Fascinating Nigeria Issue 1

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Welcome to the first issue of Fascinating Nigeria, the magazine that celebrates the best of Nigerian art, culture, sports, and entertainment, showcasing the country in all its beauty and versatility.

Welcome to the first issue of Fascinating Nigeria, the magazine that celebrates the best of Nigerian art, culture, sports, and entertainment, showcasing the country in all its beauty and versatility.

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  • 1. Super Carnivals Nigeria’s biggest street parties PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHANGCFR Launches Nigeria’s Centenary Celebrations Discover Nigeria’s Hidden Gems VOL 1 ISSUE 1 2013 CULTURE I TOURISM I ENTERTAINMENT the flag Nigeria’s colours are green and white, as symbolised by the Nigerian flag. This unique design represents the essence of Nigeria – the green for its natural abundance and white for the desire for peace and unity within the country. As each state hosts the Nigerian flag during the Centenary Celebrations, the people of Nigeria can identify with the inherent Nigerianness within all of them. 1 the coat of arms The Coat of Arms is the official stamp of Nigeria as a country. It symbolically represents the country and is found on all official documents, particularly passports that identify the bearer as being Nigerian. As with most national emblems, it originates in the natural world: the white “Y” represents the country’s two main rivers, Niger and Benue, and the black shield its fertile soil. The red eagle symbolises strength and the two white chargers dignity and pride. 2 the national anthem “Arise, O Compatriots” dates from 1978, when it replaced the original anthem instituted in 1960. It is sung to pledge allegiance to the nation as a whole and calls on all Nigerians to love and serve the country and to remember those who fought for its independence and unity. 3 the national pledge The National Pledge is recited immediately after the Anthem and reaffirms a good citizen’s loyalty and faithfulness to Nigeria. It reinforces Nigeria’s unity as a country and as one people, requiring all Nigerians to defend the nation and to honour Nigeria. 4 Nigeria’s national emblems are symbols of the country’s unity.They represent the many facets of Nigeria that have combined to create this giant of African nations. They symbolise the union of many different peoples, faiths and traditions and the belief that Nigerians have in the unity of Nigeria. Their history represents the transition from the old to the new, taking Nigeria forward with hope and confidence into the next 100 years. Nigeria’s National Emblems
  • 2. The National AnthemThe Flag The National PledgeThe Coat of Arms “Arise, O Compatriots” (1978–present) Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey To serve our Fatherland With love and strength and faith. The labour of our heroes past Shall never be in vain, To serve with heart and might One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity. O God of creation Direct our noble cause Guide our leaders right Help our youth the truth to know In love and honesty to grow And living just and true Great lofty heights attain To build a nation where peace And justice reign. The National Pledge of Nigeria is recited immediately after the Anthem: I pledge to Nigeria my country, To be faithful, loyal and honest, To serve Nigeria with all my strength, To defend her unity, And uphold her honour and glory, So help me God. Nigeria’s coat of arms consists of a shield, two wavy bands, two horses, an eagle and plants at the foot of the shield. The black shield represents the rich and fertile earth the country is endowed with, while the wavy bands represent the river Niger and the river Benue, which flow through Nigeria. The two white horses represent dignity and pride, and a common wild Nigerian flower (Costus spectabilis) covers the ground on which the symbols stand, representing the beauty of Nigeria. The wreath is in the national colours (green and white) and the eagle represents strength. The motto of Nigeria “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress” is also cited on the coat of arms. Nigeria’s national anthem is a rousing, patriotic song that evokes the past history and future aspirations of all Nigerians. It glorifies our country and reminds us all that we are one nation, despite our many different cultural backgrounds. The first national song was adopted in October 1960, when Nigeria obtained its independence from the United Kingdom. It was written by Lillian Jean Williams, a British expatriate, and the music was composed by Frances Berda. However, a few years later it was decided that a new song should be composed. And in 1978 a competition for a new anthem was organised. The five winners, John A. Ilechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, B. A. Ogunnaike, Sota Omoigui and P. O. Aderibigbe, were chosen from 1,499 entries. Their lyrics were incorporated into the new anthem and set to music by Benedict Odiase, the Director of Music of the Nigeria Police Band. Created by a Nigerian student Michael Taiwo Akinkumni, this well-loved design was chosen from almost 3000 entries in a competition held to create a new national flag to represent an independent Nigeria. The green stripes represent Nigeria’s agriculture industry and its lush vegetation. The white stripe represents the desire for peace and unity within the country. The Nigerian flag was adopted the same day Nigeria gained independence from Britain on 1 October 1960 and was hoisted for the first time as the Union Flag was lowered.
  • 3. 1www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr The visionary behind Fascinating Nigeria I am delighted to introduce Fascinating Nigeria, a new brand that I have just approved to promote the development of tourism. I believe wholeheartedly in the potential of tourism development in our beautiful country and its vital role in the transformation of Nigeria. Fascinating Nigeria has been developed to capture the essence of our uniqueness. Nigeria is indeed fascinating, and the brand will communicate the riches that lie within our borders, so that not only Nigerians but people from all around the globe will seek out its glories. In the pages of Fascinating Nigeria magazine you will discover all that is amazing about our country. We are a cohesive nation, rich in human resources and uncommon biodiversity. We have a wide variety of cultural offerings and economic opportunities that few countries can boast. We are a united, powerful and prosperous nation and our Centenary offers us the chance to explore and affirm the Nigerian identity. We shall count our blessings as a nation, celebrate our dexterity and resilience as a people and resolve to launch into our next century with renewed determination, hope and expectations. We are one nation – one Fascinating Nigeria. Let us proudly celebrate and share in our nation’s story of freedom, achievements and aspirations and show the world we are – Fascinating.
  • 4. 3www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com A personal word of welcome from Nigeria’s First Lady I should like to add my voice in welcoming you to Fascinating Nigeria. Like everyone in Nigeria I know how spectacular and diverse our country is, but this is not a secret we should keep to ourselves. As Tourism Ambassador for Nigeria I endeavour to promote Nigeria in all its glory to the rest of the world. As you may know, I have been particularly keen to promote the interests of women, especially through the Women for Change and Development Initiative (WCDI). Tourism is one of the ways in which women and young people can earn a living and I have been very focused on making sure these opportunities are recognised. WCDI is training women for the hospitality industry because there will be many new positions as we grow this sector. Women will find they are much in demand and, as we create new leisure destinations, more openings will proliferate. Women are also learning new skills and receiving adult education through my foundation, the A. Aruera Reachout Foundation. It aims to alleviate the suffering of the poor and less privileged in society by empowering the beneficiaries in skills acquisition, as well as offering health services and by subsidising household income. Since these initiatives were launched we have seen many women rise to the top in previously male-dominated circles, most visibly in government. This success can filter down so that every Nigerian woman can have the confidence to succeed in life, providing successfully for her children and achieving career goals – which she can do within the growing tourism environment. As our tourism industry grows, so our national unity will strengthen ever more deeply. Nigerians will demonstrate pride in our nation as international visitors arrive in greater numbers. Here in Nigeria we are fortunate to have fascinating assets, whether cultural, environmental or historical, that can attract many tourists. I look forward to welcoming you to Nigeria to see for yourselves! Her Excellency, Dame (Dr) Patience Goodluck Jonathan, First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria www.aaruerareachoutfoundation.org
  • 5. National Orientation Agency (NOA)
  • 6. NOA was established with the mandate of enlightening Nigerians on government policies, programmes and activities, as well as mobilising public support for them. It is also responsible for re-orientating the attitudes of Nigerians and providing feedback to government on the people’s feelings and reactions towards its policies and activities, thus expanding the space for public input into the government decision-making process. National Orientation Agency (NOA) Block B, Old Federal Secretariat, Area 1, Garki, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory Tel: +234 9 873 3900 www.noa.gov.ng
  • 7. Great Reasons to Visit Abuja ZUMA ROCK Zuma Rock towers over Abuja from the surrounding plains. At 750 metres high it is known as the Gateway to Abuja, as it stands on the edge of the Federal Capital Territory, marking the outer edge of the city limits. It is depicted on the N100 bill and is one of the official wonders of Nigeria.
  • 8. Centre of Unity Admire our innovative architecture: the Presidential Villa, the National Assembly Complex, Abuja Stadium, the National Mosque, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), NNPC Towers, the Abuja Conference Centre and the ECOWAS Secretariat. Explore Aso Rock, Eagle Square, Abuja Zoological Park, Abuja Wonderland and Park, Zuma Rock, Millenium Park, Jabi Lake. Shop in Abuja's Arts & Crafts Village and the Grand Towers Mall. Relax at the Transcorp Hilton, IBB Golf Course and the Silver Bird Cinema. Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide Honourable Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory Senator Bala Mohammed Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory
  • 9. At home in Our Environment Chrome Group is more than oil and gas. Whether it is destination inspection, power, logistics, broadcasting, telecommunications, insurance or oil and gas, we are at home in our terrain. We care about the environment, seeking to make a “green difference”, helping to create a better planet for all: doing well and doing good.GettoknowmoreaboutChromeGroup.Visit:www.thechromegroup.net ChromeG R O U P A Nigerian company with a global perspective BALGL SCANSYTEMSTECHNOLOGYLIMITED Starcrest Nigeria BALGL Scanystems Limited C o m m u n i c a t i o n s L t d . www.thechromegroup.net
  • 10. 10 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com A warm welcome to all citizens and friends of Nigeria. It is a great pleasure to turn the pages of this fascinating magazine and see such diverse places and people, all Nigerian! We are each proud of our own state, glorying in its beauty, traditions and culture. This pride is at the heart of our sense of identity, but we know we are part of a bigger entity too. Nigeria is a magnificent country and we should all take the opportunity to visit as many places as possible, whether in our own state or further afield. While we hope that tourists will come here in great numbers to see our natural wonders and experience our widely varied culture, as Nigerians we are fortunate to have this beauty and culture all around us – let us go out and enjoy it. I should like to add my own welcome to all readers of Fascinating Nigeria. As Senator Ahmed Hassan Barata has so eloquently described, Nigeria is indeed a diverse and dynamic country and it deserves to have a worldwide audience. Fascinating Nigeria magazine skilfully shows us how we can use culture to unite Nigeria and benefit from our diversity. From my own perspective, the sector aims to harness the various and diverse cultural endowments to re-orientate the consciousness of Nigerians and to make us realise that we need each other. Through these pages we can understand the different cultural norms, values, rich traditions and customs of the many ethnic groups in our country. We are indeed fortunate to be Nigerians and to live in such a beautiful country. I look forward to future issues of this fascinating magazine as it reveals more of Nigeria in all its glory. Senator Ahmed Hassan Barata Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture andTourism Hon. Ben Nnebedumchukwu Nwankwo Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Culture andTourism National Assembly Committees onTourism, Culture and National Orientation: Providing Legislative Support 10 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com
  • 11. 11www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Introduction by Chief Edem Duke, Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture & National Orientation F ascinating Nigeria magazine illustrates, communicates and showcases some of the extraordinary attributes of Nigeria, her people and her natural assets. When we think about Nigeria many images, feelings and thoughts go through our minds. Nigeria is like thirty-seven countries in one. We’re perhaps the most culturally diverse nation in the world, and there are so many attributes that make us fascinating. Our country exudes energy and spirit, and has an unbelievable amount of potential, so there can be no better name to describe our “brand” than Fascinating Nigeria. But for all of our glorious attributes, we haven’t yet told our story – and that is why this magazine is so important. Our nation’s youth will see the creative achievements of role models. The world will learn things about our country that they never, ever expected. And everyone will see that Nigeria is ready to take her place on the world stage. By 2050 we will be one of the most populous countries on the planet, and we need to harness our creativity and individuality to make our country the great place it is poised to be. We need to develop the opportunities that lie within our history and our How fascinating is Nigeria! We are blessed with the most beautiful country and vibrant people, and as we approach our Centenary next January I am proud to announce a new initiative to celebrate our uniqueness – Fascinating Nigeria. culture. And this includes showcasing our beautiful landscape – so that we can build world-class resorts for both Nigerians and visitors to enjoy our natural assets. With tourism comes investment opportunities, and I am pleased to note that Nigeria is currently the focus of both big hotel chains and individual boutique hotels. The time has come now to work with local governments to develop the infrastructure for visitors and tourists, and to identify the places they will want to see. We need to let the world know that Nigeria is just as safe as other countries, with a more developed tourist market. The more visitors we attract, the more Nigerians will see the personal benefits that tourism can bring. Sport is a viable tool to encourage tourism and we are looking at ways to make Nigeria an important part of the world sporting itinerary – and create valuable business opportunities from it. Exciting times lie ahead for our country, with new opportunities for all Nigerians. So please feel free to pass this magazine on to your friends and contacts. Show them how fascinating Nigeria is, and encourage them to invest in our future! This will define Nigeria.
  • 12. Contents President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR – The Visionary Behind Fascinating Nigeria...............1 Dame Patience Jonathan – A Warm Welcome from Nigeria’s First Lady..............................................................3 Senator Ahmed Hassan Barata and Hon. Ben Nnebedumchukwu Nwankwo – Welcome the Readers of Fascinating Nigeria...................................................................................................................................10 Introduction by the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture & National Orientation.........................................................................................................................................................................11 Editor’s Welcome......................................................................................................................................................................................................................14 Fascinating Nigeria Interview with Chief Edem Duke, Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture & National Orientation.........................................................................................................................................................................16 President Jonathan gets Centenary Preparations Moving............................................................................................24 Centenary Celebrations – Secretary to the Government of the Federation Discusses the Arrangements......................................................................................................................................................................................28 Centenary Celebrations – At a Glance.........................................................................................................................................................32 Centenary City – The Smart City.........................................................................................................................................................................34 A Century in Pictures .......................................................................................................................................................................................................37 Fascinating Nigeria – Why Nigeria Is So Fascinating................................................................................................................51 Nigeria – Everything Under the Sun..................................................................................................................................................................58 Fascinating Facts – All You Need To Know............................................................................................................................................68 Fascinating Destinations Yankari National Park – Nigeria’s Best-Known Tourist Destination......................................................................70 Taraba’s Natural Treasures – Mambilla Plateau, Ngel Nyaki Forest Reserve and Gashaka Gumti National Park.................................................................................................................................................................................76 Grape Expectations – A Nigerian Wine Industry?........................................................................................................................82 Idanre Hills – A Backpacker’s Dream..............................................................................................................................................................84 Boki Rainforest – A Stunning Display of Biodiversity...............................................................................................................88 Calabar – Nigeria’s First Capital City................................................................................................................................................................94 Carnivals – Traditional Celebrations in Abuja and Lagos................................................................................................ 101 Hotels in Nigeria – Definitely On the Up............................................................................................................................................ 108 Nigerian Food – The Best of Nigerian Cooking............................................................................................................................ 112 Fascinating People Iyanya – Music Maestro............................................................................................................................................................................................... 117 Serena and Venus Williams – Tennis Icons Visit Lagos................................................................................................... 119 Igho Sanomi – Sponsoring Nigeria’s Culture.................................................................................................................................... 122 58 150 222 171 51 94
  • 13. Kola Aluko – Motor Racing Aficionado................................................................................................................................................. 124 Angela Morenike Adebayo – Young and Fascinating......................................................................................................... 126 Chinua Achebe – A Tribute................................................................................................................................................................................... 128 Yinka Shonibare MBE – Artist and Sculptor ..................................................................................................................................... 132 Ruke Amata – Nollywood Director............................................................................................................................................................. 140 Ituen Basi – Fashion Designer............................................................................................................................................................................ 142 Chika Ike – Dressing Nigeria................................................................................................................................................................................ 146 Michelle Ogundehin – Elle Decoration’s Top-Flight Editor......................................................................................... 150 Fascinating Culture The African Artists’ Foundation – Showcasing Nigeria’s Talent.......................................................................... 156 Gidan Makama Museum – Revealing Kano’s Illustrious Past................................................................................... 162 Kalakuta Museum – Remembering Fela Kuti................................................................................................................................ 164 Africa Heritage Group – Saving Nigeria’s Historic Buildings.................................................................................... 166 Return of the Artefacts – Nigeria’s Heritage Pieces Come Home......................................................................... 168 Naija Beats – Nigerian Music Goes Global......................................................................................................................................... 171 Nightlife in Lagos – Hit the Clubs................................................................................................................................................................ 174 Motor Racing – Nigeria’s Racing Eagles Hit the World Circuit................................................................................. 180 Football – Super Eagles – Say No More................................................................................................................................................... 183 Spa Trek – Heaven on Earth in Nigeria.................................................................................................................................................... 188 Ebo Landing – How Africa and America are Helping Slave Descendants Find Their Roots ...... 194 UNESCO – Keeping the History of Slavery Alive....................................................................................................................... 198 Fascinating Events NAFEST – The National Festival for Arts and Culture......................................................................................................... 200 AFAC – The African Arts and Crafts Expo.......................................................................................................................................... 202 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards – The Star-Studded Awards Ceremony.............................. 208 UNWTO – The World Tourism Organisation’s Africa Regional Conference in Calabar........... 214 Emancipation Week – President Jonathan’s Visit to the Caribbean.................................................................... 218 Nigerian Culture Week in Beijing – Bringing Nigeria to China.......................................................................... 222 Fascinating Final Pidgin – Learn to Speak the Lingo................................................................................................................................................................. 226 Travel Supplement Nigerian Do’s and Don’ts ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 234 Healthy Nigeria – Medical Advice Before You Travel........................................................................................................... 238 Airports in Nigeria.......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 240 Airlines in Nigeria............................................................................................................................................................................................................ 242 Car Hire........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 243 Where to Stay – Hotels, Guest Houses and Resorts................................................................................................................. 245 Emergency Services........................................................................................................................................................................................................ 251 208 132 68 188 84 146
  • 14. 14 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Editor’s Letter W elcome to the first issue of Fascinating Nigeria, the magazine that celebrates the best of our wonderful country. There is so much to see and do across Nigeria that it has been hard to know quite where to start in this issue! Next January we celebrate Nigeria’s centenary. Even though our country is only 100 years old, it has established a firm identity – we have celebrated our differences and respected all our traditions to pull together to make Nigeria cohesive, vibrant and strong. The first issue of Fascinating Nigeria takes a look at our country’s proud history through photos. From the early years of transport through to the modern cities that we now take for granted, we examine how Nigeria has evolved, and is poised to become an African powerhouse. We also speak with Nigerians, some of the most industrious, versatile, inspiring and talented people in the world. We examine our music and film scene, our arts and crafts heritage, our sports, museums and social life, and our fashion industry which is currently taking the world by storm. In short, we take a good look at who we are. Our society and culture has been shaped by our stunning landscape, and in this issue we celebrate our most beautiful hidden gems. We bring you pictures and reports from the Boki rainforest, one of the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots, the Yankari Game Reserve, historic Calabar, the Mambilla Plateau and the Idanre Hills. I’m delighted to reveal that Fascinating Nigeria is the brainchild of Chief Edem Duke, the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation. Chief Edem Duke is doing so much to open up Nigeria’s diversity to visitors at home and abroad. After pioneering tourism in his native Cross River State, he is perfectly placed to present Nigeria to the world. In this issue he speaks about his vision for tourism, and how it will contribute greatly to the economy and the development of Nigeria. He discusses his plans to bring this to life and reveals his favourite destinations around the country. This issue explores the Nigerian cultural weeks in Trinidad and Tobago, China and Brazil, and we review the success of the UNWTO meeting in Calabar last year. We also examine the rising hotel industry in Nigeria, in both the business and leisure sectors, and take a trip through our nightlife, restaurants and cultural events. But most importantly of all we look at the planned Centenary celebrations, giving us an exciting preview of how Nigeria will party in January 2014. If you have a favourite place or old photo of Nigeria, we’d love to include them in upcoming issues, so please get in touch. We look forward to taking this journey from the past and into our future together. Enjoy! Funmi Oladeinde-Ogbue Editor-in-Chief
  • 15. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF – Funmi Oladeinde-Ogbue DEPUTY EDITOR – Obebe Ojeifo EDITORIAL DIRECTOR – Sarah Cartledge ASSOCIATE EDITOR – Dr Taiwo Oladokun ASSOCIATE EDITOR – Chika Balogun ASSISTANT EDITOR – Terfa Tilley-Gyado SUB-EDITOR- Hannah Martin CONCEPT AND DESIGN – Steve Bell and Lesley Mitchell CONTRIBUTORS ALKASIM ABDULKADIR DAMI AJAYI PETER AZIZA KIRIEM BELLO VICTOR EHIKHAMENOR LYNN HOUGHTON Lucy Mason CHETA NWANZE YEMISI OGBE MICHELLE OGUNDEHIN DR UGO OKOLI TAMARA THIESSEN SESU TILLEY-GYADO LIZZIE WILLIAMS SARAH WOODS VOL 1 ISSUE 1 2013 Fascinating Nigeria is a publication of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation. Published by Ancorapoint Limited 2nd Floor Berkeley Square House, Mayfair, London, W1J 6BD | 2 Island Way Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos | 13b Dar es Salaam Street, Wuse 2, Abuja info@ancorapoint.com | www.ancorapoint.com Official Magazine of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation NIGERIA FASCINATING CULTURE I TOURISM I ENTERTAINMENT Disclaimer PHOTOGRAPHS: Every effort has been made to trace the copyright holder for photographs used in this publication. They have been reproduced in good faith. If you believe you hold the copyright please contact us at info@ancorapoint.com If you would like to contribute your own pictures for inclusion in the magazine, please either email us at info@ancorapoint.com or visit our Facebook page www.facebook.com/FascinatingNigeriaMagazine 15www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com
  • 16. 16
  • 17. 17www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria P resident Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr believes wholeheartedly in the tourism potential of Nigeria, and with good reason. Nigeria offers a beautiful variety of riches that can be developed to create attractive tourist destinations and provide a much-desired second stream of income for the country. It is vital that Nigeria’s economy diversifies away from its current reliance on oil and gas. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr believes in the potential of our country and is working tirelessly through his Transformation Agenda to grow non-oil sectors. Tourism and culture have been identified as a prime target for this end. The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, has already set in motion many different initiatives within the Tourism Transformation Agenda remit. Here he speaks about the bigger picture and his plans to grow the tourism sector substantially. Fascinating Nigeria is an ambitious concept. Please tell us what you think is most fascinating about our country. Fortunately you can list a hundred and one things that are fascinating and attractive about Nigeria. One, the sheer size of Interview with the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke The head of Nigeria’s tourism ministry discusses the many varied ways Nigeria can promote herself as a tourist destination our country. Two, the dynamism of our youth. Three, the creativity of the people. The achievements of Nigerians in every sphere of human endeavour; the huge size of our market, which makes it a most profitable investment destination in all of Africa; the landscape. Nigeria is thirty six states and a federal capital territory. It’s like thirty seven countries in one. Nigeria is, perhaps, the most culturally diverse country in the world. There are so very many attributes of this country that make us fascinating. Despite its beauty, West Africa traditionally has not been a big tourist destination for international visitors. How do you plan to promote Nigeria as an attractive destination? The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation has a clear mandate to promote tourism and culture from the President within his Transformation Agenda. In line with that we are undertaking programmes and activities geared towards promoting our rich tourism and cultural potential. We are identifying and developing many different opportunities, both at home and abroad. We have had cultural exchanges and visits with China, Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago, and we have participated in tourism fairs in London, Spain, Berlin and
  • 18. 18 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria Dubai. We have had numerous festivals and events here in Nigeria including the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) in Calabar last year, and of course the wonderful carnivals which proudly promote our culture. Do you have a long-term plan in place to achieve a certain number of tourists? Yes, but this involves aligning with other ministries to achieve vital elements such as good infrastructure – roads and hotels for a start – and from there we can grow substantially. Tourism is a labour-intensive sector and there are huge opportunities for employment, but we need to work with the hotel and service industries to train local people to a certain standard. What are the most popular tourist destinations in Nigeria? These would easily be the pristine Obudu Mountain Resort in Cross River state, the Idanre Hills, Yankari Reserve, the Afi Mountain Resort and the slave routes around Badagry and Calabar. In the south east there are some unbelievable caves that you could explore for days on end. And then you can go up to Lokoja, the Confluence City. The Niger and Benue rivers flow through and meet here, making it a prime location for tourist investment. In the south west, we have the Ikogosi Warm Springs – it is a phenomenal thing. In fact, there is hardly any state where you won’t find a unique product; the greatest aspect of our tourism is our culture, which is quite individual and fascinating in each state. Do you plan a big campaign to promote national tourism to Nigerians? Fascinating Nigeria Magazine is part of this big campaign. We have designed it to showcase the best of Nigeria and to encourage all Nigerians to travel around our wonderful country and absorb its special identity. In the last two years, the culture and tourism environment in Nigeria has become increasingly active. It is benefitting from a new enthusiasm by the various state governors who have identified this sector as a major focal point to rally their people and as a platform for unity, as well as a major employment area. Once we raise its profile, there will be growth in our cultural industries as With Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, in Lagos
  • 19. 19www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria well as tourism, with participation by Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora. Other African countries promote their wildlife parks and animals to attract international visitors. Currently Nigeria only has around 25 lions, but plenty of primates and other animals. Would you consider working with international wildlife organisations to promote this aspect, which could generate large revenues? The wildlife parks are under the remit of the Minister of Environment, but obviously there is a crossover as the parks in particular will attract tourists. Additionally, opportunities are available for us to tap into platforms in the private sector, development partners and donor agencies, in order to enhance some of the basic framework in the sector. How will the creative sector (the arts, fashion etc.) generate tourism appeal in Nigeria on the scale of, say, Kenya or South Africa? The creative sector in Nigeria is easily the most dynamic on the continent. The challenge is that we are not capturing the sector’s GDP achievements and contributions as much as we should. In terms of our fashion, Nigerian designers are already in Selfridges and other retail chains around the world. In fact, I have sat with international designers like Roberto Cavalli who have identified the fashion business in Nigeria as being the new frontier globally. Our recording artistes are making music that is resonating even in North America. All over Africa, Nigerian music has become the most popular. Nollywood has grown in leaps and bounds and has redefined the perception of Nigeria and brought a better understanding of our environment. So, when you look at our sector and compare it to Kenya’s or South Africa’s, we’re recording more music, selling more fashion, making more films, but we are not deliberately marketing these or communicating the merits that they are bringing. Nor are we identifying opportunities for them. On the runways of Paris, London, New York and Johannesburg, Nigerian designers are earning recognition. In terms of music, on some of the most important platforms on the continent, Nigerian recording artists are cleaning up the prizes. We need to develop a better strategy to promote, market and disseminate information. During a courtesy visit by the Lebanese Ambassador
  • 20. 20 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria The budget allocation for tourism is currently one of the lowest. Can anything be done to attract more funds? We’re trying to devise unique opportunities for enhancing resources available to us. Yes, it is low, but we’re working very closely with the Ministry of Finance, the FCT, and so on. We’re developing initiatives which will be recording considerable, positive results soon with the Tony Elumelu Foundation. We’re also exploring some of our bilateral agreements with different countries of the world and these will bring enormous value to the sector. What investment opportunities are available in the sector? There are enormous investment opportunities in tourism and culture. First and foremost, hospitality in Nigeria is a very profitable investment area. We do not have enough 5-star hotels. We do not have enough conferencing facilities or convention centres. On average, a decent bed will cost about US$1,000. There’s nowhere else in the world that this happens. When you invest in Nigeria, you’re sure that you’re going to be generating considerable profit. All over the country there are amazing opportunities, not just for 5-star hotels, but even for 3-star hotels. A lot of our natural assets like waterfalls, lakes and beaches are yet to be developed. These are areas where investment is desirable because people would like to visit these places to enjoy their spare time. We have to find ways to work with the local governments to be able to give some incentives to members of the private sector to develop them. Could you specify some objectives for public- private co-operation for boosting tourism? We need to get the buy-in of various stakeholders by promoting our products in both the domestic and international marketplace. We also will begin to look at the possibility of mainstreaming culture and tourism in the educational curricula of our schools and tertiary institutions. Which are the areas of infrastructure that are most critical to achieve high volumes of visitors? Tourism is a valuable economic activity that must fuse with transportation, particularly aviation, and with power, agriculture and, of course, security. Have recent instances of insecurity affected Nigeria as a destination choice for visitors? How can the country be recast in a positive light? Insecurity is an impediment to the enjoyment of tourism in any part of the world. The unfortunate thing is that we have not properly managed the information about insecurity in Nigeria. If something
  • 21. 21www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria happens in Maiduguri, tourists are not able to determine the distance between Maiduguri and say, Lagos, or Abuja, or any other tourism destination. Generally, there’s the impression that bombs are going off everywhere. But from what I have heard, there have hardly been any foreigners who have gone back with a negative perception of Nigeria. This is just a beautiful country. People are warm and hospitable and this has recommended the area to a lot of tourists. The government is working to make sure that incidents of insecurity are dealt with, but when you compare this with the crime rate in places like the United States, the United Kingdom and some parts of Africa, there’s actually nothing to compare. But they have managed the media in such a way that information about those crimes does not blur the values that the nation promotes or offers. We need to do some work in that direction. It is my belief that with the government’s strategy of engaging with security agencies and state governments, it will be addressed in the very near future. Can sport be a viable tool for Nigerian tourism? Of course. We need to host more sporting activities, beyond annual sports events. There is a need for us to host continental and international events in order to accelerate the opportunities for using sport to promote tourism. I’m sure that the Minister of Sports has a strategic plan in that direction. Could you highlight how business can bolster tourism? What steps have been taken towards this end? Business cannot exist in isolation from tourism. Business requires movement from place to place. That decision, made in pursuance of business, that takes you from your primary location, triggers participation in the tourism sector. You would have to seek transportation and accommodation, patronise catering and so on. Nigeria is now seen as a business tourism destination because of the profitability in investing in the Nigerian economy in every sector of endeavour. Tourism provides the ancillary support network for doing business in Nigeria. What benefits will tourism bring to each Nigerian? Nigerians have a fervent love of our country and we want to share that with everyone. The hospitality industry is labour intensive and the sector will provide substantial employment. This will transform the people in the way they perceive themselves and will bolster their self-esteem. It will also stimulate the economy and promote social growth. So every Nigerian, whether he or she works in the industry or is a tourist, will benefit from the promotion of our beautiful country. ■ opposite page, clockwise from left With the Nigerian ambassador to Brazil, Vincent Okoedion; with entertainment impresario Ben Murray Bruce at one of the evening performances of the Abuja Carnival; with the Greek ambassador. below Visiting the Dajo Pottery in Benue State.
  • 22. 22 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria Vision The Vision of the Ministry is to reposition Nigeria as the preferred tourism destination and cultural capital in Sub-Saharan Africa, offering diverse world-class tourism products geared to contribute at least 10% of the Gross Domestic Product through a transformation- driven policy, legislative and regulatory environment that emphasises global competitiveness. Parastatals • National Orientation Agency • National Gallery of Art • National Theatre/National Troupe of Nigeria • Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation • Centre for Black African Arts and Civilization • National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism • National Institute for Cultural Orientation • National Commission for Museums and Monuments • National Council for Arts and Culture Core Mandate TO RE-ORIENTATE NIGERIANS TOWARDS NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN LINE WITH THE TRANSFORMATION AGENDA TO PROMOTE TOURISM AND CULTURE AS A CATALYST FOR FOREIGN INCOME EARNINGS, EMPLOYMENT, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE TO UNDERTAKE PROGRAMMES AND ACTIVITIES GEARED TOWARDS PROMOTING NIGERIA’S RICH TOURISM POTENTIAL AND CULTURAL HERITAGE TO IDENTIFY, DEVELOP AND MARKET NIGERIA’S DIVERSE CULTURAL AND TOURISM OPPORTUNITIES TO IMPLEMENT POLICIES AIMED AT DIVERSIFYING AND GROWING THE ECONOMY Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation Mission To engage with stakeholders to reinvent and reposition Nigerian tourism for the emergence of an integrated, vibrant, globally competitive, skilled, professional private sector-driven industry through strategic international cooperation, investment promotion and a strong, regulatory and cooperative inter-governmental environment that generates employment; to alleviate poverty for sustainable national economic advantage. 1 2 3 4 5
  • 23. 23www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria CHIEF DUKE’S TOP TOURIST ATTRACTIONS n Obudu Mountain Resort n Idanre Hills n Yankari Game Reserve n Afi Mountain Resort n Slave route around Badagry and Calabar n Caves in the south-east n Lokoja – the Confluence City n Ikogosi Warm Springs n Boki Rainforest CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Boki Rainforest; Yankari Game Reserve; caves in the south-east; Idanre Hills.
  • 24. Former President General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd) and Dame Patience Jonathan enjoying the event.  Behind them are President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr with former Heads of State General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and General Abdulsalami Abubakar President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr and Dame Patience Jonathan with former Heads of State General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd), General Abdulsalami Abubakar, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), Shehu Shagari and General Yakubu Gowon, standing with Vice-President Namadi Sambo and Hajiya Amina Sambo President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr with (L-R) former Heads of State General Muhammadu Buhari, (rtd), General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd), General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Shehu Shagari and General Yakubu Gowon. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr with former Head of State General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) listening to the memories of a gentleman born in 1914, the year of the amalgamation
  • 25. 25www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr with former President Shehu Shagari President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr lights the ceremonial flame with former Head of State General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr launches Nigeria’s Centenary Celebrations On 1 January 1914 the Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria were formally amalgamated into one country, and the nation we now know as Nigeria was established. As Nigeria’s centenary approaches, the country is celebrating with a calendar of memorable events to re-inspire the unity of our unique nation. W hile the world grapples with the challenges of globalisation, technology and the economy, our centenary offers the perfect opportunity to focus attention on Nigeria, our history, people, achievements and aspirations for the next 100 years. Nigeria has come a long way over the past century. Our story is one of admirable and remarkable progress – attaining independence, fighting and surviving a civil war and committing to building a stable nation with a strong economy. We are a melting pot of cultures; multiple ethnic nationalities and different religions united as one nation. We are blessed with a vibrant population, a rich geographical landscape and a maturing democracy. Our centenary celebration is an opportunity for us to count
  • 26. 26 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com our blessings as a nation, celebrate our resilience as a people and launch into our second century with determination, hope and increasing expectations. The Centenary Project is a private sector exercise and is largely self-funding. The government is partnering with companies that have the commitment and capacity to organise and manage the project. Through sponsorship and engagement strategies, private sector companies can fly the centenary logo on their products for the duration of the centenary. The celebrations are providing as many as 5,000 jobs directly, and more than 10,000 indirectly. They will also give an economic boost to the hospitality sector and petty traders. The focus of the celebrations The Centenary celebrations signify the beginning of a new chapter for Nigeria. They emphasise our history, identity and unity – one indissoluble Nigeria based on our shared colonial experience, common humanity and national destiny. They will restore hope and celebrate the diversity that marks our distinctiveness. They express our determination to rise above our present challenges to build a strong and united nation that is eager to lead in world affairs. The celebrations will highlight our achievements, successes and progress, and institute legacy projects as a lasting reference for the centenary. They will create job opportunities, boost tourism, ensure enterprise development and endorse the preservation of our history and heritage. They will also encourage environmental awareness and enhance our national image and prestige. The centenary project The Nigerian Centenary Project highlights the central thrust of the celebrations – our resilience and determination to remain together as one nation. Through active participation and the involvement of Nigerians at home and in the diaspora, the Centenary Project is anchored on three pillars: the Enduring Legacy Project, Commemorative Events and the History and Heritage Programme. Dancers welcome the guests to the celebrations Traditional musician Music played a big part in the event
  • 27. 27www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria The Centenary Projects initiative n This private sector initiative focuses on a number of specially selected, needs-driven, socially impacting projects and events in local communities in each state, such as sports, arts, education, health, environment and social assets. n Projects include school laboratories, medical diagnostics centres, crime laboratories, community recreational parks, road shelters, ICT centres and other initiatives. The commemorative events n The official flag-off ceremony provided a grand opening to the year’s celebrations with music, fireworks and special legislative sessions. n Other events include thanksgiving services, exhibitions, symposia, youth and children’s programmes, women- related and physically-challenged programmes, as well as arts events, such as music, fashion, beauty pageants and the Centenary Ball. n Diaspora programmes enable those outside Nigeria to share in the essence of our centenary. n Trade and investment shows showcase Nigeria’s vast trade and economic potential. The history and heritage programme Nigeria is a beautiful mosaic of cultures with a national identity defined by its history and contemporary culture. The arts are fundamental to our existence, drawing our nation’s soul for the world to see. To tell our story, the programme includes art expos, literary festivals, student essay competitions, photo exhibitions from personal archives, festivals and carnivals, a film festival and plays. State events All states in Nigeria have the opportunity to create their own centenary programmes throughout a specified six-month period. Each state is to build a Unity Square in its capital which will be unveiled during the proposed nationwide unity rally. The celebrations will culminate in a flag-off ceremony at the Centenary Expo in Lagos, and a Centenary National Parade at the new Centenary City, and will be rounded off with celebratory fireworks and huge national rejoicing as we go forward into Nigeria’s next century. ■ A big day for such a young singer President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr and Dame Patience Jonathan Hon Minister of Aviation Princess Stella Oduah oon, Hon Minister of Labour and Productivity Chief Emeka Wogu and Hon Minister of Housing, Lands and Urban Development Lady Amal Iyingiala Pepple cfr
  • 28. 28 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com I am very proud of our beautiful country.As a people we are fortunate enough to enjoy its glorious wonders and, as we approach our Centenary as a nation, it is only fitting that we should celebrate our heritage. Nigeria is a beautiful mosaic with a national identity defined by its history and contemporary culture. Our resolve to rebuild can only be informed by a new understanding of our history, the visions of our founding fathers and the promise of the nation we can become. President Goodluck Jonathan has created a vision for Nigeria with his Transformation Agenda that will revitalise our country.With his wife Dame Patience, herself the foremost Tourism Ambassador, he is leading us with confidence into the future. The Centenary Celebrations hold the promise of this future greatness.As Nigeria stands poised to become one of the greatest nations on earth, even by the middle of this century, we must stand together to realise our potential.The Centenary projects are designed to show our greatness in all areas and to reinspire the unity of Nigeria. We are one indissoluble Nigeria and we should celebrate our diversity in culture and the distinctiveness of our vibrant population. We are a united and progressive nation, eager to lead in world affairs. In the run-up to January 2014, I urge you to seek out all that is best in our nation and tell the world. I urge you join in the Centenary Celebrations wholeheartedly and rejoice in our nationhood. OUR FASCINATING NIGERIA Interview with Anyim Pius Anyim As Nigeria looks forward to a packed year of exciting activities to celebrate the country’s glorious centenary, we speak to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to find out what the government has planned – and how it will benefit the country. What role are you and this office playing in the Centenary Celebrations and the Centenary Project? National celebrations are usually co-ordinated by this office, and the Centenary Celebration is no exception. Fifty years ago the nation celebrated our half century, and those celebrations too were organised from here. The difference last time though, was that the celebrations were sponsored by the government, while this time they are being sponsored by the private sector. The companies involved will need to see value for money, so the arrangements and the organisation have to take a different shape this time, too. We have already met with investors in the Centenary City and started the process of government disengagement. Our role has been to identify the programme, set out the policy direction and agree on the length and breadth of the programme – then we hand over to the event managers to co-ordinate. How will the Centenary Celebrations differ from 50 years ago? It may not be as colourful, but every activity in the Centenary Celebrations has a point – no activities are planned to simply attract attention. Most have a target to achieve or have a certain policy direction such as the programme for Labour Day. Take, for example, the programme commemorating 100 years of the Nigerian woman. It’s not just for Nigerian women to come and celebrate; we have two major targets to achieve. The first is for Nigerian The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, outlines the events leading up to the Centenary Celebrations. fascinating nigeria
  • 29. 29www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating nigeria 29www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com women to produce their own report – the Nigeria Country Report on Women should be a standard document that can fit anywhere in the world as the basic country report on women in Nigeria in the last 100 years. The second aim is to increase the involvement of women in politics. Many people aren’t yet aware that the President has exceeded the aim of 35% representation of women in his government. Now he is setting a new target of 50/50 by 2020; only the President can do that. This celebration is planned to span an entire year, unlike the previous celebration. The idea is not that people leave their jobs and take to the streets in celebration. Instead every event has a target, a purpose, and we are careful about hitting that target. So the key difference may be in the arrangement. This time there will not be as much colour but there will be a touch of class, and by the time we’ve finished, the government will gain from it, rather than carrying liabilities. “Nigeria is a beautiful mosaic with a national identity defined by its history and contemporary culture.Our resolve to rebuild can only be informed by a new understanding of our history, the visions of our founding fathers and the promise of the nation we can become.” How will the celebrations be funded and what has been the process for funding the Centenary City so far? We have two arms of the celebration – the legacy projects and the events. We fund the events from the marketing that generates money. The legacy projects are sponsored, but the Centenary City will be funded from investments. To ensure value for money, if you sponsor a project you may have an advert on it for about 10 years. The government is not going to invest in Centenary City, it will be solely private sector. As such, the private sector should organise themselves to drive it, although we have facilitated the titles to the land. We have already appointed legal and consulting firms. The process was started at the investment meeting with lawyers, international accounting firms and businesses. This marked the beginning of government withdrawal, because the lawyers and consulting firms would gradually take over from us. We made a capital call and set a benchmark. The lowest investment was $250,000 and the maximum was $5 million. The total sum we were able to raise was about $130 million. Many people never believed we could do this.
