Yaba College of Technology, Dr. Kolade Oshinowo confirmed he had also heard about Folarin’s transition as did Mr. Simon Ikpakroyin, Acting Director, Research and Education at the National Gallery of Art (NGA). For Ikpakroyin, who said news of the painful development hit him Friday morning on his way to the office; Prof Folarin’s death could compel a scholastic shift. Prof Folarin’s biography is one of the subjects of Mr. Ikpakroyin’s doctoral programme, and he had discussed with the respondent; who, the NGA director said; had agreed to the exercise and given him a date for a meeting at the subject’s Ibadan home.
“Now, the man has gone”, lamented Ikpakroyin; who added: “he has gone with his wealth of knowledge and it is very sad because this was knowledge acquired over many years but, which had not been tapped for the future generations”.
As acting director of research at NGA, Ikpakroyin sure knows what he is talking about. Hear him: “I’m very sure; no one has done any extensive study on Prof Folarin’s life and work. And, his death is another lesson to all art historians and other scholars to work on the few master artists still alive. We should take the bull by the horn because some of them are very old and time is not on their side”.
The late Prof Agbo Folarin is survived by his widow and children, including Evelyn Adeola Folarin, who was born in 1970; among others.
- By MAURICE ARCHIBONG

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tourism and Culture Minister Abubakar Mohammed

Tourism, Culture and National Orientation Minister, Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed. Photo: MAURICE ARCHIBONG

Culture Minister says National Museums are under watch

National Museums under constant watch
– Culture Minister Abubakar Mohammed

Amid lingering fears over the dilapidated state of many National Museums across the contrary; the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed, has assured all museums are under watch, and therefore would not be allowed to degenerate any further.
Speaking during an exclusive chat with mauricearchibongtravels in his office within the Federal Secretariat complex, Abuja; Alhaji Abubakar added that plans were ongoing to devise ways and means of generating more funds to run museums in the face of dwindling votes from government.
All National Museums are under the purview of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), and fears over museums have heightened following a huge decline in a Presidential Intervention Fund (PIF) for the museums in the 2010 budget. Floated during the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo presidency, the PIF was mandated to rescue Nigeria’s decrepit museums and monuments as well as the National Archive. However, the N500 million originally approved by the then Chief Obasanjo-led government for National Museums was later revised 40 per cent downward by the Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua presidency.
Eventually, the N300 million disbursed for the rehabilitation and renovation of select repositories in 2009 during President Yar’Adua’s era; proved, not surprisingly, grossly inadequate. Given that the N500 million budgeted during Obasanjo’s presidency, though much welcome, was seen by informed observers as a mere drop in an ocean; the impact of the N300 million, expectedly, turned out almost inconsequential.
Sadly, however, barely N100 million has been made available as PIF for 2010; despite the “mere scratch on the surface” value of N300 million against a backdrop of colossal demands that have to be met, if Nigeria’s National Museums are to begin to measure up to the least expected of them.
During the exclusive chat with mauricearchibongtravels recently, Alhaji Abubakar further submitted that despite the drop in the vote for rehabilitation of museums and archives from N500million in 2009 to barely N100million for 2010; efforts were afoot to ensure that museums are well maintained.
As to how such maintenance would be funded, given impecuniosities staring National Museums in the face, Alhaji Mohammed declared: “We want to change the perception or misconception that the federal government should be solely responsible for museums’ funding. The federal government cannot continue to fund museums all alone. It is in line with this, that the Presidential Committee on Rehabilitation, Renovation and Reconstruction of Archives and Museums was set up.
“Now that we have noticed that the vote is dropping, we have to engage other sources; and, the Presidential Committee on Renovation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of the National Archives and National Museums was not created to perpetually collect money from government. One of their tasks was to ‘go and look for money’”.
Government, he added, has many other social amenities to provide urgently. “This Presidential Committee”, he continued, “is also expected to ginger the public to foster awareness, so that through attracting more viewers; the museum would generate more money to stay in business and even support affiliate industries. And, after sittings, where the White Paper submitted by this committee was reviewed; it was discovered that the body as part of strategies to realize its mandate, is expected to explore, discover and tap alternative sources of funding.
“There is need to involve the private sector and Corporate Nigeria and let them know that everyone has a role to play in the maintenance of museums. And, in fact; this is one of our core programmes for this year, and part of the 2010 PIF would be invested in this area”.
The minister further observed that in the face of numerous services contending for limited resources, government had to weigh all options. Faced with a choice between improving electricity supply and rehabilitation of museums, for example; Alhaji Abubakar opined the latter would more likely be relegated to the back seat. Therefore, he reasoned; with dwindling allocations for Archive’s and Museums’ Rehabilitation and Renovation, was clear indication that the time has come to look to other sources for money.
Consolingly, the minister in his concluding remarks, intoned that the government would continue to make sacrifices even by funding museums in order to make such institutions alluring enough to attract more and more viewers, thus consequently generating decent enough income to sustain themselves and even assist in the funding of other projects or programmes.
- By MAURICE ARCHIBONG

