The naija7wonders.com organisers of the Seven Wonders of Nigeria project held the 9th edition of its Zoom conference on Friday, August 14, 2020.
The show was another interesting package as the line up of speakers spoke about their favourite destinations, unveiling new things about some of the places which had been featured before.
The show kicked off with the host and founder of the Seven Wonders of Nigeria project, Ambassador Ikechi Uko, asking people to stay safe by wearing their masks or face shield in public, so that the Country can beat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Remarking on how the pandemic had grossly affected the tourism industry, Amb. Uko pointed out that it is the first time in about 5 years that for four months in a row that he has not travelled abroad or any where.
He then proceeded to announce the discovery – as it were – of Mpape Crushed Stone lake in Abuja, FCT, commending the swift efforts of members of the Naija 7 Wonders group in Abuja, led by Peace Iyare of Peacefulsky Agency and Namure Erhahon of Brisk Travels who went on a clean-up exercise of the area.
A short video of the clean-up exercise was played afterwards. Paraphrasing the famous words of Frederick Douglas, Amb. Uko pointed out that, “We are the people we are waiting for. Nobody is coming to help us.” In essence, we are the ones to save Nigerian tourism, and we should stop looking for help elsewhere.
Amb. Uko also took time to commend the efforts of several state governments who have already set things in motion to promote domestic tourism in reaction to issues raised in the Past Editions of the Seven Wonders Webinar.
Some of these include: Oyo,Ekiti, Rivers, Enugu. He made it known that soon, the group will be organising a tour to some destinations, starting with Mpape, Abuja by the last week of August.
The first speaker of the day was Frank Ihejirika, reputable travel journalist and current editor and owner of Nigerian Frank News.
Affectionately referred to “Biggie Boy” among his peers, Ihejirika started his presentation with the Ikogosi Warm Springs in Ekiti State – the famous cold and hot springs confluence with both maintaining their thermal properties.
Roughly less than a 5-hr drive from Lagos, the destination has a lush resort that has recently undergone a facelift, courtesy of the state government.It is a great place to hideaway and escape the fast-paced frenetic lifestyle of Lagos.
The property has conference hall, gym, spa and nice restaurant.
The second port of call for Ihejirika was the Inagbe Grand Resort, about 15mins boat ride from Ikoyi and Victoria Island in Lagos.
Describing it as one of a kind in Lagos, Ihejirika enthused about the serene nature of the place, the floating restaurant and other fascinating recreational facilities on the property. He highlighted the Explore Card scheme introduced by the property to ease and simplify booking.
The Explore Card eliminates the need to carry cash about, while clients can earn points. Frank Ihejirika’s third and final destination was the Nike Lake Resort in Enugu State.
The second speaker was Energetic Chichi Umeasiegbu, CEO of Global Links based in Warri, Delta State. Madam Chichi turned the heat up as she brought the famous “Waffi” verve on.
Her first destination was the lush Abraka Turf & Country Club, an exquisite property with picturesque scenery and nice ambience. It is a perfect spot for business retreats, honeymoon and can be used for movie locations.
Her second destination was Ifie Mangrove Park, located behind the refinery in Warri! An enchanting eco-tourism location featuring a Canopy Walkway, a Mini Zoo, and hall of fame detailing the history of the Itsekiris.
There is a tree believed to be over 400 years old at the place, while the there are several medicinal plants and shrubs as well. Also, there is an Apiary for Bee production and the honey produced is pure and unadulterated.
The Obudu Mountain Resort in Cross River got another vote, as it was the next destination discussed by the CEO of Global Links, before returning to Delta State to speak on the River Ethiope, whose origin or source is said to be from a tree, as a narrow trickle, suddenly fanning out and swelling as it rushes along to the Atlantic Ocean.
She also talked about Nana Koko Palace now a Museum not far from Sapele, and made mention of the fact that a host of the Popular comedians on the Nigerian entertainment scene were from Warri and host regular Shows in Town.
Madam Umeasigbu concluded her presentation by affirming that the whole Niger-Delta area is safe, unlike in the past, and suggested creating a circuit in the areas, comprising Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, etc. and even Edo state.
She introduced us to the Home place of ‘Sapele Water’ Home brewed Gin once termed Illicit
The third speaker of the day was the Supervisor for Environment & Tourism under Badagry Local Government Area, Hon. Samson Apata Nunayon.
After the necessary protocols, Hon. Nunayon highlighted the place of Badagry in the annals of Nigerian history, pointing out a couple of ‘firsts’ that were established in the destination, such as: the First Elementary school in Nigeria, which marks the onset of western education in these parts.
He also pointed out that Badagry was where the Union Jack was first hoisted up in Nigeria in 1843. Also, the evolution of western architecture began with the First Storey Building in 1845, while the famous British explorer Richard Lander was tried in a court in Badagry in 1825.
There is also the Agia tree, under which the Christian gospel was first preached.
Hon Nunayon then spoke about the slave route and all the popular attraction that Badagry has been famous for, reiterating what Anago Osho had mentioned the previous week, such as Gberefun as a Peninsula and not an Island, Attenuation Well, from which water is drawn and given to stubborn slaves.
It is believed that once the water is drunk, the person forgets everything. He called for a quick response to Complaints about Road access. He said that Access by Water is very easy while waiting for completion of the Road Project.
The fourth speaker was the jovial national Vice President of FTAN (North Central), John Likita-Best from Plateau State. Taking note of the environment, the inventive Likita-Best made the very clement Jos weather and climate his starting point, after seeing the wife of the host with a hand fan.
In his words, he stated that while one still looks up to the clouds at Obudu Hills in Cross River, in Jos, you look down at them – as he emphasised the elevation of Jos, Plateau State which is the reason for its all-year round clement climate.
As early as the 1900, the Jos-Plateau area had been opened for tourism when the Europeans came to Nigeria and settled. According to Mr. Likita-Best, when the Queen of England, HRM Elizabeth II visited Nigeria in 1956 and came to Jos, she remarked, “This place was built for tourism.”Jos is a mini-Nigeria, and largely virgin.
There is still so much more to see, in spite of all that has been shown to the World, such as the rock formations, waterfalls, hiking trails, crater lakes, etc.
He won high Mark’s for his Sense of humour which laced his Presentation.
There was a brief word from Alhaji Saleh Rabo, the FTAN President who reiterated his support for the Naija7wonders project, before Amb. Ikechi announced again the tour package being put together for Abuja. The package expected to start on August 29, will feature Mpape Crush Stone lake, Katampe Hill and Zuma Golf Resort.
He mentioned that other destinations in the pipeline include, Idere Hill in Oyo, Badagry (Lagos), Obudu (Cross River) and Jos, Plateau State.
Just before the curtain dropped on the show, the National Secretary of FTAN, Precious Okonji announced that the Federal Government has offered to pay staff salary of SME of about 10 staff strength as palliatives to the tourism industry. Companies are expected to send in details of their staff before August 19, 2020.