  • 30. 30 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating nigeria Does the investment give any special advantage in the City? No it doesn’t, but then the idea is that in the next one or two years the City’s stock will be listed on the London Stock Exchange. That alone is an investment that you can take anywhere, and that is why we are adopting the transferring process; more than 50% of the investing companies are foreign. How will other areas of the private sector benefit from funding projects? The idea is that each programme should be self-accounted. We don’t want anybody to simply donate money, instead we want them to invest their money into something that will generate a return. As an example, Dangote sponsored the documentary that was screened during the flag-off, and two weeks ago about 10,000 viewers had watched that documentary on YouTube and saw the Dangote logo. We are not going to ask anybody to donate a single kobo to our programme. If you are putting in money, we will agree on what you are going to get in return for that investment. This ensures that we won’t need to give any special currency to anybody and, unlike last time, we will not be left with liabilities to clear. Will there be a Centenary Lottery? Yes, we intend to run a centenary lottery. We have an understanding with the Lottery Commission, but we will not run any programme that does not raise the funding outside government. That is why we plan ahead; the whole idea is to have enough time to raise the money. We have already appointed a marketing company, so soon we will see the adverts and billboards coming out. Will the marketing reach out to the masses so they get a feel for the importance of the occasion? Yes, it will. I received a proposal recently from a Nollywood group that are proposing a centenary movie, with the theme of peace and harmony. They plan to shoot in communities so we are considering it, and if it is approved we can raise the funding from a sponsor. What will the people gain from it? We are working on a very elaborate programme for youths that will capture the idea of job creation. Initially, as part of the preparation for 50/50 2020, we are setting up a fund for educating orphaned Nigerian girls, who won’t be allowed to leave school until they are 18. Legislation will also make it a criminal offence for any parent to allow a girl under the age of 18 to not attend school. For the following youth programme, we will develop a programme that will address their specific needs. Are there any specific plans to involve the Nigerian Diaspora who have contributed considerably to the development of their communities outside the country? We have a number of Diaspora programmes, and even in the city we have a space for a Diaspora centre. We have activities that will be organised outside the country, but we don’t yet have any fully developed Diaspora programmes. In addition to the Diaspora programme we have international events that already have been funded, and we have international concepts that we will hold in cities around the world.
  • 31. 31www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating nigeria Who is the visionary behind this whole concept? The visionary is President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr – he called me one day and asked me to start preparing early for the Centenary Celebrations, so I assembled the committee that created the first concept, which we took to Council. Everybody contributed their input and the Council approved it. The President feels incredibly passionately about this project and has had considerable input in it. He’s the major driver behind the project and talks about it wherever he travels around the world. We are just doing what we should do to get it going. Is there any concerted effort to involve Nigeria’s local media? Yes, there is, although it’s a little different from what they’re used to. Before we flagged off we briefed every stakeholder, from the Federal Executive Council to the International Economic Council where the governors meet. Then we went to the Nigerian Labour Congress and the National Assembly and we took time to brief the Senate and the House of Representatives. Then we approached the organised private sector with a huge programme in legacy, and also got the buy-in from Nollywood before briefing the media in two segments in Lagos. Finally, prior to the flag-off, we invited the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria to a dinner and asked them to partner with us. Every television and radio station covered the event live without any cost to us. Now we are setting up our office for the Centenary, and we hope that we will have an arm of it for the media. A lot of thought goes into everything we do. We are not limited to our offices and can look outside for sponsors and to get the service we want. Since May we have started a number of activities to get the celebrations under way. Our marketers are still working out their strategy. Earlier in the year the President invited all CEOs and chief executives of privately-owned companies in Nigeria to a dinner to emphasise that they need to be involved in the Centenary Celebrations. With all the work that is being undertaken this year, I am confident that the Centenary Celebrations and the Centenary Project will be a resounding success. ■
  • 32. 32 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating nigeria CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS FEBRUARY – MARCH 2013 n Ground-breaking ceremony of the Centenary City/Abuja Unity Square n States unveil their individual programmes for the Centenary Celebration programmes n International Women’s Day APRIL – MAY 2013 n Democracy Day Celebration – Centenary Special n Symposium (Nigeria in History: Milestones & Challenges) n Recognition of Heritage Sites (sites that have played a key role in the history of Nigeria) n Novelty Match n Labour Day Celebration – Centenary Special n World Press Freedom Day JUNE 2013 n The President launches Dress Nigeria Day n Nigerian Fashion Show n Flag-off National Essay Competition n World Environment Day JULY 2013 n 100 Years of Nigerian Music n International Centenary Concerts n Celebration of Broadcasting in Nigeria n International Justice Day (100 Years of the Nigerian Judiciary) AUGUST 2013 n Youth Day Celebration – Centenary Special (NYSC in Focus) n Beauty Pageant – Centenary Edition n Diaspora Events SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER 2013 n Unity Rallies in all the States of the Federation (to be concluded with the Grande Finale in Abuja in December 2013) n 100 Years of Nigerian Theatre and Films n World Tourism Day: National Centenary Tourism Summit n 100 Years of Nigeria Literature/Arts & Crafts Exhibitions OCTOBER 2013 n INDEPENDENCE DAY – CENTENARY YEAR SPECIAL n National Honours Awards – Centenary Special n State Dinner n International Day for the Eradication of Poverty n World Food Day NOVEMBER 2013 n Exhibitions by MDAs n World Television Day DECEMBER 2013 n Special Centenary Legislative Session n People Living with Physical Challenges – Support Programmes n National Carnivals – Centenary Special (established carnivals to be adopted) n Programme with Traditional/Religious Leaders n Dinner with Former Presidents and Heads of State JANUARY 2014 – GRAND CELEBRATION n Presidential Centenary Broadcast n Special Parades (callisthenics displays, etc.) n Special Centenary Prayers (Christian/Muslim) n Special Centenary Concert in Abuja to close the Centenary Celebrations n Centenary Dinner n Book presentation: Milestones in Nigerian History n Centenary Awards/Recognitions at a glance
  • 33. Centenary City NIGERIA’S “SMART CITY” Out of Nigeria’s glorious Centenary celebrations, a major legacy will be created – the development of Centenary City. Built from scratch along Airport Road in Abuja, Centenary City will be the second-largest private city development in history, and signals a new national economic awakening. 34 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com
  • 34. 35www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating nigeria C entenary City will promote world-class multinational and domestic businesses in a planned environment that will encourage business and trade in the 21st century. Around 100,000 people will live in the new city, with a further 500,000 expected to pass through it daily. In a concerted effort to boost trade and investment in Nigeria, and following the success of Dubai, Monaco, Shenzhen, Singapore and Songdo, Centenary City will incorporate a free trade zone, duty free regime, tax holidays and non-regulated banking services. According to Nigeria’s Minister of Information Labaran Maku, at least 16 private sector companies will invest around $4 billion in the development of 10 districts in the city. The Federal Government will provide the land in the FCT and agree the design, but will have no further input. The concept of Centenary City is exciting and far-reaching. The aim is to synchronise the demands of today’s society with the expectations of tomorrow, and allow the city to develop in a sustainable, ecologically and socially responsible manner. As well as signposting the Nigeria of the future, Centenary City is designed to be a centre for the preservation of Nigeria’s political history, and the documentation of the country’s contributions to the political, cultural and economic development of Africa. Centenary City will be beautiful, merging the natural landscape with great architecture, and creating an environment that is alive and productive. It will be a green city with a natural buffer that envelops the entire conurbation, and will include a central park to provide a green spirit to give clarity and iconic power to the city centre. While flexible topographies will create a flowing and vibrant city, Centenary City will be formed around an urban grid that is modular and organic, with an efficient traffic system where people and transport can co-exist successfully. Public areas will feature a prominent cultural core, with symbols of Nigeria’s unity and strength, and the commercial centre will boast the latest in office architecture, exotic hotels, shopping malls, convention centres, theatres and cinemas. Elegant high-rise apartment blocks will mix with family houses, served by schools and a university campus, health centres and theme parks. Sport will also be given great prominence (there is already an offer of sponsorship for an Institute of Sport that will
  • 35. 36 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating nigeria include a mini stadium and signature golf course). A modern sports hospital will provide cutting-edge sports medicine and diagnostic tools, and plans are being made for it to perform double bundle arthroscopic posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (knee surgery), with a view to attracting medical tourism to the city. The city will benefit from a constant power supply, with a gas-fired 500 MW power plant connected directly to a gas terminal. Water management will ensure that 60% of water will be recycled, and waste will be reduced as close to zero as possible. Domestic waste will be used to create nutrient-rich soil fertiliser, or incinerated as an additional power source. As a preferred destination for multinational and domestic businesses, it is expected that the top corporate bodies in Nigeria will have a major presence in the city. Federal and Presidential presence Centenary City isn’t the only major construction planned to celebrate Nigeria’s centenary. Visitors to Abuja will be welcomed by a new Abuja City Gate (expected to become a major tourist attraction in its own right), a new ceremonial arcade will be built in Eagle Square for government ceremonies and activities, and a presidential retreat is planned as an alternative operational base for the president. The Presidential Archives will house the history of Nigeria’s political development and the contributions of the country’s presidents, while the Institute of Federalism in the University Campus will become a world-class institution for the preservation of Nigeria’s political history. With its outstanding infrastructure and secured business environment it is expected that Centenary City will become a popular business and tourist destination by the end of its planned five-year development cycle. The city will demonstrate the harmony between nature and the work of man, and set an ideal example for the future of urban development in Nigeria – reinforcing the nation’s collective destiny for the next 100 years. ■ PREVIOUS PAGE A view of Dubai at night ABOVE Singapore’s Central Business District www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com
  • 36. Centuryin pictures A Front view Government House, Lagos. Marina Street waterfront shops Lagos, 1925.
  • 37. 38 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria Nigerians in trenches, at the battle of Mahiya (1919). Source – Nigerians in German East Africa. Tin worker carriers crossing a swamp (1914). City of Kano. Aerial photo taken in 1930 by Swiss pilot photographer Walter Mittelholzer. Murtala Muhammed international airport, Lagos, 1970s. Burial custom in Igbariam, Eastern Nigeria, 1913.
  • 38. 39www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria King's College, Lagos (circa 1910), a boys-only secondary school Construction of the Port Harcourt-Kaduna railway in the 1930s. Yam market at Iddo, Lagos, 1910. A very young Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, the late Justice (Sir) Adetokunbo Ademola and Chief Obafemi Awolowo on Her Majesty's trip to Nigeria in 1956
  • 39. 40 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria  Classes for children in the street, Ibadan, 1970.  Enda Park. An Itsekiri woman, born and raised in Lagos (pictured) was the first Miss Nigeria at the Miss Universe contest, in the 1964 pageant held in Miami, Florida. Tinubu Square, LagosKano Airport, 1950s.
  • 40. 41www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria Lagos, 1960. Aerial view of Lagos, 1960s.
  • 41. 42 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Sugar cane seller, 1930s. Oba Afunbiowo Adesida I meeting the Queen, 1956.  Lagos during Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Nigeria, 1956. View of Paterson and Zochonis’ Factory & House on the Marina, Lagos. This photo was taken on Coronation Day, 1912.  Opening of Nigeria Constitutional Conference, 1958.
  • 42. 43 Fascinating nigeria Tinubu square at night, Lagos, 1967. His Majesty the Oba of Benin, Akenzua II, at his desk in the palace of Benin. Groundnuts transport by rail, Northern Nigeria, 1930s. Feb 1956 Queen Elizabeth II meets His Majesty the Oba of Benin at the Benin Aerodrome.
  • 43. 44 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria Installation of the Sultan of Sokoto Attahiru II, 1903. Burial ceremony of late Chief Coco Ota Bassey, Calabar, 1910s.
  • 44. 45www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria Catholic mission, Asaba, Southern Nigeria, 1900s. The Sariki of Geidam, Northern Nigeria, returning from Zaria with followers, 1910. The Emir of Katsina Muhammad Dikko dan Gidado and Guards, Katsina, 1909. Queen Elizabeth II inspects the Guard of Honour, Enugu, Eastern Nigeria, 1956. A British expeditionary officer interviewing a chief, 1901.
  • 45. 46 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria Abirimagia Masquerade, Buguma, Nigeria, 1944. King Duke IX of Old Calabar, 1895. A day school at Jen, Taraba, 1950s.
  • 46. 47www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria Sir Ahmadu Bello (right) with the Emir of Kano Sir Muhammadu Sanusi, late 1950s.  15th anniversary of T.A. Oni & Sons Ltd 1961. The contemporary Yoruba Kings: Oba Adeniji Adele of Lagos (middle) with the later Olubadan of Ibadan Oba Yesufu Oloyede Asanike (extreme left – perhaps a regional Chief at that time) and Alake of Abeokuta Oba Adetokunbo Ademola (extreme right). Circa 1950.
  • 47. 48 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria Aerial view of the University of Lagos Staff Quarters, 1972. The Club, Lagos, 1910s. Sailors' house, old treasury and Empire day celebrations, Lagos, 1910s.
  • 48. 49www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating nigeria  The Emir of Kano Alhaji (Dr) Ado Bayero when he was a policeman in the late 50s. Marina, Lagos, 1910s.  Government Secondary School, Afikpo, 1966. 1930 photo of Sultan Shehu Sanda Kyarimi’s Borno guards. Peatwal Junior Primary School, Kano, 1960. Fishermen casting off a boat into the Atlantic Ocean, c1920
  • 49. fascinating NIGERIA
  • 50. 52 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Ever wondered what makes Nigeria such a fascinating nation? We celebrate the great, bizarre, weird and wonderful in this multi-creed country – from its key role in global peacekeeping, world-class soccer team and commendable history of press freedom, to its love of rhetoric, aversion to punctuality and fanatical passion for comedic self-criticism that borders on a national sport. W ith a political history that unfolds like an espionage thriller, Nigeria is a bewildering paradox with more compelling twists and turns than a Bisi Daniels plot. Nigeria has the potential to be Africa’s powerhouse, yet remains so bound by red tape that the simplest transaction becomes a constipated bureaucratic bottleneck. It is the 6th- largest producer of crude oil on the planet, so why does Nigeria still import petrol and kerosene to power its cars and cooking stoves? Some of the finest award-winning athletic specimens on the planet are Nigerian – so why does the nation encourage obesity, and all the serious health risks it brings, as a sign of good living and wealth? Writer Chinua Achebe famously summed up his own internal conflict by declaring his love for Nigeria, saying, “Being a Nigerian is abysmally frustrating and unbelievably exciting…in my next reincarnation, I want to come back as a Nigerian again.” Many will identify with this complex mishmash of emotions when debating their homeland. We adore it, it maddens us, it inspires us, it disappoints us: we are critical, we are informed, we are proud citizens and its harshest judges – so let’s talk. We are well oiled As the largest oil producer in Africa, Nigeria’s pipelines spew out over 2.4 million barrels per day – a mind-boggling quantity. We are also pretty proud of
  • 51. 53www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria our other “black stuff” – Guinness. Since 1962, we have brewed Guinness using sorghum as opposed to barley to give it the bitter thirst-quenching taste we crave. Apparently, we sup more of the famous froth-topped stout than in the Emerald Isle itself – extraordinary when you consider 50% of our population is non-drinking Muslim. We give peace a chance Since joining the United Nations in 1960 our work in international peacekeeping has been rightly deserving of Nigerian pride. We have consistently committed ourselves to the cause of peacekeeping and peacemaking, sending troops in to Congo to participate in the UN peace mission just hours after gaining independence. Today, Nigeria leads the world in global peacekeeping, contributing 6,500 troops to over 20 international operations in places such as Bosnia & Herzegovina, Iraq, Kuwait, Western Sahara, Liberia, Angola and Rwanda – more than any other nation worldwide. We talk the talk Nigeria should also be praised for its ability to juggle a zillion languages. While English is the main tongue, an additional 520 lingos are spoken together with well over 4,000 dialects – not to mention a bewildering use of regional slang that can border on a secret code. We load our conversation with rhetorical questions as a statement to assert a point. However, unlike other nations, we also enjoy answering rhetorical questions. So, don’t say to us, “I mean, can you imagine?” because we will most probably reply with, “What? Imagine what?” A hilarious, if exasperating exchange. We are musical maestros Our music dominates the African continent – everyone in Nigeria is a musician, or wants to be one. The industry is a goldmine, with an estimated 1,200 concerts and shows each year accounting for a combined annual turnover of US$105.5 million. Record sales have more than tripled in the past five years, averaging 10 million in 2005 and rising to an estimated 30 million in 2008 – imagine what it could achieve without an accepted culture of piracy?
  • 52. 54 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com We respect our elders Another source of Nigerian pride is our societal values, and I am often reminded that the respect we afford to our elders is the envy of many countries worldwide. A surviving practice of respect remains a central tenet of life throughout the country. Age is valued for the wisdom it represents and all older people are greeted and spoken to with great reverence. We are fertile and populous Nigeria has undergone a population explosion over the last 50 years, quadrupling the number of Nigerians. In fact, we are so populous it is almost impossible for the Nigerian government to estimate, despite the 2006 census that put the population at 140m, and guesstimates of 160m could well be tens of millions out. UN figures suggest the population of Nigeria will reach 390 million by 2050 – and a staggering 730 million by 2100. Seeing double? It’s hardly surprising, as Nigeria has the highest rate of twin births in the world. Igbo Ora, a sleepy town in south-west Nigeria, lies at the heart of the twin zone. More twins are born here than anywhere else on earth – a result of a yam-rich diet, according to at least one study. Lonely? Not us You’ll never be lonely in Nigeria. Our social life and depth of interaction is much richer in Nigeria than many Western societies. Indeed, loneliness is a word that most Nigerians would struggle to comprehend in communities where doors are always open, drivers stop to offer lifts and families always set extra places for dinner. We chat at bus stops, share a joke at the market and enquire after the health of our colleagues. Nigerians are also quick to help out people in need – and of that we should be proud. We are resourceful and inventive Ingenuity? Nigerians have this in truck loads. We can get anything working with a bit of tinkering, and can customise all sorts of stuff with ease. We keep old wire coat-hangers, fruit boxes, newspapers, string, cycle wheels, nails, screws and a hammer handy – just in case. In a newspaper recently, I read about a guy in Maiduguri who built a working helicopter from scrap. I also hear that someone in Lagos built a replica Peugeot from garden canes – little wonder that membership of the Nigerian Association of Inventors is on an upward trajectory. We excel at sports Our sporting prowess is legendary and Nigeria has won a huge tally of trophies as an international force across a number of disciplines, including athletics, soccer, boxing, tennis and golf. We’ve won dozens of medals at numerous Olympics, CAF, African Cup and Commonwealth Games – to name just a few. In February this year, tens of thousands of us soccer- mad Nigerians lined the streets of Abuja to welcome the Super Eagles back home clasping the African Nations Cup – for third time. We have a vibrant media With a huge variety of national and local newspapers and magazines, we have one of the world’s largest newspaper sectors. Our constitution supports freedom of speech – and our government generally respects this. Our journalists are often great champions of deserving causes who shout loud at injustice and challenge political shenanigans. Compared to many of our African neighbours, our media sector is more mature, much more established and more respected. We make world-class flicks The Nigerian film industry – rumoured to have been first labelled ‘Nollywood’ by GeorgeOsodi
  • 53. 55www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria a writer for the New York Times in 2002 – is second largest in the world based on production. With the average spend on each movie around US$ 25,000, our film industry is the fourth-largest economic sector in Nigeria, equating to 5% of GDP, generating a colossal $500 million. We are well connected According to a report published by the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB), of the 650 million mobile subscribers in 2012 in Africa, Nigeria leads the way with a staggering 100 million subscribers. By 2020, this figure will have soared to a whopping 169 million with cell phones accounting for over half of all web traffic in Nigeria (57.9%). We are funny We are well known around the world for our unfailing ability to always see the funny side of life, even in the most calamitous of situations. We giggle, chortle and chuckle more than any of our African neighbours, according to studies. Seeing the humour in things is a great resource as it helps us to cope with difficulties. It is also a great aid in managing stress. We are skilled in joking about politicians and the frustrating, irritating and maddening things people in power do. We tease our friends, rib our colleagues and quip with strangers. We are also adept at laughing at ourselves. Generous reserves of stoicism can give Nigerians the edge when optimism is called for. Jokes, like those about power cuts and fuel queues, offer laughter when there is little to be sunny about. Example: A man dies and goes to hell. Once there, he finds that there is a different hell for each country, so he tries to seek out the least painful one. At the door to German Hell, he is told: “First they put you in an electric chair for an hour. Then they lay you on a bed of nails for another hour. Then the German devil comes in and whips you for the rest of the day.” He does not like the sound of that, so he checks out American Hell, Russian Hell and many more. They are all similarly gruesome. However, at Nigerian Hell a long line of people is waiting to get in. Amazed, he asks, “What do they do here?” He is told: “First they put you in an electric chair for an hour. Then they lay you on a bed of nails for another hour. Then the Nigerian devil comes in and whips you for the rest of the day.” “But that’s the same as the others,” says the man. “Why are so many people waiting to get in?” “Because of the power cuts, the electric chair does not work. The nails were paid for but never supplied, so the bed is comfortable. And the Nigerian devil used to be a civil servant, so he comes in, signs his time sheet and goes back home for private business.” We know how to party Even though we are sure to arrive late, parties in Nigeria are well attended. And with our loud, booming voices, raucous music and plentiful supply of stories, food and drink – a good time is guaranteed. We celebrate everything and anything. Always. Be it the birth of a baby, a death of an elder or something random like a 37th birthday. We dress up to the nines, often changing our clothes several times throughout the party. We have a cake. We dance until breakfast time. Just one thing to bear in mind, though – when you invite a Nigerian to a party, expect him to bring an army of friends and his food – one very good reason why we always cater for 300 people. Time to do better When it comes to being punctual, we know we could do better. Keeping to time is not a part of Nigerian culture. Yes, we accept that punctuality increases productivity but we just can’t watch the clock. People wonder how the business world survives in a continent that rarely keeps appointment times. In truth, many of us wish that wheels would turn faster – for “African time” impacts education, homebuilding, contract decisions, parcel delivery and all crucial deadlines. Punctuality is the soul of business. Time, as they say, really is money. Well done those Nigerian businesses that reward good time- keeping. In Nigeria, we do business in a leisurely manner. ■
  • 54. 56 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com A Marvellous Country – Nigeria M y next door neighbours back home in Benin have a daughter called Marvellous. It seemed strange to me when I first heard the name, for my neighbours aren’t rich people. Their family is squeezed into a cramped, one-room apartment and they rise at 4am every day to start work. And yet, however hard their life now, they chose to give their daughter a name filled with hope and joy – and the optimism of a wonderful life. And that to me represents Nigeria. As hard as life may be for some people, as a nation we are filled with hope and joy – and the optimistic belief that, despite everything, life really is marvellous. You only need to look around at our amazing country to see that they have a point. Our stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage is attracting tourists in their droves, as well as the attention of large international and small boutique hotel chains. We even have our very own sporting heroes to by Victor Ehikhamenor
  • 55. 57www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria worship, thanks to our recent win in the African Cup of Nations Tournament in South Africa. Like many supporters, I enthusiastically cheered our team on from day one – my heart in my mouth in the times when I thought they couldn’t go further. I prayed to God, I prayed in church, I even prayed on Twitter that we’d go the distance! It wasn’t until the final whistle blew that I realised I really have no other country but Nigeria, and the earlier we all start loving it, the better. And it seems we have already started to. The recent AFCON win changed the mood of our nation overnight, making us all worshippers of “Nigerianness” again. The really great thing about football is that it transcends social class. Your bus conductor is just as likely to support the Super Eagles as the CEO of a multinational company. Even the President of Nigeria himself is a fan! And I’m proud of belonging to a country where differences can be set aside, with the right game mind. As our AFCON win proves, Nigeria is a country built on dreams. And slowly we are seeing them come true. Already Nigerians have risen from abject poverty to extreme wealth, proving true the inscriptions you see on lorries around the country “No condition is permanent”. One day a Nigerian can struggle to feed his family. The next moment a chance meeting of the right “man” can suddenly change everything for the best. “Come to Nigeria and be saved” should be our message to the world. As a country we love God, and religion flows through our veins. While, like every country, we have a few bad eggs, as a whole we’re a nation that cares. Our churches have filled the gap in our social-welfare needs, taking care of the needy among us. So it’s no surprise that Nigerians proudly declare themselves the most church-going people in the world (we certainly have more churches than most, if not all, countries). And most importantly, in Nigeria you are able to worship freely. Growing up in Nigeria makes you tough when you need to be, and able to compete anywhere in the world. As they say on the streets here, “Nigeria nor dey carry last” If you study abroad, don’t be surprised if your fellow classmates can’t match your intelligence – in Nigeria you have been trained to use the most meagre resources to survive. Nigerians are a resilient people who don’t take no for an answer. We’re competitive and don’t like to be beaten in anything we do. In my field of visual art and literature, there is no world prize worth its onions that we have not won, from Nobel Prize to Orange Prize and Turner Prize. In fact, you name a field and you can bet that somewhere or other there’s a prize- winning Nigerian resting on their laurels. When you think of just how many of us there are, it’s almost no surprise that there are so many noteworthy Nigerians. One in four of all black people is Nigerian, and it’s estimated that by 2050 we’ll be the 4th-most populous country in the world. This strength in numbers can only work in our favour – helping us achieve our aim of transforming our fortunes and being among the top 20 economies in the world. Already some of the wealthiest people in Africa are Nigerian, and our economy is the second-largest in Africa, after South Africa. When it comes to wealth, Nigeria’s greatest riches are the gifts bestowed on us by Mother Nature. I recently had the privilege of working with Dayo Adedayo, a photographer who has travelled the length and breadth of Nigeria. Adedayo observed during his travels that every state in Nigeria has at least one stunning natural tourist attraction. We also have an amazingly rich and diverse culture for our lucky tourists to explore. Indeed, there’s no reason for any visitor to our country to get bored. We have hundreds of sites and tourist attractions to discover, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Our modern day culture and traditions are just as thrilling as our historic relics. Nigeria has produced a mind-boggling number of respected musicians, creating a new soundscape with the ever-growing music industry in Africa. To be Nigerian is to enjoy the dynamic mix of talented musicians who are taking over the world stage – from the Afrobeat legend Fela, to newer legends like TuFace Idibia. Our movie industry, globally known as Nollywood, is the second-largest in the world based on production, too. It’s official, we make more films than Hollywood! So while the rest of the world dreams of making it big in the movies, Nigerians are out there doing it. And what a perfectly fitting way to end my story. For you see, to me Nollywood, just like my neighbours’ daughter, epitomises everything that is great about Nigeria. It doesn’t matter to us how hard our life is now, or what we don’t have. Our bodies may be waking at 4am to start a long working day, but our hearts are flying high with hope, ambition and optimism. We dream big and we work to make those dreams come true. And that, I believe, is truly marvellous. ■
  • 56. NIGERIAeverything under the sun Lagos Architecture, by Kelechi Amadi-Obi 58
  • 57. T ucked away in the inner curve of West Africa, surrounded by French-speaking republics, Nigeria remains something of a mystery for tourists. Spread across its 350,000 square miles lie deserts, beaches, cities, kingdoms, and exotic discoveries – both ancient and modern, developed and wild. The country’s warm and friendly people speak a mind-boggling 4,000 dialects, and follow a dizzying array of traditional rituals. The traditional tale of Nigeria is of a land split into three: the Muslim north, the Christian south and the animist or Igbo east. The cities of Lagos in the south, Enugu in the east and Kano and Kaduna each have their own, unique character – all expressed in food and formal rituals. The diverse regional cultures serve to ensure than Nigeria feels less like one single country and more like a rich tapestry of traditions, both new and old. 59
  • 58. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Nigeria’s history is an ongoing journey of discovery, from the south’s famous Benin Bronzes from the old Kingdom, to the Nok’s more recently discovered, finely-worked terracotta sculptures that date back thousands of years. A lesson on the country’s history would sweep from the lost cultures of the sub-Sahara and trade with the Malian empire, to pre-colonial contact and the transatlantic slave routes – as found in the National and Heritage museums. Kano Abuja River frog Suya 60
  • 59. 61www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Venture off the beaten track in Nigeria and you’ll discover many hidden gems. Explore the wildlife on the Yankari Game Reserve and the Gashaka-Gumti National Park, near the border with Cameroon. These splendid reserves are a reminder that, although Kenya and Tanzania are better known for big game and wildlife, Nigeria also has its share of lions, elephants and other exotic creatures of the magnificent lower savannah. These self-sustained and virgin ecosystems are well Tea plantation Mambilla Highlands Lagos architecture God of Smallpox Nana Kofi Acquah – Water No Get Enemy Elephant in Yankari National Park Kingfisher Agbokim Waterfall, Cross River State River fishing Abuja City Gate
  • 60. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com stocked with everything from antelope and monkeys to birds of almost every variety. If you prefer your adventure to be a little more packaged and “curated”, the Obudu Mountain Resort is a fully structured tourist resort with a water park, horse rides and a petting zoo. You can also get a brief glimpse of the country’s nature at the Cross River Park and Lekki Conservation Centre in Lagos. Nigeria’s “wild life” isn’t restricted to its countryside. The country’s cities offer a rich variety of culture and commerce around the clock. The world’s 7th-most populous country, Nigeria’s cities throb and hum with the rhythm of busy and colourful daily routines, where people of diverse cultures, speaking a range of different languages, live side by side. Carnival parade National Communications Commission Abuja Carnival beauty Efo-riro Head with crown. Wunmonije Compound, Ife. 14th-early 15th century CE. Copper alloy. Fundación Botín/Museum for African Art 62 ©NationalCommissionforMuseumsandMonuments, NigeriaPhoto,KarinL.Willis
  • 61. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com In the country’s capital, Abuja, the Hilton has evolved from an international hotel complex into an international village. It welcomes everyone from world leaders to club promoters, northern princes and southern salesmen to eastern entrepreneurs, meeting their every need – be it clubs, champagne, fine dining or fast cars. This is where and frequently how business is done. The Federal Capital Territory, as Abuja is known, was built for business by day, and luxury, high-end enjoyment at night. Whatever Abuja can do, Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, would claim to be able to do better. It certainly manages more – more music, more food, more people and more magic. Lagos is a dream for writers, photographers and cultural Durbar Cowfoot Soup “Bokoto” Gele headtie Catwalk model Ekemini Cultural Troupe from Akwa Ibom 63
  • 62. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com anthropologists. It’s a place given to creation and improvisation, where jazz clubs, poetry evenings and makeshift restaurants can spring up and be gone in the space of week. It’s impossible not to get caught up in the spirit of the city, even if you’re only passing through. Its complications of heli-taxis, go-slows, music shows, fabric and food markets, civil servants, intellectuals, heat, haggling and hustlers on the make, make it a compelling and intoxicating experience. So if you’re looking for a sedate holiday destination, somewhere you can enjoy a quiet vacation shuttling between your hotel and perfectly paved, picture-perfect promenades, it’s probably better to give Nigeria a miss. However, if you’re longing to explore a country packed with undiscovered beauty, vibrant cities, welcoming people and a rich culture, Nigeria is increasingly becoming the must-see destination. ■ River – Nana Kofi Acquah Regatta Durbar Riyom Rock, near Jos. 64
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  • 65. 68 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria HISTORY AND CULTURE n Nigeria is the largest country in West Africa and covers 923,768 square km; about one and half times the size of France and twice the size of California n The Portuguese were the first Europeans to visit what was to become Nigeria in 1472 n The area became a British Colony from 1862. A series of constitutions after World War II granted Nigeria greater autonomy; independence came in 1960 n Today the country is divided into 36 states and one Federal Capital Territory; Abuja has been the capital city since 1991 n Nigeria’s flag has two vertical bands of green representing the fertile land and agriculture divided by a band of white that denotes peace n Nigeria’s coat of arms has a black shield with two white stripes that come together, like the letter Y, which represent the two main rivers flowing through Nigeria; the Niger and Benue n Nigeria’s estimated population of over 170 million is the largest of any country in Africa, and accounts for as much as one sixth of all of Africa’s population n At least 24 Nigerian cities have populations of more than 100,000 n Nigeria is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world and 521 languages have been recorded n The largest Christian gatherings in the world have been held at The Redeemed Christian Church of God’s Redemption Camp on the outskirts of Lagos, which can hold more than 7 million n The town of Igbo Ora boasts of an average of 150 twins per 1,000 births, which is the world’s highest rate of twins born. The Yoruba people attribute it to eating a specific type of yam that contains a substance similar to the hormone oestrogen n During his career from 1990 to 2008, Nigerian- born footballer Jay Jay Okocha scored 100 goals in 518 appearances for clubs in Germany, the UK, Qatar and Turkey and the Nigerian national team, and became known as being “so good they named him twice" LITERATURE AND LITERACY n Nigeria has more writers and authors than the rest of West Africa combined n Published in 1958, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe deals with the colonial conquest of the Igbos. It has been translated into more than 50 languages with over 8 million copies sold n Author, poet and activist Wole Soyinka is the only black African to have won the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1986 FASCINATING facts
  • 66. 69www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria LANDSCAPE AND ASSETS n At 4,180 km, the Niger River is Africa’s third- longest after the Nile and Congo. It discharges into the Atlantic through Nigeria’s Niger Delta, one of the largest river deltas in the world n It is believed that the forested regions around Calabar contain the world’s largest diversity of butterflies with around 1,320 species, of which about 50 are endemic to Nigeria n The drill monkey (Mandrillus leucophaeus) is only found in Nigeria’s Cross River State, in south-western Cameroon and on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea; as few as 3,000 drills may remain in the wild n Chappal Waddi (2,419m) in the Gashaka-Gumti National Park on the Cameroon border is Nigeria’s highest point n Oil was discovered at Oloibiri in Bayelsa State in 1956, and today Nigeria produces more than two million barrels a day n Nigeria is one of the largest suppliers of oil to the United States n Petroleum made from Nigerian oil is classified mostly as “light” and “sweet”, meaning it is largely free from sulphur (and less harmful to the environment) n Nigeria is one of the few major oil-producing nations still capable of increasing its oil output; even if no more reserves are found, there’s still an estimated 40–50 years of production left n If you step firmly on the soil in some areas of the Niger Delta, oil will gush out n As a result of careful negotiation and fiscal discipline, Nigeria became the first African nation to pay off its debt to the Paris Club of rich lenders in 2006 MUSIC AND FILM n Nollywood is the name for the Nigerian film industry, which is now the world’s second-largest film producer, behind the Indian film industry and ahead of Hollywood, making more than 200 movies per month n Grammy award-winning singer Sade (Helen Folasade Adu) was born in Ibadan in 1959. When she was awarded an OBE in 2002, she said she was dedicating it to “all black women in England” n Singer/songwriter Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide, the most famous of which, Kiss From A Rose, featured in the 1995 film Batman Forever. He is a coach on The Voice Australia LIFESTYLE n There are estimated 88 million mobile phone users in Nigeria, with many people having more than one mobile phone. n The current estimate of internet users is almost 50 million, 34.4% of the population. Almost 7 million of these use Facebook n Nigeria imports some 5 million metric tonnes of rice each year, the largest importer of rice in the world n Indomie, the largest producer of instant noodles outside Southeast Asia and China, holds 74% of the market share since it opened factories in Nigeria in 1995 ■ DebbyWong/Shutterstock.com
  • 67. 70 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations Nigeria’s best-known and most well-protected wildlife destination is Yankari National Park in Bauchi State. Approximately 6–7 hours drive northeast of Abuja, the park covers 2,244 km². Featuring gently rolling hills and savannah woodland studded with rocky outcrops, it is dominated by the perennial Gaji River, which is joined by the Yashi River in the north, and the Yuli River in the south. By Lizzie Williams Yankari National Park GeorgeOsodi
  • 68. 71www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations W hile Yankari can’t compare to the animal- packed safari parks and reserves in east and southern Africa, it is an untouched region of pristine African bush, and one of the few areas in West Africa where you can see animals in their natural habitat. The park’s history dates as far back as 1934, when a recommendation was made to establish a game reserve in the Bauchi Emirate. The then Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources had been impressed by a visit to the White Nile Game Reserve in Sudan, and encouraged moves to establish something similar in Nigeria. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that Yankari was identified as a region where large numbers of wild animals existed lions, leading to retaliation by herdsmen. Several species of large mammal have become locally extinct since the area was first created as a game park, including the African hunting dog, cheetah, giraffe, western kob, red- fronted gazelle and bohor reedbuck. Today, while populations of animals are generally small, over 50 species of mammal can be spotted in the park. Baboons, warthog and waterbuck are regularly seen, roan antelope, patas monkey, western hartebeest and various duikers are present, there are still approximately 350 elephants (considered the largest surviving population in West Africa), 150 buffalo, up to 30 lions, and rock pythons, crocodiles, monitor lizards and hippo naturally and could be protected. By 1962, local hunters and farmers were moved out of the area, jeep tracks were ploughed through the forests to allow visitors to go on game drives, and a camp was built close to Wikki Warm Spring. Yankari finally officially became a national park in 1991, and was managed by Nigeria’s National Parks Service until 2006, when responsibility for its management was handed to the Bauchi State Government who runs it today. The park has suffered from a number of problems over the years. During the 1970s and 1980s, wildlife populations declined dramatically due to both a rinderpest epidemic and extensive and well-organised poaching. Marauding cattle were also sometimes killed by the GeorgeOsodi
  • 69. 72 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations are fairly common in the Gaji River. Yankari is excellent for bird- watching, and more than 350 species have been recorded. Of these, 130 are resident, 50 are Palearctic migrants and the rest are intra-African migrants that move locally within Nigeria. These birds include the saddle-billed stork, white- rumped vulture, guinea fowl, grey- headed, pied and giant kingfisher, hammerkop, ibis, black magpie and cattle egret. It’s one of the few places in Nigeria where you can still see the ground hornbill and secretary bird and a few remaining raptors including the fox kestrel, martial eagle and bateleur. Yankari also has over 130 wells, believed to have been dug in the early 20th century by settlers, and numerous caves where people used to live up until the 1950s, when they were moved out of the region to create the park. Other attractions include Kalban Hill – a flat top hill that allows visitors a complete view of the park – and the small museum at the camp’s reception. Exhibits include the remains of Yankari’s former inhabitants, such as leopard and cheetah pelts, and a collection of weapons confiscated from poachers over the years (look for the head of a ground hornbill that poachers have been known to wear as a disguise when they approach animals). Another feature of the park are the five springs (Wikki, Dimil, Mawulgo, Gwana and Tungan Maliki), which drain into the Gaji River. Just a short walk from Wikki Camp, down a flight of steps, Wikki Warm Spring is not be missed. The source gushes out from under a cliff of red sandstone rock and is a spectacular 200m long, 10m wide and 2m deep. Floodlit at night, it has been harnessed into a popular bathing area under a tract of pretty tamarind and date palms, with vines hanging down to the water. On the floor of the pool is fine, white sand, and the crystal-clear water has a constant temperature of 31°C. It’s wonderful after a long day’s game-viewing to take a soothing wallow in the bright blue, deliciously warm water while the sounds of exotic birds echo through the trees. Lucky visitors may even be treated to an up-close experience with
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Nigeria and abroad. Connect with this highly sought-after audience to showcase your State’s resources, beauty and infrastructure. We will produce a high quality, four-page section with in-depth features and stunning imagery to promote your State. Our own journalist and photographer will spend up to a week travelling to the best your State can offer - hotels, restaurants, resorts, beaches, golf courses, wildlife parks and other attractions. We would be delighted to have in-depth discussions with State Information Commissioners to identify your most exciting locations. Promote your state in Nigeria’s newest publication and be part of this exciting new initiative! For more information, please contact: Stephany Duarte +2348034022950 fascinatingnigeriamag@gmail.com www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com
  • 71. 74 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations baboons and elephants that often come down to drink. Best Time to Visit The best time to visit Yankari is between November and May, when you are likely to see more game, as the dense vegetation has dried out and the animals congregate around the rivers. The hottest period falls in March and April, when temperatures can rise above 40°C during the day. The rainy season is from May to September. Getting there Yankari is 120km to the southeast of Bauchi. It’s about a 6-hour drive northeast of Abuja, and roughly a 3-hour drive from Jos (there are flights to both from Lagos). The turn-off is clearly signposted at the village of Dindima, 69km from Bauchi on the Gombe road, and the park’s entrance gate is at Mainamaji village. Wikki Camp is another 43km through the park from the gate. This final stretch of road is tarred and navigable for all vehicles, but other roads in the park are sand tracks that are only suitable for a four-wheel drive. The usual option is for visitors to go on the twice-daily game drives in the park’s vehicles (organised at reception at Wikki Camp) – with the added advantage of the guides generally knowing where to find the animals. Accommodation Set among giant mahogany and baobab trees, Wikki Camp is fairly large, and although it’s old, some of the 75 chalets have been refurbished in recent years. These range from the presidential suite to standard doubles and a youth hostel. You can also pitch a tent, but this is not advised as the baboons that live near the camp can be fairly aggressive. The camp also has a cosy restaurant serving three set meals each day, a bar with pleasant outdoor terrace, and a shop that sells (among other things) swimming shorts and costumes in the event you’ve forgotten to bring these for Wikki Warm Spring. Because Wikki Camp is in the park and is fairly remote, it’s not possible to contact in advance to make a reservation, but it’s rarely fully booked and accommodation can be arranged on arrival. ■ GeorgeOsodi
  • 72. Reach out to a new audience through the pages of Fascinating Nigeria Spread your key messages through our pages. With a projected circulation of more than 2m readers in Nigeria and abroad, Fascinating Nigeria is a vital component of your advertising strategy. Our expert team can also produce high-quality advertorials to promote your business. With superb copy and imagery we can tailor your requirements to create high-impact pages with maximum benefit. Promote your business in Nigeria’s newest 
publication and be part of this exciting new initiative! For more information, please contact: Stephany Duarte +2348034022950 fascinatingnigeriamag@gmail.com www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com
  • 73. 76 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Taraba’s Natural Treasures Mambilla Plateau, Ngel Nyaki Forest Reserve and Gashaka Gumti National Park I n the north-east of Nigeria, bordering Cameroon, you’ll find the state of Taraba, its capital city Jalingo, and one of Africa’s greatest treasures – the Mambilla Plateau. Criss-crossing the Mambilla highlands are abundant rivers, including the Benue River and Taraba River. And soaring above them is Chappal Waddi, at 2,419 metres the tallest mountain in Nigeria. Taraba is an area rich in resources, yet it is the least-developed region of Nigeria, and possibly West Africa. Tarmacked roads, schools, hospitals, post offices and radio and television stations are few and far between in the state, and when found are mostly concentrated in larger towns. This lack of GeorgeOsodi
  • 74. 77www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations infrastructure leaves villages, particularly in the Mambilla Plateau, completely cut off from each other during the rainy season, when swollen rivers become impassable by motor vehicle. The majority of citizens in Taraba rely on agriculture to make a living, growing coffee, tea, groundnuts and cotton, as well as crops such as maize, rice, sorghum, millet and yams. Due to the uneven distribution of schools, much of the population (around 60%) are illiterate, and there is a high level of poverty. But there is also a rich and wonderful array of ethnic groups which contribute to the vibrancy of this part of Nigeria, including the Jenjo, Kuteb, Chamba, Mumuye, Mambila, Wurkum, Fulani, Jukun, Ichen, Tiv, Hausa and Ndoro. And the ‘Bo Ba Bo’ people on the Mambilla Plateau (as they are known to the Cameroons) are part of the original Bantu tribe that split in pre- historic times. Mambilla Plateau The Mambilla Plateau in the south-east corner of Taraba covers an area of 9,389 km², and shares a border with Cameroon to the east. This grassland plateau averages about 1,524 metres in height and is temperate, even cool at the highest altitudes, compared to the low-lying regions. It is quite hilly with a ‘basket of eggs’ topography. Drumlins, as these hills are called, were GeorgeOsodiGeorgeOsodi GeorgeOsodi
  • 75. 78 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations formed during the Ice Age when ice was moving forward, but also melting at the same time, distributing the rock and gravel unevenly. The hills are blunt at one end and tapered at the other, just like eggs in a basket. The Mambilla Plateau has the only tea plantations in Nigeria and oil palms grow at the base of the mountains. The low, lush, grasses are perfect for grazing and there is a vast number of cattle, sheep and goats. Under the British, cattle- rearing was encouraged and much of the plateau became overgrazed, leading to conflict between the Fulani cattle ranchers and the indigenous Mambila people. There are still many forests on the plateau, though they have decreased in number significantly in the last two decades, much to the concern of environmentalists. The Ngel Nyaki Forest Reserve is particularly important as it is home to the endangered Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, of which there are only about 11 adults surviving. Other primates including Black and White Colobus monkeys, Putty nosed monkeys, Mona and Tantalus monkeys also live in the forest. If you visit the area you’re advised to use four- wheel-drive vehicles or jeeps as roads are still under construction. When travelling around the Mambilla Plateau you’re also recommended to pack essentials such as camping equipment and food. The rainy season begins in March and peaks in August and lasts until early November. Gashaka Gumti National Park Just to the north of Mambilla Plateau is one of Nigeria’s largest and least visited national parks, the Gashaka Gumti National Park. The park is 6,600 km² and is only accessible by foot. Trekking makes for a truly fascinating and authentic experience – this park has some of the most diverse terrain anywhere in Africa, and boasts an intricate mosaic of high elevation grasslands, savannah grasslands, woodlands, swamps, lakes, rivers and evergreen mountain rainforest, each supporting its own community of plants and animals. Forest wildlife includes the giant forest hog, leopard, yellow-backed duiker, golden cat and eight of Nigeria’s known 23 primates, including chimpanzees. The savannahs, meanwhile, are home to buffalo, lions, elephants, wild dogs, water bucks, roan antelope, giant elands, kobs and Hartebeest. The rivers are full of hippos, crocodiles and otters. Gashaka Gumti National Park also supports an enormous variety of bird species and is considered one of the most important habitats for birds in Africa. Species that can be seen include pin-tailed whydah, variable sunbird, dove, hornbill, grey plantain eater, African pied wagtail and African black sunbird. Butterflies and other insects, orchids and flowers attract the birds, making this a naturalist’s paradise. There is also excellent fishing in the River Kam, with tigerfish, catfish, Nile perch and tilapia all in abundance. GeorgeOsodi GeorgeOsodi
  • 76. 79www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations The Gashaka sector of the Park has rugged, undulating mountain terrains with crashing waterfalls, excellent for mountaineering and cave exploration. It contains the highest mountain summit in Nigeria, the “Chappal Waddi”, which literally translates as “the mountain of death”, though was known in ancient times as the Gang Peak. This is considered to be one of the best places in the park to see primates. The name of the park has been derived from Gashaka village in Taraba and Gumti village in Adamawa, two historic settlements in the region. Gashaka-Gumti National Park was established as the result of Federal Decree in 1991, when the Gashaka Game Reserve merged with the Gumti Game Reserve. The reserve headquarters is in the Forest Rest Houses at Serti, on the main road between Bali and the Mambilla Plateau. Serti is about 15 km from the entrance to the park and has some inexpensive, self-catering accommodation. Further away in Gashaka village, 30 km from the entrance, you’ll find accommodation as well as game guards, guides and porters for hire. Each April, the annual Nwonyo Fishing Festival takes place on Nwonyo Lake in Ibi. The festival offers boat and canoe racing, diving, swimming and traditional dancing as well as fishing. ■
  • 77. UBA–Nigeria’sBiggestBankisProudtoSupportFascinatingNigeria The UBA Group is an acknowledged industry leader in commercial and retail banking across Africa with operations in 19 African countries serving over 7 million customer accounts through multiple channels and remote locations.