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NTDC DG Runsewe and Yusuf Tsaiyabu

NTDC DG, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe OON (L) with Parks Committee Secretary, Mallam Yusuf Tsaiyabu during a recent stakeholders' meeting in Abuja.

New rules for parks in Abuja out soon


‘New guidelines for FCT Parks out soon’ Runsewe
The Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Otunba Segun Runsewe who doubles as the Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Operation and Management of Parks in the Federal Capital Territory has said that new guidelines for the operation of Parks within the FCT will soon emerge.
The NTDC DG while addressing stakeholders during a meeting, made this position known during an interactive session organized by the Committee to create a platform for Park Owners and the Committee to rub minds and identify problematic areas which include encroachment of land, allegations of illegal occupancy, application for reallocation, erection of masts by Telecommunication operators in some Park sites, security issues, erosion, sewage and its attendant health hazard amongst others.
The DG further stated that the committee has been working hard by visiting several Parks around the FCT even at night to ascertain the true status of things and will soon come out with a blue print to regulate the activities of the Parks in the FCT.
Otunba Runsewe especially commended the Park Owners stating that they are helping to reduce crime by way of creating employment for people who otherwise would have been idle. In the words of the DG, “the essence of this meeting is to know where the shoe pinches you the Owners of Parks and find solutions to your problems”. He promised that the present FCT administration is committed to providing solutions to the problems Park Owners in the FCT face while stressing that the committee which was inaugurated at the instance of the Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed would do a thorough job to that extent.
The NTDC boss seized the opportunity to highlight the benefits of parks and advised owners to diversify in terms of the services they render in order to fully explore the commercial benefits that ownership and operation confer on them. He intimated that while some parks will run all night, others will cater for day-time relaxation.
Speaking further, Otunba Runsewe lamented the inadequacy of toilet facilities in some Parks stressing that the number of toilets in a Park should be commensurate to the size of the Park. He further used the interactive session to entertain complaints from stakeholders and promised that the Committee will be proactive in providing solutions to the myriad problems identified adding that a new precedent was being set with the coming on board of the present administration.
The NTDC helmsman assured that the committee when making its submission to the FCT Minister would ensure equity and fairness for all practitioners who operate within the ambit of stipulated laws guiding the procurement and leasing of lands for recreational activities as established by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and that guidelines for Park operators will be issued based on this.
 - By NTDC Press Unit

