In her enormous quest and aspiration to branding and repositioning Lagos State as the primus inter pares in terms of tourism destinations in Nigeria, Hon. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, Commissioner, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Lagos State, led other tourism top players in the state and the country at large on a fam tour -“Best of Lagos” with that pivotal mission of showcasing and marketing both hidden and open tourism potential prevalent within the “land of aquatic splendour” to the world, between 29th-31st March, 2022.
The tour’s itinerary focused on IBILE -an acronym for all the divisions of Lagos as a geographical location, started on the 29th March, 2022 from Ndubuisi Kanu Park, a relatively popular recreational centre nestled within the State House of Assembly, in close proximity to the Governor’s Office within the capital of Lagos -Ikeja. From there, the entourage proceeded to the New Afrika Shrine – a renowned entertainment spot that needs not much introduction, named after the maverick afrobeat cynosure, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
Same day, the team visted the popular Oshodi Bus Terminal and Yoruba Museum Centre before proceeding to Lagos Island, another division of Lagos State or better still Eko-the original name among the locals.
The attractions visited on the Island were the newly renovated Glover Memorial Hall and the prestigious Freedom Park, formerly Her Royal Highness’ Prison where the founding fathers of Nigeria were incacerated during the colonial era which retains the old but projects more of the new looks that represent total freedom.
At Freedom Park, there were great numbers of activities lined up which made the tour intellectually viable. These included presentations from Mr. Eddie Lawani, an entertainment veteran who spoke on “Renforcing Lagos as the Entertainment Capital of Africa” as well as Mr.Theo Lawson the arrow head of Freedom Park project who focused on “The Positioning of Lagos as the Arts and Culture Centre of Africa”.
Later in the day, the team proceeded to the iconic Falomo Jetty,Ikoyi -a majestic edifice by the Lagoon at the highbrow neighbourhood of Lagos from where the team navigated its route by the Lagoon connecting the Ocean to another division of the state, this time, Badagry -a slave route town, laying around large bodies of waters bursting out into sea and docked at the Waterfront jetty for another fascinating experience of the town.
They visited Badagry Heritage Museum, the Slave Market Museum, the Agia tree, and later settled at the Lagos Theater for another round of constructive discussions bothering on advancing Lagos tourism where a famous Badagry tour guide ,Anago Osho gave a presentation on “Reinventing Lagos as the Prime Destination for the African Diaspora”.
The team returned back to Lagos Island and headed to the coveted Nike Arts Gallery in Lekki, another highbrow area of Lagos Island division where they had a great experience of what the gallery that has been attracting a lot of tourists had to offer.
They later proceeded to another division, Epe –a sprawling town very close to Lagos Island where the great people of the town, from the Mayor, Hon.Surah Animashaun, the Executive Chairman, Epe Local Government as well as her father the Ruler of the town, Oba Kamorudeen Animashaun, the Oloja of Epeland and his Chiefs received the entourage in his Palace.
Just like in the Palace, another round of discussions took place at he Lagos Theater where they got another first hand information about the various tourist attractions of the town notably the famous Epe Fish Market, Sungbo Eredo among others within the space.
The train moved from Epe for the last division of the itinerary, Ikorodu where they also met the Ruler of the town, Oba Kabiru Adewale Shotobi, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu who received them warmly and gave them the historical background of the town and also exposing them to the touristic attractions within the town that are known and those that need to be brought to limelight.
The famous Oshodi Arts Gallery has been receiving a lot of attention and there was a need to be visited by the entourage where they had a great experience in terms of artworks appreciation and and touristic immersion.
For certain, one thing that “Best of Lagos” fam tour achieved is the exposure of Lagos State manifest and latent tourism potential that are bound within the enchanting destination, awaiting domestic and foreign tourists to explore.
Lagos remains the major tourist hub in Nigeria. Arrivals and a first point of call when entering Nigeria is Lagos depending on which point of entry, but there is a strong believe among the locals that a visit to Nigeria without seeing Lagos needs to be repeated. Its like a pilgrimage to Mecca for Hajj without visiting Mount Arafat which renders the trip invalid.
“I want to appreciate everyone that has been on this journey, the main reason we embarked on these journeys was to enable you market Lagos as a choice destination for tourists”. Hon. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf
Other tourism personalities on Hon. Akinbile-Yusuf’s entourage included Hon. Oluwa Rabiu, Chairman House Committee on Tourism, Lagos State House of Assembly, Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Tourism, Arts & Culture Hon. Bonu Solomon Saanu, Amb. Ikechi Uko, Publisher ATQ Magazine, Hon. Apata Samson Olatunji Nunayon, Chairman ATPN, Lagos Chapter and host of other numerous tourism stakeholders.
PHOTO SPEAK: THE BEST OF LAGOS FAM TOUR