  • 78. The UBA Group Tel: + 234 01 264 4651 | www.ubagroup.com Head Office: U. B. A. House | 57 | Marina | P. O. Box 2406 | Lagos
  • 79. 82 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations I t’s official – Nigerians love wine. From cool South African whites to hearty Chilean reds, it seems that they just can’t get enough of the drink. And it’s not something that smart winemakers and distributors have overlooked. With a wine market valued at around US$300m a year (and expected to hit $370m by 2015), Nigeria is an increasingly attractive export destination for the world’s most ambitious brands. Combine Nigeria’s growing taste for wine with a projected annual GDP growth of 11.8% until 2016, and the expectation of the country becoming the world’s fourth most populous nation by 2050, the potential opportunities to build a strong and growing market for your brand are endless – something savvy South Africa has been quick to realise. One of the world’s fastest-growing markets Already Nigeria is South Africa’s second-biggest African export market for its wines. It’s estimated that South African wines account for one fifth of all wine sold in Nigeria, and in 2011 alone the volume sold grew by 15%. Hoping to push those figures even higher, in October last year Wines of South Africa (WOSA) held their first business-to-business Could Nigeria’s growing number of wine-lovers one day toast the success of a home-produced brand? Nigeria’s expectations grape showcase in Lagos in partnership with the South African High Commission. In a statement, WOSA described Nigeria as “one of the world’s fastest- growing emerging markets.” South Africa isn’t the only wine-producing country to spot the potential in Nigeria, either. A report from Rabobank titled “A new wine frontier” describes Nigeria as a “hidden gem” and suggests it has the potential to become a lucrative export market for wine from New Zealand, with rich rewards over the medium to long term. Thomas Frotte, export manager of Baron Philippe de Rothschild (makers of the Chilean Escudo Rojo wine brand) also highly rates the Nigerian market. The wine brand even organised a carnival train in Lagos in December last year to express their appreciation and commitment to their trade partners and consumers. But as the world continues to eye up the rapidly-growing opportunities in the Nigerian wine market, what about home-grown brands? Could Nigerians one day toast the success of their own, home-produced wines? As crazy as this may sound in a country famous for its tropical savannah climate, some are beginning to think it may just be possible.
  • 80. 83www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations Quick Nigerian wine facts n According to an export report by the United States Department of Agriculture, the average wine consumption per capita in Nigeria rose a staggering 1236.2% between 2004 and 2010. n Wine accounts for more than 80% of all wines and spirits exported to Nigeria from the USA. n EU countries such as Spain, Italy and France account for the majority of all wine exports to Nigeria, followed by South Africa. n The global research company Aranca claimed that the volume of wine exported to Nigeria between 2007 and 2011 had shown a compound annual growth rate of 24.12%. n The top 10% of Nigeria’s population account for 43% of wine consumption in the country. n Nigerians seem to prefer red wine over white – according to WOSA CEO Su Birch, red wines account for 73.6% of all volume sold in the country. A cooler, temperate climate Far away from Nigeria’s palm-fringed beaches, Mambilla Plateau is already home to West Africa’s only highland tea plantations. And it doesn’t take much of a stretch of imagination to see the possible potential for future vineyards. The region’s cooler, more temperate climate lends itself to the growth of grapevines, which require a careful balance of sun, heat and water during their growing season. And with climate change already having a big impact on winegrowing regions (by 2015, it’s estimated that English vineyards will be producing four million bottles of sparkling wine a year – up from 250,000 in 2000), it’s not inconceivable to see the Mambilla Plateau producing its first bottles of wine at some point in the future. But for now, Nigeria’s many wine-lovers will have to continue enjoying the fruits of other country’s labours. And with so many wine brands setting the country in their sights, until Nigeria does start producing its own bottles, they’ll be happily spoilt for choice. ■
  • 81. A backpacker’s dream Idanre Hills GeorgeOsodi 84
  • 82. 85
  • 83. 86 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations F or the backpacker willing to stray off the beaten track, there’s much to explore in this mystical country – especially in the picturesque but little-known Idanre Hills, tucked away in Ondo state and just visible from the upper elevation of the nearby capital city of Akure. Often described as one of the most awesome landscapes in the country, the extraordinary- looking inselberg hills surround the town of Idanre and dominate the life of the population. High up in one of the hills, you’ll find a fascinating abandoned ancient village. Currently being considered for UNESCO World Heritage status, Oke Idanre is the original home of the Idanre people. The village was founded by early people crossing the Yoruba lands, and was fully populated and functioning right up until the 1920s, when its inhabitants were encouraged to come and settle in the valley below. Records show that early Christians, converted by European colonists, came into conflict with people practising the traditional polytheistic religion at this time. So while the Christians chose to settle in an area eventually named Alade, those practising ancestor worship created a new village called Odode closer to their old home. Ancient footsteps Though no longer inhabited, Oke Idanre’s red adobe-type structures and iron roofs are maintained by the families who still own the properties. While the families may now live in the valley below, they return for one week a year during the festival of Orosun in May to stay in their former homes and commune with their ancestors. In the village you can see the Owa’s palace, reputed to have been built a millennium ago, and even a footprint from one of the ancient rulers in the village. Carved into rock, the footprint of Agbogun is said to fit the shape of every person’s foot – as long as they don’t practise witchcraft! Settled on top of the flat hilltop you’ll also find the Ark of Noah, an ancient wooden structure worked into the form of a ship. The structure is regarded by There is something spiritual and magical about Nigeria, her people, wildlife and landscapes. Mysterious shrines found in groves, caves or on hills conjure up feelings of otherworldliness, and the land is so close to indigenous people’s everyday lives and imaginations that caves are given names and thunder, water and mountains are still worshipped.
  • 84. 87www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations the Idanre as the biblical Noah’s Ark, and they will readily swear on the god of iron (Ogun) that biblical accounts of the Ark resting on the Ararat Mountains are untrue. A hiker’s paradise Oke Idanre is perched on top of a peculiar hill known as an inselberg, and contains many shrines and intriguing caves where early people worshipped and lived. To reach the village you’ll need to climb a daunting 640 steps, with five welcome resting places along the way. The inselbergs of the Idanre Hills are steep with rounded tops, and are a hiker’s dream or nightmare, depending on the level of challenge you are seeking. According to local guides, it takes between four days and a week to climb all of the hills. Ojimoba, the largest of the region’s inselbergs, is even said to have spiritual powers. If you’re really up for a physical challenge, visit the area during the Mare mountain-climbing festival and marathon. Established in 2009, it attracts as many as 7,000 international climbers. Also found in this sprawling 900-km² area is Orosun Mountain. Standing at an impressive 3,018 metres above sea level, this imposing mountain is still worshipped by the local people today, and boasts its own festival every May. Unique flora and fauna Once you make it to the top of the Idanre Hills you’re more than rewarded for your efforts. The flora and fauna are unique, and indigenous mammals, such as the tailless hyrax, still populate the rocks. A species of unclassified monkey inhabits the forests around Orosun, and you’ll find many different species of bat. During the festival of Orosun, popular bat-hunting expeditions take place in Owa, a particularly large cavern with guano- covered boulders. Other caves in the area worth exploring include Ojomu, Omi-Iwo and Olofin and Uwo-Akota, the cave of wasps. ■ You’ll find the Idanre Hills 24 km south-west of Akure, the State capital of Ondo. www.arikair.com
  • 85. Boki RainOne of the few remaining rainforests in Nigeria, the Boki Rainforest is a stunning display of biodiversity. 88
  • 86. forest 89
  • 87. 90 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations F orming part of the Cross River National Park, the Boki Rainforest is home to a myriad of species – from gorillas and chimpanzees, to elephant and buffalo. You can find more than 1,500 plant species, 382 bird species and 42 different varieties of snake in the rainforest. And thanks to its 60 million year-old vegetation, the United Nations has designated the area one of its 25 biodiversity hotspots. A true natural gem, the Boki Rainforest is one of Nigeria’s top tourist attractions, drawing visitors from all over the world to the region. Located in the same region is the world-class Obudu Mountain Resort. Accessed by 11km of winding, scenic road (including the famous Devil’s Elbow), cable car or helicopter, the hilltop cattle ranch offers visitors a wide range of accommodation, terrace restaurant, excellent service, and dramatic views. The impressive facilities include state-of-the-art swimming pool and water slides, Jacuzzi, fully-equipped gym, floodlit tennis courts, squash court and 9-hole golf course. While you can enjoy the Obudu Mountain Resort all year round, the best time to visit is between October and February, when the flowers are in bloom, the sky is clear, the air is cool and the weather is perfect for trekking over the high ground. You can also enjoy the breathtaking views and exotic wildlife along a 60-km canopy walkway (reputed to be the longest and highest in Africa). If you fancy getting even closer to nature, you may choose to visit Drill Ranch. Its six cabins each have a private deck and mountain view and Drill monkey The winding road to Obudu Mountain Resort GeorgeOsodi
  • 88. 91www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations are fully screened but open to the air on all four sides – allowing you to watch the ranch’s drill monkey’s (one of Africa’s most endangered primates) climbing trees from the comfort of your bed. Drill Ranch is home to hundreds of primates, including orphaned and rehabilitated drills. When you’re not relaxing in bed watching the jungle, you can visit the ranch’s five drill groups in one of their large enclosures, explore the jungle from up high on the canopy walkway, enjoy a cooling dip in the pools and waterfalls of the Bano River which comes straight from the mountain, or travel to the nearest, friendly villages Buanchor and Katabang. Many wild drill monkeys also live on the area’s Afi Mountain, alongside other endangered primates such as the Nigerian chimpanzee, and the most endangered gorilla subspecies, the Cross River gorilla. It’s not just primates that seek sanctuary here. Afi Mountain is listed as an IBA (Important Bird Area) for Nigeria, and has one of the largest migratory swallow roosts in Africa. In May 2000 the state government legally created the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, and today it is one of the best-protected areas for drills in the world. So if you’re looking for a trip that combines mountain-top luxury and an authentic, up close jungle experience, come and explore the Boki Rainforest’s rugged mountains, rolling hills, vibrant jungle, respected wildlife sanctuaries and spectacular waterfalls. You won’t be disappointed. ■ Canopy Walkway
  • 89. Taleveras Group – Proud Supporter of Nigerian Heritage Taleveras Group is an internationally-recognised energy and power conglomerate that promotes environmental sustainability. We are passionate about our growth, and our role in the integration of African and global energy markets.
  • 90. Taleveras Group Company Tel: + 234 9 670 7957, + 234 9 413 6398 | Fax: + 234 9 413 6789, + 234 9 222 6043 | www.taleverasgroup.com 13B Katsina Ala Crescent | Maitama | Abuja | Nigeria
  • 91. Calabar Calabar stadium 94
  • 92. The city of Calabar, in the extreme south-eastern corner of Nigeria, is the capital of Cross River State. It was also once the seat of government of the Niger Coast Protectorate, Southern Protectorate and Oil Rivers Protectorate, making it Nigeria’s first capital city. Located in an attractive setting high on a hill above a curve in the Calabar River, this fascinating city has a rich history and much to explore. By LizzieWilliams C alabar was first settled in the early 17th century by the Efik people. In the 17th and 18th centuries the city was a major slave trade port, and the Efik became middlemen between other groups in the interior and slave traders on the coast. Most slave ships that transported slaves from Calabar were British (85% being from Bristol and Liverpool), and it’s estimated that 30% of the 2.5 million slaves exported from Nigeria passed through Calabar’s port. Today, Calabar boasts an excellent museum documenting this interesting history, as well as colonial buildings reflecting the period when it was the first seat of the British Protectorate. By the mid-19th century, after the waning of the slave trade, Calabar’s economy became dependent on the export of palm oil, which was used to lubricate machinery and to make soap. At the time, there was a demand for it in Britain, as the country was caught up in the first grimy stages of the Industrial Revolution. This new wave of commerce and British interest in the area resulted in the opening of the country’s first British Consulate in 1851. During colonial times, Calabar served as capital of the Oil Rivers Protectorate (1885–93), the Niger Coast Protectorate (1893–1900), and Southern Nigeria Protectorate (1900–06), until the British administrative headquarters were moved to Lagos. 95
  • 93. 96 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations It remained an important port until it was eclipsed by Port Harcourt, 145 kilometres to the west, when the rail terminus reached there in 1916. Modern-day Calabar is surrounded by saltwater swamps, dense tropical forest, and fertile farms, and the markets are full of fish, pineapples, bananas, plantains, cassava and palm oil. The older part of the city along the Calabar River is made up of the old settlements of Creek Town, Duke Town, Old Town and Henshaw Town. These are pleasant to walk around and feature some impressive colonial buildings, though many are in various stages of decay. The buildings were shipped from Liverpool in England, frame-by-frame and with British carpenters, and were used not only by the colonial officers, but also by local chiefs who liked the British architecture so much that they ordered their own houses and period furniture from England. Many of these chiefs even took British names – Duke, James and Henshaw – after which the old parts of the city were named. Starting on Marina Road next to the river, a walk will take you past the old warehouses with shuttered windows, and an independence memorial with a lion on top. Marina Park Resort has tree-lined lawns facing the river, children’s fairground rides, a 200-seat amphitheatre for local performances, and the small Slave History Museum. This exhibits pictures and relics relating to the slave trade, including the guns, spears and swords used to chase, hunt and capture the slaves, and the chains and shackles that were used to confine them in baracoons (barracks) before they were herded on to the ships. The museum also lists the names of those who fought to stop the heinous trade, and documents when each country finally agreed to abolish slavery. From Marina Road you can climb the hill at Edem Street to the Duke Town Church established in 1904 by Presbyterian missionaries, where you’ll see its still-working clock on the steeple, and its bell across the street. Nearby is the Mary Slessor Memorial Tomb in a nicely-tended graveyard with Old Henshaw Town market Mary Slessor’s houseCalabar Cultural Centre Calabar Festival Village River view Dave Hogan DaveHogan
  • 94. 97www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations tall palm trees overlooking the river. Mary Slessor was one of Nigeria’s most influential missionaries in the 19th century, and is best known for abolishing the killing of twins and their mothers in Calabar, which was once a practice that used to go on among the highly superstitious Efik people. On top of a hill between Duke Town and Old Town, Calabar’s not-to-be-missed attraction is the Calabar Museum housed in the beautifully restored British Consulate building. Prefabricated and shipped from England in 1884, it is one of the finest examples of colonial architecture in Nigeria. With original wooden floors, shutters and light fittings, it displays some valuable items with weighty historical importance and tells the story of Calabar – the arrival of the Portuguese, the slave trade, colonial rule, palm oil production, and Nigeria’s road to independence. The library remarkably contains all the original paperwork of the colonial office throughout the British era, while in the grounds is an old red British pillar box. From the upstairs rooms are fabulous views of the old town and the river, and it’s not difficult to imagine the colonial officers surveying the river full of boats carrying palm oil to waiting ships. Back on Marina Road, there are boat wharfs to points across the Calabar River. The most interesting is Oron, with its pleasant 20-minute ride past the thick mangroves and dense palms in the creeks. Oron is the departure point for larger ferries to Limbe in neighbouring Cameroon, but also makes a good day trip from Calabar to stroll in the Prince Chris Abasieyu Gardens along the riverbank, and visit the Oron Museum. The most important exhibits here are the Ekpo heads – used in traditional religion and representing souls and ghosts that haven’t yet reached their resting place in the underworld, plus some masquerade costumes and masks, and ceremonial calabashes for drinking palm wine at special events such as weddings or funerals. Located just to the North of Calabar is the Tinapa Free Zone & Resort. Billed as Africa’s premier business and leisure resort, Tinapa boasts an Calabar city Ship’s bell outside the church in Creek Town Putty-nose guenon – Cercopan Two Feet Sculpture on the Marina road Dave Hogan lizziewilliams
  • 95. 98 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations entertainment strip with digital cinema, casino, a mini amphitheatre, children’s arcade, restaurants, hotel, nightclub, pubs, 80,000m² of retail space and parking for about 4,000 cars. Locals and visitors also enjoy the resort’s popular Water Park and attractive artificial tidal lake. Fed from the Calabar River, the lake offers sailing, kayaking, water skiing, jetskiing, paddle boating, swimming and diving opportunities. Back in town, Calabar Drill Ranch off Ndidem Usang Iso Road is run by Pandrillus (www.pandrillus. org), an NGO that is considered one of the most successful primate captive-breeding programmes in the world. Drills (Mandrillus leucophaeus) are short-tailed rainforest monkeys, and they are one of Africa’s most endangered primates, only surviving in Nigeria’s Cross River State, in south-west Cameroon, and on Bioko Island in Equatorial Guinea. They live in highly social groups of 15–30 led by an alpha male that can reach over 40 kg, and has bright fuchsia and purple skin, grey fur and a defined white frame around their face. Their habitat is frequently threatened by loggers and farmers, and by poaching for bush meat, and it’s not known for sure how many drills remain in the wild; the population is certainly fewer than 10,000 and possibly as low as only 3,000. Calabar Drill Ranch cares for a population of around 250 drills, a captive breeding population that began in 1994 from a few individuals who arrived as orphans after being captured from poachers. One family of 39 animals from four generations can be visited there, while five other groups live in large fenced enclosures at Afi Mountain Drill Ranch in the Cross River region north of Calabar (you can arrange a visit here at the Calabar Drill Ranch). Both the Calabar and Afi ranches also provide a home to orphaned chimpanzees and have a total of 28 individuals. Calabar’s other excellent primate sanctuary, Cercopan (www.cercopan.org), is on Ishie Lane off Murtala Muhammed Way. Founded in 1995, it offers sanctuary to other orphaned endangered West African primates including red-capped mangabeys and Preuss’s, red-eared, putty-nose, mona, and Sclater’s guenons (the latter being Nigeria’s only endemic primate species). The project now cares for more than 200 monkeys; about two-thirds are at the Calabar site, while the rest live in a large, forested, fenced enclosure at Rhoko Forest on the edge of the Cross River National Park (again a visit can be arranged here). Like Pandrillus, Cercopan relies on donations from visitors, so both are worthwhile projects supporting conservation of Nigeria’s natural heritage. ■ Obudu Mountain Resort
  • 96. 99www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com 99www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com STAYING IN CALABAR Calabar offers a warm welcome to visitors and tourists. It has become known as the safest city in Nigeria and is famed for its tropical flair and cultural richness. Attractions close to the hotel include the Marina, the Botanical garden, the National Museum and the Calabar Golf Club, as well as the Tinapa Shopping and Entertainment Complex. The Transcorp Metropolitan Hotel is the smartest hotel in Calabar. It has a long, romantic history and is the hotel of choice for Cross River State Government, guaranteeing referrals for anyone doing state business. And with the best conference facility in the city, it’s no surprise to learn the hotel is a favourite venue for conferences and banquets. Every one of the Transcorp Metropolitan Hotel’s guestrooms has a refrigerator, television, writing desk, internet access, generous closets and an informal dining table, and all have king-sized beds. Junior, Ambassador and Executive Suites offer spacious accommodation and luxurious facilities, while the poolside chalets offer attached, bungalow-style rooms with perfect access to the hotel’s recreational facilities, which include the Metro Pool and Drill monkey
  • 97. 100 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations bar, tennis court and fitness centre. Dining options range from the vibrant Vienna café, which displays the work of local artists, to the chic, Chinese restaurant Long Yin, ideal for a subtly-lit romantic dinner or discreet business meeting. The quaint Chester bar is a modern take on a traditional pub, with a wide variety of beers, wines and alcohol-free drinks. 10 Murtala Muhammed Highway, Calabar, Cross River State Tel: +234 806 690 0009 Email: info.calabar@transcorphotels.com www.transcorphotels.com The Mirage Calabar has 39 spacious rooms with smart wooden furnishings, TV and internet. The boutique hotel’s promotion of Africa’s cultural heritage adds to its unique elegant ambience, and its facilities, which include the Pinnacle Restaurant, Royal Chinese Restaurant, Pub 230, Angel’s Flavour outdoor ice-cream parlour, Regency Conference Facility, Ashbury Conference Hall, Alpha GYM, internet café, library, business centre, and Pinnacle Pub and Night Club cater excellently for both business travellers and tourists. 230 State Housing Estate Website: www.themiragecalabar.com Tours to view the magnificent scenery and spectacular bird life can be enjoyed on foot or by bicycle. If you forget to pack your binoculars, head instead to the Canopy Walkway high up in the trees and experience thrilling  close-ups of the birds in their natural habitat. Obudu Mountain Resort, Obanliku Local Government Area, Cross River State Tel: +234 708 923 1815 or +234 805 364 8209 Email and reservations: pacro@africansunhotels.com Le Chateau is a motel-style hotel with parking outside its 30 rooms. Set in a low, whitewashed building with cool arches, the hotel is among the most affordable in the city. Located at the MCC Road near the Cross River estate, within easy reach of the airport and accessible to all parts of the city, the hotel is famous for its hospitality; its friendly staff are attentive in providing the best facilities for guests and visitors. Fine dining options include a modern, 12-seater restaurant with elegant furnishings, serving a range of cuisines. You can also order food in the dining lounge, and enjoy drinks in the restaurant bar. Le Chateau Hotel’s large meeting room is able to accommodate a large number of people, and has internet connection and a modern sound system. 56 MCC Road, Calabar, Cross River State Website: www.ths-lechateau.com Tel: +234 802 878 8541 and 802 878 8549 EATING OUT IN CALABAR Calabar is poised to become one of Nigeria’s top tourist destinations, and is packed with restaurants and things to do. Nightlife is active in the city, with a number of nightclubs providing venues for visitors to unwind and socialise – many in the main areas and in hotels. Dining options include local restaurants and those serving international cuisine. Old Chinese restaurant One of the oldest Chinese restaurants in the city, this establishment has recently been renovated to a high standard and has spacious outdoor areas where you can sit and enjoy an alfresco drink before dining. Efanga Mkpa Road, Calabar Calabar Museum Kitchen The Calabar Museum Kitchen is located in a pretty spot next to the Calabar Museum, OBUDU MOUNTAIN RESORT Situated on a plateau at 1,576 metres above sea level on the Oshie Ridge of the Sankwala Mountains, the Obudu Mountain Resort provides accommodation in the form of African round huts and chalets on stilts maximising the breathtaking views. It also offers self-contained suites varying in size from the 2-bedroomed Governor’s Lodge with its own lounge/dining room and kitchenette to the 20 Mountain Villas, each with three bedrooms, lounge, dining room, kitchenette and balcony. A major talking point for guests is Africa’s longest cable car system to transfer guests up the mountain. overlooking the river estuary. African dishes are mainly served, with the emphasis on local Calabar delicacies, including fish barbecue and roasted plantain. Off Leopold Town Road, next door to Presidential Lodge, Calabar Supreme Dishes This is a popular eating spot with locals, offering traditional dishes such as afang soup, coconut rice, isi-ewu (goat head) and fresh fish pepper soup. 40 Ndidem Usang Iso Road, Calabar  Tel: +234 803 723 6870 Freddy’s Restaurant Famous for its friendly ambience and relaxed vibe, Freddy’s serves local food as well as Lebanese dishes. It’s popular for breakfasts too. 90 Atekong Drive Le Chateau Restaurant If it’s fish soup you’re after, you could do worse than to head over to Le Chateau. It has an array of local dishes and a happy clientele, judging from the reports of their delicious soup. 56 MCC Road TINAPA Lakeside Hotel The Lakeside Hotel at Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort has a buffet every Friday with a wide array of local Calabar dishes, as well as international cuisine. Overlooking the Calabar River and set in lush gardens, the restaurant is a popular tourist location. www.tinapalakesidehotel.com Tel: +234 703 902 2465; 803 417 5376 Happy Food Happy Food is a popular, Chinese-owned restaurant serving a selection of traditional Chinese dishes, some with an African twist. Ndidem Usang Iso Road Eme Inn A renowned, sit-out restaurant serving a variety of local dishes. Their speciality is isi-ewu (goat head). Ediba Road Channel View Restaurant African and continental dishes and interesting specialities are on offer at this quiet spot, which is open 24 hours a day. Channel View is also home to the Channel View Hotel Karaoke bar, a popular and lively venue at weekends. Channel View Hotel, 14 MCC Road, Calabar Tel: +234 803 974 2039 Mirage Hotel
  • 98. 101www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations Calabar and Abuja in a celebration of fun calabar carnival Five years ago, the Calabar Carnival was virtually unknown. Today it attracts 50,000 excited, costumed revellers and two million thrill-seeking spectators from all around the world. A unique display of African heritage showcased through music, dance, drama and visual creativity, the Calabar Carnival is the highlight of the 32-day Calabar Festival. It is Africa’s largest cultural festival and is watched by a massive 50 million television viewers on channels including MTV Base. Calabar Carnival more than rewards those who make the trek to the capital city of Cross River State. Held on 26th-27th December each year, the event is a visual spectacle stretching over 12km, with a seemingly endless stream of ornately- decorated float parades, each bursting with colour as loud as their music. Float dancers are decorated with traditional face make-up and elaborate head-dresses similar to those worn by their ancestors, and their bodies are adorned with paint and draped in delicate trinkets. CARNIVALS!
  • 99. 102 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Competition for the best viewing points can be fierce, and many spectators stake out prime spots hours before the event begins. The most dedicated watchers have even been known to join in the dancing, creating their own party in the wake of the official parade. The carnival features 10 non-competing bands and five major competing bands – each comprising around 10,000 revellers, including up to five kings and queens wearing large-scale costumes. The carnival parade leads to the UJ Esuene Stadium, where the annual “Band of the Year” competition is hotly contested in front of 25,000 avid fans. A further 2,500 people (plus another 32 million TV viewers) watch each year as the Calabar Carnival Queen is crowned. The event is organised in collaboration with Mothers Against Child Abandonment (MACA), a charity that helps preserve the lives of vulnerable mothers and children. The Calabar Carnival Queen is a role model for budding young women faced with the daily pressures of society and their peers, and all proceeds from the Grand Finale Dinner go to support a refuge for vulnerable girls and the rescue of abandoned babies. 2012’s Calabar Carnival, with the theme “Celebrating a New Dawn”, was a spectacular success, drawing revellers from as far afield as Canada, the United States and London. Even Brazilians, the undisputed world experts of carnivals, couldn’t miss the increasingly well-respected event. The carnival has had a big impact closer to home, too – giving an increasingly important boost to the local economy. As Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State says: “The most important thing is the value we create in the economy and we’ve seen that improve and the people are able to now understand the value. During the first few years of the carnival, nobody would bring out a canopy and set up some chairs and bring some pepper soup for people. Today, people make hundreds of thousands or more, selling their products during the carnival.” Governor Imoke also makes clear that the Calabar Carnival is for everyone to enjoy: “We tried to make it relatively inexpensive fun so that people can afford to come and enjoy themselves. Whether you are from the north, south, east or west, you can come to Calabar, feel free and truly enjoy yourself.” And that’s just what the people do. You only have to see the riot of colour and noise, the laughing children and dancing adults, the infectious smiles and all-round goodwill that accompany the Calabar Carnival’s world-renowned parade to realise that the event is a huge success. As Governor Imoke says so succinctly, “Everybody is in town having fun.”
  • 100. 103www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations THE ABUJA CARNIVAL Dubbed the best purpose-built city in Africa, Nigeria’s 22-year old capital boasts a skyline filled with mid-range, ultra modern, diverse architecture. Abuja is home to some of Nigeria’s wealthiest and is the stomping ground for Nigeria’s political elite – it’s also proud host of the vibrant Abuja Carnival. In the Abuja Carnival, states compete against each other to put on the greatest show. And what a show. Artistic Director of the Carnival, Prof. Ojo Rasaq Bakare, has ensured that the city is brought to life with soul-shaking music, electric cultural dancers, beautiful and thought-provoking masquerades, poetry, drama, mouth-watering food and an electrifying atmosphere that would move anyone. No wonder people come from around the world to take part. A world of colour and music The first carnival was held in 2005, and the original 20-km route remains the same today. Themed “The Carnival of Peace and Harmony”, and opening in Eagle Square, the 2012 carnival saw participants from 30 states and 12 countries, including Egypt, India, Trinidad and Tobago, China, South Africa, Sudan, Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Senegal, Ghana, Namibia and Cuba.
  • 101. fascinating destinationsfascinating destinations Traders took the opportunity to boost their business, lining the route with a vibrant array of wares, selling everything from food and drink to clothes and colourful accessories. Last year the Chinese troupe won rapturous applause from the crowds for their display of acrobatic cultural dance and momentous music, while the Cuban dancers chose to display a touch of Nigerian culture by bearing the Yoruba Gourd and Shell drum – an item that was instrumental in re-establishing the link between Africa and Cuba. Reinforcing Nigeria’s close relationship with their country, Trinidad and Tobago sent a 50-strong steel band troupe over to join in the 2012 carnival fun. The troupe’s musical director, Rudo Forteau, had done his research well, and entertained a rapturous audience with a Fela Anikulapo Kuti tune, P Square’s popular “Chop my Money”, as well as one of their own numbers. The band included 63-year-old Keith Diaz, President of the Pan Trinbago governing body for national steel drummers in Trinidad and Tobago, and proud holder of the honorary title “Chief Ogunniyi”, bestowed on him by the monarch of Ilara in Ogun state. The Trinidadians were accompanied by their Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, Dr. Lincoln Douglas. He basked in the success of bringing so many people and cultures together in celebration of their cultural heritage, saying: “The carnival provides an awesome opportunity to see ourselves, showcase ourselves and revive our cultural heritage in terms of the symbols that demonstrate our values, our society and these are demonstrated in the masquerades and the movement of the people. These things are very important, especially when you have nations that are challenged by diversity and complexity. One of the major differences between Nigeria and Trinidad is that we are a very small country. So it’s easier to contain everybody in one small place. When you have a huge population, we need a way for everybody to be able to see each other and accept each other because we tend to fight or destroy what we don’t know about.”