Taiwanese envoy visits NTDC

‘Tourism grows small scale industries’ - Runsewe

The Director General Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe has said that tourism promotion can help develop Small and Medium Scale industries especially in developing countries. This position was made known during a visit by the Representative and Head of Mission of Taiwan Trade Mission to Nigeria, Fu-Tien Liu during a Courtesy call to the DG in his office in Abuja.
The DG who emphasized that Nigerian government and Taiwan have always had a good working relationship, also stressed that this can be extended to tourism promotion which would fast track the development of Small and Medium Scale industries in both countries.
Earlier, Mr Fu-Tien Liu thanked Otunba Runsewe for the opportunity the visit provided while stating that the essence of the call is to promote a sustained partnership between Nigeria and Taiwan pointing out that the resources in both countries abound.
In his words, “There are a lot of things to showcase in Taiwan; Taiwan is a beautiful country with plenty of flowers”. He further stated that, “5 million people visited Taiwan last year. We expect more this year”.
The Ambassador seized the opportunity to invite the DG to visit Taiwan for the forthcoming Tourism/ Trade Expo scheduled for November, 2010 stating that a specific interest area should be identified in order to put things into perspective. He assured the NTDC Boss that the government of Taiwan would give him and his delegation a grand reception at Taipei during the visit and issues of mutual interest would be discussed for the benefit of both countries.
Responding, Otunba Runsewe assured the Taiwan Representative that he would visit the East Asian country after checking his itinerary and making all necessary arrangements.
The Head of Mission was accompanied on the visit by the Third Secretary, Mr. Roger Chen.
By NTDC Press Unit

After half century as independent nations: No bilateral ties between Benin and Nigeria

SHOCKING!
50 years after independence, Benin and Nigeria have no bilateral ties
Nigeria and her immediate neighbour to the west, Benin Republic, has not formally entered into any bilateral agreement since both countries achieved independence from Britain and France respectively 50 years ago, “Travels” can authoritatively reveal.
Interestingly, apart from being long-standing members of the African Union (AU); Nigeria and Benin Republic also belong to the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It is also worth recalling that during a visit to Burkina Faso, where we spoke to some legislators including Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, who were in Ouagadougou for a meeting of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) in September 2000; one had also gathered that no bilateral agreement had ever been entered into between Nigeria and the late Captain Thomas Sankara’s country.
Prospective areas of bilateral agreements between Benin and Nigeria include “Elimination of double taxation” and “Framework for development” et cetera. In deed, we gathered that a “Co-prosperity Alliance Zone” agreement conceived to facilitate economic growth from Nigeria to Ghana, through Benin Republic and Togo is also on the card. However, without putting necessary signatures to relevant documents, such plans would prove no better than mere dreams.
Speaking inside his office in Cotonou, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Benin Republic, HE Lawrence Akindele admitted; “As a matter of fact, for more than 10 years now; the Joint Commission, which is the framework for carrying out bilateral relations between Nigeria and Benin Republic, was in doldrums”. The fourth session of that joint commission took place sometime last year in Abuja. Sadly, however, “the meeting was inconclusive”, Ambassador Akindele recalled.
Although there are numerous areas where the two ECOWAS countries of Benin and Nigeria could further cement their ties, no bilateral pact had actually been signed to date. However, while efforts are afoot to fast-track the conclusion of the processes leading to formalization of such ties; the head of Nigeria’s diplomatic mission to Benin Republic observed: “there are many, many bilateral frameworks within which we can address issues of mutual interests”.
“There are a number of important frameworks for cooperation. And, you would remember that we also have the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project, and Benin Republic have challenges of oil and gas. This means that there are many, many bilateral frameworks within which we can address issues of mutual interests”, Akindele emphasized.
The incumbent topmost Nigerian diplomat in Benin, who attended the joint committee’s fourth session last year, added; “We are now making arrangements to review that session. With that framework, there are so many bilateral agreements that we need to have”.
Hopefully, it would seem that everyone has not gone to sleep, for; according to Ambassador Akindele, “People are already making contributions”. When asked what Akindele would put his finger on as his major contributions, during his tenure as Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic; in the event of his redeployment from his current post, this is what the envoy had to say: “I can assure you that we are working at full-throttle…“So, the legacy I want to leave is an embassy that is efficient and which receives Nigerians with open arms. I’ve told my staff that, where necessary; they must bend over backwards to ensure that Nigerians are in deed comfortable in their own home because this is Nigeria House. I’ve told them to always remember that without Nigerians, we (the embassy staff) have no business being here”.
Referring to encomiums showered on him by Chiefs Emmanuel Uko Elendu and Ebuka Onunkwo, President of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO) and Igbo Union leader in Cotonou respectively, for newfound efforts by Nigerian Embassy Cotonou to protect and defend the rights of their compatriots in the neighbouring country; Ambassador Akindele declared; “And, as President of NIDO and the Igbo Union leader in Cotonou, rightly observed; we have an open-door policy”.
Apparently alluding to criticisms of alleged laissez faire conduct, when called upon to protect the interests of Nigerians in Benin Republic, levelled against the embassy staff in previous years, Akindele remarked: “Contrary to the reputation of the embassy in the past, we want to make sure that we open our doors to all Nigerians. And, if any Nigerian is in dire straits or any difficulty; we shall not shy away from our duty. We shall go headlong and make sure that no matter who steps on the rights of Nigerians, we shall continue to insist and ensure that Nigerians are treated fairly and within the ambit of the law”.
Apart from greater access to the embassy and protection of their interests when necessary, now enjoyed by Nigerians, the embassy has also recorded progress in other areas. Hear the ambassador: “Remember, also, that this embassy manages the Nigerian International School, Cotonou; and, we are raising the standard of that secondary school because many of us had the benefit of attending what could be called ‘top schools’. That, being the case; we are also determined to leave a legacy of an excellent secondary school in the name of Nigerian International Secondary School, whose primary arm is now autonomous and independent of the secondary school section. We have restructured the school and appointed a new principal as well as three vice principals saddled with specific tasks and segments of the school’s activities. We have also engaged a new head teacher and vice head teacher.
“The schools got wonderful results last academic year and they are doing very, very well and we want to sustain that. So, we are working very, very hard to make sure we leave a legacy of excellence in education here. In fact, everybody who is somebody in Nigeria wants their children to come and study here because the students ultimately end up bilingual with sound knowledge of English and French languages. The parents know that the future is multilingualism, so they prefer their children to come and study here.
Until his appointment as Ambassador to Benin Republic, Ilora, Oyo State-born Akindele served at Nigeria’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, where he was in charge of Third Committee Issues, such as Human Rights, Women Rights, Rights of the Child, Rights of people with disability and so on.
By MAURICE ARCHIBONG

Enjoy Akwaaba 2010

World Cup Czar Danny Jordaan, World Bank, 3 foreign ministers, others for Akwaaba 2010

A former president of the Gambia, Sir Dawda Jawara; CEO of FIFA World Cup 2010, Dr Danny Jordaan and Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Prof Zahi Hawass as well as three ministers from Ghana and Gambia are among very important personalities, whose attendance of this year’s edition of Akwaaba African Travel Market; has been confirmed.
This year’s Akwaaba African Travel Market, billed to hold at Eko Hotel New Expo centre in Lagos; will open on 23 October and end on 25 October. However, only exhibitors, invited guests and the organizers will be admitted to the 23 October events’ venue, while the fair will be open to the general public on both 24 and 25 October.
A release signed by Mr. Ikechi Uko, CEO of ATQ and Chairman of the organizing body, described Akwaaba African Travel Market as “the only international travel fair in West Africa”. In the statement, Mr. Uko revealed; “World Bank confirms its participation and intention to use AfTM as a stakeholders’ forum”.
In the same vein, “New York, US-based Africa Travel Association (ATA) will participate at the board level” and “there will be awards for airlines, Travel agents and pioneers at the Award Dinner to be graced by African Ambassadors and the first female airline Captain Irene Mutungi of Kenya Airways”, continued Mr. Uko, who said the Director General of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe OON, will be the Chief Host.
According to the fair’s organisers, “Akwaaba African Travel Market has been designated by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) as the official travel exhibition in Nigeria, and the 2010 edition of the fair, will be the largest gathering of World Class Hotels in West Africa.
“All major international hotel chains and brand hotels that operate in the region are booked to exhibit at this year’s expo. For The Starwood group comprising Sheraton, Meridien and Four Points; it will be their first time as a group joining others like the Protea Group, Golden Tulips, The Legacy Group, The Golden Beach Group, The African Sun Group and The Southern Sun Group”. Also, Eko Hotels, Colonades, African Regents, HSSL, Alisa Hotel, Coconut Groove and Bon Voyage, among other outstanding hotels, have, Uko continued; “all signed up for the biggest global show in West Africa”.
“Over the last 5 years, the AfTM has become the most important travel marketing platform in the (West African) region drawing attendance from over 20 countries, including 12 foreign Airlines and leading African hotel chains. It is open to all as it is “where Africa meets the world”, Uko enthused, adding that “All international Airlines operating in Nigeria, except a few have all signed to participate in the big event including first timers like Lufthansa German Airlines and Afriqqyah Libyan Airlines”. Ethiopian Airlines, he continued, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary at the fair, and the government of Ghana is coming down with a full complement of Tour operators and cultural troupe just as The Gambia repeats it huge campaign started last year”.
This year’s event will feature “My African Travel Experience”, an essay writing competition for school students, and cash prices will be awarded to the best essays, while tickets from Ethiopian Airline, Lufthansa, Afriqyyah and Emirates will be won by lucky visitors to the trade fair.
Ikechi Uko again: “The success of AfTM attracted the presence of the former President of the Gambia Sir Dawda Jawara, the former Secretary General of the British Commonwealth Sir Emeka Anyaoku and the former Vice president of Nigeria, Sir Alex Ekwueme as guests among over 10,000 visitors that attended the event last year. AfTM has become a major fixture in the events calendar for Africa, listed by UNWTO as the only travel event in West Africa. Africa Travel Association (ATA), based in New York, has also signed Akwaaba as its partner event in Africa.
“Akwaaba was admitted this year into the prestigious International Tourism Trade Fair Association (ITTFA) further establishing it as an prestige event in the region. The organizers of Akwaaba are delighted to belong to the well respected and influential group of global exhibitions represented by ITTFA,” declared Mr Uko; who observed; “This membership offers us an opportunity to network, learn and operate amongst shows of the highest standards. It offers us the opportunity to provide our audience with the combined experience of our peers in the association thus bringing to the shores of West Africa global best practices in the exhibition business. Membership of this elite group will further position AfTM as an international event that takes place in Africa, integrating the African Travel practitioners into the global community.”