  • 102. 105www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations
  • 103. 106 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations
  • 104. 107www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations “Our culture gives that opportunity to bring all of our people together to see each other and to accept each other. And in the long run, when you look at it, what are the things that bring us national pride? I really feel honoured to be here to participate in the carnival and to see the contributions of the various states and different ethnic groups, and see their cultural values.” A true home show But the true foundation of the two-day exhibition of extravagance was Nigeria’s own Federal States. Every rhythmic move they made and pulsating sound that was expressed came from deep within them. The Nigerians truly set the standard for the rest to follow. The carnival is not just a spectacle of fun, but a grand stage for competitions that included the boat regatta, the masquerade competition, the naming of the King and Queen of the Carnival and best float. Each competition is carefully orchestrated to demonstrate the diversity, skill and talent that Nigeria has to offer. As the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, says: “The unique aspect of Abuja National Carnival is the fact that the activities are highly competitive, which has given Nigerians the platform to develop and showcase their creative ingenuity as a tool for the nation’s development and economic transformation.’’ Abuja Carnival is two days of pure, energetic street fun. It’s also firm proof that Nigeria is a serious contender on the international stage of tourism, with backing from its leaders as shown in the attendance of Nigeria’s First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan. Indeed, if any visitors to Abuja were in any doubt about the city’s right to a place on the world tourist map, the Abuja Carnival will soon have them happily casting those doubts aside as they join the throng of international revellers dancing through the capital’s busy streets. ■
  • 105. 108 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations Hotel industry sees in Nigeria’s business and luxury demand Spurred on by political stability and record economic and tourism growth, unprecedented potential for new hotels and resorts is emerging in Nigeria. And from Marriott and Le Méridien, to Onomo Hotels and Protea Hospitality, global and regional brands are fast tapping into it. A ccording to the Lagos-based W Hospitality Group, Nigeria is at the forefront of hotel development in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 43 new properties and 6,808 rooms currently in the pipeline – miles ahead of the second hotel hub, Ghana, where there are currently only 11 hotel projects. W Hospitality Group’s director, Trevor Ward, said the focus of renowned international hotel chains is slowly shifting from North to sub-Saharan Africa, as financing projects becomes easier and the readiness of foreign investors escalates. As a study by the group found: “Nigeria, Africa’s largest country by population, the power house of West Africa – tipped to overtake South Africa this decade as the largest economy on the continent – has almost 7,000 rooms under contract … with a thousand more in the ‘nearly’ category.” Mid-market to high-end business hotels – Accor’s Novotel and Sofitel brands, Radisson Blu, Marriott and Onomo – are By Tamara Thiessen
  • 106. 109www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations currently leading the Nigerian hotel developments as the demand soars. New openings include the swish lagoon-facing Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel (its 170 rooms are the work of Swedish hospitality designer Christian Lundwall) and Four Points by Sheraton. Both are located on Victoria Island, Lagos, in the middle of the business district. Meanwhile, boutique business hotel the Wheatbaker opened in a more residential part of Lagos, close to the business district. It belongs to Legacy Hotels & Resorts, which says its aim is to become Africa’s leading lifestyle brand over the next few years. Over that time, the present tourism focus is set to become increasingly high-end according to Serge Hattier, who heads up development in Africa for Europe’s largest hotel group, Accor. Accor has not wasted time staking a dominant slice of the luxury corporate cake in Nigeria, notably with the plush, 94-room MGallery Collection Moorhouse Ikoyi in the most affluent neighbourhood of Lagos. Other ultra luxury brands including Kempinski, Mantis, Marriott and Wyndham have all signed deals to enter the Nigerian market. “Suddenly, international chains which have so far had little presence in Africa are forging ahead to establish their brands – for example, Hilton with its Double Tree brand, InterContinental, Sheraton and Marriott,” said Hattier. In November, millionaire ex-banker Jim Ovia announced plans to bring the Marriott to Nigeria, with the signing of a multi-billion dollar agreement between his Quantum Luxury Properties for a 5-star property on the Ozumba Mbadiwe waterfront, Victoria Island. Meantime, UAE and African property developer The First Group began work on the exclusive serviced residence, The One Kempinski Abuja, in the Nigerian capital. The development, with its crème de la crème apartments, rooftop infinity pool, health club, spa and gymnasium, aims to be the ultimate retreat for the business traveller and leisure tourist. At a press conference in Lagos in November, Starwood revealed its plans for Nigeria – the company’s largest growth market on the African continent. By 2015, Starwood will open Four Points by Sheraton in Benin City and in Lagos, as well as the Le Méridien Ikoyi Towers in Lagos, adding to its five existing properties in Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Port Harcourt and Lagos. Simon Turner, President of Global Development & Acquisition, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, explained their decision: “Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and boasts the second-largest economy on the continent, presenting tremendous opportunities for the country to play a key role in our African expansion. With investor-friendly policies in place and ongoing economic growth, Nigeria epitomises the economic ascent of Africa as a development destination.” The 2008 opening of the 5-star Le Méridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort in Uyo in southern Nigeria was a frontrunner in the gradual move away from a heavy emphasis on high-end corporate and city hotels to luxury eco and leisure resorts. Though the current hotel expansion has been led predominantly by business tourism growth, Serge Hattier believes the leisure hotel market is set for take-off, saying, “In the medium and long term, the disposable income of millions of African households will generate additional hotel demand.” There is now enormous scope for the development of many more premium resorts, in gorgeous locations, for business and leisure travellers. As such, the South African-based Protea Hospitality Group plans to increase its current 10 properties in Nigeria to 16 by 2015, mainly with the addition of its premium African Pride hotels. CEO Arthur Gills said the time was ripe to grab hold of the new economy-driven demand for luxury hospitality. “There isn’t a better time to be moving into Nigeria a brand that so perfectly denotes luxury,” he added. “African Pride Hotels is the continent’s signature luxury brand, incorporating designer city hotels, elegant country houses and bush lodges that meet the needs of discerning travellers for business or leisure.” The first property, African Pride Avalon Hotel & Spa, is currently under construction in Ikeja, Lagos – and is due to open later this year. So as Nigeria looks forward to an increasingly strong economy, the growing number of visitors to the country can also look forward to an increasingly wide choice of regional and international hotels and resorts in which to enjoy their stay. ■
  • 107. National Institute for Hospitality andTourism (NIHOTOUR)
  • 108. Since inception, the Institute has produced well over 5,000 skilled and craft trainees servicing the various sectors of Nigeria’s travel, tourism and hospitality industry. The Institute is striving to meet a training target of 3,000 and more trainees a year to provide the over 40,000 technical craft and skilled personnel required to service the sector in the next three to five years. NATIONAL Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Central Administration, No.6, Mike Akhigbe Street, Jabi, Utako District, Abuja, Nigeria Tel: +234 803 405 9658; 702 783 1884 www.nihotour.gov.ng
  • 109. 112 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations NIGERIAN FOOD Lost inTranslation By Yemisi Ogbe M y Chilean friend and I traded airplane food stories one day. Hers was egusi soup on the last leg of her trip from Kuala Lumpur to Lagos. She used the word “pungent” to describe her first impression of the soup, and I did a quick estimation of the number of times I have heard the words “egusi” and “pungent” in the same breath. The egusi soup, she said, looked like some kind of egg dish – but one that had gone bad. It looked awful and had a kind of musky smell. However, everyone else seemed to be eating theirs, and she didn’t want to be the whiner in economy class (doesn’t everyone hate an economy class whiner, even if they have a legitimate complaint?) so she tried it. The food staring back at her was so unfamiliar to her that she could only try the bits of beef, leaving behind all the “unhappy crummy textured eggs.” In my story I was heading to the city of London for the very first time at 16. My airplane meal was three courses; a salad which to my Nigerian sensibilities was ornamental, really only incidental to the main meal which was familiar but not enough to feed a toddler. There was also a dessert course of cheese with three diminutive crackers – nothing like I expected a sweet course should be. It wasn’t even “sweet”! So I ate the main course, wishing it was larger, nibbled on the biscuits and rubbery triangle of cheddar, rifled through the salad for anything resembling meat, and wondered (still very hungry) why the British had to live up to their reputation of being as tight as Japanese hand-brakes over the Atlantic. Why not wait until we landed in Heathrow? No sooner were my bags unpacked at my aunt’s house that I felt the need to get the issue of the meal on the plane off my chest. She laughed and explained that the British don’t eat like us. Nigerians would be happy to eat one course at the most sophisticated of dinners, and the course would only need to be served in very generous portions or have different varieties of dishes representing that one course. The meat portions, and the quality and variety of them, indicated the importance of the occasion, not the number of courses. If you served five courses of salad and no meat at a dinner party to the average Nigerian, they would not be impressed by the variety of vegetables – instead they would be urgently looking around them for the meat and rice. In order to be satisfied with my airplane meal, my aunt said sympathetically, I needed to eat all the pretty leaves in the salad, all the main meal and all of the cheese and biscuits, as well as the five or so grapes. It was an important precursor for the many disappointments with food that I encountered in cosmopolitan London. Lasagne was too cheesy and made me exceedingly gassy. The delicious-looking potato bakes tasted overwhelmingly of tart, barely- cooked tomatoes that in Nigerian lingo “slapped” you. Pesto was frighteningly green and murky – alien, with a brawny taste of fresh grass. The doner kebab was nothing like Suya and if you wrung it, you got a bucket full of grease. The chicken was pepperless and came off the bone like toilet paper. The steak and kidney pie was as phlegmatic as a NIPOST clerk, and couldn’t hold a candle to the ubiquitous shortcrust pastry meat pie that you bought on the side of the road in Lagos.
  • 110. 113www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations 113 fascinating destinations In fact, everything except Yorkshire pudding was overrated and bland, and in need of a dash of Tabasco sauce (which I soon learned to carry around in my bag). I even ended up lacing a few chocolate mousses with Tabasco sauce out of desperation for burning heat on my tongue. The disappointment was deepened by the fact that I had spent so many years staring at Jeni Wright’s All Colour Cookery Book. Lasagne and steak and kidney pie had looked absolutely delicious on the pages of the book. Worst of all, there were too many parties that I was invited to. I prepared for these by wearing my good jeans and eating nothing the whole day in stomach-rumbling expectation of rice and chicken, at the very least. After all, no party where I came from could even begin to take off without the presence or the imminent arrival of Jollof rice and chicken. I found it hard to conceal my disgust at the cold, salty quiches that were the preserve of these London parties, the Romaine greens and raw baby tomatoes, the cheese balls and hideous orange Doritos that attacked your throat, and the cheap fizzy wine frugally measured out in styrofoam cups. I was so annoyed with one particular host for inviting me to dinner on a cold day and feeding me quiche that I found myself sinking into what I must admit was an unreasonable degree of despair. The tears trickled as I rode the Tube home. The people on the Tube must have wondered if someone had died. The fact was I was not only still hungry, but I felt completely misunderstood and exhausted. My host hadn’t taken the time to discover what I liked, hadn’t bothered to ask me. She fed me what she liked and then expected me to compliment the food. The company was too small even to wield the bottle of Tabasco sauce without getting caught. I had kept up a good front for hours but after so many dinner party disappointments this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. After spending three years studying an undergraduate degree and 18 months on a Master’s degree in the UK, I did learn to love Gruyère cheese quiches. I bought mutton neck and sturdy chickens from halal meat shops. I discovered the health food fringes with delicious handmade bread, goat’s butter and homemade jam. I made stew from sweet peppers, canned tomatoes and Scotch Bonnet peppers. I never made friends with baked beans. I binged on freshly-baked Yorkshire pudding. My best friends were South Asians whose mothers sent packages of Palak Paneer, potato and mushy pea samosas, and lamb curries to them at the weekends. The irony was that no one ever said to me, “Right Yemisi, tell me all about Nigerian food, I’m curious.” No party where I came from could even begin to take off without the presence or the imminent arrival of Jollof rice and chicken
  • 111. 114 We love our food but we’ve not bothered trying to win the world over with it. I’m not sure if this isn’t a combination of feeling just slightly intimidated by other people shouting so very loud about their own food and being just a little smug. One of my Greek housemates during my Master’s programme came up to me while I was cooking and asked if I was cooking tiger or lion. He didn’t wait for an answer. He grinned and told a long anecdote about an old housemate who cooked Nigerian food all the time and how the food “smelled awful”. There was the family I spent a couple of weeks with in Poole who cracked endless jokes about African chickens being like vulture meat and swallow, and draw soup being like glue and starch. There was an assumption that the food I ate at home in Nigeria was ‘“African”. It was “jungle fare”, something you ran out to the bush for. It was cantankerous and makeshift. It jumped out of the plate and fought you for the spoon. If you could have Yorkshire puddings and roast, why on earth would you want Nigerian food? I must admit to having being caught completely unawares, so much so that it was difficult to begin to defend my cuisine. I imagined that if people lived in cosmopolitan cities and bumped into Tanzanians, Thais, Koreans and Ghanaians every day, they shouldn’t jump to food conclusions that included words like “jungle”, “African chickens”, “tigers’” and “lions”. I waited many lifetimes for someone to respectfully ask about Nigerian food; the sort of enquiry that would draw out epistles to Nigerian food. But in five years of going back and forth from Nigeria to the UK no one ever did. Not even the South Asian housemates who were so generous with their Palak Paneer. There are 20 years between our plane food stories. Supposedly airlines have made a genuine effort over the years to try to understand their clients’ local cuisines, not presume that one size fits all. And the misunderstandings about Nigerian food remain today. Yes, our food is mainly a combination of soups and what seems like stodge that has not evolved in decades. We have not bothered much with dressing it up to global fine dining standards. However, our soups are some of the best-kept secrets in the world. They are innumerable, complicated, smart, stimulating and palate-challenging. We have many ways of enhancing flavour that are on a par with the most sophisticated cuisines in the world. When the rest of the world has gone on and on about their cuisines, we have remained mute with our mouths full of food. We love our food but we’ve not bothered trying to win the world over with it. I’m not sure if this isn’t a combination of feeling just slightly intimidated by other people shouting so very loud about their own food and being just a little smug. The egusi soup on the plane might have done with a makeover. It didn’t need to overwhelm the cabin with a strong smell. It might have needed a bit of PR to tailor it to the context, but to be fair to it, when people talk about food being “smelly”, sometimes all they mean is that it is unfamiliar. This same friend, who said egusi soup was “smelly”, was once caught trying to smuggle a durian fruit on a taxi in Malaysia! Perhaps the egusi needed a manual saying it was made from melon seeds and not eggs, and that it had fermented locust beans in it. Perhaps the airline that went through all the propaganda effort of turning dull crackers, cheap cheese and four or five grapes into dessert should have called an expert to interpret egusi soup for high altitudes. And then, maybe, other passengers unfamiliar with it would have enjoyed it more. ■
  • 112. 115www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com WHAT’S COOKIN’?! T ake dozens of different cultures rich in culinary traditions and add a generous helping of gourmand pride. Mix in an abundance of fresh, local produce and age-old cooking know-how before stirring in plenty of laughter, music, dance and sun. Simmer gently with warm hospitality for a trademark Naija dish – and don’t forget to add a generous dollop of home-made pepper sauce. And the result is a delicious feast of Nigerian food. Across Africa, it is often said that big-hearted cooks favour big, hearty flavours – and anyone who has spent time in a Naija kitchen will know this to be true. Among sizzling pans, bubbling cauldrons and fire-hot ovens, a host of robust, richly-seasoned wholesome dishes are prepared, evoking age-old culinary traditions. Hundreds of recipes, passed down through the generations, reflect the culinary melting pot of the nation and are as vibrant and varied as the Nigerian landscape and people themselves. As West Africa’s breadbasket, Nigeria’s agricultural communities bring vast harvests to market. From the grassy slopes of the Adamawa Highlands and the mud plains of the Niger Delta to the mineral-laden soils around Lake Chad, and from Lagos and Abuja to Kano and Calabar, good wholesome food is an important part of Nigerian life. In the south, a fertile coastline stretches across the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean, providing a bountiful haul of succulent seafood such as shrimp, crab and octopus. While nationwide over 30 million hectares of Nigeria’s land area is planted with crops of yams, manioc (cassava), maize, sorghum (Guinea corn), rice, peanuts, palm oil, sugar cane, palm kernel, millet and soybeans, together with dozens of different nuts, fruits and vegetables such as cashews, carrots, bananas, oranges, peppers, guava, okra, spinach, limes, peas, melons and plantains. Meals are created using anything ripe enough to pick, with a rainbow of aromatic exotic herbs and spices added to embellish taste and colour. Vast pots of stews and slow-cooked hot pepper-spiced curries always contain enough to share, as every Nigerian cook knows how to make small amounts of fish, beef, goat and poultry stretch in order to feed an entire community. Sauces are often thickened using tomatoes, onions, red pepper and palm oil, with many dishes cooked using umpteen chillies – so beware. Dozens of European colonisers, neighbouring African countries and, more recently, international visitors have each lent their own unique culinary custom to Nigeria’s rich food traditions. The country’s recipes also boast many regional variations – a dish of isu (spiced, boiled yams) enjoyed in Maiduguri or Onitsha can taste very different to one served in Port Harcourt or Benin City. In Lagos, an influx of tourists from all over the globe continues to shape local food culture by adding Thai noodles, German sausage, Dutch pancakes, Mexican tacos and Italian pizza and pasta to the city’s gourmet mix. Exquisite meals, deserving of a star-shaped French accolade, at high-end big-buck bistros and ultra-trendy fusion diners, have sent visiting gastronomes into raptures. Yet here, as elsewhere across Nigeria, the family-run, hole-in-the-wall “chop house” (chop is Pidgin for “eat”) are still found on every corner or tucked down backstreets. Expect rustic plates of fluffy rice and beans, yam By Sarah Woods
  • 113. 116 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating destinations Recipe – Jollof Rice n 4 cups uncooked rice n 1 medium onion, chopped n 5 ripe tomatoes, chopped n 3 ripe tomatoes, sliced n 3 large red bell peppers, chopped n 1 small onion, sliced n 1 small chilli pepper n 3 cups chicken stock (or unsweetened coconut milk) n Salt, thyme and curry powder to taste n 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil n 1 cup dried shrimp (optional) If using dried shrimp, pulverise in blender and set aside. Puree the chopped tomatoes, chilli, bell peppers and medium onion. Set aside. Put the rice in a saucepan with mix of water (4 cups), chicken stock (2 cups) and a generous pinch of salt. Or swap the water for unsweetened coconut milk for a thicker alternative. Pour the puree into a saucepan and add butter or vegetable oil, salt, 3 sliced tomatoes, small sliced onion, curry powder, dried shrimp and thyme to taste. Cook about 10 minutes. Pour sauce into rice, mix together and simmer for about 10 minutes (until rice is dry and fluffy). and bowls of pepper soup and egusi (melon seed) soup from menus that are oblivious to gastronomic verves. Street food, markets and kerbside diners are also sure to have foodies salivating with their barbecued grill of suya (meat), plantain and corn. Vendors selling paper-wrapped Moi-Moi (steamed bean cake) are ambassadors of one of Nigeria’s best-loved culinary triumphs and zealously guard their recipes as bastions of a fine food tradition. The warmth of Nigerian hospitality is legendary and any home cook will admit to more than doubling up on recipe quantities “just in case someone should stop by”. As well as enjoyment, food is a gift that is given to welcome, comfort, befriend and show respect. Spend more than ten minutes with a native Nigerian and the conversation will turn to snacks, a meal or something to drink – and if you visit a typical home the host will always, without fail, lay a place at the table. This selfless act of giving food forms a part of the concept of àpónlé – the country’s unique blend of hospitality, appreciation, love and sharing that is almost impossible to define in a single, meagre word. Nigerians cook to celebrate, mourn, reflect, rest and rejoice – banging pans and chopping ingredients in a creative flurry, as the air fills with a beguiling cloud of aromas of roasted fish, fried onions, fragrant nutmeg and oh-so-sweet guava, coconut and honey. Hassle-free dining in Nigeria – our top tips n Veggie diners: Non meat-eaters remain poorly served by Nigeria’s eateries – although you can usually suggest at least one meat-free option. n Reservations: It is wise (and necessary) to book a table at Lagos’s swankiest and most popular food joints – especially at weekends and during public holidays. Elsewhere, just turn up and take your chance. n Ordering: Multiple courses still flummox many Nigerian cafe owners, so emphasise the order of your choices to avoid them all arriving at once. n Meat: Unless you specify otherwise, a steak will be cooked into submission – so if well done isn’t for you, ask for it pink. n Water: Clean, safe drinking water only comes in bottles – don’t drink from the tap or buy bags of “pure” water. n Payment: Very few restaurants will take anything other than cash (in small denominations) – so check before you place your order if you’ve only got plastic in your wallet. n Tipping: Although a gratuity isn’t customary in Nigeria, a tip of 10% is becoming increasingly common in Lagos restaurants. Elsewhere, simply round up the tab if you’ve been particularly well served. n Using hands: Avoid using the left hand at meals in Nigeria, both for eating and for passing things around the table. Many restaurants will offer utensils to non- Nigerians, while others assume you are comfortable using your right hand. n Alcohol: Many Nigerians are Muslims who do not drink alcohol. n More? Leave something on your plate to signal that you have had enough. If you clean your plate, you are indicating that you want more food – so another BIG Nigerian portion will arrive! Typical Nigerian fare n Jollof rice: This popular dish is created from vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers, rice, and meat or fish, and is a Nigerian version of a one-pot meal – everything gets thrown in to form a typical main course. A real favourite. n Fufu: This starchy dish is made with ground plantains or yam, and is often served with stews and other meals as a side dish. Using your fingers, it is customary to roll pieces of fufu to form a scoop to use to eat the rest of the meal. Delicious. n Suya: Often found in cafes and sold from street food stalls, these tasty meat kebabs are coated with ground peanuts and chilli, then barbecued over a hot flame. n Dodo: This irresistible Nigerian alternative to fries is created using peeled and sliced plantains fried in sizzling palm oil. Yum. n Boli: Nice and filling, this baked plantain dish is more than stodge-and-stupour, with each plantain usually baked whole. n Yam chips: Nice and tasty, thinly-sliced fried yams, a popular snack. ■
  • 114. 117www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating people Iyanya’s Winning Formula S uddenly Iyanya, who used to beg to open shows for other artists, was now a headlining artist in his own right. The money came rolling in. He rented a house in Lekki, bought three cars and, by the end of the year, like many a superstar, was immersed in a rumoured love triangle. Iyanya started out his career as a nightclub singer in Calabar, where he grew up, under the name “Desire”, which is the English translation of his name. At the Project Fame auditions, he was asked to drop Desire for a more afrocentric name, so he chose his birth name. According to Iyanya, his easy-going, happy to please nature has helped him along the road to success. It was close friends who urged him to take part in MTN Project Fame – they even bought him the application form. After his stint on the show and a failed attempt at launching a career as an RnB singer, his manager, Ubi Franklin asked him to take a more popular route and give the people what they want, which is dance music. Once again, Iyanya complied, Kukere was born and the rest, as they say, is history. However, as is inevitable with celebrities, controversy has quickly followed the singer’s success. A rumoured love triangle involving him, Ghanaian starlet Yvonne Nelson and Nollywood actress- turned-aspiring singer Tonto Dikeh is something he has had to address in interviews since November. He has repeatedly denied being in a relationship with both women, despite mentioning their names in his hit song Your Waist. “I don’t know how the rumours started,” he says. “I woke up one day and saw it on the internet. I never dated Yvonne Nelson and I’m not in a relationship 2012 was a good year for Iyanya Mbuk. Four years after emerging as the winner of music reality show MTN Project Fame, he finally had a hit song. And not just any ordinary hit song – it was a club banger, an air-waves ruler, an over-five-million-views YouTube hit, and the long- awaited achievement of a lifelong dream.
  • 115. 118 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating people with Tonto Dikeh. People are just having fun and I’ll just let them have fun.” In January of this year, his name was once again in the headlines for the wrong reasons. His manager was arrested in Port Harcourt after the artist failed to appear at shows hosted by entertainment doyen Opa Williams in Benin and Port Harcourt. Already Iyanya’s team had been paid 1.7 million naira, received on his behalf by his manager. They soon refunded the money and Ubi was let go. In a statement to the press, the manager explained that Iyanya had missed the shows due to scheduling conflicts. “It happens,” Iyanya explains. “It’s not the first time an artiste has missed a show. We apologised to [Opa Williams] and to the fans and we have moved on. He is our big brother. We are still loyal to him and we are still going to work together in the future.” For upcoming artists, situations like these can turn out to be stumbling blocks that eventually derail their career. But not Iyanya, it would seem. Rather than fuelling the controversies by dwelling on them, he has chosen instead to move on quickly and focus on his music. His sophomore album Desire is an eighteen-tracker that includes the three hit singles Kukere, Your Waist and Flavour, and features top artistes like D’banj, MI and Tiwa Savage. “It’s a ‘versus’ album that portrays the Iyanya of Kukere fame and Iyanya as Desire the RnB singer,” he explains. “It’s a combination of both worlds. In as much as I’m now known for dance music, I’m still an RnB artist.” Judging by his last three singles, and despite his claim to the contrary, “RnB artiste” is not a label that a casual listener to his songs would attribute to Iyanya. As he concedes, “I will say I do afrobeat now because even my RnB is not [American] standard RnB. I always try to bring it back home sometimes with the drums, other times with the flow. So, I do afrobeat.” However, Iyanya does not see his shift to popular music as selling out, or betraying his RnB roots. In fact, he’s simply doing what has ensured his success so far – what is asked of him. “As an artiste you are supposed to be versatile and give your environment what they want,” he says. “So if the audience say they don’t want RnB right now, you should give them what they want. Anything they say I should do, I’ll do it. If RnB comes back, I’ll do it. If the popular taste switches to reggae, I’ll do it.” Remaining relevant and successful is something that is clearly very important to Iyanya. “It’s one thing to get to this level and another thing to maintain it. I know a lot of people have made it and then failed but I’m never going to fail. I’m never going to be ever broke again.” And if his recent success and clear ability to give the fans what they want are anything to go by, it doesn’t look like Iyanya has much to worry about for now. ■
  • 116. 119www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating people The Williams sisters on an historic visit to Nigeria International tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams travelled to Nigeria for the first time last year in an historic visit that inspired millions of people.The iconic tennis legends spent a week in the country and spoke about accomplishing their dreams through hard work and determination. T heir visit was headlined “Breaking the Mould”, a title chosen to prove to all Nigerians that they can achieve greatness in their chosen field. Accompanied by their mother Oracene Price, they were hosted in Lagos by State Governor Babatunde Fashola who described their visit as a monumental inspiration to many young athletes in Nigeria. The stars flew into Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos and managed to pack a huge amount into their visit. They played tennis with schoolchildren in Ikoyi, attended a gala dinner and mounted an exhibition match to entertain their many Nigerian fans. It was the first time they had played a match in Africa and both sisters looked forward to it. “After all the finals everywhere, this will be our final in Nigeria,” Venus said. “I don’t know who’s going to win but Serena just won the WTA championship so I know she’s ready. I’ll have to play my best tennis.” GETTYIMAGES
  • 117. 120 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating people RIGHT Venus Williams with her sister Serena  boost tennis in Nigeria OPPOSITE Venus (centre right) and Serena Williams (centre left) dance with children during a programme entitled “Kick Like a Girl”, after an interactive session with students of the Federal Government College in the Ikoyi district of Lagos PREVIOUS PAGE Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola presents the emblem of the state government to US tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams during a visit at Government House in Lagos Speaking before the match, the sisters described how they broke down barriers to become the greatest black players in the history of tennis. “We were really able to break the mould and win a lot of Grand Slams and a lot of tournaments and not only that, but kind of change the face of tennis,” Serena said. “We were able to break the mould in a sport that was really dominated by white people. It doesn’t matter what your background is and where you come from. If you have dreams, if you have goals that is all that really matters.” Just two days before, Serena had beaten Maria Sharapova in Istanbul, winning the WTA Championships for the third time. In her career Serena, 31, has won 15 Grand Slams while Venus, 32, has won seven. Serena won Olympic Gold last year while Venus won a Gold in 2000. They have also teamed up to win 13 Grand Slam doubles titles along with Olympic Golds in 2000, 2008 and 2012. They have played each other 23 times in professional matches since 1998, with Serena winning 13 times. Recently Venus has been struggling with an autoimmune disease that has left her very tired, but she seemed on good form during the press conference in Lagos. The sisters revealed they both planned to take part in the 2016 Olympics in Rio if they are fit and well. While Serena has visited Africa before, it was Venus’s first time on the continent and she was enjoying every minute. “I’ve always wanted to come here,” she said, adding that she expected to continue taking trips where athletic competition is not the primary focus. “When you get a little older, you start to realise that you want to help other people and that is more important than the other dreams you may have had.” After leaving the State Governor’s residence the sisters went to the exclusive Ikoyi Club, where they coached many wide-eyed youngsters who had waited patiently to see their idols. The club was packed, despite the intense heat, and everyone watched intently as the tennis legends showed GETTYIMAGES
  • 118. 121www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating people some of their trade secrets to a group of schoolchildren. The excitement spilled over to nearby office blocks and workers leaned out of upper windows to see the action on the tennis court. Serena and Venus were easily visible, wearing bright pink and orange tops. “When I played them I felt nervous at first, playing one of the best in the world,” said eight-year-old Akinola Ogunleye. “Then I got used to playing them. If they can be that, why can’t I?” This was the reaction the sisters were looking for. But it wasn’t just athletic inspiration they came to deliver. The “Breaking The Mould” tour aimed to empower women and young girls to believe in themselves and fulfil their full potential. It was intended to teach girls the value of hard work, passion, determination and self-belief, and demonstrate that neither colour nor gender should hold them back and keep them from achieving the best in life. Serena and Venus speak from personal and profound experience. Brought up in California by their former sharecropper father Richard and mother Oracene, the girls started playing tennis on the public courts not far from their home in Compton. Richard deliberately encouraged his daughters to play tennis in the hope they could escape the tough neighbourhood through talent. They played on courts riddled with potholes and missing nets, but they learned to overcome these obstacles and by the age of 10 Venus was on the US Tennis Association junior tour. “We’re looking forward to being inspired by the young women in Nigeria and also to inspire them as well. It’s a two-way street. We can learn so much from each other,” Venus told the governor. Serena and Venus showed this clearly at an empowerment event at the Government Secondary School in Osborne Ikoyi, where they provided the schoolgirls with an inspirational and unforgettable moment in their lives. They attended a puberty education class and spoke to the girls before a lively song and dance routine to Little Big Steps – used by the feminine hygiene brand Always that has done so much to help educate girls across the globe about growing up. The sisters also attended a gala dinner at the Federal Palace Hotel, where businesswomen and female entrepreneurs had the opportunity to meet them and hear them speak. All in all, the “Breaking the Mould” tour was an unforgettable trip, and will remain in the memories of Nigerians for many years to come. ■ GETTYIMAGES
  • 119. 122 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating people I gho Sanomi, the CEO of the Taleveras Group, has always been a great supporter of Nigeria’s national heritage. So it was no surprise that he was honoured with the major “Patron, Nigeria National Heritage” award last year from the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke. In a letter sent to Mr Sanomi on 19th November 2012, Edem Duke stated: “In recognition of your unrelenting effort and support for various causes through your corporate social responsibility in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation is proud to confer on you the Award of ‘Patron, Nigeria National Heritage’. It is our hope that this award would spur you to greater service to Nigeria, especially in the areas of harnessing our rich cultural heritage assets and restoration/promotion of the same for the ultimate benefit of Nigeria.’’ Speaking in front of the Nigerian diplomatic community at the event, Igho Sanomi said that he felt greatly humbled by the recognition. “Our country is so rich in history. All the way from the north to the south, from east to west, we have memorable stories and structures to share,” he said. “We must do all we can to preserve this heritage for the benefit of us today and for our generations yet unborn’’. The Lifeline Care Association Not only is Igho Sanomi a dedicated supporter of the arts in Nigeria, he is also a philanthropist who espouses important causes through his foundations and initiatives. The dynamic young founder and CEO of the Taleveras Group, an internationally-recognised energy and power conglomerate with offices in London, Geneva, Cape Town, Dubai, the Ivory Coast, Abuja and Lagos, also acts as Chairman or Co-chair on the boards of companies with interests as diverse as construction, telecommunications, shipping, aviation and real estate. The Taleveras Group supports the Lifeline Care Association (LCA) which provides first line medical support for the victims of road traffic accidents. The LCA organises awareness-raising seminars and workshops, and donates first aid materials to designated care centres and road traffic safety signs. Where resources allow, they also try to help with the costs of surgery for accident victims.  Igho Sanomi receives Heritage Award from the Minister of Tourism
  • 120. 123www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating people Their annual donation has been used to secure office space, call centre facilities and medical vehicles. Funds are also channelled towards the sponsorship of an annual public lecture series on topics related to “Human Life and National Development”. In recognition of their support and contribution, the Taleveras Group has been honoured with the Certificate of Merit for Humanitarianism. The Dickens Sanomi Foundation Through the Dickens Sanomi Foundation, dedicated to the memory of his father, Igho Sanomi has provided vital relief to areas of Nigeria affected by natural disasters. In 2012 the foundation evacuated about 12,300 flood victims from Bayelsa and Delta states. Food, blankets, medical care and funds were provided to the victims, who were housed in special relief camps following their rescue. As a result of this work, the Dickens Sanomi Foundation was directly responsible for saving thousands of lives. The greatest success of the rescue operation was the evacuation of a 118-year-old man, Elder Ighonido Ewhre, of Orere Delta State in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. The Dickens Sanomi Foundation also places a high priority on the development of Nigerian children, organising a number of competitions to encourage artistic accomplishment. These include the Dickens Sanomi Annual Essay Competition for junior and senior schools in Nigeria, the Strauss Musical Competition to promote musical development in children, and a competition for adult writers. The Global Initiative for Peace, Love and Care The Taleveras Group also sponsors events such the Global Initiative for Peace, Love and Care (GIPLC), a non-governmental, non-faith based charity that cares for orphans and vulnerable children. In December last year, the GIPLC hosted a Christmas party for over 1,500 orphans and vulnerable children at the City Park in Abuja. These children are often neglected and without food, clothes, shelter, healthcare, education and, most importantly, love. The highlight of the party was a presentation of the funds needed for Emmanuel Ogar, a 12-year-old boy suffering from a tumour in his jaw, to receive urgent medical attention. This presentation was made by Igho Sanomi. Sanomi was particularly moved when Samuel, a 4-year-old boy from the Christ Treasured Royal Orphanage, demonstrated his knowledge of the Bible by reciting psalms by heart, to the admiration of everyone at the event.   A worthy patron Described by Forbes Magazine as “one of the new generation of young professionals in Nigeria who are establishing themselves as young leaders of the private sector business community,” Igho Sanomi has clearly demonstrated not only great leadership skills, but also great empathy and humanity for his fellow Nigerians. His active participation in Nigeria’s communities ensures that he is a worthy patron of Nigeria’s national heritage, and is rightfully recognised for his important, ongoing work. ■
  • 121. 124 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating people Raising the bar for motor racing in Nigeria I n December 2012 Nigerian businessman Kola Aluko stepped onto the podium at Rome’s Vallelunga circuit to celebrate third place in the Endurance Champions Cup. It was a defining moment in his motor racing career as he stood next to one of his idols, former F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella. “I never imagined it would happen,” he says in his office at Atlantic Energy, surrounded by silver-plated pistons and engine parts that reveal where his heart really lies. “It was one of the toughest races with a field several levels above us. But two of the teams made critical mistakes which shows that slow and steady wins the race.” The race at Vallelunga was the fourth and final race of the Cup which was won by Fisichella and Italy’s AF Corse. Aluko’s Kessel Racing team, with co-pilots Thomas Kemenater and Maurizio Mediani, were consistent throughout the six-hour race, which is as much a feat of endurance as of skill. Aluko is one of a handful of black racing drivers driving change in the perceptions of a traditionally white and Asian sport. He is on the board of the Automobile Sports Club of Nigeria and recently hosted FIA President Jean Todt as he made a two-day visit to Nigeria to investigate the possibility of bringing motor racing to the country. Firm in his belief that African manufacturing industries will soon be in a position to compete with major global suppliers to the sport, he says: “We’ve already seen multinationals in other industries moving manufacturing operations from China to Africa, and I think that’s a trend that’s likely to continue as factory wages continue to rise throughout many parts of Asia.” Aluko’s love of cars and racing was ingrained from an early age and has dominated the way he has approached both his businesses and his hobby. “When you are in a race car you can’t think of anything else,” he says. “On a race track the difference between you and the next best driver is 0.5 seconds so you can imagine how precise you have to be. Driving is very technical and your mind is 100% focused on the task.” Aluko owns Kessel Racing’s Ferrari 458 GT2 and has previously competed in the Winter Series GTOpen in Montmelo, Catalonia, Spain. “It is a way to take my mind off everything else,” he considers. “These days it is not so dangerous, unless you have a big shunt at high speed. There are a lot of passive safety features on the track and the cars and in fact I never drive quickly on ordinary roads as I know that road cars are not as safe. They only have single point seat belts that don’t restrain you as well, and the roll cages in the cars are not as sturdy. The windows are glass – all the inherent things that make a car not KOLA ALUKO
  • 122. 125www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating people safe are more apparent to me because I drive on the racetrack. There are so many unpredictable factors on the road, but on the track most drivers are my standard. On the road the guy who got his licence yesterday is on the road with you.” Aluko has had one major crash in a race car, but he walked away with just a mild concussion. “It made me a bit slower,” he laughs as he admits he finds racing exhilarating. “A lot of people like to play chess because they feel it hones their strategy thinking, but for me racing is like a fast version of living and is mentally challenging. Everything in life you can apply to racing – strategy, skill, preparation. On a race weekend I prepare every corner mentally. You have to memorise the track within one practice session. When I first started I was racing against people who had raced it before and I couldn’t just cruise round!” To prepare he watches videos and plays PS games based on the circuits. “When you are driving you have to push the limits without going over the limits, because they are long races – Abu Dhabi 12 hours, Vallelunga six hours. I have three other drivers and we do two-hour stints. They design the track to challenge your skills as much as possible.” He currently races out of his base in Lugano, Switzerland, where Kessel Racing is also located. There he stores his collection of race cars and classic cars. They include classics from the 1960s like a Ferrari California Spyder, a 250 Lusso, a Dino and the Aston Martin DB5, as well as the thoroughbred Ferraris like the F40, the F50 and the Enzo. “Obviously I can’t drive all the cars but the guys who look after them are professionals,” he says. “My cars are my passion and an investment, mostly they go up in value but I do drive them. “The Maserati MC12 racing car was one of only nine built and has won championships in the past. I have the F1 car from 2008 driven by Kimi Raikkonen and tested by Michael Schumacher, a Gullwing SL from the 60s. They are better investments than a lot of other things.” But it’s not enough for Aluko to push the boundaries in racing. He takes the lessons he learns and applies them to his global business interests which range from energy and private aviation to his Made In Africa Foundation, which funds feasibility studies for major infrastructure projects. “If you look inwards and try to focus on the best you can do; if you are the sort of person who always challenges himself, then you are so far ahead of the others and the game. You can only do as best as you can. That is something I have got from racing.” And no doubt Kola Aluko will always be ahead of the game, no matter which car he is driving. ■
  • 123. 126 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating people The Storyof Me At 29 years old, I run a legal filings company and a lifestyle coaching enterprise. Sometimes I wonder what persuaded me to leave my wonderful previous job in one of the oldest and most established law firms in the country to take this on. I was running the Intellectual Property department, something I had aspired to do ever since I finished law school. So what changed? Angela Morenike Adebayo T he problem was I was comfortable. Too comfortable. I got to the stage where I didn’t need to push myself and for a while that was fine by me. Go to work during the week, socialise at weekends, what more could I have asked for? Then I started putting on weight. I’d always been thin, I even did a stint of modelling in my late teens and early twenties, and I’m told that I was rather good at it. But there is a vibrant social aspect to this country with parties and weddings and events almost every weekend, and to say I embraced that part of Lagos wholeheartedly would be an understatement. I would go out for brunch, lunch, early dinners and late cocktails. I was having the time of my life. I feel as if I blinked and I was eleven kilos heavier. So there was me, going to a job where I felt unfulfilled and feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. Something had to change. I was born on 31 March 1984 to Angela and Niyi Adebayo, mum and dad to me, and now the ex- governor of Ekiti State and his wife Otunba, and Erelu Adebayo to everyone else. As the eldest of three children and the eldest grandchild on both sides I knew I had my work cut out for me. I wasn’t trying to succeed just for myself, but for the entire Adebayo/da Silva clan. That’s not to say I didn’t have my ups and downs. After moving to England at the age of 12, my GCSE results weren’t anything to write home about, and my A Level results were more a reflection of what I was good at than they are the effort I put into them. I studied Law at Sussex University and then attended the Inns of Court School of Law in London to train as a solicitor. When most of my classmates were considering whether to apply for training contracts or internships in London, I became curious about Nigeria. A number of my friends had begun to emigrate back and the stories were hypnotising, so I decided to go to the Nigerian Law School. Besides, what was one more year studying the thing I loved the most? After I graduated, I worked at one of the top law firms in the country, Aluko and Oyebode, where my love for the law grew and I got to experience first- hand what it entailed. I finally fell into the Intellectual Property department. I had never studied it at school and didn’t know much about it, but as soon as I picked up the basics I was hooked. I spent my days researching trademarks and brands and how they influence corporate identity, and didn’t understand why it wasn’t more important here. Why didn’t everyone register their trademarks or lodge their copyrights when they had the chance? And why was it so hard to catch counterfeiters? I wanted to know more. So I enrolled in King’s College London and undertook an LLM in Intellectual Property Law. I also gained practical
  • 124. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com experience at a UK law firm. Then I got offered a place at Bentley Edu & Co. What followed were the most amazing two years. I learnt more than I could have imagined; I was thrown in head first and had to learn on my feet. I was the head of the Intellectual Property team, implementing operational changes, marketing, overseeing accounts, as well as practising law. I am forever indebted to the firm for all they taught me because without them I would never be where I am today. What I did not put any effort into was diet. I rarely worked out and I ate whatever had the misfortune of crossing my path. My high metabolism would see me through, right? Wrong. I put on a lot of weight over the course of a year and worst of all I was really unhappy. I realised that I would have to make changes. So I did, I became obsessed with dieting and working out, I tried every diet under the sun. Some worked and some didn’t, and I kept notes and journals and charted my research and progress until I found what worked. It’s not just about weight loss, it’s about a wellness and peace that you get when you cut out an unhealthy lifestyle. You don’t feel sluggish and helpless, you feel like you can take over the world. Because I could do it for myself, I wanted to spread the wisdom of my experiences and “Keke Adebayo’s Lifestyle Coaching Experience” was born. I now do lifestyle coaching in my spare time and have a number of clients who have seen very positive results. The way the programme works is simple – everyone knows how to lose weight, they just need someone to take all the guesswork out of it. I provide the tools needed. So now I’m eleven kilos lighter and running my own company, which I love. Being in the UK and working with overseas agents showed me that internationally the more administrative areas of law don’t have to be carried out in a traditional law firm setting. The idea of a trademarks agent or a company secretariat was unheard of in Nigeria, however internationally they are mainstream. I saw the gap in the market and started Silvax Legal Filings, the first independent legal filings company in the country. We carry out a whole host of services including both domestic and international trademark, patent and design registrations, lodging of copyright and a whole host of company secretarial services, from company incorporations to all other filings at the CAC and other regulatory bodies such as NOTAP, NAFDAC and SEC. The best thing about it is that the service is much more affordable than law firms because we’re so specialist. So that’s me. I’m a lawyer and a businesswoman, and for fun I help people make healthier lifestyle choices. How do I feel now? Blessed! ■ 127
  • 125. 128 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Patriarch of African literature (1930–2013) Chinua Achebe F rom an early age, the ink that flowed from Chinua Achebe’s hand was erudite, insightful and probing. Eulogies since his passing have focused on the global recognition he achieved with his debut novel Things Fall Apart, written in his mid-20s. His body of work reads like a library inventory, with literary criticism, poetry, children’s literature and memoirs just part of his extensive – and riveting – catalogue. For people outside Africa it was Things Fall Apart that brought the drama, landscape, history and people of the continent into our lives. With its two powerful intertwining tales centred on a Nigerian Igbo village, Achebe delves into the cultures of a tribal world to provide factual insider accounts. He details the aggressive arrival of colonisation with considerable force and logic with the novel’s last paragraph, To the literary world, Chinua Achebe was one of the world’s greatest storytellers.To Africa, he was a Nigerian cultural icon who profoundly influenced a generation. His death in March this year aged 82 brought tributes from all corners of the globe for a man who challenged the stereotyping of the African inWestern literature and bestowed upon the world a literary gift.
  • 126. 129www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating people widely hailed as one of the most affecting ever written. Things Fall Apart has been translated into over 50 languages and won Achebe the prestigious Margaret Wong Memorial Prize. It has also attained the status of a “classic” – a testimony to his ability to engage with readers all over the world. This magnum opus was followed by acclaimed novels such as No Longer at Ease, A Man of the People, Arrow of God and Anthills of the Savannah, the last of which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1987. Born in the Igbo town of Ogidi in eastern Nigeria on 16 November 1930, Achebe was the fifth child of parents who worked for the Church Missionary Society. He was schooled at the Society’s school, where the primary language was Igbo, only learning English at the age of eight. Achebe relished each day’s lessons, immersing himself in words and languages and devouring books – so much so that his friends nicknamed him “Dictionary”. Some of his favourite page-turners were written by Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens, Joseph Conrad and W.B. Yeats – though he observed that these “were not about us or people like us”. At fourteen, Achebe was selected for the Government College in Umuahia, one of the best educational establishments in West Africa. He excelled and after graduating was accepted to study medicine at the new University College at Ibadan, a member college of London University at the time. He later switched to liberal arts, to which he was more suited. At the time, demand for educated Nigerians in the government was high as Nigeria readied itself for independence. His first published writings appeared in a student publication and soon Achebe’s inquiring, analytical mind and penetrating stories began to win acclaim. When a European professor assigned the class Joyce Cary’s Mister Johnson, judged by many as a patronising portrayal of Africa, and Achebe learned that Time magazine had hailed it as “the best novel ever written about Africa,” he was outraged, vowing that if someone as ignorant of his homeland as Anglo-Irish author Cary could write such a book, then “Perhaps I ought to try my hand at it”. As nationalism grew in Nigeria, Achebe stopped using his name Albert in favour of his Igbo name, Chinua – short for Chinualumogo, meaning “My spirit come fight for me”. Soon after graduating with a BA, Achebe joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation as a radio producer before going to the BBC in London in 1956. As a small man with a mischievous smile, Achebe soon became renowned for his gentle, teasing use of riddles. It was at this time that the manuscript for Things Fall Apart was written, presenting – at last – European colonisation from an African viewpoint. It secured a publishing deal with Heinemann, brought instant fame and established Achebe as a literary force. On his return to Nigeria, Achebe founded and directed the Voice of Nigeria for the NBC, pushing for greater national identity and unity through cutting-edge broadcasts that showcased Nigerian culture and affairs. Achebe believed that good writing must deal primarily with the problems of society, stressing that “any good story, any good novel, should have a message … a purpose”. His own complex relationship with Nigeria provided him with plenty of material – but perhaps no more so than during the turmoil of 1966 to 1972. In 1966, young Igbo officers in the Nigerian army staged a coup d’état. A counter-coup by non-Igbo officers overthrew the Igbo-led government, and the new regime persecuted Achebe, knowing that he was unsympathetic to them. Achebe fled to predominantly Igbo-speaking Nsukka in eastern Nigeria and became a senior research fellow at the University of Nigeria. In 1967, the eastern part of Nigeria declared independence as the nation of Biafra, sparking thirty months of bloody civil war. Achebe fled to Europe and America, where he wrote and talked about Biafra and accepted several visiting professorships. In 1976, once Nigeria had calmed, he returned as professor of English at the University of Nigeria. He remain scathing of Nigerian politics and confronted the problems faced by Nigeria and other newly independent African nations, publishing in 1983 The Trouble with Nigeria, a controversial critique of corrupt Nigerian politicians and lack of leadership since independence. Achebe also had three collections of essays and two of short stories published and was the founding editor of Heinemann’s African Writers series. As editor of Okike, Nigeria’s leading journal of new writing, Achebe championed new talent and literary promise. In 1990, he became the Charles P. Stevenson Jr. professor of literature at Bard College, Annandale, New York in the same year that a road accident left him paralysed from the waist down. Being confined to a wheelchair meant that going home to Nigeria was extremely problematic, and Achebe felt trapped as he longed to have full physical independence. However he never showed his frustration or let it affect how he related to people. A full calendar ranged from speaking at the United Nations to meeting visiting Nigerian artists. For Achebe, to work was to accomplish – and there was always so much he felt he could help achieve. Achebe famously twice rejected the title of Commander of the Federal Republic, a national honour, citing ethical reasons. Instead he founded an institute that would foster the talent of young artists working in Africa. Today many writers, artists and dancers owe a considerable debt to the Chinua Achebe Centre for African Writers and Artists. Perhaps Achebe’s greatest attainment for Africa was his tireless fight for the dignity of the continent and his persistent drive to bring the truth to the world. In Nigeria, he certainly gave people the hope of broader recognition and optimism for greater good. It is a measure of his influence that contemporary African literature is now taught throughout schools across the globe and that there is worldwide demand for the books of modern African writers. Things Fall Apart has sold more than 12 million copies and has never been out of print. To Nigeria, and Africa, Achebe remains a literary father – the patriarch of modern African literature, of whom the world is still in awe. To his family, he was a fine husband, father, uncle and grandfather who inspired by his wisdom, courage and illumination. ■ Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists Email: achebecenter@bard.edu; www.achebecenter.bard.edu
  • 127. NNPC – Delighted to Partner Fascinating Nigeria NNPC works for you in many different ways, protecting our beautiful country by working towards a green environment and pioneering the future of renewable energy.
  • 128. NNPC NNPC Towers | Central Business District | Herbert Macaulay Way | P.M.B. 190 | Garki | Abuja www.nnpcgroup.com
  • 129. YINKA SHONIBARE MBE As a major exhibition of the work of British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE takes place in the UK, he reveals his plans for a museum of contemporary art in Lagos. 132 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com
  • 130. 133www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com TOP “Cannonball Heaven”, 2012. Copyright the artist. Yorkshire Sculpture Park BOTTOM “Alien Man on Flying Machine”, 2011. Copyright the artist. Yorkshire Sculpture Park Y inka Shonibare is that rare animal, more famous across the globe than in his native Nigeria. To a certain extent this is because the artist and sculptor has chosen to live in London, where he was born and raised until the age of three. Returning at the age of 17, he has almost single-handedly raised the profile of Nigerian art in the consciousness of ordinary Britons, who have embraced wholeheartedly his Ankara-clad creations that speak volumes about colonialism. It was his Fourth Plinth project in Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Ship In a Bottle, that brought him to national attention in the UK. A scaled-down replica of Nelson’s ship Victory, it stood until January 2012 on the empty plinth beneath the gaze of the great Admiral himself. With its Ankara sails and exquisite craftsmanship, it drew admirers from all over the world. Art on a grand scale is Yinka Shonibare’s stock in trade. His creations are widely conceived – they are groups of headless Europeans debating the future of Africa, or aristocrats deriving untold fortunes from their investments on the continent. The works have a multitude of cross references from literature to painting and poetry. “Generally my work is critical of the Establishment and a celebration at the same time,” Shonibare told Fascinating Nigeria in an exclusive interview. “It doesn’t necessarily fall on one side or the other, but it is provocative and I hope it will engage and entertain people while making them think.” His paintings, photographs, sculptures and installations have common themes – civilisation and identity. He questions who are the civilised, the colonisers or the colonised.
  • 131. 134 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com His use of Ankara fabrics reflects playfully on his subjects. Though widely seen as African, these fabrics in fact originated from Indonesian batik work and were exported from Britain and Holland to West Africa. Already ambiguous, he adapts these complex fabrics into European aristocratic dress, showing the familiar in new contexts in order to question assumptions or conventions. “The history of colonialism is a dark one, but there is no point in crying about what is lost after the event,” Shonibare says. “Art is a way to deal with it.” Shonibare embraces his dual heritage, using it to explore the nature of humanity. “Culturally I am Nigerian just because of my upbringing. I have lived in the UK for a very long time so I think I can safely claim dual identity. I think that there is a falsehood in trying to force people to choose one or the other, because if you have an experience that is actually about both, then you will be denying a part of your identity if you were forced to choose one or the other. That would be dishonest, not to acknowledge your life experience has been between those two cultures.” From 1965 he grew up in the vibrant atmosphere of Lagos, listening to Fela Kuti along with music from Europe and America. “I actually find the music in Nigeria right now very interesting. It is a mixture of trad Nigerian with rap, very cosmopolitan,”he says. “My dream is to have a similar thing happening within the visual arts. I visited Nigeria last year and I gave a talk at Terra Kulture. I was initially invited to show my work in Lagos, but unfortunately I didn’t find a space that I thought was of a good enough international standard because I would like to present my work in the same way as I present it in London or New York. “But all is not lost because I am trying to speak to a number of people in Nigeria to create a Museum of Contemporary Art & Design. I have the support of the architect David Adjaye, and I currently have someone doing research on the ground in Lagos.” He has just bought an apartment in Lagos and plans to spend more time in the city as he works on his latest project. “Nigerians love art and love to engage with artists,” he says. “When I went to Lagos recently to give a talk at Terra Kulture, I was really surprised at the enthusiasm. Just from the conversations I have had with artists there it seems there is something lacking, yet there is a lot of talent there. I feel a sense of duty really. The growing middle class would love to have a place they could go to at the weekends, and it would also be a benefit from the educational aspect too.” He feels that currently there aren’t many opportunities for Nigerian artists to show their work in appropriate spaces, so he is hoping to persuade Lagos State to support his idea. “I would be looking for funding initially for a good strong business plan because I want it to be a commercially viable project. There should be a shop that would support the work of the designers and possibly a restaurant. I don’t think it should be a museum in the long term that is dependent on public money. The research I am gathering will show the size of the art economy, the number of artists and museums, the tourist industry, how this type of project might boost the career of designers and artists and also the tourist industry so it is comprehensive.” In London he supports upcoming artists through his Guest Space in his East End studio. He has a proposal box
  • 132. 135www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating people OPPOSITE “Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle”, 2010. Copyright the artist. Courtesy of the artist, the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Photography David Westwood LEFT “Revolution Kid (Fox Boy)”, 2012. Copyright the artist. Yorkshire Sculpture Park BELOW “Scramble for Africa”, 2003. Copyright the artist. Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
  • 133. 136 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com ABOVE “Globe Head Ballerina”, 2012. Copyright the artist. Courtesy of the artist, Royal Opera House, London and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Photography Mark Blower RIGHT “Climate Shit Drawing 6 (Triptych)”, 2009. Copyright the artist. Yorkshire Sculpture Park OPPOSITE TOP “Fake Death (The Suicide – Leonardo Alenza)”, 2011. Copyright the artist. Yorkshire Sculpture Park OPPOSITE “Alien Woman on Flying Machine”, 2012. Copyright the artist. Yorkshire Sculpture Park outside and mounts several shows a year that provide a valuable showcase for newcomers, giving them the same opportunity that he had as a young artist starting out. “I am a modern African, but I was educated as a contemporary artist in Western art history,” he says, referring to his studies at Byam Shaw College of Art (now Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design) and Goldsmiths College in London. “So my point of reference is usually history, popular culture, art history and fiction. I tend to work with the iconic imagery associated with these themes, like ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ or paintings such as Gainsborough’s ‘Mr and Mrs Andrews Without Their Heads’. But then I will also make references to abstract expressionism in painting or popular culture, so my source material is not unfamiliar to people.” His work has been exhibited all over the world, from the Tate Gallery, who own several pieces, to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington. He was notably commissioned by Okwui Enwezor At Documenta 10 in 2002 to create his most recognised work “Gallantry and Criminal Conversation”, which launched him on an international stage. He was a Turner Prize nominee in 2004, the same year that he was awarded an MBE. His latest exhibitions in the UK include the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield and at the Stephen Friedman Gallery in central London. Yorkshire Sculpture Park(YSP) is the leading
  • 134. 137www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture. Taking place in three of YSP’s indoor galleries and the open air, FABRIC–ATION features over 30 vibrant works from the period 2002–2013. Two major commissions, the first works in a new series for the UK, premiere in the Park’s Arcadian landscape. Standing over six metres tall, Wind Sculptures (2013) are richly coloured, painted with his signature batik-inspired surface pattern. Although constructed in fibreglass, they appear fluid like fabric caught by the breeze. Also on display is Alien Man on a Flying Machine, along with Revolution Kid (Fox Boy). “The Alien Man and Alien Woman are a joke about prejudice generally. Foreigners are referred to as aliens and prejudice is often based on ignorance,” Shonibare comments. The Revolution Kid has a more complex meaning, referring to not just the aristocratic pursuit of fox-hunting, but the revolution in Libya and the 2011 riots in London. “The fox is holding a replica of Gaddafi’s gun, and is holding a BlackBerry – the kids in London during the riot were communicating with BlackBerrys as were the people in the revolution in Egypt,” he says. “The fox that would have been hunted by the aristocracy is fighting back. The revolution is also aspirational, so the revolutionary might also end up being the dictator or the aristocrat.” He admits to a degree of gallows humour in his work. “There must be lightness on the outside but if you were to really think what you were looking at, it is much more serious. I don’t fall on to one moral side, I just show what has happened. Also it is a fun playful thing to look at.” He now incorporates MBE into his professional name, pleased that his message has got through. “That is where it has worked. On the one hand it is a critique of the establishment but it is not done in a kind of aggressive way – it is done with humour and subtlety. It is also about art for art’s sake, simply about engaging with and enjoying artwork that happens to be saying something.” In London he has been supported by Guaranty Bank, who also sponsor an African curator at Tate Modern. “Looking at Nigeria today, if people can invest so much in hotels they can also invest in culture,” he comments hopefully. “A Museum of Contemporary Art in Lagos is much needed for everyone.” ■ WHERE TO SEE YINKA SHONIBARE’S PUBLIC WORK IN LONDON Nelson’s Ship in A Bottle – Greenwich Maritime Museum The Museum raised £362,500 (mostly from individuals) to acquire and permanently display this much-loved sculpture. It stands outside the Sammy Ofer Wing. National Maritime Museum, Romney Rd, Greenwich SE10 9NF Globe Head Ballerina Outside the Royal Opera House on Russell St until June 2017. FABRIC–ATION
 Yorkshire Sculpture Park
 2 March–1 September 2013 www.ysp.co.uk Wind Sculpture Wilcox Place, Victoria – part of the new Howick Place development www.yinkashonibarembe.com
  • 135. NationalTheatre/NationalTroupe of Nigeria (NT/NTN)
  • 136. The National Troupe of Nigeria is the official and foremost performing arts institution of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Established with the purpose of promoting, preserving and propagating Nigerian culture, the troupe’s main operative areas include dance, drama, music and children/youth theatre. Invitations for Nigeria to participate abroad in different festivals, trade fairs and cultural exchanges also brought about the awareness of the need for a collection of different dances from the States for the purposes of honouring these invitations. National Theatre/National Troupe of Nigeria (NT/NTN) National Theatre Complex, Iganmu, PMB 3109, Lagos Tel: +234 1 261 4192; 830986; 836810; 802060-74
  • 137. 140 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating people T he indigenous film industry, known affectionately as Nollywood, is one of Nigeria’s key growth areas. The second- largest film industry in the world after India’s Bollywood, it has been conservatively estimated at $250m and is forecast to grow even more in the next ten years. Now it has been earmarked by President Goodluck Jonathan as a vital tourism component in his Transformation Agenda, and he recently announced he had set aside some N3bn as a government grant on the basis that it would soon surpass oil and gas as the biggest revenue generator in the country. For the actors and directors, great riches are still on the horizon. But as successful director and Nollywood royalty Ruke Amata says, “As small as the industry is now, with a bit more investment and a bit more structure it can be a big earner. We have stories that can appeal and we have some of the best actors in the world, but we haven’t had the resources until now.” Ruke comes from a family that is has acting in its blood. His father John was a playwright and director, and his mother also appeared in films. His brother Zack is a theatre director, while Zack’s son Jeta made the acclaimed movie Black November about the oil industry in the Niger Delta. His sister Mena is a television presenter, his brother Fred is known as the video king, and his sister Eloho is an actress. “One of my earliest memories is of being on stage in one of my father’s Nollywood Film Director Ruke Amata
  • 138. 141www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating people productions,” says softly-spoken Ruke, who grew up in Warri. “My father was a great influence because he was fascinated by moral rearmament, a movement that grew after the Second World War. For these pioneers drama was a very strong medium to put forward their views.” Ruke began his successful career studying under distinguished dramatists like Wole Soyinka, Kole Omotosho, Femi Osofisan and a host of others who influenced him greatly. Since then he has produced award-winning movies like Bachelors, Son of the Devil, The Accursed, Growing Up and Emotional Hazard. His most recent, The Past Came Calling, opened to great acclaim in London, where he has lived since 2009. “Back then Nollywood was virtually dying and somehow we lost the plot,” he says. “We were doing movies for the money and not for the art, so I thought I needed to go and explore new ground. My friends thought I was crazy but I am planning to project the Nollywood concept in London because I realised there was a pool of African talent in London that had no outlet. The market in Africa now is huge and in Nigeria is saturated, but in London there are more possibilities.” Like all Nollywood insiders, he is extremely interested in the President’s vote of confidence. “From all indications the possibilities are there for the industry,” he considers. “No one will deny that cinema and art is a very powerful medium, a very effective way of pushing ideas across. If you want to clean up an image then movies and drama is one of the best options. Once we can invest properly in entertainment, I think it has the potential to be a money earner.” He has also identified the Caribbean and Brazil as major outlets for the industry. “Those in the Caribbean really want to identify with us, and Nollywood is a very good vehicle for revealing our way of life and our country,” he says. As a member of the diaspora, he is now able to look at Nigeria dispassionately from the outside and still finds it fascinating. “The prospects in Nigeria are limitless,” he says. “It is such a rich and vibrant place to be. Once we can change the Nigerian way of thinking, Nigeria will become such a powerful force in the world that everyone will want to come to Nigeria!” ■
  • 139. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating people I tuen Bassey is the Creative Director of the fast-growing Ituen Basi label. Launched in 2009, the label is redefining and giving a new perspective to the perception of African fashion in the international space. Fondly referred to as 21st-century African, Ituen tells the contemporary African story through fashion. A celebration of individuality and feminism, a stylish combination of timeless elegance with a contemporary twist, the Ituen Basi label offers her clients much more than fashion products – it offers them the evolution of the African experience. Ituen has forged a subtle yet distinct signature inspired by couturiers of old as well as her many years of experience in the fashion industry. The brand is synonymous with the tradition of the finest quality infused with unquestionable creativity. Her spectacular presentation is often seen as the result of fusing experiences. Ituen Bassey completed a BA in Theatre Arts at the University of Ife in Nigeria, where she also designed and tailored costumes and garments for stage productions and beauty pageants. Following her time at university, Ituen deepened her knowledge and formalised her experience in the fashion industry by studying at the acclaimed London College of Fashion. Ituen’s education and experience have helped her develop a blend of exceptional skills in design development, pattern engineering and bespoke tailoring. ITUEN BASI Designer Ituen Bassey 143
  • 140. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating people 144
  • 141. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating people Her unique approach produces exceptional but wearable art pieces, which are contemporary expressions of enduring sophistication. Her message remains consistent across each exclusive collection – it’s in the detail. Her innovative design interpretation and fabric treatment have since begun a new era of Ankara designs as well as earned her a string of international awards. 2012: DESIGNER OF THE YEAR, AFRICA Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa (Johannesburg) 2011: MOST CREATIVE DESIGNER Arise Magazine Fashion Week (Lagos) 2010: EMERGING DESIGNER, AFRICA Africa Fashion Week (Johannesburg) 2009: MOST INNOVATIVE DESIGNER Arise Africa Fashion Week (Johannesburg) Apart from designing and producing garments under her label, Ituen also runs a training and apprenticeship programme where she trains and mentors new fashion talent in Nigeria. ■ 145
  • 142. Dressing
  • 143. 147www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Nigeria Actress Chika Ike shows how to dress in our many different Nigerian styles N igerian dress fabrics are beautiful, versatile and uplifting, so it is not surprising that the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, is championing their cause. The Dress Nigeria campaign encourages everyone to wear local fabrics to create employment and boost business for small and medium-scale manufacturers. Supporting the campaign are celebrities such as actress and United Nations Youth Ambassador Chika Ike, owner of the Abuja boutique Fancy Nancy Collections. Nigerian designers such as Jewel by Lisa and Ituen Basi regularly use Ankara for their catwalk collections, but the Minister of Tourism is keen to encourage all Nigerians to fill their wardrobes with local fabrics. “If we look inwards, our fabrics are well designed and crafted to suit any weather condition anywhere in the world. They can also stand competition. Surprisingly, we are not patronising our textile industries enough,” says Chief Edem Duke, who is urging everyone to take up the cause.
  • 144. 148 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating people “This is a clarion call to Nigerians to start looking inwards and not just adopt Nigerian designs and fabrics for work, but adopt them for general purposes,” he adds. “Dress Nigeria will help to give vivid expression to our patriotism and promotional efforts on our indigenous fabrics and styles.” His intervention comes at a time when there is a sense that Nigeria’s dress culture is gradually being eroded. Greater disposable income allows Nigerians to invest in designer pieces created abroad, and these investment pieces create cachet for their wearers. The result is that traditional forms of dress are not worn with so much frequency these days. The Dress Nigeria initiative will provide designers, textile manufacturers and al those involved with the production of Nigerian fabrics with a platform to exhibit the potential in the sector. Nigeria’s textile industry used to be the second-largest in Africa, after that of Egypt, with more than 250 factories. These dwindled in the 1980s to 175, but now have decreased sharply to just 25. “Fashion and its allied components being showcased have the potential to employ millions of people and so we urge more Nigerians to invest in the fashion business as well as collaborate in expansions towards breaking all limitations and international barriers,” says Chief Edem Duke. As Chika Ike and many other well-dressed Nigerians so elegantly demonstrate, our fabrics and design are stunningly original and will be hitting the international catwalks regularly as more and more people Dress Nigeria. ■
  • 145. 150 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Michelle Ogundehin investigates trends in Interior Design for Summer 2013 Minotti
  • 146. 151www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com S o what’s going on in the interiors world, when both the romance of the Orient and Mod, monochrome-inspired ‘60s polka dots and psychedelic swirls seem to be “having-a-bit- of-a-moment” all at once? How can it be that sleek, audacious future-forward forms – as epitomised by big international brands such as Living Divani, Ligne Roset and Minotti – exist in the same creative breath as the delicate, yet almost tribal, Ikat-influenced pieces seen at The Rug Company and Andrew Martin? Surely there should be only one or two distinct directions, with an easy conclusion as to why it’s happening and a clear view ahead as to what’s next? Not this season, it appears. If anything can be said to characterise what’s happening right now in design it must, simply, be everything! It’s not been easy for contemporary design companies lately. Recovering from an economic downturn, the last thing on most people’s minds has been a new sofa. When they did buy, it seems people played it safe – sticking with a small pool of well- known names reproducing signature pieces in nothing more than a few new colours and a clutch of different finishes. They were too afraid to chance anything daring or inventive. But as the world slowly recovers, and survival looks probable, a new mood of “what the heck” has emerged, taking its first tentative steps at last year’s huge Milan furniture fair, the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, at which all major European brands launch their new wares to the world. Now things are starting to get interesting again. More adventurous. Even playful. Almost a year on, we’re seeing a refreshingly confident individualism. This nascent mood of new design seems to be about everyone doing just what they please. And where design companies lead, we as consumers usually follow. But when everything is “out there”, how do you choose which look is right for you? It can get confusing, not to mention quite intimidating to attempt to stamp a coherent personality across your home. It helps to consider your buys simply as basics versus accessories, seasonal buys to classic items, fashion fix or heirloom purchases. Then think about final touches, with lighting as the jewellery and layering as the action of combining fabrics and finishes to make tactile, cocooning zones. And good flooring (the underwear of your abode) as the foundation of the whole lot. So, if your wardrobe is full of little black dresses and heels, and your idea of dressing down is to forgo the statement slash of lipstick, then I’m pretty sure you’ll love the clean, lean lines of French brand Ligne Roset, or the similarly slick signatures of the Italian giants B&B Italia and Poliform. All three are about strong lines, confident colours and a sophistication that characterises their unapologetically Timothy Oulton The Rug Company
  • 147. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com contemporary pieces. And right now, a striking palette of monochrome black and white, with a nod towards silver for a futuristic touch, has been deemed de rigueur. This is minimal luxe, where the materials are king. An added subplot to this look is a love of leather, which is used by many brands on everything from lights to bowls, and even chair legs (in leather colours are always au naturel). See Flexform, masters of this look. If that all sounds a little black and white for you, you may want to try contrast, something to balance all that carefully-ordered professional restraint. If so, bring on the mixed textures, rough weaves and conspicuous stitching that we could roughly dub the “tribal look”. Here you get to let your hair down and really relax – to fling off your heels and curl up in a pile of cashmere cushions. Again, as an example of the contrary nature of the design houses right now, Ligne Roset has embraced this look. Lema, too, with its trademark beds displaying a predilection for “tarting up” the headboards with stitching, buttoning, quilting and other overlaid delicate detailing. And so we progress from the perfect, if not prim, through to the pretty. Right at the other end of the design scale, the re-emergence of the exuberant joy and effervescent styles of Chinoiserie cannot be overstated. At its most reverential, it’s seen as discreet decoration on wallpapers, fabrics and tableware, but on a more subtle level, a 20s-esque Great Gatsby vibe marries the lacquer, gold and delicacy of China’s traditions with more contemporary shapes. Houses like Andrew Martin, Christopher Guy and Jim Thompson have perfected this stance with luxurious ranges of artful furniture and fittings, all curves, swoops and exotically-framed mirrors finished in Renaissance gold – the whole lot accessorised with sumptuous silks. Below and right: Christopher Guy B&B Italia Minotti: Davis
  • 148. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating people www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Speaking of gold, if we add in brass and other metallics, this constitutes another key sub-trend. You can opt for old gold hues and antiqued finishes, or bright, buttery yellow new golds. Part of the “everything” era allows for everything and anything. Which brings us nicely to the last key look, the Gentlemen’s club. This look, in its own way, owes a debt to Chinoiserie. The idea of the Far East became popular in the West in the 20s and 30s, which coincided with a time when traditional notions of elegant club chairs and smoking rooms were popular. Today that feel is interpreted as a type of upscale vintage that’s more about an enduring heritage than flea-market finds. Check out Ralph Lauren Home and Timothy Oulton for pieces that marry this with the aforementioned leather micro-trend, with richly button-backed armchairs, loungers, ottomans and deep-seated sofas. It’s where quality and timelessness go hand in hand. In conclusion, it’s clear that there’s something for everyone right now – from Fervent Modernists to Old Timers and everyone in between. The thread that connects them all is a look that lasts you for as long as you love it. And that’s really not a very bad place for interiors to be at all. ■ ELLE Decoration is available to download for iPad and iPhone on Apple Newsstand IO Furniture IO Furniture is Nigeria’s leading furniture manufacturer and interior design consultancy. Started in 1987, IO Furniture has a reputation for creativity, innovation, design and quality. The company’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, Munira Shonibare, has successfully executed many large-scale projects, including the redesign of the 5-star Hilton Hotel in Abuja. Munira Shonibare is also the founding President of the Interior Design Association of Nigeria which is affiliated to the International Federation of Interior Designers and Architects, and is the Managing Director of Ethniki, a sister company producing a range of West African-inspired furniture and accessories. www.iofurnitureltd.com 153
  • 149. The National Gallery of Art (NGA)
  • 150. The National Gallery of Art is responsible for the collection, preservation, documentation and presentation of Nigeria’s contemporary arts, with headquarters in Abuja and branches in the six geo-political zones of the country. Our main exhibition is the National Gallery of Modern Art located at the National Theatre Lagos. A Portrait Gallery is under construction in Minna, Niger State, while a number of studios and workshops have been built to accommodate young and up-coming artists who seek a good working environment to practise freely and to build their own art community. NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART 8th & 9th Floors, Block E, Phase II, Federal Secretariat Complex Alh. Shehu Shagari Way, P.M.B. 456, Garki, Abuja Telephone: +234 9 671 2950, +234 9 290 8818 www.nga.gov.ng
  • 151. 156 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating culture Shaping the Future of Contemporary Art in Nigeria by Joseph Gergel Curator, African Artists’ Foundation A s the economic hub of Nigeria, the city of Lagos is also the country’s artistic centre. Over the last decade, there has been an explosion in the contemporary arts community in Nigeria, with a roster of cultural foundations, galleries and public programming initiatives that are contributing to a burgeoning arts infrastructure and giving voice to emerging modes of artistic expression on the continent. Established in 2007, African Artists’ Foundation (AAF) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion and development of contemporary African art and artists. The AAF plays a significant role in art and academic communities, organising art exhibitions, competitions and workshops with the aim of unearthing and developing talent, creating social awareness and providing a platform to express creativity. By helping professional and emerging artists in Africa and African Artists’ Foundation
  • 152. 157www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating culture Left Kadir van Lohuizen – Diamond Matters RIGHT George Osodi – Lagos boys Below Peter diCampo – Life Without Lights
  • 153. 158 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating culture THIS PAGE Drivers Dexterity by George Osodi supporting international exhibitions and community outreach programmes, the AAF sees the contribution to a strong cultural landscape in Africa as a transformative element in driving social change. As well as a rigorous programme of exhibitions and workshops at its gallery in Lagos, the AAF organises two flagship projects every year: the LagosPhoto festival and the National Art Competition. Launched in 2010, LagosPhoto is the first and only international arts festival of photography in Nigeria. Events in the month-long festival include exhibitions, workshops and the display of large-scale outdoor prints throughout the city, with the aim of reclaiming public spaces and showing the general public multifaceted stories of Africa. LagosPhoto 2012 included 29 local and international photographers under the theme “Seven Days in the Life of Lagos”. The theme captured the energy and vibrancy that make the city of Lagos such a unique cultural environment. The upcoming LagosPhoto 2013 programme boasts a new partnership with World Press Photo. The pre- eminent international competition and exhibition showcases the best of photojournalism worldwide, and will bring its annual exhibition to Lagos to be shown alongside the festival. The National Art Competition (NAC) is an annual arts competition organised by the AAF, with each edition driven by pertinent themes in line with current social issues. In its five-year span, the NAC has showcased emerging talent in such diverse mediums as painting, sculpture, photography, mixed media, installation and video art. ■
  • 154. 159 fascinating culture The outdoor exhibition at the African Artists’ Foundation in Ikoyi, Lagos. MedinaDugger MedinaDuggerMedinaDugger
  • 155. National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM)
  • 156. NCMM - Great Heritage for a Greater Future The Commission was set up to save Nigerian antiquities from destruction through human and natural agencies and to create among Nigerians an awareness of their country’s cultural heritage. Our vision is a stable museum system to ensure the preservation and integration of Nigerian cultural and national heritage by systematically collecting, preserving and studying material from Nigeria and the diaspora. National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) Plot 2018 Cotonou Crescent, Wuse Zone 6, Abuja www.ncmmnigeria.com
  • 157. 162 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating culture GIDAN MAKAMA Kano’s house of treasures I f you make your way to Kano, the capital city of Kano State in northern Nigeria, it would be a shame to leave without at least one visit to the city’s Gidan Makama Museum. Located in the heart of Kano Old City, opposite the Emir’s Palace, Gidan Makama is both a national monument and a museum. One of thirty-two museums under the National Commission for Museums and Monuments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is renowned for its traditional architectural excellence, as well as its superb historical and ethnographic collections on Kanawa civilisation and the Hausa land. Gidan Makama was built in the 15th century by Emir Abdullahi Burja as residential complex for his grandson, Prince Rumfa. Rumfa was later appointed the Makaman Kano, Heir Apparent to the Emir, which is why today the house is known as Gidan Makama. The complex is split into three, with the western part housing the museum. As you approach it, you are greeted with a wall engraving stating “Welcome to Gidan Makama Museum”, and an image that says quite the opposite – a pair of cannon. The cannon were once used by one of the British Empire’s most successful colonial ambassadors, Lord Lugard, who led his soldiers from Zaria in 1903 to conquer the fortified city walls. His soldiers used these very cannon to batter the city’s gates, including the gate of Kabuga, after they had failed to gain entry through Kofar Dukawuya. Today, you’ll be relieved to discover, the cannon serve a more innocent, decorative purpose. Gidan Makama is reputed to be the oldest house in the city of Kano, and is still preserved in its original form. Owned by the Makama title holders of the city, it was bequeathed to the government by the
  • 158. 163www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating culture emirate and the state government. The house consists of a Zaure which is the foyer. This leads into the courtyard and onto a labyrinth of rooms. Attached to the Gidan Makama are the quarters of Lord Lugard, where he took up residence after conquering the city. However, over time portions of this building have collapsed and it is yet to be rebuilt. In all there are eleven exhibition rooms in Gidan Makama, each housing different facets of the city – from early fashion, music, commerce and domestic utensils, to religion, culture, warfare and the nobility. You are welcome to walk around at your leisure, observing the artefacts and breathing in the history. Or, if you prefer, you can request a guided tour from one of the museum’s education specialists. The museum also offers pre-planned, organised visits for schools, annual school debates, a Saturday art club for children and school holiday education programmes. Highlights of the museum are many. One particular favourite is a picture taken in front of Lancaster House, where northern ministers had gathered to participate in the move for independence. There is also a picture of Queen Elizabeth, dressed in royal regalia during a state visit to Kano in 1956, and a photograph of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the frontline Nigerian nationalist and politician, campaigning to a cross section of the Yoruba community in Kano circa 1956. Other exhibits include examples of the city’s ancient tradition of commerce, when cloth from the city, known as Dagin Kano or Kano Knot, was exported to faraway North Africa, and a tribute to Hausa music history in a display that includes instruments such as Sarewan Hauren Giwa (or ivory tusk flute) that are no longer in use. If you prefer the excitement of war to music and commerce, you’ll enjoy the exhibition of warfare artefacts used by royalty. The Sulke, a bullet-proof vest also known as chain mail, was imported from Europe by explorers such as Barth and Staudinger. Other war paraphernalia on display includes the Garkuwa, a leather shield, a war cap and an iron shield made by local blacksmiths. Evidence that household chores in Hausa haven’t changed much over the years is clear in the display of artefacts including a 600-year-old pot, or Tunkunyan Ruwa. The pot, which is in good condition, was bequeathed to the museum from the Indabawa area of Kano where it has been handed down from generation to generation over past centuries. Ancient fashions reveal a past reliance on embroidery coupled with a high standard of workmanship. The Kano Knot was a type of woven cloth with curved and interlaced forms that featured long triangles, rectangles and the spiral form patterns that Kano craftsmen were noted for. Religion too has its place in Gidan Makama, with a monument to Islam, the predominant religion of the Kano people. The exhibition features an assortment of Islamic memorabilia, from the city’s map route to Mecca, to texts brought by Abdullahi bin Fodio after the Jihad that brought Islam to the city, and a model of a Tsangaya classroom (a system of Koranic boarding education still practised in the north today). Eventually, your visit around the museum will bring you to the old metal city gates on display in the lobby. The construction of the city walls of Kano, which began around the 11th century, remained highly fortified until the invasion of the Jihadists and European colonialists in the 18th century. Today you can see photographs taken in the weeks following the conquest of Lugard’s army in 1903. Lugard was said to be amazed at the height and fortification of the walls. Accompanying the display are tablets explaining the intriguing names behind the city’s gates. Kofar Nasarawa was the city gate where the Emir and his subjects celebrated each war victory, while Kofar Waika is the gateway through which Amir Mohammed, one of the rulers of the city, fled as the forces of his rival entered the city from the south in 1894. Since that day, no Kano ruler has passed through the gateway in honour of the flight of their forebears. While the museum may be in need of some rehabilitation, interest and support has come from several unusual quarters. The electrical works and some building works have been undertaken by the Indian community in Kano, while the Bride’s Room (a new wing showcasing the ornaments and décor typical of a Hausa bride’s room) was donated by the council chairman of Madobi Local Government Area in Kano State. And septuagenarian Sarkin Magina (chief mason) personally takes responsibility for carrying out small rehabilitation works at his own or the management’s expense. As you wander around the museum’s fascinating relics of the past amidst gangs of local schoolchildren, you can’t help but wonder what they think. Are they too marvelling at the history of the ancient displays, wondering what they have seen over the years? Or do they ever stop to think that one day, hundreds of years from now, schoolchildren of the future will be gazing in awe at relics from their own lives? That we are all just a part of history, awaiting our own place in the Gidan Makamas of the future? ■ Gidan Makama Museum is open Monday to Sunday, 9 am to 5pm. Entry costs 200 Naira for foreign tourists and 50 Naira for locals.