Photosplash from Nigerian Embassy, Cotonou

Nigerians celebrate Golden Jubilee in Benin Republic

Hundreds of Nigerians living in neighbouring Benin Republic were hosted to a memorable party in commemoration of their nation's 50th independence anniversary by the Nigerian Embassy in Cotonou. 

MAURICE ARCHIBONG, who witnessed the celebrations captured numerous moments for the records.

Amb. Lawrence Akindele (2nd right), Mrs. Vivian Akindele and other dignitaries cutting Nigeria's Golden Jubilee cake at Nigerian Embass in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
Amb. Akindele (R) with Minister 1, Mallam Hassan.
L-R: HE Vivian Akindele with Mrs. Maureen d'Almeida.
L-R: Mrs. Jeanne-Frances Maduakor, Amb. Akindele, Mrs. Nwakego Mazi and Mrs. Akindele.
Above and below: Members of Abia State troupes that thrilled guests during the fiesta.
Alh. Yusuf Salami, President Nigerian Community in Porto Novo; flanked by Yoruba Community Cotonou Chairman, Alh. Ishola Bello (L) and General Secretary Nigerian Community Union, Cotonou, Pa Abdul Lateef Olujobi.
Igbo Union Leader in Benin Republic, Chief Ebuka Onunkwo.
Seriki Hausawa, Alh. Mounirou Garba.
President, Nigerian Community Union Cotonou, Chief Emmanuel Uko Elendu.

Photosplash from World Tourism Day in Abuja.

Tourism and Culture Minister Abubakar Mohammed flanked by Otunba Olusegun Runsewe (L) and Hon. KGB Oguakwa. Below: NTDC directors; Bade Adaralegbe and Ola Makanjuola as well as others dancing to the thrilling sounds of Yinka Ayefele Band.
ATQ Publisher and Akwaaba Travel Fair principal organizer Ikechi Uko (L) with World Bank functionary Richard Sandalls.
Members of a powerful delegation from Kano State Tourism, who were also there.
Pottery wares from Kwali, FCT on display during the observance.
Live display of how your cloth is woven was given on WTD in Abuja.
Interesting wooden sculptures were among numerous items on exhibition and for sale during the festivities.