  • 159. 164 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating culture Any attempt to immortalise Fela is welcome! KALAKUTA MUSEUM Fela’s former residence, the Kalakuta Republic, has become a museum under the auspices of the Lagos State Government.The three-storey building, wedged in a residential street in downtown Ikeja, is to serve also as a five-room guesthouse, a coffee shop and a souvenir shop. T he Kalakuta Museum was designed by Theo Lawson, the architect also responsible for the conversion of the Broad Street Prison into a theme park, Freedom Park. Making a historic monument of Fela’s house is neither original nor timely: Fela died fifteen years ago. However, better late than never. Fela’s family, the Kutis, often referred to as Nigeria’s equivalent of the Kennedys, is arguably the most influential family in the country. Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti –the first Nigerian woman to drive a motor vehicle – was one of the politicians who solicited Nigeria’s independence. Her husband, a Reverend, pioneered what became the Nigerian Union of
  • 160. 165www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Teachers. Her father-in-law was the first to record Yoruba hymns abroad. Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was a mother to three sons. The eldest was a Minister of Health, Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, whose policies procured the best health indices the country ever recorded. The second, Beko Ransome-Kuti, was a fiery politician, philanthropist and doctor. The last son could have been Nigeria’s president. Although he cheekily called himself the Black President, Fela was instead a consummate musician and one of the most innovative African thinkers. Fela was a bona fide Lagosian. He lived in Lagos, sang about Lagos and trotted the entire span of the city as if it was his stage. It was in Lagos that he prospered as a musician; it was in Lagos that he raised his horn against the draconian times occasioned by military rule; it was in Lagos that he married twenty-eight women in one fell swoop; it was in Lagos that he took his last breath. The project embarked upon by the Lagos State Government for the posthumous commemoration of the late maestro’s 74th birthday was said to be a nod towards tourism and a deliberate attempt to rejuvenate the old Lagos social life. If anything, it is an investment in nostalgia – an elevation of mundane articles of life into relevant historical souvenirs. Fela’s personal effects – a rack of shoes, his snug-fitting clothes, and even underpants – are being showcased. Newspaper clippings, old album covers and a plethora of photographs and paintings have been recruited to chronicle key events in the life of this great musician, who invented Afrobeat and deployed it as a liberating weapon against oppression. The museum’s main attraction is Fela’s bedroom, preserved in the state in which he left it: the mattress is set on the rugged floor with the bedspread rumpled, pillows bunched together, and his saxophone sitting defiantly as if being watched. For the first visitors shortly after the museum was commissioned, finishing touches were still being undertaken but the main work was done. Fela’s famous tunes played from hidden speakers and the music imbued the entire museum with a nostalgia that rendered it a portal of creativity, resilience and immense history; Fela’s presence could invariably be felt. Along the stairwells, numerous pictures were arranged in step-ladder form, like silent biographies. They told Fela’s story and reaffirmed its extraordinariness. On the terrace was a giant canvas of Fela by Lemi Ghaoku, the museum’s curator, famous for designing many of Fela’s record sleeves. A shirtless Fela is blowing his saxophone and the image is exaggerated in multiples; graffiti of almost all Fela’s songs are inscribed all over the canvas. The terrace is to serve as the coffee shop, where one can absorb an aerial view of the middlebrow neighbourhood. Fela’s grave, situated within the compound, close to the entrance, can be seen from the terrace. There is also a plan to have a library where, perhaps, copious writings centred on Fela’s history, ideology and exploits can be studied. Fela’s biography at a glance is both rigorous and impressive. Trumpeter. Husband. Father. Highlife musician. Dancer. Afrobeat innovator. Saxophonist. Political activist. Polygamist. Pan-Africanist. However, a snapshot biography does not capture all the intrigues, ironies and intricacies. The laudable Kalakuta Museum distils Fela’s essence into a sacrosanct embodiment. It captures the serendipitous ascent of Fela from maverick Highlife trumpeter singing love and folk songs in the heart of the devastating Nigerian Civil War to bare-chested saxophonist performing an internationally-scaled Afrobeat protest song, Beast of No Nation, in the Eighties. Fela recorded more than 70 albums in a tumultuous thirty-year career rife with police arrests and unjust detentions. He wrote and performed songs highly critical of the government. He was jailed more than a hundred times and severely beaten, but his resilient spirit remained unbroken. His house was broken into several times by soldiers, and its occupants were often violated. His mother was thrown out of a window and later died from her injuries. Fela’s journey into the metaphysical was probably triggered by his mother’s untimely death. He became interested in African methods of communing with spirits. This might have accounted for his flirtations with sycophants like the magician Professor Hindu and other cohorts. Fela changed the name and status of his club to Shrine, perhaps to imbue his religious inclinations and habitual indulgence into the esoteric brand Afrobeat. The original Shrine, which would have been another historical monument, has been reduced to rubble. Fela’s home, the Kalakuta Republic, a “sovereign country” where Fela himself presided, took its name from the Swahili word for rascally. Fela’s insurgency was of mammoth proportions; he fought corruption, inequality and oppression tooth and nail. He embraced Afrocentrism and Pan- Africanism. His protest songs with their prophetic undertones are still relevant. They are engraved in our hearts, so any historical monument that further immortalises the enigma that is Fela is to be welcomed. ■ Fela’s bedroom Embroidered detail on a famous jacket Matching trousers with intricate pattern
  • 161. 166 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Sesu Tilley-Gyado, Director of Africa Heritage Group, makes an impassioned plea to preserve Nigeria’s past I grew up in one of those beautiful colonial houses in Ikoyi with a verandah and a large garden. It was an idyllic childhood, not least because I loved the old house with its unique architecture and sense of history. This love of the past was strengthened when I went to school in the UK and then Cambridge University, where I read Spanish and Portuguese. Like many returning Nigerians, I never realised how much Nigeria was ingrained in my heart until seven years ago, when I fell in love with African history. In 2011, I thought I was just coming back to Nigeria to perform in the Lagos Jazz Festival, before I continued on my journey to the USA. But from the moment I arrived in the country and saw our heritage and history being torn down to make way for new buildings, I knew I couldn’t leave. Lagos’ beautiful architecture, with its Brazilian and Cuban influences, not to mention the colonial British buildings, were being razed to the ground to make way for new high-rise edifices reaching up to the sky. It seemed to me that Nigerians were so excited about moving forward that they were forgetting to look back. The level of ignorance about the treasures we have is astonishing, and I became determined to do something about it. So I set up the Africa Heritage Group to raise awareness about the past and the importance of preserving it. I want to save the stories of the founding of our cities. People walk past our historic buildings every day and know nothing about them. And street names of historic interest, such as Temple Road, are being replaced and all origins of their names are becoming lost. Lagos was formed in the 19th century when four cultures collided – the royal Yoruba, who were the indigenous community, the colonial British who arrived mid-century, the Cuban and Brazilian slaves who returned to the country and the West Indian/Sierra Leonean slaves who had just been liberated and who quickly became very wealthy. In the space of Sesu Tilley-Gyado Horses on the entrance gate of Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos Colonial house in Ikoyi, Lagos
  • 162. 167www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating culture just 10 to 15 years, the face of Lagos changed. This was a very exciting time – just like now. But how many Lagosians today are even aware there is a little bit of Cuba and Brazil in the city? These days Lagos is very different from the area settled by the returning slave descendants. Now the buildings are filled with squatters, and local drunks use them as toilets. To these people they are just derelict, but to many of us they are national treasures. On my return to Nigeria I realised that education must go hand in hand with development. If we are to restore buildings of historic interest then we must turn them into self-sufficient, commercially viable places for tourism and education. Take Broad Street in Lagos, the old commercial centre purposely built by the British in the style of Paris, with wide avenues in case of fire. At one time, Broad Street was home to merchant houses and banks, missions, telegraph offices and shops. These days, the buildings are used as offices, and their façades are crumbling. The trend of facadism in the UK preserves the original outer features of buildings, even when the interior has decayed or been modernised. As yet in Nigeria there is no such concept. I can just imagine how lovely Broad Street, Campos, Marina would be if it were pedestrianised, with pavement cafes and beautiful trees. What a great place it would be to visit on a Sunday with friends and go shopping. But while Nigeria doesn’t yet have that culture, it doesn’t mean we can’t aspire to it in the near future. There is a tragic beauty in Nigeria – everything is either being built or falling down. We have no designated body such as the UK’s National Trust to preserve buildings for future generations. However, we are hoping to work with Legacy, the group that has recently restored a railway compound in Lagos (though this project is essentially a museum, and right now Nigerians are not museum-goers so we will have to think differently). Africa Heritage Group has identified an old colonial house in Lagos which we would like to buy. It will be called Heritage House and we plan to turn it into an exhibition centre. There will be a beautiful garden with Wi-Fi where visitors can sit and eat. Inside we will have a library of books about our heritage, and in the evenings the house will play host to jazz and music concerts where people can perform in an intimate setting. We are also making a documentary called “A Slice of Lagos”, showing the history of the city. It’s our ambition to make our history come alive and put it on a platform that will appeal to everyone. Tourism thrives not only on beautiful landscapes, but on the people in those landscapes and their history. It is impossible to understand the nation without knowing its history. The CEO of Etisalat, Steven Evans, has indicated that his company might sponsor the music events, but first it’s important that we get the land rights to buy this house. We are hoping to find support from the government and private individuals to realise our dream, particularly among the returnees. This sort of mass returnee movement has happened before in our history and it shows the deep love Nigerians have for their country. Africa Heritage Group is composed of young people who have the staying power to see this vision right through to the end. Please help us to save Nigeria’s heritage for the sake of our children and their children. ■ www.africaheritagegroup.com Former colonial offices in Broad Street, Lagos
  • 163. 168 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating culture Nigeria celebrates the return of priceless NOK ARTEFACTS For decades, Nigerian historical and cultural artefacts have been stolen from the country and sold overseas. Now, finally, the country is seeing a reversal of fortunes and recovering some of its valuable lost treasures. L ast month, five priceless Nok statues were returned by the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jacques Champagne de Labriolle, after they were found in the personal luggage of a traveller returning from Africa. The Nok culture appeared in Nigeria around 1000 BC and vanished around 500 AD. The Nok people came from the village of Nok, near Kaduna, and their culture extended throughout the central regions of Nigeria. Their talented artisans depicted scenes and people from their everyday life, giving a valuable record of their lifestyle. The stolen Nok statues were personally handed over to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, by Ambassador Champagne. In a speech, Ambassador Champagne explained: “It was quickly established that these art works had been illegally taken away from Nigerian territory. At the time of the seizure, nobody knew where the statuettes exactly came from. They were later analysed by several French experts, coming from a famous museum (Musée du Quai Branly), from the French Museums Directorate of the Ministry of Culture, and from the Research and Restoration Laboratory of the also famous Louvre Museum. These experts were eventually able to determine their origin.” France has a strict policy of fighting the illegal transportation of cultural goods, for which Nigeria is extremely grateful. Ambassador Champagne expressed France’s willingness to help Nigeria in protecting, restoring and maintaining its heritage, and promised to work with Nigeria in the common fight against trafficking. Thankfully the French authorities were already alert to the traffic in valuable antiquities, following their discovery of priceless Nok statues in a routine consignment of handicrafts en route to America via Paris last year. While the eagle-eyed French customs officers were not able to seize the statues on that occasion, they alerted the Americans who were able to confirm they were items that had been stolen from Nigeria’s national museum. Nigeria’s Consul General Habib Baba Habu received the Nok artefacts at a repatriation ceremony held at the Homeland Security Investigation offices in
  • 164. 169www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com ABOVE Character resting chin on knee. Nok sculpture. Terracotta, 6th century BC–6th century AD. New York. Calling the day a very special one, he noted: “It is the day that America has extended a gift of friendship that we will never forget.” The items on display at the ceremony included six terracotta heads with distinctive faces and a pair of legs, which experts believe belong to the accompanying head and torso. “I am going to ask the government if they will agree to get expert restorers to put this back,” said a clearly delighted Mr Habu, who added they would be returned to the museum from which they were stolen. Nigeria’s heritage overseas Sadly thousands of pieces are thought to have disappeared from Nigeria over the years, particularly following the so-called Punitive Expedition of 1897 that resulted in the sack of Benin. As recently as the 1990s, so many items were smuggled out of the country that their value on the international market dropped sharply. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston recently acquired some of the Benin pieces which were gifted by New York banker and collector Robert Owen Lehman, who had bought them in the 1950s and 1970s. Yusuf Abdallah Usman, Director-General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments in Nigeria, the body that regulates the nation’s museums, has stated: “These artworks are heirlooms of the great people of the Benin Kingdom and Nigeria generally. They form part of the history of the people. The gap created by this senseless exploitation is causing our people untold anguish, discomfort and disillusionment.” The British Museum is thought to own at least 700 Benin bronzes, while the Ethnology Museum in Berlin has 580 items, and the Ethnology Museum in Vienna has 167. But there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of artefacts in the hands of private collectors that are still unaccounted for. Nigerians are vocal in their demands for the return of these artefacts, as demonstrated in the case of the Benin head that appeared for sale at Sothebys in 2010. The Queen of Idia ivory mask was one of the last great pieces of Benin sculpture in private hands. It was due to have been sold by the descendants of Lt-Col Sir Henry Galway, who took part in the 1897 Punitive Expedition following his unsuccessful attempt to convince the Oba of Benin to sign a treaty of friendship that would make Benin a British colony. The mask depicts the head of the queen mother of the Edo peoples who was the mother of the Oba Esigie (c1504–1550). According to Sotheby’s it is “one of the most iconic works of art to have been created in Africa”. The mask was eventually withdrawn from the sale at Sotheby’s as a result of the outcry. After years of plundering from our country, we can only hope that the recent return of the Nok masks signals a new era in the trade of historic artefacts, and that Nigeria is able to recover more of its heritage, thanks to the diligence and prompt action of countries such as France and the USA. ■
  • 165. beatsNigeria’s intoxicating melange of high-tempo dances is born out of over 600 diverse cultures, from irrepressible hip-thrusting sashays and rhythmic shuffles to free-spirited joyous celebrations of harvest, family and Naija heritage. NAIJA
  • 166. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com T o the distorted blare of a wall of towering speakers, every single sense is assaulted as a crowd pounds and pulverises a dance floor, causing it to bounce. In Lagos, Nigeria’s music-fuelled megacity of more than 18 million souls, the vibe is loud, energetic and lively. With a rat-tat-tat, busses crash over potholes as street vendors wail and generators rattle at a machine-gun pace – an echo of the banging rhythms of its dance scene and that of Nigeria itself. Dubbed the “heart of African music” in recognition of its trail-blazing role in the continent’s music and dance evolution, Nigeria has rhythm in its blood and a throbbing drumbeat for a pulse. Much more than pure entertainment, dance remains an intrinsic way to herald new life, mourn the dead, worship, rejoice, compete, love, proclaim and protest. Style and tempo may vary enormously in this culturally diverse nation, yet dance still passes stories from generation to generation – as it has done for centuries – ensuring that cultural influences are kept alive and relevant to communities today. With a flick of the hair, a guttural chant and a repetitive succession of rhythmic shuffles, few music and dance scenes are as utterly intoxicating as Nigeria’s kicks, foot-stomps, hip thrusts, jutting chins, pouts and propeller arms. Be it the ultra-sleazy mapouka, makossa’s party vibe, the ghetto-born sway of galala, suo’s hip rumble, the oh-so-vigorous yahoozee or the alanta’s crazed waggle, each Nigerian dance features an element of role play and narrative. Nimble, agile, graceful, admirable and elegant moves combine effortlessly with down-and-dirty bump-and-grind as the music takes control of head, torso and limbs. Fusing native rhythms with a unique style of polyrhythm that features two or more simultaneous beats, Naija dance tunes can be impish, irrepressible and impossible to resist. Keen to yield to the rhythm? Then prepare for a host of spellbinding drubbing beats to whip you up into a frenzy of jerk-and-jab movements that may well leave you swaying in an awesome, syncopated trance-state. Like other parts of the African continent, drums form an integral part of dance in Nigeria, their roots in the ancient way that rural villagers would communicate with each another across wind-carved deserts, ragged mountains and dusty plains. Across Nigeria, similar themes may be found throughout dances unique to the specific ethnic people and landscapes, each with its own history, language, song, background and purpose, yet with common steps, beats and accompanying instruments. Over time, music has evolved to include brass, vocals, percussion, drums, double bass and the slow, deliberate strum of guitars, and has fused with the ancient, exotic strains of North African folk song and kettle drums. Melodious refrains hide the influence of Portuguese 172
  • 167. 173www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating culture colonialists and modern day reggae, calypso and jumping Zairean beats. Heavy and ongoing migration from neighbouring countries continues to add generous dollops of new ethnicity to Nigeria’s heterogeneous musical melting pot with an infiltration of imported American hip-hop in recent years. Mixing it up with social values and political mockery, Nigerian dance remains – in every sense – a reflection of community life. Drumbeats traditionally show the essence of the tribe (a rapid, powerful rhythm, for example, indicates a clan’s vitality and strength) and bring it together. Today the relentless pounding in Nigerian dance symbolises a gathering of community. Warrior dances, which start slowly but become increasing wild and aggressive, demonstrate the clan’s might on the battlefield. Indeed many African cultures do not have a word for music and dance – it is simply a part of everyday life. Lyrics form a part of a lengthy, continent-wide oral tradition, and Nigeria’s fondness for elaborate costumes, masks, props, body art, and gestures are part of a historic need to “tell the story” in shared togetherness. A dance is never performed alone – it’s all about kinship, participation, unity, convergence, interaction and the surging power of response. The era of slave labour intensified the power of dance for Africans as they held on tight to the traditions of home, and developed styles to mock their masters in secret. Since slaves were prohibited from lifting their feet, they created shuffling moves, gentle body sways and a swing of the hips – movements that typify a zillion dance styles today. In Nigeria, now, as in centuries past, dance is introduced to a child from birth. By the time they can crawl and toddle they will already be clapping, stamping, shuffling and mimicking cheeky “calls and response”. Next, they add leaping and jumping to their dance repertoire. As teens and young adults they may choose to embrace the music that champions their aspirations: a flashy car, a good life and a bulging wallet. Or they may opt for the traditional tunes that encourage abundant crops, mark rites of passage and give thanks. In 2012, the Festival of African Dances chose Lagos as its venue, drawing huge crowds with a seductive programme of performances by some of the hottest dance acts from across the continent. Spurring considerable media interest Africa-wide with its dynamic display of dances of rich diversity and magnetic appeal, Nigeria further bolstered its position as a leader in African dance. Today, a growing number of dance venues play host to an enticing calendar of high-energy events in which an exciting mix of traditional poetry and mythological imagery accompanies a contemporary blend of old folk, R&B and dub. And trust me, it totally rocks. ■ opposite page D’banj left Tuface below P-Square
  • 168. in Lagos Nightlife African Rhythms, Lagos Tel: +234 803 636 0712 & 702 951 4677 www.africanrythms.zoomshare.com Talented rhythm and dance troupe that stage a host of performances all over Nigeria and regularly appear at Lagos venues. DrumsView, Lagos Tel: +234 802 353 5184 www.drumsview.com Much applauded drum and dance group that are a mainstay on the Lagos festival, dance and carnival scene and also do lots of work with underprivileged kids. Ijodee Dance, Lagos Tel: +234 1 892 8692 & 803 301 5103 Creative dance group that run classes, workshops and training sessions in Lagos and also stage a wide range of performances in venues city-wide. Kaffy Dance World, Lagos Tel: +234 802 228 4980 & 802 471 9869 www.kaffydanceworld.com Owned by famous Nigerian dance hall queen Kaffy and her crew with a host of online events, performances and fitness regimes plus news of her reality TV shows and celebrity dance exploits. Okoto Dance, Lagos Tel: +234 803 613 3623 www.okotodancers.8m.com Highly-regarded multicultural dance troupe that stage performances country-wide to showcase the rich cultural value of Nigeria and its unique histories, peoples and philosophies. 174
  • 169. Nigeria has many local festivals that date back to pre-colonial times and which are still occasions for celebration, masquerade and dance. DMD Festival, Lagos www.dmd-festival.org Since 2001 this festival has successfully highlighted the creative and original choreographic work of new Nigerian and African dance talent. Eyo Festival, Lagos www.eyofestivallagos.com First established in 1750, this carnival-style festival is famous throughout Africa for its masquerades of dancers and performers in white robes, drawing crowds in their thousands each spring. Dance Festivals HOT SPOTS 175
  • 170. Oyato by D’banj Nigerian singer-songwriter Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo (popularly known as D’banj) is currently best known internationally for his 2012 summer hit “Oliver Twist” – an up-tempo dance fusion of Afro-beats that topped the African charts and went on to make the top 10 in the UK singles chart, reaching number 2 on the UK R&B chart. This follow-up was initially met with mixed reviews but became one of Nigerian radio’s most played songs – and a classic. Bottom Belle by Omawumi Megbele (feat. Flavour) The highlife-inspired song by R&B singer Omawumi Megbele captured the hearts and minds of a mixed-age crowd with its modern interpretation of a classic song that had the oldies reminiscing in nostalgic style, and the youngsters dancing ‘til dawn. In an inspired decision to add some mega hip street cred, Onawumi asked the highlife king himself to feature, Flavour – one of Africa’s hottest artistes. Yay! Gaga Crazy by Chuddy K Chuddy K’s party rocking single Gaga Crazy was an instant massive hit from the day it dropped; no party or club night was complete without it! A peachy, infective beat combined with the Azonto dance moves was always guaranteed to get Nigeria dancing – not to mention catchy lyrics that stayed in your head all day! New Afrika Shrine, Lagos Tel: +234 803 712 5939 Run by Yeni, the eldest daughter of multi- instrumentalist Afro-beat musician, composer and human rights activist Fela Kuti, this place stages regular gigs and is a showcase for exciting new Afro-beat talent www.facebook.com/pages/THE-NEW-AFRIKA- SHRINE/113890378637826?fref=ts SS Lounge and Bar, Lagos Tel: +234 1 270 0612 Busy sports bar and live music venue on Victoria Island with bands and DJs on a Friday night. www.facebook.com/SSLoungebar Liquid Lounge, Lagos www.facebook.com/pages/Liquid- Lounge/144194392330436 Popular after-dark haunt opposite the Hilton Hotel that favours live Nigerian bands, hip-hop and garage. Piccolo Mondo Nightclub, Lagos Tel: +234 1 792 7922 www.piccolomondorestaurant.com This popular music joint plays host to celebrity DJs including DJ Caise, playing the best funky house/ R&B/Hip-Hop, and the resident DJ, DJ Elio. They play the hottest music from around the world and the best of Naija tunes. Bogobiri House, Lagos Tel: +234 706 817 6454 www.bogobiri.com This ultra-stylish Afro-centric boutique hotel is popular with an affluent Naija celebrity in-crowd. Located in high-brow Ikoyi, it contains an intimate live-music venue and has played host to many favourite Nigerian singer-songwriters including Keziah Jones, Nneka and Bez. Favourite Nigerian Dance Hits of 2013 Dance Venues 176
  • 171. Summoning and Possession Dance Summoning and possession are the most common and popular forms of African folk dance. Most of the indigenous tribes perform this dance for “calling a spirit”. These “spirits” are worshipped by many tribes. Some tribes also perform this dance type during times of war or drought in the belief that this will bring them good fortune. Warrior Dance The warrior dance is a typical African dance form that is a fusion of warlike movements and artistic movements of the body. This dance form consists of many aggressive movements like “stabbing” with drum beats. Coming of Age Dance This dance form is meant to celebrate the coming of age of a young person and is an important ritual in many African tribes. Welcome Dance The welcome dance is performed to greet guests. This dance is meant to exhibit the tribe’s culture as well as to express the feelings and happiness of the tribe due to the arrival of the guests. Love Dance The love dance is also known as the celebration dance. This type of dance is performed to celebrate different festivals and happy events like weddings, tribal rituals and anniversaries. Trained dancers perform this dance in front of other tribal members. Nigerian Dance: Common Themes 177
  • 172. 180 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating culture – Nigeria’s first motorsport team Nigeria Racing EagleNigeria Racing Eagle
  • 173. 181www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating culture N igeria Racing Eagle (NRE) is the first Nigerian team to represent the African continent in world motorsport, and recently announced an impressive line-up of racing drivers to compete alongside other teams at the British GT Championship this season. The drivers were introduced at an event in central London, attended by representatives from the world of motor racing and business. All are of African origin and include former Red Bull Junior Team driver Adrian Zaugg from South Africa, Nigerian Sam Collins, South African Gugu Zulu, and Cameroonian Christian Ebong. The team already has some impressive track experience. Manager John Wickham is a former Formula One Team Manager for Lotus-Renault, and lead driver Adrian Zaugg has also worked on the Formula One circuit. Zaugg says: “It’s a great honour to represent Africa in the GT series and finally put Africa on the map in the world of motorsport. I am looking forward to a great race season with Nigeria Racing Eagle.” The NRE team has been put together by GRC Motorsports. GRC Chief Executive Officer Ribi Adeshokan says: “The idea of a racing team called Nigeria Racing Eagle is to use African drivers and gradually develop African mechanics and engineers”. He believes this is what makes NRE unique, because “we will go down in history as the first team to represent Africa in motorsport at the international arena”. But for the NRE team, competing in the international motorsport arena is only part of the goal. Motor racing is big business, generating billions of dollars a year and attracting a huge international following. Adeshokan believes that opening up Nigeria and Africa to one of the richest sports in the world will generate a new economy for Africans, attract international investment and create new jobs. NRE driver Sam Collins says: “One of the key pillars of this project is not just about putting together a racing team, it’s about introducing motorsport to West Africa, and that means we have to create circuits, we have to create series and most importantly, we have to create drivers”. GRC Motorsport is even planning a Monaco-style street race in Lagos Marina by 2015, and has invited one of motorsport’s top track designers to Lagos for the initial survey. This would be a great opportunity to showcase the rich architectural diversity of Lagos and promote the city as a centre of tourism and business. Stephane Ratel, Series Organiser for British GT, agrees: “Africa as we all know is an emerging continent with great opportunities. I have been privileged to hold the GT series in other continents and I am sure we should be able to host a GT series in Nigeria very soon.” As well as aiming to develop a racing Motorsport is one of the richest and most exciting sports in the world, generating billions of dollars each year.Yet there has never been a motorsport team flying the Nigerian flag – until now.
  • 174. 182 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating culture The Nigerian Racing Eagles From left: Ribi Adeshokan, Team Principal and Chief Executive Officer of GRC Motorsport; Adrian Zaugg, lead driver; Nathan Wright, driver; Ovie Iroro, driver; Christian Ebong, driver; Sam Collins, driver championship in Nigeria, GRC is also setting up a domestic academy to develop young drivers and prepare them to compete on the global stage. The team has also partnered up with Tiger Racing, a UK-based sports car manufacturer, to create a development centre to train young mechanics and engineers in Nigeria. “It’s an opportunity for our youths to have careers in mechanical engineering, technology, communications etc.,” says Adeshokan. “We will be going to the universities to pick up first-class students of mechanical engineering and telecoms to come on board. We will pick up the best of the best in Nigeria because it is not about the training only, it’s about promoting Nigeria.” GRC Motorsport also has plans to develop the industry further. Racing driving experiences for corporate clients will allow more people to enjoy the experience of motorsport, and attract people to Lagos. There is even talk of a reality TV show looking for Nigeria’s next top racing driver, open to men and women who believe they have what it takes. Motor racing fever is catching on in Nigeria, and if the NRE have anything to do with it, it’s here to stay. “Most people can never imagine motorsport can come to Africa and Nigeria,” says Adeshokan. “Motorsport is the richest sport in the world – it’s a multi-billion dollar economy, so why don’t we also tap into it?” ■
  • 175. 183www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com NIGERIA’S SUPER EAGLES An ascent to glory 2013 has barely begun, but what a year it has been so far for Nigeria’s Super Eagles. Adding to their previous triumphs in 1980 and 1994 (and the eight times they’ve placed in the top three), they defeated Burkina Faso’s Stallions to bring home the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in February. T heir success, led by Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi – the captain of the 1994 AFCON champions – caps off a history worthy of a Hollywood movie. After years of being called names like the “Red Devils”, and playing in remote places such as Dulwich Hamlet, the Nigerian team finally won the football gold medal when the country hosted the All Africa Games in 1973. A two-goal victory over Guinea in the final, under Brazilian coach Jorge Penna, was the first medal that Nigeria’s senior national team had ever won. The team had to wait another seven years for their next taste of victory. After two third place finishes at the Africa Cup of Nations (1976 and 1978), Nigeria replaced their Yugoslav coach Tiki Jelisavčić with the Brazilian Otto Gloria and secured their first continental trophy, winning the 1980 Nations Cup. Hosted by Nigeria, the tournament produced the first generation of genuine Nigerian football superstars. Best Ogedegbe, Muda Lawal, Christian Chukwu, Segun Odegbami, Felix Owolabi, Godwin Odiye, Sylvanus Okpala, Henry Nwosu
  • 176. 184 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating culture and Kadiri Ikhana are still household names today, more than three decades later. It would be more than ten years before Nigeria could look forward to raising another football trophy. However, the arrival of Clemens Westerhof in 1989 heralded a new era of sporting success. The gruff Dutchman from Montferland led the Nigerian national team for five years – the longest stint of any manager – transforming them from a team of also-rans to a genuine powerhouse of African football. He showed that Nigeria, and other African nations, could compete on the world stage. Players such as Jay-Jay Okocha, Sunday Oliseh, Nwankwo Kanu, Rashidi Yekini, Daniel Amokachi and others, who went on to enjoy successful careers with high-profile European clubs, all entered the global spotlight while playing under Westerhof. At the start of Westerhof’s reign the team failed to even qualify for Italia 90. By the time he left, they were within a whisker of eliminating the eventual runners-up, Italy, from the tournament. Under his leadership Nigeria won the Nations Cup, qualified for the World Cup for the first time, and reached fifth position on the FIFA World Rankings, a feat yet to be tied, let alone surpassed, by any African team. The country’s winning streak continued with Nigeria’s Under-23 team (which included two over-age players, Emmanuel Amuneke and Uche Okechukwu) triumphing in the men’s football tournament at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics – the best result on the world stage by an African team at that time. By the time the 1998 World Cup came around, Nigeria’s national team qualified easily, the only time this has ever happened. In fact, they qualified so comfortably that they could afford the luxury of being beaten by Guinea in their final qualification match. And when, in their opening match of the tournament, they defeated the mighty Spain, 3–2, the world finally started to take notice. Suddenly, Nigeria was being mentioned as one of the favourites for the ultimate prize in world football. Sadly, though, this wasn’t to be. A row just before the Round of 16 game against Denmark revealed deep divisions within the team, and between the team and the Football Association. This poisoned atmosphere resulted in the team being knocked out of the tournament rather meekly by the Danes, and ushered in a new era of sad under-achievement, overseen by thirteen coaches in thirteen years. In 2000, Nigeria co-hosted the Nations Cup with Ghana, and were denied victory by a refereeing error. The country’s apparent bad luck continued in 2002 when the captain of the team, Sunday Oliseh, led a player revolt against the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) and its running of the national team during the Nations Cup. The revolt started right after the quarter-final win against Ghana. It resulted in a painful semi-final loss to Senegal, and eventually led to the end of the national team careers of Sunday Oliseh, Finidi George, Victor Ikpeba, Tijani Babangida and Wilson Oruma – some of the country’s most senior and talented players. Over the years, coaching the Nigerian national team has been a bag of mixed fortune, too. In 1998, Frenchman Philippe Troussier helped Nigeria easily qualify for the World Cup. However many people,
  • 177. 185www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating culture below AND LEFT The Super Eagles team celebrating winning the Africa Cup of Nations 2013 OPPOSITE President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr (centre) with the Super Eagles team during their reception at the Presidential Villa, Abuja previous page President Goodluck Jonathan gcfr, his wife Dame Patience, Vice President Namadi Sambo and Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Tambuwal with the team including the media and the NFA, complained about his preferred 3-5-2 formation and he was fired before the tournament began. In 2002, Amodu Shuaibu, one of Nigeria’s most successful local coaches up to this day, helped the team qualify for the World Cup. But again, despite leading the team to win the bronze medal victory in the 2002 Nations Cup (and securing a string of 1–0 wins in all the matches they won in the tournament) Amodu was fired, and Pa Festus Onigbinde was selected to take Nigeria to the World Cup later that year. History repeated itself in 2010, when Amodu once again qualified the country for the tournament, only to be fired again following the Nations Cup. This instability on the bench and a growing arrogance among team players kept Nigeria firmly in “bronze territory” where third place in the Nations Cup seemed to be the nation’s predetermined position. The tournaments of 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 bore testament to that rut, and as the quality of local football slowly declined, no one seemed to be doing anything about it. No one even seemed to notice that locally-based players were no longer being invited to play in the national team. Many believe that Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the 2006 World Cup should have been the country’s wake up call, but it took until 2012, when the nation failed to qualify for the 2012 Nations Cup, that Nigeria really took notice. And finally things began to change. The NFF (the NFA’s successor) started organising friendly matches for the national team, and created the right conditions for success. No longer were rumours spread about unpaid bonuses or un- refunded flight tickets, and the organisation of the team improved immensely. And as we saw in February this year, their efforts have paid off. As the country celebrated, the Super Eagles once again raised the Africa Cup of Nations. It certainly is an exciting time for football in Nigeria. And if history has taught us anything, it’s to expect anything and to take neither success – as sweet as it is – nor failure for granted. ■
  • 178. NBL – Proud to Support Fascinating Nigeria The pioneer and largest brewing company in Nigeria with a rich portfolio of high quality brands.
  • 179. Nigerian Breweries Plc Tel: +234 1 271 7400-9 | www.nbplc.com Iganmu House | Abebe Village Road | Iganmu | PO Box 545 | Lagos
  • 180. Spa Sarah Woods criss-crosses the Nigerian landscape to seek out the country’s finest spa therapies, and discovers age-old African spa rituals using indigenous raffia sponge and herb- infused healing oils, body scrubs with sea salt harvested from the Gulf of Guinea, and a diverse array of massages and facials that focus on the botanical wellness powers of roots, flowers, nuts and seeds. Trek
  • 181. 189www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating culture F or centuries, every continent on the globe has championed its own, unique well-being traditions – and Africa is no exception. Drawing on a natural pharmacopoeia of flowers, nuts, seeds, mud, peat, water, salt, herbs and spices, the continent has long upheld its own wellness ethos, mixing the ancient Sanus Per Aquam belief (meaning “health through water”, from which the acronym SPA derived) with home-grown oils, lotions and scrubs. From the bubbling warm therapeutic waters of Ikogosi mineral springs and the ancient bush therapies of tribes folk of the Niger Delta rainforests to the rich botanical cures plucked from the fertile valleys of the central Guinea savannah – Mother Nature has a hand in them all. Today, the popularity of these ancient, all-natural therapies herald a return to nature as more of us turn our backs on potentially harmful chemical-based medicine, toxins and pollutants. Now the focus of many of Nigeria’s top spas is blissed-out relaxation and mind-body-and-soul rejuvenation – a world away from cell phones, laptops and the fast-paced hustle, stress and bustle of modern life. In the last decade, the number of spas in Nigeria has quadrupled as the number of pampering devotees continues to surge. A cultural sea change has seen Nigerian women appreciate the need for “me” time in a society where mothers, sisters, aunts and grandmothers traditionally put everything, and everyone, before themselves. Opening hours cater for busy, working women with appointments early until late on a Sunday, so popular there is often a waitlist for weeks. Yet the spa evolution isn’t just a female thing – far from it. Male-orientated deep-tissue massage and de-stress therapies are a hit with Nigeria’s menfolk too. In recent years, spas have better understood the need for individual character and ambience, so in Nigeria you’ll find each establishment has its own charm and spirit, from the chichi decor of the exclusive treatment suites in modern, marine- inspired, beachfront wellness resorts, to cosy beauty parlours where chat, laughter and gossip go hand-in- hand with old-fashioned, African-style beautification. Barazahi, Lagos Overview: Moody lighting and a tranquil ambience add to the relaxing qualities of this Eastern-inspired day spa, where the restoration of well-being through a natural balance forms the core of the health philosophy. Preventive health practices to combat stress-related fatigue and aching limbs are actively promoted together with conventional beauty treatments and massage. An extensive menu of decadent therapies draws on the olden health practices of Asia, from yoga stretches and ancient massage techniques using long, deep strokes to stimulate acupuncture pressure points.
  • 182. 190 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Treatments: Choose from a range of treatments created to alleviate mental fatigue, stiff joints and stress from full body massages using hot, steaming herbs and exfoliating scrubs and body wraps using cocoa-rich chocolate and hydrating sea waters. A special massage for couples offers a romantic, shared therapy in which synchronised strokes to lilting music will leave you both feeling totally stress-free. What’s great? A little poolside health bar that serves a nutritious range of tasty fresh salads, sandwiches and freshly-squeezed juices – the perfect finale to a wonderful visit. Tel: +234 1 951 5660 www.barazahi.com BMS Spa, Ikoyi Overview: Open 7 days a week, this luxurious haven of relaxation specialises in de-stress and relax treatments, with an added emphasis on cleansing, purifying and physical well-being. A well-attended private gym attracts a loyal clientele with high-tech equipment, fitness classes and nutritional advice. The wellness centre offers exclusive treatments using healing herbs, natural plant extracts, European finesse and individually tailored programmes. Named after body, mind and spirit, the BMS Spa also has swimming pools (indoor and outdoor), whirlpool baths and a host of lounge and bar facilities. Treatments: For the ultimate skin purification and cleansing treatment try the mineral-laden seaweed facial, which penetrates the dermal layers with magnesium and calcium to leave skin velvety soft with a radiant glow – could this urban sanctuary hold the key to the sought-after secret to eternal youth? What’s great? Open to 9pm every day with numerous therapists so can sometimes accommodate last-minute pampering SOSs! Tel: +234 702 819 4221 www.zombms.com Peaches ‘n’ Cream, Lagos Overview: Run by dedicated spa owner Olufunke Quadri, this popular Afro-centric wellness retreat treads a careful balance between the muted lighting and soft music of a top-notch establishment with the cheery sound of gentle laughter and whispered chatter. With half a dozen therapy suites and a mile-long menu of treatments, Peaches ‘n’ Cream offers an unpretentious journey to the rebalance of natural energies and expanded consciousness. There is little talk of serenity and rebirth here, just plain-and-simple pampering with some excellent signature body therapies designed to enliven the senses, be it through touch, smell, sound or vision using a range of natural salts and herbs. Treatments: Opt for the much-loved African Spa Ritual – it celebrates a zillion aspects of indigenous fruits, plants and health principles using a local raffia sponge, healing African herbs and a mini-calabash. What’s great? Friendly service, personable therapists and a host of African-inspired therapies. Tel: +234 809-PEACHES (732-2437) www.peachesncream.us
  • 183. 191www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com MB Hammam, Abuja Overview: For thousands of years, the hammam (steam bath) has formed a part of traditional wellness, from the grand, water-filled, steam- shrouded marble pools of Turkey and Morocco to the handsome tiled baths and elaborate domes of Moorish Spain. In Nigeria, a legacy of the Greco- Roman era’s cleansing habits can be found amongst the hubbub of a vibrant urban sprawl. A fittingly palatial version of a rather old-fashioned Moroccan bath house, the venue in Abuja may be a modern-day reincarnation, but it still boasts the pizzazz of gilded tilework, glowing lamps and rich baronial hues – but unlike the male-dominated hammam of the Middle East, this one is women only. Treatments: Yield to the soothing of the steam bath and let the body gently sweat to loosen toxins before a brisk scrub with a loofah and a vigorous rub with a large scratchy mitten infused with strong-smelling mint. Next, soap is worked up into frothy towers of bubbles before sluicing, dousing and towelling commences to the flicker of lanterns from old Marrakech. Tel: +234 805 854 4665 Clear Essence California Spa and Wellness Resort, Ikoyi Overview: This ultra-slick beach spa is tucked away in a lush garden setting at an exclusive, oceanfront boutique hotel. Catering for an upmarket clientele from all over Nigeria, the African continent and beyond, Clear Essence has an international focus yet retains an intimate connection with Mother Nature’s Nigerian botanical store cupboard in its spa, landscape and character. Beautiful, bloom-filled gardens boast elaborate fountains and gentle piped music – a sharp contrast to the centre of Lagos. Guests are lavished with impeccable service, ten treatment rooms, a dipping pool, scented steam showers, sauna, yoga studio, a fitness centre and an army of staff at their disposal. As you’d expect from its name, the spa has a very Californian approach to health and well-being so guests are treated to individual, holistic packages to meet their own, unique needs. Treatments: Opt for one of the seductive spa packages, such as the 2-hour body therapy that starts off with a soothing foot bath before an all-over drenching in rich creams of coconut, vanilla and cinnamon – sublime. Tel: +234 1 463 0719 www.clearessencecaliforniaspa.com 7th Heaven Spa, Ikeja, Lagos Overview: An enviable A-list of Nigerian celebrities descend on this award-winning salon and spa for all manner of top-notch therapies, from specialised cosmetic treatments to a host of relaxing skincare facials and body rituals. No-expense-spared holistic therapy packages are delivered with impeccable attention to detail in an establishment where customer service and care are paramount. Staff ensure that every guest knows that nothing is too much trouble in this pristine setting of gleaming tiles,
  • 184. 192 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating culture where a rogue speck of dust is spotted at forty paces. Guests are cosseted from the moment they arrive in this sanctuary of quietude and are swathed in plush velvety robes. Without ticking clocks and mobile phones, worries are washed away in a single afternoon. The pressures of time are irrelevant here – for at the 7th Heaven Spa, the world can wait... Treatments: Starlets, models and singers adore 7th Heaven’s range of anti-ageing therapies that help to reverse the signs of ageing and effects of the sun, while protecting the skin against harmful pollutants and irritants. Just a single 60-minute facial can offer dramatic results – you’ll leave the salon with clearer, younger and smoother-feeling skin. Tel: +234 802 860 3503 www.the7thheavenspa.com Apples and Oranges Spa, Lagos Overview: Prepare to be wowed by the variety of spa packages offered at this ritzy wellness joint, where every single family member is catered for with considerable panache and style. Especially designed to reconnect your mind, body and spirit, Apples and Oranges has been a trendsetter in relaxation, rejuvenation and wellness in Nigeria, offering a trail-blazing menu of treatments for men when spas were considered wholly female affairs. A real plus-point is the spa’s effortless skill at managing busy schedules – a genuine knack for hospitality ensures every guest feels unrushed and highly valued. Treatments: Male guests should treat themselves to the utterly decadent Apples & Oranges Total Body Therapy that specifically targets the concerns of men. Each treatment starts with a manicure, pedicure and haircut before a gorgeous nutrient-rich facial and relaxation massage designed to soothe away work-related stresses, strains, aches and pains to leave you feeling lighter, brighter and less fatigued. Tel: +234 817 109 9966 www.applesandorangesng.com AROMATHERAPY Liquids extracted from plants combined with oils to stimulate the senses through smell and absorption that improve health or mood – usually used in touch therapies, such as a facial or body massage. BALNEOTHERAPY Age-old treatment of ailments using the power of water, often combined with massage using jets and sprays, such as in hydrotherapy. BODY WRAP Literally “wrapping” of the body in order to help exfoliation, hydration and detoxification and aid to relaxation, usually with a personalised combination of ingredients to reduce cellulite, and rejuvenate or soften skin. COLONIC IRRIGATION A deep-cleansing of the colon using a gentle jet of warm water to loosen and reduce toxins as an aid to better digestion and glowing skin. EXFOLIATION An exfoliation, or “scrub”, is a type of treatment designed to remove dead skin cells and encourage new cell growth to soften and replenish skin. FACIAL Ritual for the face that starts with cleansing facial pores and freshening skin, and involves a massage, moisturising treatment and cooling eye mask. MASSAGE Touch therapy designed to relax muscles, ease muscular tension and soothe aching joints and limbs – usually combined with oils to soften skin. Spa Glossary
  • 185. 193www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating culture bnatural medspa, Abuja Overview: As Nigeria’s first medical spa and laser centre, with US Board-certified medical staff and medical-grade products, the bnatural medspa is the first choice for Nigeria’s well-heeled media and business executives keen to take advantage of advanced cosmetic laser and skin treatments. Immaculate suites equipped with the latest, high-tech skincare technology offer a slew of wholly-customised skincare management programmes – with truly outstanding results. With a strong emphasis on healing and nurturing, bnatural is justifiably proud of its hydra facials, hair removal, acne treatments and anti-ageing therapies. A host of rehydrating skin treatments help to restore elasticity, smoothness, tone and glow. Treatments: To combat sagging facial muscles try bnatural’s deep-penetrating therapy that “plumps up” dermal layers to smooth out wrinkles and tighten facial muscles. This popular alternative to a facelift promises to instantly take years off your appearance with results that are long-lasting – a hit with Nigeria’s TV anchormen and daytime TV presenters. Tel: +234 809 883 8772 Website: www.bnaturalmedspa.com Venivici Spa, Lagos Overview: Oozing with chic European-style pizzazz, the Venivici Spa evokes the feeling of Rome with its upmarket menu of exquisite treatments using aromatic lavender, herbs and oils. Particularly renowned for its weight loss programmes, the Venivici took its name from the Latin for “I came and I conquered”, and a team of highly-trained therapists offer every incentive, support and encouragement to help its guests win the battle of the bulge. Through rousing, morale-boosting consultations and inch-loss treatments such as the detoxifying peppermint and seawater body wrap, therapists bolster each guest’s confidence to ensure they feel motivated to lose the weight they want. The spa offers a tailored mix of dietary advice, aromatherapy treatments, herbal steam therapies and massages that help to break down stubborn fat. Treatments: Did you know that colonic irrigation can help to purify the skin and to stimulate a sluggish metabolism? Try one of the Venivici’s special colonic irrigation sessions coupled with a cellulite reduction massage – a killer combination in the fight to slim and tone! Tel: +234 803 328 2582 Website: www.venivicispa.com ■
  • 186. 194 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com How Africa and America are helping the descendants of slaves to rediscover their roots I t’s a startling fact that an estimated 85% of all African Americans can trace their roots back to Nigeria. It was from mainly Igbo and Yoruba states that the majority of all captives were taken by slave traders and sold to plantations in the Caribbean and the Americas. So it’s not surprising that so many are looking to retrace their ancestral footsteps and reconnect with the past. Many of them find their roots through the books of Professor Catherine Acholonu, a writer, researcher and former lecturer on African Cultural and Gender Studies. Professor Acholonu is the author of more than 15 books and has conducted extensive research into African history. Many of her books are used in secondary schools and universities in Nigeria, and in African Studies departments in the USA and Europe. “My books are about Africa and her place in the world,” she says. “It is about restoring the mindset, having an access sheet where we are satisfied with ourselves where we see ourselves as good as anyone. Learning about ourselves, understanding our ancestors and being in sync with them. Without the correct mindset of who we are and who we were, we cannot go forward.” Professor Acholonu’s books, which include Motherism, The Earth Unchained and The Gram Code of the African Adam, have been greeted with acclaim by African Americans in search of their identity. As she notes: “Many of their ancestors were not born as slaves but as nobles. I bring prehistoric civilisations back to life through stories and comparative analysis from various part of the world.” Some African Americans are even finding their way back to Nigeria and the Igbo lands of their ancestors, and Professor Acholonu is setting up tour groups to help them with their visits: “They tend to be high achievers who have the connections and the mind to help develop Africa,” she says. The aim of the tour groups is to encourage African Americans to take an interest in their ancestral homeland and offer their expertise. And Professor Acholonu has big plans for the groups: Ebo Landing
  • 187. 195www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com “We are working with development and community-based programmes, with heads of communication and parastatals, with the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism and governors of states to institutionalise this.” At the moment the project is in its infancy and faces infrastructure and access problems to many of the towns and villages the tourists would like to visit. But with their help Professor Acholonu is hoping that these areas will become more developed, so that many more African Americans can visit with ease and frequency. As she says: “It is not a programme for just today. It is for the future and our children’s future. We want to change Africa – we don’t want it to be like it was yesterday. We are not satisfied. We are seeing development in other parts of the world and we know we can do better. You have to change the mindset, encourage people to do it better, in a different way that’s sustainable. So we can look back and be satisfied and smile.” ■
  • 188. 196 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating culture The USA’s Ebo Landing Project is designed to encourage the diaspora (descendants of the people who were forced to leave Africa) to see Africa as a second home and to join hands with Africans to develop the continent. The Ebo Landing site is at the mouth of Dunbar Creek, near Sea Island on the south-east coast of St Simons Island. In the 1850s a group of chained enslaved Igbo people were en route to America on board a slave ship that broke up when it ran ashore. While being held on the beach, the slaves made a suicide pact. Instead of living the rest of their lives in slavery, they chose to run, chained to each other, into the water and drown. Over the years people have reported hearing the chanting of Igbo ghosts on moonlit nights, and the sound of irons clattering as the slaves run from the beach into the water. Recently there has been a growing movement for Nigerians and African Americans to visit Ebo Landing in remembrance of the heroes of the historic event. Some even say they have come from Nigeria to take their spirits home. The Ebo Landing project helps people step back in time and enact a symbolic burial for those who died and finally put their spirits to rest. The US colony of Virginia took in the largest percentage of Igbo slaves. Researchers estimate 30–45% of the “imported” slaves were from the Bight of Biafra, and of these 80% were most probably Igbo. A conservative estimate of the number of Igbo taken into Virginia between 1698 and 1778 is around 25,000. The Igbo concentration was especially high in the Tidewater and Piedmont regions of the Virginia interior. One reason for the high number of Igbo slaves in Virginia was the domination of Africa’s Bight of Biafra region by the English merchants from Bristol and Liverpool who frequently brought slaves to British colonies. Another factor was the strong spirit of the Igbo. Planters in South Carolina and Georgia looked down on Igbo slaves because many were rebellious, so the majority of Igbo slaves were taken and sold to Virginian planters. Some possible Igbo names were found among slave records in Virginia. Names like Anica, or Anakey, Breechy and Juba may originate from Igbo names. Some even had their ethnicity added to their names, such as Eboe Sarah and plain Ebo. These hints of Igbo influence go along with cultural remnants pointing towards the Igbo presence in Virginia, including the use of the Eboe drum in music. The Igbo presence in Virginia also brought new practices such as the cultivation of okra, a plant whose name derives from the Igbo language. Slaves in Virginia are said to have relied on sweet potato which is argued to be an indication of a substitute for yam, the Igbo staple crop. The Portuguese initially bought slaves for resale on the Gold Coast, where slaves were traded for gold. For this reason, the south-western coast of Nigeria and neighbouring parts of the present-day Republic of Benin became known as the “slave coast”. When the African coast began to supply slaves to the Americas in the last third of the 16th century, the Portuguese continued to look to the Bight of Benin as one of its sources of supply. Although slave ports from Lagos to Calabar would see the flags of many other European maritime countries (including Denmark, Sweden and Brandenburg) and the North American colonies, Britain became the dominant slaving power in the 18th century. Its ships handled two-fifths of the transatlantic traffic during the century. The Portuguese and French were responsible for another two-fifths. Nigeria kept its important position in the slave trade throughout the great expansion of the transatlantic trade after the middle of the 17th century. Slightly more slaves came from the Nigerian coast than from Angola in the 18th century, while in the 19th century perhaps 30% of all slaves sent across the Atlantic came from Nigeria. Over the period of the whole trade, more than 3.5 million slaves were shipped from Nigeria to the Americas. Most of these slaves were Igbo and Yoruba. The Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia has completed an Igbo single-family farmers’ compound to acknowledge the prevalence of the Igbo in 19th-century Virginia. The village was modelled on a traditional Igbo village compound in the 1700s and 1800s. Dozens of Ebonyi men, women and children joined over 1,500 people to celebrate the opening of the village. The celebrations included Okpaa Masquerade and Nkwa Umuagbogho dance, presented by Ebonyians in the United States. The village is near Staunton, which lies in the Shenandoah Valley. Visitors can also enjoy an automobile tour and hear about the African- American history of Staunton, and visit Montgomery Hall Park, one of only two historic African American parks in Virginia. You can also travel to Fairview Cemetery where some of Staunton’s most prominent African American citizens are buried, and hear their stories. While you are there, you can see the extensive African-American business district, and the historic post-Civil War African-American churches. Also worth a visit is Monticello, the nearby home of Thomas Jefferson, which houses fascinating exhibits about the lives of the slaves who lived on the plantation. You can see more on the Frontier Culture Museum’s website www.frontiermuseum.org Ebo Landing Project – St Simons Island, Georgia Virginia The transatlantic slave trade Igbo village in Virginia
  • 189. 197www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating culture Visiting the Slave Sites in America Visitors to Georgia these days fly into Atlanta, the capital, which provides a thriving city gateway to the Deep South and gives easy access to a wide range of places to visit, from the World of Coca-Cola and the Gone with the Wind Museum, to the Carter Center and the Martin Luther King Jr historical site. Savannah is renowned for its 22 green squares seen in many movies, its soul food and its coastal Tybee Island. Off the coast of Georgia are Brunswick and the Golden Isles which include Jekyll, Sea Island and St Simons Islands which, as well as the Ebo Landing site, has coastal attractions and eco-friendly reserves. Travel Information STAYING IN ST SIMONS, GEORGIA The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort is located on the beach in St Simons Island. Local attractions include Fort Frederica National Monument and Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Regional points of interest also include Emerald Princess II Casino and Brunswick City Hall. The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort, 201 Arnold Rd, St Simons, GA 31522 Tel: +1 912 638 3631 www.kingandprince.com Saint Simons Inn By The Lighthouse Saint Simons Inn by the Lighthouse boasts 34 stately, uniquely decorated rooms. No two are exactly alike. Saint Simons has been a favourite vacation spot for hundreds of years, with famous socialites such as the Carnegies, Vanderbilts and Rockefellers making this area their summer retreat. Saint Simons Inn by the Lighthouse, 609 Beachview Drive, St Simons Island, GA 31522 Tel: +1 912 638 1101 www.saintsimonsinn.com STAYING IN STAUNTON, VIRGINIA The Stonewall Jackson Hotel The Stonewall Jackson Hotel is located in historic downtown Staunton, in the heart of the picturesque Shenandoah Valley. This 124-room hotel captures the spirit and charm of the old South. Built in 1924, it is a member of Historic Hotels of America and has been lovingly restored to its original grandeur. Staunton was recently named one of the top 20 Small Towns in America. The hotel is 30 minutes from Charlottesville in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, 90 minutes from Richmond and two hours from Washington, DC. The Stonewall Jackson Hotel, 24 South Market Street, Staunton, VA 24401 Tel: +1 540 885 4848 www.stonewalljacksonhotel.com The Hampton Inn Staunton The Hampton Inn Staunton hotel is adjacent to the Colonial Mall’s six movie theatres and convenient variety of restaurants. The mall’s entertainment includes Blackfriars Playhouse, a venue that resembles Shakespeare’s original Globe theatre from the 1500s. Visitors to Staunton often enjoy shopping at the nearby Waynesboro Outlet Village. The Hampton Inn Staunton, 40 Payne Lane, Staunton, VA 24401 Tel: +1 540 886 7000 http://hamptoninn3.hilton.com TRAVELLING TO THE USA A number of airlines fly from Nigeria to Atlanta, Georgia, as well as various airports in Virginia, including Richmond International airport. Airlines include Delta, United Airlines and American Airlines. VISAS Nigerian nationals need a visa to visit the USA. U.S. Embassy, Abuja Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive Central Business District, Abuja Tel: +234 9 461 4000 Fax: +234 9 461 4171 Email: Consularabuja@state.gov U.S. Consulate General, Lagos 2 Walter Carrington Crescent Victoria Island Tel: +234 1 460 3400 Fax: +234 1 261 2218 Email: For NIV (Non Immigrant Visa) inquiries, you can contact the U.S. Consulate General at LagosNIV@state.gov The Catherine Acholonu Centre for African Cultural Studies www.carcafriculture.org
  • 190. 198 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com UNESCO Keeping the history of slavery alive B etween the 16th and 18th centuries, millions of Nigerian people were forcibly captured and sent to the Americas to be sold as slaves. Today, international conventions define slavery and human trafficking as a crime against humanity, punishable by international law. But while Africans are no longer sold in their millions for slavery, it’s important that we don’t forget what happened in the past. In 1994, UNESCO established the International Scientific Committee for the Slave Route Project. The aim of the Slave Route Project is to help end the silence around the slave trade. And one of the International Scientific Committee’s key objectives is to educate people about slavery and the slave trade. There are now 20 members in the committee, all appointed by the Director-General. The members represent not only the various disciplines (such as history, anthropology, archaeology, sociology and law) but also the various regions of the world (Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, the Indian Ocean, the Arab states and Asia). Safeguarding important oral memories The transatlantic slave trade, often regarded as the first system of globalisation, involved Africa,
  • 191. 199www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com America, the Caribbean, Europe and the Indian Ocean. The societies of the Indian Ocean, including Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles, were created over the years through ancient slave trades and the migrations of populations from Africa, Asia and Europe. Working within the framework of the Slave Route Project, UNESCO’s research programme has identified and registered the oral memory of people in the islands of the south-western Indian Ocean. This has highlighted the need to safeguard the oral heritage of islands that have experienced the slave trade and slavery. All documents have now been digitalised and stored in the national institutions of the islands, for access by the general public. Highlighting slavery in the Arab-Muslim world As part of the Slave Route Project’s global education drive, UNESCO also organised an international seminar on “Cultural interactions generated by the slave trade and slavery in the Arab-Muslim World” in 2007, in Rabat and Marrakech, Morocco. The seminar aimed to reinforce the activities of the project in lesser-studied regions, in particular the Arab-Muslim world. Experts from sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb and the Middle East were selected on the basis of their expertise and experience in issues related to the slave trade and slavery in this part of the world. Tackling contemporary slavery UNESCO has set its sights on contemporary human trafficking and migrant smuggling too, promoting effective and culturally appropriate policymaking to combat the trafficking of women and children in Western and Southern Africa. The “Project to Fight Human Trafficking in Africa” conducts policy-oriented research on factors related to the trafficking in pilot countries, collects best practices in fighting trafficking at its roots, and organises training workshops for policymakers, NGOs, community leaders and the media. The Trafficking and HIV/AIDS Project based at the UNESCO Bangkok Office also tackles the linked triad of problems – HIV/AIDS, trafficking and non-traditional drug use – in the Greater Mekong sub-region. The project researches, develops and implements programmes which crosscut these issues to address the needs of at-risk and vulnerable populations. Only by understanding the lessons of the past, and staying vigilant for evidence of human trafficking today, can we all help to eradicate the scourge of slavery from tomorrow. Let us all hope that UNESCO’s efforts help to make enough of us aware, and keep this important part of the world’s history alive. ■
  • 192. 200 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating events Celebrating the best of Nigeria’s creative talent The National Festival for Arts and Culture Nigerians are rightfully proud of their rich cultural traditions. So it’s only fitting that the country should host a week-long festival celebrating the best of their arts and culture every year. T he National Festival for Arts and Culture was established in 1970, after the end of Nigeria’s civil war, to help promote national unity. The festival coordinates, preserves, promotes and presents the very best of the country’s arts and culture. Organised annually by the National Council for Arts & Culture (NCAC), NAFEST has grown into a worthy celebration of Nigeria’s unity in diversity. The week-long festival is hosted in turn by different states of the nation. During the festival, Nigeria’s cultural heritage is reflected through various competitive and non-competitive events, including music and dance, traditional wrestling, moonlight games for children and dramas. Exhibitions and fairs for books, herbs, food, and arts and crafts are also put up. Participants at NAFEST are traditionally drawn from the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT, sister culture parastatals, other government agencies, academia, cultural NGOs and relevant stakeholders in the sector. The Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, firmly believes that by harnessing the economic potential in the culture and tourism sector, the country can help to reduce unemployment, poverty, youth restlessness and societal vices. So if you want to discover the very best of Nigeria’s creative talent, the National Festival for Arts and Culture is an event you can’t afford to miss. ■ NAFEST
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  • 194. 203www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating events The African Arts and Crafts Expo Nigeria has a long history in creating beautiful arts and crafts. But for many years, her talent hasn’t received the recognition it deserves.Today, the African Arts and Crafts Expo is helping to breathe new life into an important part of the country’s heritage. T he African Arts and Crafts Expo was established in 2008 by the National Council for Arts and Culture. In pre-colonial times, and before the discovery of oil, Nigeria’s cultural industries played a vital role in the growth of rural economies. Crafts such as ivory, bronze, brass and glass casting, pottery, leather work, textiles and basketry supplemented farming incomes. Produced in different parts of the country, they were distributed by mostly itinerant traders in what then served as long-distance trade. These traders did brisk business, especially from royalty and the wealthy. Today, AFAC aims to recapture the essence of Nigeria’s craft industry, and once again emphasise its wealth creation potential. In addition to creating an organised market for the sale of national crafts, the AFAC gives African craftsmen and women an opportunity to meet and share ideas, skills and encouragement. The expo features interior décor, wicker work, leather work, pottery works, textiles, jewellery and more from various countries, the thirty-six Federal States and the FCT. So if you want to help celebrate an important part of Nigeria’s cultural heritage – and even take part of it home with you – visit the AFAC and prepare to be amazed at the vibrant array of talented creations for sale. ■ The objectives of the AFAC are n To showcase aspects of African cultural heritage. n To promote the import/export of African arts and crafts to buyers worldwide. n To educate arts and crafts producers and marketers on import/export guidelines. n To encourage investment in the arts and crafts sector, as a way of boosting enterprise development and export-oriented production. n To establish an African international arts and crafts marketplace. n To promote regional integration in line with the spirit of the African Union Charter. Bringing Nigerian arts and crafts to life
  • 195. The Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization
  • 196. The Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization 36/38, Broad Street, Lagos, Nigeria Tel: +234 802 315 1008 www.cbaac77.com The Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) projects the overall image of black and African peoples and enables their cultures to be appreciated globally. It was formed following the successful and epoch-making 2nd Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC 77). The Centre houses all the materials which constituted the core collections and now holds seminars, workshops, public lectures, exhibitions and symposia.
  • 197. 208 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating events arrive with a AMVCAsThe BANG Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga
  • 198. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating events T he first ever Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) night was held on 9 March 2013 at the Eko Hotel Expo hall in Lagos. The glittering event was attended by actors and key players in the entertainment industry from across Africa – all dressed in dazzling outfits. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, gcfr, was represented by the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke. Chief Edem Duke, the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, gave the opening speech, and the Honourable Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, also spoke at the ceremony. Dressed in a stunning red and black ensemble, Mrs Alison-Madueke gave a stirring speech on behalf of the President. “Africa recognised the fact that irrespective of the artificial boundaries that separate us, our needs and aspirations had no borders, the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards are a cultural liberation of the continent from the western world,” she said to great approval from the audience. President Jonathan is a dedicated supporter of the Nigerian film industry, so it was a matter of great pride for the country that the event was screened live to more than 50 African nations. A cocktail party was held in honour of the show the night before, hosted by Kenyan Radio DJ Fareed Kimani, and Tinsel star Ms. Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi, with entertainment by Nigerian musicians Praiz and Waje. The event itself was a night of pure glamour. Proceedings kicked off at 6pm with an exciting, live, one-hour red carpet pre-show hosted by television personality Denrele Edun, alongside Africa Magic hosts Helen Paul and Uti Nwachukwu (Jara), Dolapo Oni and Eku Edewor (53 Extra), Lawrence Maleka (StarGist), NicWang’ondu and Sarah Hassan (Mashariki Mix). Genevieve Nnaji Jay Jay Okocha 209
  • 199. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating events Desmond Elliot et al. Cynthia Ekere Funke Akindele Tiwa Savage 210
  • 200. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com The ceremony began at 7pm with stars such as Chinedu Ikedieze, Desmond Elliot, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi, Gideon Okeke, Genevieve Nnaji, Ireti Doyle, Jim Iyke, Joseph Benjamin, Lizz Njagah, Majid Michel, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Osas Ighodaro, Richard Mofe Damijo, Rita Dominic and Stephanie Okereke taking to the stage to present awards. Nollywood actor OC Ukeje and Ghana’s Jackie Appiah walked away with the Best Actor and Best Actress awards respectively. Surprisingly, superstar actresses Genevieve Nnaji lost to Jackie Appiah in the Best Actress category, while Funke Akindele-Oloyede was pipped to the post by Mercy Johnson in the Best Actress – Comedy (Movies/TV). The stage and screen veteran actor Olu Jacobs received an Industry Merit Award for his outstanding achievements in acting. There is steep competition for the AMVCAs, as they will have to vie for a place in the awards scene alongside the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), often referred to as the “African Oscars”. Both awards target the same audience across the continent, solicit the same pan-African filmmakers and actors to submit films for nomination and attend the event, and project a pan-African image to the world as they reward excellence in African film-making. The launch of the AMVCAs comes hot on the heels of the N3 billion pledge made by President Goodluck Jonathan gcfr to boost the Nollywood industry. As the industry continues to introduce new entrants into the public consciousness, it is clear that Nollywood has begun to capture the world’s attention. ■ Olu Jacobs wins Industry Merit Award Jackie Appiah wins Best Actress awardBiola Alabi (MD Mnet Africa) John Ugbe (MD Multichoice Nigeria) Ruth Osime 211
  • 201. NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR (NCAC) NIGERIA & ARTS CULTURE The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) is a Federal Government organ charged with the responsibility of coordination, development and promotion of the living arts and culture of Nigeria at national and international fora. OUR GOAL In line with our vision and mission, the NCAC is refocusing its programmes and projects towards positively improving the perception about culture and cultural activities as serious business opportunities capable of job creation, poverty alleviation, curbing rural-urban drift and economic empowerment.
  • 202. National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) Plot 1370 Ukpo Close, Off Oro Ago Crescent, Off Muhammad Buhari Way (by Old CBN) Garki II District, P. M. B. 252, Garki, Abuja
  • 203. 214 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating events Counting the gains of the UNWTO meeting The 53rd meeting of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Africa Regional Conference, which was held in June 2012 in Calabar, Cross River State, was a positive experience for Nigeria as a whole – and the country’s tourism industry in particular. By Taiwo Oladokun T he meeting helped to clear the impression, held in some quarters in and outside the country, that Nigeria is not a safe place to visit. The UN was happy to give Nigeria a clean bill of health to host the meeting, which was attended by officials of UNWTO from its headquarters in Madrid, Spain and a large number of delegates from across Africa. The Secretary-General of UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, who led the delegation, emphasised the centrality of Nigeria to the development of tourism in the Africa region and, indeed, the world. It was considered that Nigeria had shown encouraging progress in the formulation of appropriate policies and development of tourism infrastructure and the political will not only to The Minister of Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, and his wife Mrs Ekamma Duke at the Cross River event
  • 204. 215www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating events execute the right policies, but to do so in compliance with international standards. The choice of Calabar to host the event recognises the state’s position as a tourism selling point for Nigeria – and demonstrates why the Cross River State Government deserves commendation for its huge investment in tourism and for partnering with the Federal Government to hold the UNWTO meeting. This partnership underscores the importance of synergy among states, the Federal Government and other stakeholders to further promote Nigeria as an important tourist destination. The theme of the event was “Responsible Tourism: Opportunities for Women and Youths”. By drawing attention to what tourism can offer African women and the continent’s younger generations, the UNWTO has presented a new perspective on how to achieve the economic empowerment of these segments of Africa’s population. For Nigeria, it also presents a great opportunity to absorb the country’s women and youths into the economic transformation process that the government is currently pursuing. To achieve this the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Edem Duke, intends to provide young Nigerians and women with the necessary information and skills to enable them operate with competence and eventually reap economic benefits from Nigeria’s rich tourism and cultural endowments. This development will in turn create jobs and help reduce the unemployment rate among women and youths. Another major positive of the 53rd Africa Regional Meeting of UNWTO in Nigeria is the prospect of further investment in the Nigerian tourism industry. During the meeting, several delegates, including the Secretary General, acknowledged the huge opportunities for local and foreign investors in the Nigeria tourism market, based on the country’s tourism assets and the performance of Nigeria’s government. While the opportunities are huge, security concerns obviously pose a major threat. It was noted during the conference that other countries with large numbers of tourists also face these challenges, but tourism still thrives. The good news for Nigeria is that the government is seriously addressing the security challenges. Nigeria’s people, especially the country’s women and youths, stand to benefit significantly from the immense potential wealth that tourism can generate. As such, stakeholders in the public and private sectors should build a synergy that will make this achievable and sustainable. This is part of the current thinking in the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation. ■ Dr. Oladokun is Special Assistant (Media) to Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation. Chief Edem Duke and the Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke
  • 205. Arik Air – Proud to Support Fascinating Nigeria Arik Air is West Africa’s largest commercial airline and a proud partner of Fascinating Nigeria.
  • 206. Arik Air www.arikair.com
  • 207. 218 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com218 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Keen to forge closer relations withTrinidad andTobago and Jamaica, both of which share strong historic links with Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan flew to the Caribbean last year to attendTrinidad andTobago Emancipation Day and Jamaica’s Independence Anniversary Celebration. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, gcfr visits the Caribbean to strengthen historical cultural links
  • 208. 219www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating events A ccompanied by First Lady Dame (Dr) Patience Jonathan, President Goodluck Jonathan was greeted on his arrival in Trinidad and Tobago’s Port of Spain by President George Maxwell Richards and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, as well as members of the country’s cabinet and diplomatic staff. During his visit, President Jonathan presented a goodwill message to the procession, attended a state banquet, and met with Nigerian students in the country. He also enjoyed cultural events at the Lidj- Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village, where he encouraged the people of Trinidad and Tobago to move forward in the modern world and to play critical roles in the fields of commerce, economics, science and technology. Trinidad and Tobago’s Emancipation Day is celebrated to mark the end of slavery for Africans in the British Caribbean on 1 August 1838, and has been observed as a national holiday in the country since 1985. To mark this important occasion the President observed: “It is only proper for us to note that the black man all over the world has passed through several Opposite President Goodluck Jonathan gcfr (M) his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan (2nd L) and the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar (2nd R), with members of the Nigerian delegation to Trinidad and Tobago during a courtesy call on the Prime Minister in Port of Spain. Below left (From left) Chairman, Emancipation Support Committee (ESC), Mr Kafra Kambon, President Goodluck Jonathan gcfr; Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Nigeria’s First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, ESC public relations officer, Mrs Hazel Herndon and Senator Barnabas Gemade at the launch of the emancipation street procession in Port of Spain. Below right President Goodluck Jonathan gcfr addressing members of the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament shortly before a bilateral meeting at the diplomatic centre in Port of Spain. challenges from slavery and colonialism to apartheid in South Africa. Even for those of us still living in the continent of Africa, we are so partitioned and balkanised without our interest and in some cases people of the same culture are placed in two or three different countries. That is still a challenge to us even today which is why we are still struggling to govern our states in Africa.” President Jonathan also visited the National Energy Skills Centre (NESC) at Point Lisas, where 70 Niger Delta youths are being trained in heavy equipment operations, crane operations, metal arc welding, industrial mechanical maintenance and other oil and gas-related fields. The project is taking place under the Nigerian government’s amnesty programme for former agitators in the oil-producing region. “It is a great moment, a moment of joy, when I came in and saw young Nigerians, men and women here greeting me in my local language, the language we speak in the Niger Delta,’’ President Jonathan said after they had surprised him by singing the Nigerian national anthem.
  • 209. 220 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com fascinating events During bilateral discussions, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar said that Trinidad and Tobago would provide technical experts to Nigeria in the energy sector, and urged President Jonathan to explore the potential of steel pan music education programmes for youth. She also promised assistance in the development of the Abuja Carnival, which was followed up by the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Chief Edem Duke, who attended meetings at the 2013 Port of Spain Carnival. The President then travelled to Jamaica to meet Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller and attend a Special Commemorative Session of Parliament in his honour. Jamaica attained independence from the UK in 1962, and President Jonathan’s visit marked the 50th anniversary of the country as an independent nation. During his three-day trip, President Jonathan announced that Nigerians would soon be able to fly direct to Trinidad and Tobago, opening up greater opportunities for co-operation between Nigeria and her Caribbean cousins. ■ Below left: From left: President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr; President George Richards of Trinidad and Tobago; his wife, Dr Jean Ramjohn-Richards and the First Lady of Nigeria, Dame (Dr) Patience Jonathan, during a courtesy call on President Richards in Port of Spain Below right: President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr addressing the crowd who gathered at the Emancipation Village for the 2012 Emancipation Celebration in Port of Spain Bottom: President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gcfr (L) receiving the 2012 Emancipation Award from the Chief Protocol Officer, Emancipation Support Committee, Mrs Hazel Herndon (R), at the 2012 Emancipation Celebration held at Emancipation Village in Port of Spain. With them is the First Lady, Dame (Dr) Patience Jonathan
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  • 211. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com222 fascinating events during a week of culture in the Chinese capital L inks between Nigeria and China have hitherto been based on economic relations, but now they are strengthening culturally. Thanks to the Nigerian Culture Week, sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, the Chinese are fast becoming fans of the Nigerian way of life. It proved a popular move, to judge by the crowds gathered at the three-day event for a taste of Nigerian culture. In his speech Chief Edem Duke, Nigeria’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, said: “Nigeria is the most profitable business destination in Africa. And being a nation of over 250 ethnic groups, so are the number of cultural values that Nigeria possesses. Therefore, we need one another; we need plenty of Chinese investors to come over to explore this vastness, this beauty, these opportunities and more. Since we are the largest travellers and spenders in Africa, we know how to court friendship using culture, using food, using fashion and other forms of creativity.” And indeed he was proved right. Throughout the whole event the Chinese were voluble in their praise of Nigerian customs. The food stalls with their delicious aromas drew appreciative comments, as did the art displays and the colourful Nigerian dress. From the dramatic drumming of the Odudu dances to the sedate courtship movements of the Shokoro Owu from Ondo State, the Chinese were instantly captivated. The Nigerian dance tradition is at the other end of the spectrum from the delicate movements of the Chinese tradition, but even so the African beats drew gasps of appreciation from the dazzles Nigeria Beijing
  • 212. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com header 223
  • 213. www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com onlookers, many of whom had never been to Nigeria. Since establishing diplomatic relations in 1971, Nigeria and China have had a mutually successful trading partnership and in the first third of 2012 Nigeria was recorded as being the third-largest trading partner of China in Africa. Chinese workers are a common sight in the Delta region where it has several projects in hand. Similarly there are many Nigerians in China and they were delighted to have a taste of home. The cultural and educational co-operation between Nigeria and China was signed in March 1990 and has been increasingly successful. Chief Edem Duke is a keen proponent of cultural diplomacy as a way of resolving global problems, and has pledged that the ministry will continue to provide the platform for such activities. He announced last month that the cultural week in Beijing will henceforth be an annual event. He also invited China to take part in Nigeria’s Centenary Celebrations by presenting cultural performances in at least three states in Nigeria as well as continuing their presence at the Abuja carnival. There is one Nigerian who is a big hit in China currently and that is Emmanuel Uwechue from Lagos, better known by his stage name of Hao Ge. He sings romantic songs in Mandarin with an African beat and is a popular singer across the country. Who knows – perhaps one day Nigerians and Chinese will sing together on a regular basis if this cross-cultural harmonisation continues. ■ 224
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  • 215. 226 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating final Nigerian Pidgin English O n the streets of Nigeria, market traders and university-educated business people alike greet each other with: “How you dey?” or “How body?” and the reply can range from a chirpy “I dey fine” (I’m fine) to a downbeat “Body dey inside cloth,” (I’m still wearing clothes). Officially known as Naija, and often referred to as “da kin”, Nigerian Pidgin English is spoken by tens of millions across the country. And while for a visitor or outsider it can be a real challenge to understand, for those who live in Nigeria, it’s a part of life. Nigeria has around 500 languages and dialects. Some of them are so close that in areas such as the Niger Delta, someone in the next village may speak a completely different language. As a result, there’s a need for a common form of communication across the ethnic groups, and Pidgin English (sometimes known as “broken English”) is spoken as a second language. Pidgin English has its own unique grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary, and many misspellings and mispronunciations are so popular that they have entered colloquial usage. But it is a comical language, spoken at breakneck speed with lots of spirit, emotion and gesticulations, and certainly seems a fitting medium for Africa’s most populous country. Like its variants in Sierra Leone, Ghana and Liberia, Nigerian Pidgin is thought to have its origins in the 17th century. When the first European traders reached the country’s coast and met African chiefs, they developed a form of broken English to barter slaves, and later palm oil. Pidgin is made up of elements of English and words from the local languages, such as Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo. It varies across the country depending on where these languages are most prominent – “Lagos Pidgin”, for example, consists of a disproportionately high number of Yoruba words as Lagos is historically a Yoruba city.
  • 216. 227www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating final a-beg – please fear catch me – I was scared allow him – give him a break any attempt – don’t even think about it betta follow – good fortune bifor-bifor – a long time ago yellow fever – traffic warden mopo – mobile policeman body dey kampe or body dey inside cloth – I’m fine or (literally translated) my body is inside my clothes bread – Naira (money) can you hear the smell? – can you smell the aroma? comot fom here – get out of here spark – lose one’s temper buka – anywhere to buy food dash – gift don’t try me o – don’t annoy me drop – a taxi to yourself (with no other passengers) ask for a drop taxi e don happen – it has happened ease yourself – go to the toilet face ya front – look forward/mind your business fashi – forget it God don butta my bread – God has answered my prayer. go-slow – traffic jam hammer – to make money how u dey? – how are you? juss dey patch am – managing to survive moto – any kind of vehicle, but usually used to refer to a car or taxi next tomorrow – day after tomorrow no wahala – no problem off/on – verbs to switch something off or on, as in “off the light” off seat – out of the office use ya sense – use your intelligence shake bodi – spend some money/pay the bill sidon – sit down shine your eye – be street smart/aware/keep your eyes open waka – walk the thing way him talk na so – what he said is true use your number six – use your head waka about – someone who is always on the road/ travelling we go wash am o – we must celebrate werin dey? – where are they? you don chop? – have you eaten? you dey ginger my swagger – literally, you spice up my swagger, meaning you have a happy/inspiring effect on me yahoo yahoo boys – fraudsters In linguistic terms, Pidgin English has a far less complex grammar than straight English and there is a lot of wordplay. It adapts the pronunciation to eliminate difficult sounds, and speakers add words from their own language as needed. Because it evolved from English, it’s written with the Latin alphabet, but not all of the letters are used, and the spelling is greatly simplified and usually phonetic. The result is that many words look and sound quite different from the standard English terms from which they were derived. Meanings may also differ, and words often take on expanded meanings so that a limited vocabulary can cover a wide range of situations. As Pidgin evolved, some of the new secondary meanings became more widespread than the initial meanings. For example, “chop” can mean “food” and “yarn” can mean “talk”. Wrong spellings and pronunciations do not matter in Pidgin; it’s the message and the meaning that are crucial. These days Nigerian Pidgin is used on TV and radio and in plays and novels. The United Nations has even translated the Declaration of Human Rights into Nigerian Pidgin. So, “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person” translates as “everi one naim get right to live, get right to do as e like and right to see say im life safe for where e dey”. Some may argue that since Pidgin is an informal and secondary language, it holds little respect in society. Some people even see its continued existence as a glaring symbol of a failed education system. But in fact it creates much humour, serves as an important means of communication across the different ethnic groups, and functions as an act of identity when speakers need to stress their “Nigerianness”. In short, Nigerian Pidgin can express a belonging to Nigeria, which English, the language of the ex-colonial power, cannot. It is as always considered polite to learn a few basic expressions, and Nigerians will be delighted that visitors have made the effort. “Wetin de happen?” (what’s happening?) is often the start of a bewildering conversation to newcomers in Nigeria. But never fear – after this crash course, “you go fit yarn Pidgin” (you will be able to speak Pidgin)! ■
  • 217. NigeriaTourism Development Corporation (NTDC)
  • 218. The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation is the government agency responsible for regulating, marketing and promoting tourism activities in Nigeria. In partnership with private sector and international organisations it harnesses Nigeria’s rich and diverse heritage for sustainable domestic and international tourism. Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) Tourism Village, Area 1, P.M.B 167, Garki, Abuja Tel: +234 9 234 2764 www.tourism.gov.ng
  • 219. Honeywell Group – Proud to Support Fascinating Nigeria Specialising in food, infrastructure, real estate, energy and service.
  • 220. Honeywell Group Tel: +234 1 290 0525; 290 6707; 295 5981 | info@honeywellgroup.com | www.honeywellgroup.com 6B Mekunwen Road | Off Oyinkan Abayomi Drive | Ikoyi | Lagos | Nigeria
  • 221. Travel Supplement NIGERIA FASCINATING CULTURE I TOURISM I ENTERTAINMENT
  • 222. 234 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement Do’s & Don’ts NIGERIA N igeria is considered one of Africa’s superpowers; with well over 140 million people, it has the largest population in Africa, the land is endowed with vast quantities of natural resources, the economy is growing at around 8% a year, and as such the country has a well-educated, industrious and sophisticated society. But Nigeria is also a culturally and religiously diverse country with more than 250 ethnic groups, each with their own distinct cultural heritage and strong sense of allegiance. The three largest and most dominant groups are the Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo (pronounced “ee-bo”), while other smaller groups include the Fulani, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv and Edo. The ethnicity of Nigeria is so varied that there is no definition of a Nigerian beyond that of someone who lives within the borders of the country, and prior to their conquest by Europeans these ethnic groups had separate and independent regions and histories. Every group has its own stories of where its ancestors came from, and these vary from tales of people descending from the sky to stories of migration from far-off places. Their grouping together into a single entity known as Nigeria was a product of their British colonisers only in 1914. The name Nigeria was suggested by British journalist Flora Shaw in the 1890s. She referred to the area as Nigeria, after the Niger River, which dominates much of the country’s landscape. The word niger is Latin for black. In general all Nigerian ethnic groups are very traditional when it comes to marriage and family life, and family is the most important aspect of any Nigerian’s life. Not only does family provide identity for an individual, but also social standing and financial support. A family unit in Nigeria refers to the entire network of relatives, from brothers and sisters to wives of sons and grandchildren. Those who work provide support to the whole family where needed, be it money for food or school fees. Christians are allowed only one wife, while Muslims may have as many as four, and for all Nigerians having a number of offspring is a matter of pride. Naming a child is important, and children may receive different names from each of their extended relatives. Children are expected to take on family
  • 223. 235www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement responsibilities as they grow up, such as caring for their younger siblings, and in many areas neighbours also take part in caring for a child. While over the last few decades there has been a great migration from rural areas to the cities, most Nigerians keep kinship alive and frequently visit what they term as their “village” – although in reality it may be a town of considerable size – which could be their place of birth or where they have relatives living. To understand the ancient and complex systems of behaviour, values and attitudes that underlie the country’s vibrant personality is to meet these culturally rich people – they are warm, friendly, colourful, intelligent, curious and generous. However, as a guest to their country, you should practise the same courtesy and respect by learning a bit about Nigerian culture and etiquette. The following tips should help. DO n Do shake hands upon greeting and at the beginning and end of meetings; shaking hands is the most common greeting in Nigeria, accompanied by a warm, welcoming smile. A Nigerian generally waits for a woman to extend her hand first, and observant Muslims will not generally shake hands with members of the opposite sex. n Do address people initially by their academic, professional or family title and their surname. Always wait until invited before using someone’s first name. Friends can be less formal in addressing each other. n Do bow your head when greeting someone who is obviously much older; respect for elders has huge importance in Nigeria. It is a good idea to lower your eyes when meeting someone who is older or Do be sensitive to differences of culture and religion. Nigeria is a diverse country where tribe and ethnic affiliation is important.
  • 224. 236 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement more senior. The oldest person is greeted and served first, and enters a room first. n Do listen. Nigerians love passionate discussions and are very happy when someone shows interest in what they have to say. Chat about sports, current events, or even politics, but don’t discuss religious conflicts. n Do take the time to ask after the welfare of a person’s health and family, which is considered very polite; most conversations begin with these pleasantries. n Do bring a gift for the host if invited to dinner at someone’s home (although gifts are not opened as soon as they are received). Also compliment your host’s dress, home and belongings, but don’t overdo it – he or she may feel obligated to give you what you find attractive. Gifts from a man to a woman must be said to come from the man’s mother, wife, sister or other female relative, never from the man himself. It is customary for Muslims to give gifts of food and fruit during Ramadan. Gifts should be wrapped, although there are no cultural taboos concerning paper colour. n Do be sure to compliment a dinner or food prepared by a Nigerian host. n Do understand that in Muslim homes sometimes the male visitors and hosts will not eat with the women. n Do leave shoes outside before entering a home. While seated, ensure your feet are not pointed outwards at anyone or at food. n Do give right of way in public places or on public transport to women with children, pregnant women and the elderly. n Do be sensitive to differences of culture and religion. Nigeria is a diverse country where tribe and ethnic affiliation is important. Don’t use your left hand at all in the presence of Muslims, as it is considered unclean. Do not eat or pass and receive food with it, present business cards or give gifts or other objects with it. Use the right hand only, or both hands. Also remember that Muslims do not drink alcohol.
  • 225. 237www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement Do be sure to compliment a dinner or food prepared by a Nigerian host. Don’t wear revealing clothes, especially in the Muslim north of the country where men also shouldn’t show legs or shoulders. Don’t criticise Nigeria; generally Nigerians are very proud of their country, and don’t feel they have to defend it. DON’T n Don’t rush through the greeting process when meeting Nigerians; it is considered rude not to engage in a proper greeting before getting down to business. n Don’t keep constant and direct eye contact during a conversation, which can be seen as being intrusive. It’s quite normal to keep your eyes at forehead or shoulder level. n Don’t criticise Nigeria; generally Nigerians are very proud of their country, and don’t feel they have to defend it. n Don’t eat everything on your plate; leaving some food is a signal that you are satisfied. If you clean your plate, it is an indication that you want more. n Don’t eat and drink at the same time; finish a meal first and then drink. n Never pour your own drink or refill; always wait for the host to do so. n Don’t use your left hand at all in the presence of Muslims, as it is considered unclean. Do not eat or pass and receive food with it, present business cards or give gifts or other objects with it. Use the right hand only, or both hands. Also remember that Muslims do not drink alcohol. n Don’t wear revealing clothes, especially in the Muslim north of the country where men also shouldn’t show legs or shoulders. n Don’t be surprised that most social occasions begin later than scheduled. It is socially acceptable to arrive late, stay long enough to greet the key people and leave. Guests staying for the entire event will see a large turnover of people. ■ Chat about sports, current events, or even politics, but don’t discuss religious conflicts.
  • 226. 238 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement at least 4-6 weeks before you leave. This gives any vaccines you may need time to take effect, and allows you to start taking the appropriate medicines for malaria prevention. Your health care provider can also give you advice on how to protect yourself from illness and injury on your trip. It is important to give them details such as how long you intend to stay in Nigeria and whether you’ll be visiting any other countries as well. Protecting yourself against malaria Cerebral malaria is one of the most deadly diseases in the world, and can be contracted in Nigeria. The good news, however, is that it is very preventable and treatable. Read on to find out how to eliminate any risk of you or your family contracting malaria during your stay. Vaccines and precautions Read the following advice and find out what precautions you should take before and during your trip – and have a safe and pleasant holiday. Routine vaccines – Recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots, such as measles/ mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/ pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine, tetanus etc. Hepatitis A Vaccine – Recommended for all unvaccinated people travelling to or working in countries with an intermediate or high level of hepatitis A virus infection where exposure might occur through food or water. Cases of travel-related hepatitis A can also occur in travellers to developing countries with “standard” tourist itineraries, accommodation, and food consumption behaviour. Nigeria has a high level of transmission. Hepatitis B Vaccine (HBV) – Recommended for all unvaccinated persons travelling to or working in countries with intermediate to high levels of endemic HBV transmission, especially those who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment (e.g. for an accident). Nigeria has a high level of transmission. Typhoid Vaccine – Recommended for all unvaccinated people travelling to or working in West Healthy Travel By Dr. Ugo Okoli, Project Director, SURE-P MCH T ravelling overseas is an exciting experience, but it can come with some risks to your health, especially if you’re unprepared. If you’re planning a trip to Nigeria, you may be put off by some of the stories you hear – but most of them are based on assumptions and myths. By arming yourself with the facts and preparing before you go, you can look forward to a fun (and healthy) holiday. Planning ahead To get the most out of your trip it’s a good idea to see your health care provider (doctor or practice nurse)
  • 227. 239www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement Africa, especially if staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where exposure might occur through food or water. See also section on food and water. Polio Vaccine – Recommended for adult travellers who have received a primary series with either inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) or oral polio vaccine (OPV). They should receive another dose of IPV before departure. For adults, available data do not indicate the need for more than a single lifetime booster dose with IPV. Yellow Fever – A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission. Nigeria is an area of high risk. Meningococcal Meningitis – Recommended if you plan to visit countries that experience epidemics of meningococcal disease during December through June. This includes the northern parts of Nigeria. Rabies – Recommended for travellers spending a lot of time outdoors, especially in rural areas, involved in activities such as bicycling, camping or hiking. Also recommended for travellers with significant occupational risks (such as veterinarians), for long-term travellers and expatriates living in areas with a significant risk of exposure, and for travellers involved in any activities that might bring them into direct contact with bats, carnivores and other mammals. Children are considered at higher risk because they tend to play with animals, may receive more severe bites, or may not report bites. Tetanus – Tetanus vaccine is usually recommended for travellers who will be in a country or situation where the correct treatment of a tetanus-prone injury may not be readily available.  Malaria Prevention The risk of contracting severe malaria is greater in the rainy season; children under five, pregnant women and people returning or coming to Nigeria after living in malaria-free areas are also at higher risk. If you’re travelling to Nigeria you can eliminate any risk of malaria by: n Taking a prescription antimalarial drug – Atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline or mefloquine. Chloroquine is NOT an effective antimalarial drug in Nigeria and should not be taken to prevent malaria in this region. n Wearing lightweight long-sleeved shirts and long trousers particularly in the evenings. n Using insect repellent on the exposed areas of your body particularly in the evenings. n Spray your room with a pyrethroid insecticide which quickly kills flying insects, including mosquitoes. n Sleeping in air-conditioned or well-screened rooms or using bed nets. n Use bed nets treated with permethrin if you will not be sleeping in an air-conditioned or well- screened room. Prevention of Animal Bites and Scratches Direct contact with animals can spread diseases such as rabies or cause injuries or illness. To prevent this: n Be sure you are up to date with tetanus vaccination. n Be careful how you touch or feed any animal including dogs and cats. n Supervise children carefully around animals. n Wash the wound well with soap and water if bitten or scratched. Take Care with Food and Water Follow these tips for safe eating and drinking: n Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating. You can also use an alcohol-based hand gel. n Drink bottled or boiled water, or carbonated drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes. n Avoid food purchased from street vendors. n Illnesses from food and water often cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Make sure you bring diarrhoea medicines with you so that you can treat mild cases yourself. Prevention of Injuries n Do not drink and drive. n Always wear your seat belt and use car seats or booster seats for children in the back seat. n Always wear helmets when you ride bikes and motorcycles. n Avoid getting on an overloaded bus or minibus. n Avoid night driving. Other Health Tips n To reduce the risk of getting HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases always use latex condoms. n To prevent the risk of getting HIV and viral Hepatitis avoid sharing needles for tattoos, body piercing or injections. n Remember to take along enough of your normal prescription medicines and keep them in your hand luggage. When You Return Home If you become ill with fever or flu-like illness either while travelling in a malaria risk area or on returning home, you should seek immediate medical help and tell the health care provider your travel history. ■ ENJOY YOUR TRIP TO NIGERIA Dr Ugo Okoli – Consultant in Public Health. References 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta USA 2. Fitfortravel National Health Service Scotland
  • 228. 240 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement City served State ICAO IATA Airport name Major International Airports Abuja FCT DNAA ABV Nnamdi Azikiwe International Kano Kano DNKN KAN Mallam Aminu Kano International Lagos Lagos DNMM LOS Murtala Muhammed International Port Harcourt Rivers DNPO PHC Port Harcourt International Major domestic airports Calabar Cross River DNCA CBQ Margaret Ekpo International Enugu Enugu DNEN ENU Akanu Ibiam International Jos Plateau DNJO JOS Yakubu Gowon Kaduna Kaduna DNKA KAD Kaduna Maiduguri Borno DNMA MIU Maiduguri International Sokoto Sokoto DNSO SKO Sadiq Abubakar 111 International Airport Yola Adamawa DNYO YOL Yola Other domestic airports Asaba Delta DNAS ABB Asaba Akure Ondo DNAK AKR Akure Bauchi Bauchi DNBA BCU Bauchi Benin Edo DNBE BNI Benin Gombe Gombe DNGO GMO Gombe Ibadan Oyo DNIB IBA Ibadan Ilorin Kwara DNIL ILR Ilorin Katsina Katsina DNKT DKA Katsina Makurdi Benue DNMK MDI Makurdi Minna Niger DNMN MXJ Minna Owerri Imo DNIM QOW Sam Mbakwe Warri Delta DNSU QRW Warri Zaria Kaduna DNZA ZAR Zaria Airports in Nigeria There are 22 airports in Nigeria operated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), four of which operate as international airports. In addition there are airstrips or airfields in various parts of the country, built mainly by the Nigerian Air Force or multinational oil companies.
  • 229. 241www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement City served State ICAO IATA Airport name Other airports not owned/managed by FAAN Uyo Akwa Ibom DNAI QUO Akwa Ibom International Airstrips Ajaokuta Kogi Ajaokuta Ashaka Gombe Ashaka Azare Bauchi Azare Bacita Kwara Bacita Bebi Cross River Bebi Bida Niger DNBI Bida Birnin Kebbi Kebbi Bonny Rivers Bonny Eket Akwa DNEK Eket Escravos Delta Escravos Gusau Zamfara DNGU QUS Gusau Kaltungo Gombe Kaltungo Lokoja Kogi Lokoja Magbon Lagos Magbon Mambilla Taraba Mambilla Miango Plateau Miango Mubi Adamawa Mubi Nguru Yobe Nguru Obudu Cross River Obudu Odegi Odegi Osogbo Osun DNOS Osogbo Potiskum Yobe Potiskum Shiroro Niger Shiroro Tuga Kebbi Tuga Military airports Makurdi Benue DNMK MDI Makurdi Lagos Airport
  • 230. 242 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement Airline ICAO IATA Callsign Hub Airport(s) Aero Contractors NIG AJ AEROLINE Murtala Muhammed International Airport Arik ARA W3 ARIK AIR Murtala Muhammed International Airport Associated Aviation SCD ASSOCIATED Murtala Muhammed International Airport Chanchangi NCH 3U CHANCHANGI Murtala Muhammed International Airport Dana Air DAN 9J DANACO Murtala Muhammed International Airport IRS Airlines LVB SILVERBIRD Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Med-View Airline MEV MED-VIEW Murtala Muhammed International Airport Overland Airways OLA OJ OVERLAND Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport with Air Operator Certificates issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nigeria Airlines in Nigeria Murtala Muhammed International Airport
  • 231. 243www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement car hire services in Nigeria LAGOS Murtala Muhammed Airport Several worldwide car rental companies have a presence in the terminal buildings. Bathojam (Nig) Enterprises 10, Siwoku Street, Off Meiran Road, Ojokoro, Lagos Tel: +234 1 452 7092 Baotsexpress Lagos Provides bus/car hire, events shuttle services, airline crews and passengers, fleet management, tours and retreats. 110, Awolowo Way, Ikeja, Lagos Tel: +234 1 730 1250, 734 9159; +234 802 300 6412, 803 973 3506 Call a Cab Nigeria Bargain car rental services in Lagos with brand-new cars and certified drivers. Suite 62, Prime Plaza, Muri Okunola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos Tel: +234 1 897 8340; +234 802 077 5566 CFAO Motors (Car Rental) 49, Ijora Causeway, Apapa, Lagos Tel: +234 1 587 8219 Corporate Cabs Corporate cabs fitted with navigational systems, meters and e-payment systems. 41, Owukori Street, Alaka Estate, Surulere, Lagos Tel: +234 1 726 1823-4 Cross Country (Car Rental) Car hire and bus rental services. 345, Murtala Muhammed Way, Yaba, Lagos Tel: +234 1 776 4000, 582 1581; +234 805 555 5595 Email:  info@crosscountry.com.ng Website: www.crosscountry.com.ng Efex Executive Bus Rentals Provision of self-drive and chauffeur- driven services from 8 rental locations including Lagos airport, Lagos city, Abuja, Nike Lake (Enugu), Calabar, Port Harcourt and Enugu. 77/79, Murtala Muhammed Way, Beside OANDO filling station, Yaba, Lagos Tel: +234 807 779 0250, 802 313 4121 Email: info@efex-executive.com.ng Website: http://efex-executive.com.ng/ Executive Coach Company Luxury transportation, airport terminal pickup and drop off, Red Carpet service, luggage handling. Savoy Suites, 43, Isaac John Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos Tel: +234 1 791 5608, 791 4673; +234 803 918 0691 Fax: +234 1 819 8231 The Executive Transport Company Provision of luxury vehicles including the current model Mercedes E-class and Lexus LX470 4x4 with daily rentals. 23B Ribadu Road, Off Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos Tel: +234 803 787 1911, 703 067 2372, 807 283 4626 Email: chibuzo@executivetransportnigeria.com Website: http://executivetransportnigeria. sasahivi.com Fleet Derivatives Limited Vehicle Leasing & Logistics Service Suite 61, Dolphin Plaza, Corporation Drive, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos Tel: +234 1 462 4082, 819 4709, 761 1025, 462 4082, 819 4709; +234 803 330 4117, 805 605 9591 Website: www.fleetderivatives.com Globon Services Limited Car leasing, hiring, fleet maintenance of cars for corporate organisations & provision of drivers. Spring Bank Building, P C I Engineering Close, Victoria Island, Lagos Tel: +234 1 899 3041, 722 6414; +234 803 205 8641, 802 376 4111 Fax: +234 1 262 2260 Email: globonservices201@yahoo.com Hertz Car Rental Daily, weekend, monthly, rental, and drop off/ pick up services. C&I Leasing Plc is Hertz’s franchisee in Nigeria. Leasing House, 2 C & I Leasing Drive, Central Business District, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos Tel: +234 817 200 7110, 817 200 7220 Email: info@c-ileasing.com Website: http://www.c-ileasing.com King David Security Dial-A-Car Executive Car hire service to individuals, corporate bodies and government agencies. Plot 6, FAAN Complex, Murtala Muhammed International Airport Link Road, Ikeja, Lagos Tel: +234 1 470 3720; +234 803 306 6166, 803 302 3539 Email: info@kingdavidecurity.com Website: http://www.kingdavidsecurity.com MakeItNigeria.com Car hire services to Nigerians and expatriates, as well as apartment rental, vacation homes and resorts. Block P, House 4A, Abraham Adesanya Housing Estate, Ajah, Lagos Tel: +234 1 817 470 2562; +234 806 065 5809 Email: reservations@makeitnigeria.com Website: http://www.makeitnigeria.com Olakunle Ashaye & Co. Ltd (Car Rental) 18/20, Adeola Raji Avenue, Atunwase Estate, Gbagada, Lagos Tel: +234 1 263 4331 Fax: +234 1 823 081
  • 232. 244 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement Prime Logistics Limo service, car rental and sales, haulage services, fleet management. 121/123, Cooperation Drive, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos Tel: +234 1 269 3194; +234 805 666 6665, 802 360 2508 Fax: +234 1 269 3501 Quick Cabs Services Cab services for single trips, hourly bookings, intercity trips and airport shuttle. 6, Goriola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos Tel: +234 1 817 9879; +234 802 313 8829 Smartbudgets Jeep-SUV rental service, automotive procurement, sales, repair and diagnostics. B2, Sura-Simpson Shopping Complex, Lagos Island, Lagos Tel: +234 1 893 4034; +234 802 201 8406 Email: smartbudgets@aol.com Swift Rental Cars Limited Providing quality cars, buses and 4x4s, chauffeurs, protocol and fleet management services. 6, Okunola Martins Close, Off Okotie Eboh Street, Off Awolowo Road, S/W Ikoyi, Lagos Tel: +234 817 223 6918, 817 223 6919, 817 223 6921 Fax: +234 1 270 1086 Email: reservations@swiftrentalcars.org Website: http://swiftrentalcars.org Tuance Nigeria Ltd Bus/car hire, events shuttle services, airlines crews and passengers, fleet management, maintenance management, tours and retreats, general logistics. 2A, Isaac John Street, 2nd Floor, Ikeja, Lagos Tel: +234 1 891 8458, 853 6136; +234 803 310 1035, 802 291 1035 Vitcof Ventures Hiring of coaster buses. 10, Alhaja Toyibat Street, Medina Estate, Gbagada, Lagos Tel: +234 805 672 0502, 802 335 6205 ABUJA Europcar Vehicle leasing in eight locations in Nigeria including Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Enugu and Kano. 2nd Floor, Radmad House, 1E Ligali Ayorinde Street, Victoria Island, Lagos Tel: +234 1 850 2624 Fax: +234 1 444 7175 Website: http://www.europcar-nigeria.com Finabod Enterprises Car hire and haulage 676, Uromi Close, Area 2, Garki, Abuja Tel: +234 803 376 5113 Ground Air Travel (GAT) Executive bus shuttle. 26/27 Sabondale Shopping Complex (next to Mr Biggs) Jabi, Abuja Tel: +234 805 586 6200 Email: info@gatlimited.com Website: http://www.gatlimited.com Onim Global Services Ltd Car rental and sales. Suite f8, 1st floor, Metro Plaza, Central business District, Abuja or Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Floor 01, Maitama, Abuja Tel: +234 806 313 1007 Email: info@onimglobal.com Website: http://www.onimglobal.com Royal Fleets (Royal Transport & Logistics Ltd) Car rental and lease. HF 66, Kaura Modern Market, Opposite Prince and Princess Estate, Duboyi Abuja Tel: +234 9 291 4279; +234 806 395 7764 Email: info@royalfleetsng.com, royalfleetsng@gmail.com Website: http://royalfleetsng.com RTC Prestige Cabs Executive cab services using the latest technology. 8 Dar es Salaam Crescent, off Amino Kano Street, Wuse 2, Abuja Tel: +234 7000 782 222 (Reservations hotline) Email: reservations@rtccabs.com Website: http://www.rtccabs.com Swift Rental Cars Limited This Abuja automotive service company offers car rentals. Suite 33, Hilltop Plaza, 13, Gwani Street, Zone 4, Wuse, Abuja Tel: +234 702 815 4681 DELTA STATE Globarry Limited Charter bus, airport shuttle, sightseeing, group tours and taxi service. 67, Effurun Sapele Road, Tomab Yard, Opp. ZenithBank/Lords, Warri Tel: +234 5 332 0604 CROSS RIVER STATE Remlords Tours & Car Hire Services Destination management company providing specialised tourism and business services to individuals and businesses. Bishop Abioye House, 9, Edibe Edibe Road, Calabar Tel: +234 807 514 4241, 805 553 3370 Email: info@remlordstours.com Website: http://www.remlordstours.com The companies in this list are shown for information only, and the publishers accept no responsibility for the services provided.
  • 233. 245www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement where to stay in nigeria LAGOS Moorhouse Ikoyi Lagos Part of the international Accor chain, this is one of Lagos’s finest boutique hotels, located in a quiet corner of Ikoyi. The 94 modern rooms and suites have TV and minibar and some have balconies; plus there’s a gastronomic restaurant, bar, swimming pool and fitness centre. 1 Bankole Oki Road, Ikoyi Tel: +234 1 461 5409–20 Website: www.accorhotels.com Elion House Tucked away in a quiet suburb of Ikoyi, this hotel features sweeping staircases, marble floors, fine art on the walls and antiques. The 24 spacious rooms are individually decorated and have TV and minibar. There’s 24-hour room service, gym, swimming pool, the Olive Garden restaurant and a cocktail bar. 7–8 Agbeke Rotinwa Street, off Hannat Balogun Street, Dolphin Extension, Ikoyi Tel: +234 1 461 4190–4 Website: www.elionhousehotel.com Bogobiri House A boutique hotel with 16 rooms decorated with rattan cane furniture, four-poster beds, African prints on the walls, shelves of African pots and giant flat-screen TVs. Some of the bathrooms have lovely mosaic tiling and the front door with its statues and lanterns is a piece of artwork in itself. There’s also a bar, restaurant, live music stage and art gallery. 9 Maitama Sule Street, off Awolowo Road, Ikoyi Tel: +234 706 817 6454; +234 1 270 7436–7 Website: www.bogobiri.com Radisson Blu Anchorage This newly-built hotel has 170 rooms with views over Lagos Lagoon or the business district. Facilities include a gym, swimming pool, steam rooms and meeting and event rooms, and a choice of four restaurants and bars including the stylish Surface Bar & Grill on a terrace overlooking the lagoon. 1a Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, Victoria Island Tel: +234 708 061 0000 Website: www.radissonblu.com/hotel-lagos Victoria Crown Plaza Hotel Fairly new to Lagos with good standards, the 49-room tower block is topped by a lavish presidential suite that takes up the entire floor. There’s a swimming pool and piano bar, and the restaurant features silverware and white linen on the tables and specialises in Italian cuisine. 292b Ajose Adeogun Street, Victoria Island Tel: +234 1 271 9800 Website: www.vcphotels.com Federal Palace Hotel & Casino A landmark on Victoria Island overlooking Lagos Harbour, this 14-floor tower has 150 rooms and suites and is run by the South African chain Sun International. The extensive range of facilities include a swimming pool with children’s pools and water slides, mini-golf course, gym, a jogging track around the complex, conference venues, 24-hour casino and several restaurants. 6–8 Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island Tel +234 1 277 9000 Website: www.suninternational.com Protea Hotel Victoria Island This is a fairly new and quality hotel on a prime site on Victoria Island managed by the South African Protea chain with 55 rooms with TV, two swimming pools with pool terrace, conference and business facilities, a gym, and the Avalon Brasserie and Bar serves continental food. 1700 Violet Yough Close, Victoria Island Tel: +234 1 448 5693–4 Website: www.proteahotels.com Protea Hotel Kuramo Waters This is another Protea offering in Lagos, very nicely located with views of the Kuramo Lagoon. The 60 rooms and suites are arranged in red-tiled blocks and have TV, cool tiled Radisson Blu Anchorage Federal Palace Hotel & Casino
  • 234. 246 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement floors and dark wood furnishings. There’s a lovely 12-metre pool surrounded by a terrace right on the water’s edge, plus a restaurant and piano bar. Off Akin Ogunlewe Street, Victoria Island Tel: +234 1 271 2962–4 Website: www.proteahotels.com Eko Hotel & Suites One of the nicest and largest hotels in Lagos with 492 rooms, set in a central spot on Victoria Island in gardens backing onto the Kuramo Lagoon. From the open and airy reception area wooden walkways lead through to the swimming pool, restaurants and bars overlooking the lagoon. Facilities include a gym, sauna and tennis and volleyball courts. 1415 Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island Tel: +234 1 277 2700–19 Website: www.ekohotels.com B-Jay’s Hotel A reasonably small hotel with 34 rooms and friendly staff on the outer rim of Victoria Island overlooking Five Cowrie Creek and just two blocks from the Palms Mall. The very attractive rooms have polished wooden floors and are decorated with modern African art; the L-shaped Cowrie bar and restaurant has a very good reputation. 24 Samuel Manuwa Street, Victoria Island Tel: +234 1 270 4861–2 Website: www.bjayshotel.com Four Points by Sheraton Opened in 2010, this hotel has 234 spacious rooms and an indoor pool, spa and fitness centre. The Adrenaline sports bar serves Tex-Mex food and there’s also the Brazzerie restaurant, Café Cappuccino and Pool Bar. A popular business hotel as it’s near the Mobil and Chevron offices. Plot 9/10, Block 2, Oniru Chieftaincy Estate, Lekki Peninsula, Victoria Island Tel: +234 1 448 9444 Website: www.fourpointslagos.com La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort This is an attractive resort on the eastern end of Lekki Beach spread around 60 acres of woodlands surrounding a lagoon that offers safe swimming, canoe trips and excellent birdwatching. The neat and tidy two-storey bamboo villas have an upstairs bedroom and downstairs lounge with TV, and there’s also the option to sleep in walk-in tents. Facilities include a restaurant, bar and nightclub. Situated at Ikegan, 20km along the Lekki–Epe Expressway from Victoria Island, turn right at Eleko junction Tel: +234 805 222 5226 Website: www.lacampagneng.com Protea Hotel Oakwood Park Another Protea hotel with very high standards and 65 modern and comfortable rooms, a large swimming pool with terrace and pool bar, fine dining in the formal restaurant, gym and sauna, a cocktail bar and extensive conference facilities. Lekki Expressway, opposite Chevron, Lekki Peninsula Tel: +234 1 270 2900 Website: www.proteahotels.com Protea Hotel Leadway Ikeja With 47 rooms, this is one of the smaller Protea hotels and makes a good alternative to the other larger airport hotels. It features a swimming pool and gym, and a cosy bar and restaurant. Murtala Muhammed International Airport is a 15-minute drive away. 1 Mogambo Close, off Emmanuel Street, Maryland Estate, Ikeja Tel: +234 1 279 0800 Website: www.proteahotels.com Sheraton Lagos Hotel & Towers Conveniently located near the airport, this large hotel has 332 newly-refurbished rooms and the extensive facilities include a business centre, ballroom, tennis courts, mosque, swimming pool, various conference halls and several top-notch restaurants. In the lobby are desks for airlines and car rental agencies. 30 Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja Tel: +234 1 280 0100–300 Website: www.starwoodhotels.com Eko Hotel & Suites Protea Hotel Leadway Ikeja Four Points by Sheraton La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort
  • 235. 247www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement ABUJA Protea Hotel Abuja Modern, purpose-built, comfortable and good standards from the South African chain with a business centre, Wi-Fi, restaurant, 24-hour bar and room service, and the 28 rooms have pleasant décor in muted browns and creams. The four double-storey executive lofts have a separate lounge and a jacuzzi. 3 Negro Crescent, Maitama Tel: +234 9 461 2741–3 Website: www.proteahotels.com Sheraton Abuja Hotel This is a huge hotel with 540 rooms, several bars and restaurants, a nightclub, tennis and squash courts, gym with sauna, swimming pool and business centre. The art gallery in the lobby displays some interesting local paintings; there are a number of useful shops and travel agencies, and car rental can be arranged. Ladi Kwali Way, Wuse Zone 3 Tel: +234 9 461 2000 Website: www.starwoodhotels.com Transcorp Hilton Hotel Built in 1987, and with 670 rooms, the enormous Hilton is the biggest hotel in West Africa. Facilities include everything you’d expect of a 5-star hotel, such as a swimming pool, tennis and squash courts, fitness centre, sauna, beauty salon, hairdresser, nightclub, several bars and restaurants and a business centre, plus a shopping mall, with a bureau de change, travel agencies, airline desks and numerous duty-free and craft shops. 1 Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama Tel: +234 708 060 3000 Website: www3.hilton.com Berkshire Hotel This boutique hotel is actually based in two locations in attractive areas of the FCT: Maitama and Asokoro. It has luxurious rooms and contemporary suites to ensure a comfortable stay and a discreet atmosphere that makes it an ideal venue for private meetings and special occasions. It has 30 rooms and 4 suites, along with a restaurant employing some of the best chefs in the country. 7 Moussa Traore Street, Asokoro 6 Asa Street, Maitama Tel: +234 9 870 1526, 870 0170; +234 704 163 1492 Website: www.berkshirehotel.net Chelsea Hotel A modern, centrally-located hotel in a bright white block set in a large car park and garden, with a swimming pool, tennis courts, gym, business centre, restaurant, outdoor bar and 24-hour room service. There are 75 comfortable rooms with TV, Wi-Fi & minibar. Plot 123, Cadastral Zone A0, Central Business District Tel: +234 9 782 2080–2 Website: www.chelseahotelabuja.com Protea Hotel Apo Apartments This is a complex of 46 self-contained modern apartments in a peaceful part of the city off the main southern ring road. Each has TV, fully-equipped kitchen and modern furnishings, and there’s a small restaurant, room service, a lovely rooftop bar and a swimming pool. 2 Ahmadu Bello Way, Garki Tel: +234 805 283 5747 Website: www.proteahotels.com Protea Hotel Asokoro Another well-run Protea hotel in a square white modern block with 83 rooms, a swimming pool, gym, conference facilities, Wi-Fi throughout, coffee shop, an elegant restaurant serving international food and themed cuisine and barbecue evenings, and a 24-hour bar and room service. Bola Ige Close, Mohammadu Ribadu Street, Asokoro Tel: +234 9 462 0700; +234 808 027 7027 Website: www.proteahotels.com Transcorp Hilton Hotel Berkshire Hotel
  • 236. 248 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement Agura Hotel This was the first hotel to open in Abuja in 1986, though it has been refurbished a few times since then and is of a fairly good standard. It has 156 rooms, a swimming pool, gym, tennis and squash courts, a restaurant and a nice bar where a band plays most nights. In the lobby are a bureau de change and several domestic airline desks. Moshod Abiola Way, Garki Area 1 Tel: +234 810 254 4512, 803 704 0155, 805 965 5838, 809 225 7029 Website: www.agurahotel.com IBADAN (OYO STATE) Kakanfo Inn One of the nicest hotels in Ibadan, and tucked away in a quiet area of the GRA. The 14 suites and 68 rooms all have balconies and TV, there’s a good restaurant serving Indian and Nigerian food, an L-shaped swimming pool and relaxing poolside terrace, a curio shop in the lobby and a small gym. Nihinlola Street, off Ibrahim Babangida Way (also referred to as Mobil Petrol Station Ring Road) Tel +234 2 751 8000–1; +234 807 359 0868 Website: www.kakanfoinn.com Premier Hotel Six storeys high and perched on top of Mokola Hill, this 86-room hotel is easily seen from any approach to the city. Facilities include tennis courts, gym, bakery, bookshop, comfy bar, a Chinese restaurant and an Olympic-size swimming pool. Mokola Hill Tel: +234 2 200 3274 Website: www.premierhotelibadan.com ADA (OSUN STATE) MicCom Golf Hotel and Resort Just under a 15-km drive to the northeast of Ada, the hotel’s 90 rooms are arranged in pink blocks with bright blue windows and red-tiled roofs, set on an 18-hole golf course. There’s a very attractive swimming pool, tennis courts and a smart bar and restaurant that serves Nigerian and continental food. Ibokun Road Tel: +234 805 639 6201–7 Website: www.miccomgolfhotels.com ASABA (DELTA STATE) Grand Hotel Convention Centre & Resort Lying on the west bank of the Niger River with wonderful views of the bridge linking Asaba to Onitsha, this is one of the best places to stay in Delta State. There are more than 150 rooms and chalets, and facilities include an Olympic- size swimming pool, tennis courts, gym, spa, conference rooms, nightclub, casino and a variety of restaurants. 112 Nnebisi Road Tel: +234 803 758 4941; +234 46 310804 Website: www.grandhotelnigeria.com ENUGU Nike Lake Resort This relaxing resort is 8 km from Enugu off the Onitsha–Abakpa road and is set on picturesque Nike Lake, which offers rowing boats and short walking trails through the bird-filled surrounding forest. Now completely refurbished and run by African Sun Hotels, it has 210 luxury rooms and there’s a mini-golf course, tennis courts, gym, large swimming pool, bar and restaurant. Nike Lake Road, Abakpa, Nike Village Tel: +234 805 055 7000; +234 803 762 2200 Website: www.africansunhotels.com OSOGBO (OSUN STATE) Leisure Spring Hotel An unmistakable green-walled hotel with plenty of parking space to cater for functions at the conference hall. It has 75 neat rooms with TV, a bar and restaurant, gym, and swimming pool with outdoor bar. Km 5 Iwo–Ibadan Expressway Tel: +234 806 125 6468; +234 35 206711 Website: www.leisurespringhotel.com Agura Hotel Grand Hotel Convention Centre & Resort Nike Lake Resort Leisure Spring HotelPremier Hotel
  • 237. 249www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement WARRI (DELTA STATE) Protea Hotel Ekpan-Warri Located on the ever-busy Nigerian Port Authority Expressway in the oil-rich city of Warri and within easy reach of all major oil companies and Osubi Airport, this is an imposing glass block with 67 neat rooms with TV, Wi-Fi and balconies. Facilities include a restaurant, cocktail lounge, gym and a swimming pool with deck, bar and barbecue area. Km 3, Nigerian Port Authority Expressway Tel: +234 53 817366–8; +234 806 870 0306 Website: www.proteahotels.com BENIN CITY (EDO STATE) Protea Hotel Select Emotan Benin City Opened in 2013, it has a fresh, modern feel with 94 well laid-out rooms with TV and Wi-Fi. There’s a gym, swimming pool, bar and restaurant serving Nigerian and continental food and extensive conference facilities. The Benin Golf Course is a five-minute drive away. 4 Central Road, GRA Tel: +234 813 987 7770–8 Website: www.proteahotels.com Motel Benin Plaza In a good location just a 10-minute walk from King’s Square in the city centre with motel- style parking, the 125 comfortable chalets and rooms have internet access and TV, there’s a swimming pool and gym, and the restaurant has a good reputation. 1A Reservation Road, GRA Tel: +234 52 254779 Website: www.motelbeninplaza.com Okomu Ecotourist Resort Located in the Okomu National Park, an hour’s drive or roughly 40 km west of Benin City, there are 12 reasonably comfortable chalets on stilts with balconies in a beautiful lush forested spot just inside the park entrance. There’s a restaurant and swimming pool, and guides take visitors on forest walks to see the animals and birds. Contact Mainland Hotel in Lagos Tel: +234 1 791 6110 Website: www.mainlandhotel.com (website under construction) JOS (PLATEAU STATE) Hill Station Hotel Built in 1938 when British colonial officers were instructed to spend their leave in the high altitude of Jos for the good of their health, this hotel now has 170 rooms and chalets. There’s a swimming pool set in established terraced gardens with good views over Jos and the hills beyond, and a restaurant and bar. 10 Tudun Wada Road Tel: +234 73 455300–2, 455398, 454817, 45808 Website: www.hillstationhotel.com BAUCHI Fariah Suites Bauchi This is a modern centrally-located hotel with 24 smart rooms with TV and Wi-Fi in a cream-coloured block. It’s in a secure compound with a small swimming pool and comfortable restaurant and bar serving continental food. 12 Club Close, GRA Tel: +234 807 567 1223 Website: www.fariahsuites.webs.com Protea Hotel Ekpan-Warri Jamil Guest Palace Opened in 2011, this has a modern if rather simple layout, but the 30 rooms are reasonably spacious with TV and Wi-Fi, and there’s a gym, restaurant, small coffee shop with outdoor tables and a conference hall. 1 Stella Obasanjo Road, behind Dass Park Tel +234 808 786 5669; +234 709 334 6762–3 Website: www.jamilguestpalace.com KADUNA Asaa Pyramid Hotel This international standard hotel has 88 spacious rooms with TV and Wi-Fi, a gym, large swimming pool, conference venues, restaurant and a pleasant outdoor bar with pool tables. In the lobby is a curio shop, a travel agent for booking flights and a bureau de change. It’s close to the Kaduna Golf Club. 13 Lafiard Road, off Independence Way Tel +234 62 390104–5, 218415–19 Website: www.asaahotels.com Hamdala Hotel This huge complex was built in 1961 and has a lived-in feel but offers good service and facilities including book and curio shops, airline and car rental agency desks, bureaux de change, restaurant and bar. There’s a choice of over 200 rooms of different sizes in the main block, as well as some self-catering chalets in the gardens at the back near the large swimming pool. 26 Mohammed Buhari Way Tel: +234 703 788 5183/5187 Website: www.hamdalahotelkad.com Motel Benin Plaza Fariah Suites Bauchi
  • 238. 250 www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement KANO Prince Hotel A modern hotel in a quiet region of Kano, with 51 smart rooms decorated in dark wood and blue fabrics with TV and Wi-Fi, a bar, swimming pool and the Calypso restaurant, which is considered one of the city’s finest and serves international dishes including seafood, which is rarely found in Northern Nigeria. Court Close, Tamandu Road, off Audu Bako Way Tel: +234 64 984251; +234 803 716 6691 Website: www.princehotelng.com Grand Central Hotel A centrally-located imposing tower block that has recently been completely refurbished to high standards, this hotel offers 113 nicely- decorated rooms, several conference halls, vast public spaces, lobbies and lounges, a restaurant and bar, and a swimming pool in neatly-tended gardens. It’s close to shops and restaurants. 1 Bompai Road Tel: +234 805 566 5594, 703 092 2506, 810 635 0000, 802 420 3311 Website: www.grandcentralhotelkano.com Royal Tropicana Hotel A fairly modern hotel with a busy informal lobby with a few shops and a bakery, restaurant and bar, swimming pool with pleasant terrace, and several conference and banquet halls. The 217 rooms are ordinary but adequate and there are good views of the city from the top floors. 17–19 Niger Street Tel: +234 806 515 9990, 807 084 7373 Website: www.royaltropicana.com Tahir Guest Palace Wealthy Nigerians and expats stay here; it boasts a huge breezy lobby, tiled hallways, conference halls, Wi-Fi throughout, and the more than 200 rooms have nice fresh décor. The restaurant serves a good range of Nigerian and international food and the service is attentive; there’s a small swimming pool, and guests can hire a car with driver. 4 Ibrahim Natsugune Road, off Ahmadu Bello Way Tel: +234 64 315281, 317245–6; +234 805 298 5363–8 Website: www.tahirguestpalace.com PORT HARCOURT (RIVERS STATE) Le Méridien Ogeyi Place This is the best hotel in Port Harcourt and hits the 5-star international standard. It sits on the edge of the Port Harcourt Polo Club, and has 86 luxurious, modern rooms and suites equipped with all mod cons and decorated with fine African art, plus a gym, business centre and swimming pool. The Ororo Restaurant and bar is considered the best in the city. 45 Tombia Street, GRA 2 Tel: +234 84 461770 Website: www.lemeridienogeyiplace.com Hotel Novotel Part of the worldwide Novotel chain, this offers good standards for a typical business hotel in the city centre, with neutral décor and 117 modern rooms with TV and Wi-Fi. Facilities include gym, swimming pool, gift shop, restaurant serving continental and Nigerian food, and bar with a nice outdoor terrace. 3 Stadium Road, Rumuomasi Tel: +234 703 525 8639 Website: www.novotel.com Presidential Hotel With more than 300 rooms, this has been Port Harcourt’s principal hotel for many years. There are several bars and restaurants, and a swimming pool with terrace where you can play table tennis; in the lobby is a coffee shop, a row of shops and domestic airline desks. Accommodation ranges from simple garden chalets to the presidential suite. At the northern end of Aba Road before it turns into Aba Expressway, GRA 1 Tel: +234 84 461524, 901306–9 Website: www.hotel-presidential.com Golden Tulip Hotel Close to the Méridien, this has 102 rooms and suites in a newly-built block with imported furnishings, a business centre, gym and spacious swimming pool. Each floor has its own lounge area. There’s good international food in the restaurant and a choice of cocktails in the bar. Wi-Fi is available in the public areas. 1c Evo Crescent, GRA 2 Tel: 234 84 463403–15 Website: www.goldentulipportharcourt.com OBUDU PLATEAU (CROSS RIVER STATE) Obudu Mountain Resort Not far from the Cameroon border and accessed by a dramatic switchback road and Nigeria’s only cable car that climbs up the mountain, this resort is situated on a beautiful rolling green 1,576-metre high plateau, which was once a cattle ranch established in 1951 by Scottish farmers. An African Sun managed hotel, the 110 chalets and suites have log fires, TV and breathtaking views. The restaurant serves continental buffet meals. Obanliku Local Government Area, 65 km southeast of Obudu Tel: +234 708 923 1815, 805 364 8209 Website: www.africansunhotels.com Le Méridien Ogeyi Place Obudu Mountain Resort
  • 239. 251www.fascinatingnigeriamagazine.com Fascinating Nigeria Travel Supplement Inspector General of Police (IGP) 0805 966 666 (SMS only) State Security Service (SSS) 0813 222 2105–9 Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to report traffic accidents, emergencies or congestion 122 or 0700-2255-3772 (0700-CALL-FRSC) Remember to add 01 when calling with a GSM number. LAGOS EMERGENCY NUMBERS Distress Call (includes police, ambulance, Traffic Service and environmental monitoring) 767, 112 (toll free) Fire 01 728 0500/0501/0502/0503 LASEMA (State Emergency Management Agency) 01 418 7160/7161/7162 Lagos state emergency numbers in the event of any security threat 01 493 1260/1261, 497 8899, 774 5705 (100 if Multilink subscriber) Distressed/Collapsed Building (LASPPDA) 01 593 1947, 493 3658, 493 1940, 763 0854 Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS/LASEMS) 0802 288 7777, 0802 288 3678, 0802 288 7788, 01 7413744, 01 793 0490, 01 763 9939 Flooding/Blocked Drainage (EFAG) 0805 614 5481, 0802 329 8197, 0809 601 9599, 0805, 614 5484, 0805 598 8566 Health Facilities Regulation (HEFAMA) 0803 322 9049, 0802 314 9120 Radio Lagos/EKO FM (News Alert) 01 7267611 Lagos Television (News Alert) 01 496728 Open Corpse (SEHMU) 0803 427 9776, 0803 360 2259, 0802 335 6540, 0803 078 9190 Office of Public Defender (Public Complaints) 01 897 5571, 792 6928 Citizens Mediation Cente 0802 312 8837, 0705 500 3863 EMERGENGY services Rapid Response Squad (RRS) 0805 625 0710, 0803 348 2380, 0802 312 7350, 0803 335 5544, 01 775 0715, 01 497 0389, 01 497 0062, 01 493 1261, 01 492 0388 Traffic Hotlines (Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA) 01 470 3325, 01 774 3026, 0808 555 5795, 0815 477 7216 BRT 0802 314 6096 Lagbus 0803 303 6816 Pothole/Collapsed Road 0706 090 7493 Broken Pipe/Water Leakage 0803 406 8265 Cutting of Roads (LASMIRA) 0803 306 0452 Environmental/Noise Pollution (LASEPA) 0702 795 1351 Signage/Outdoor Advertising (LASAA) 01 899 6502–9, 01 825 1398 Security Trust Fund 0802 832 8204