It was such an exciting moment and a great day and time, the 30th July, 2022, will remain indelible in the minds of the people of Benin Republic, when the country witnessed a rare phenomenon, an unprecedented move in recent time, in the history of enchanting destination Benin.
It was the unveiling of three monuments by His Excellency, Patrice Talon, President of the Republic, in Cotonou, the nation’s economic capital.
The three monuments were; the statue of Bio Guera – a warrior of the ancient time, who fought in the liberation struggle for the country; the statue of the Amazon, a female warrior ; the Heroes’ cenotaph which also symbolized emancipation.
All these were unveilled by President Talon in a very brief ceremony, but of an international standard, an action that indicated a very strong business mindset of a president that does not talk much, but act more.
In attendance were a very few individuals which included ; Hon. Jean Michel Abimbola, Minister of Tourism, Benin Republic ; Amb. Dine Bouraima, ATB representative in Benin Republic and President of Consortium Touristes Par Millions Au Benin (CTM-B) whose organization has been playing a pivotal role in the development of tourism in the country among other prominent individuals from within and outside the country.
Amb. Bouraima in an interview believed that President Talon’s administration has lived up to expectations and he deserved the support of the nation in order to continue the good work :
“For us, the people of Benin Republic and also in our organization, we have a strong believe that the administration of President Patrice Talon has a lot of positive things to offer this great nation, and the unveiling of this historical and touristic monuments today is an example of those good things l’m talking about, and this is just the beginning.
“This action, no doubt has solidified our trust in him that he will continue to deliver democratic gains to the great people of this nation.
“We are witnessing this in the tourism sector, and as a major stakeholder in the tourism business in Benin, I’m so glad that our cities are being transformed and it’s important that we as citizens support the current administration in oder to receive more dividends of his administration”.
62nd Independence Anniversary
In the similar vein, on the 1st of August, in the way it has always been, the independence anniversary of the country kicked off with a wreath laying ceremony as usual but this time the honours were paid to the Benin heroes, rather than the colonisers at the Monument of the Dead, where the new cenotaph dedicated to Benin Heroes has been built.
The independence ceremony which was held at the Amazon ground, over looking the Palace De Congress, Cotonou, started on time in the presence of President Talon where the usual match pass were conducted and witnessed by numerous dignitaries from and beyond the country.
It was a great moment in the country and one of the highlights of the event was the display of bravery by the modern day Amazons. The young girls were on the terrain dressed in a combatant African attires and armed with toy guns just like what the statue projects.
Their display attracted a very huge rounds of applauds from the crowd including the President Talon, who couldn’t hold back tears of joy watching their sterling display .
“The significant of this is to inspire us the upcoming generations to learn about the past and project into the future with all sense of bravery which every human being requires to survive in life”, Ashley, a Beninese said to me.
At the independence ceremony were various dignitaries from the country, the top government functionaries, members of the diplomatic corps, the traditional rulers and other private citizens.
Independence Day Eve Concert
As expected, a night that preceded the independence day, Benineses converged on Fidjrose Beach to enjoy some great music from wonderful artists both new and old which has become parts of the rites to usher in the independence day in a grand style, entertainment wise.
Some of the musicians at the concert were, Sagbohan, Nel Oliver, Sesame, Ijo, to mention but a few.
The free concert was well attended by the general public and they used the space to send their own form of appreciation to a leadership that understands the importance of tourism, Entertainment and recreation .
The 26 Artefacts
You will recall that President Talon also actualised the restitution of 26 stolen artefacts from the country more than one hundred and thirty years ago by France which are currently on the second phase of their display to the public, this time for the diasporans at the Presidential Palace, Cotonou.
The first phase attracted a greater number of the citizens and it is expected that the second phase would surpass the previous in terms of visitation.
Benin Republic has openly met one of the tourism viable countries’ criteria by allowing visa on arrival, which has helped to increase the country’s GDP where tourism contributes into the economy in terms of forex from the tourists arrivals, according to the UNWTO’s report.
It is however expected that the beautification and aggressive attraction being implemented by the country would make Benin Republic a best choice in the tourism path, and also making making Cotonou a new, alluring and captivating city where a world class art gallery is currently being built by President Talon.
Also a Museum is under construction in Ouidah that will house the 26 artefacts, temporary, before moving to their final destination in Abomey where another museum will be built, thereby making these cultural towns another African tourism Jewel in the making and a must to behold by all.
The African Tourism Board, a not for profit organization that prides itself as the leading tourism organization based in the Kingdom of Eswatini also felicitates with President Talon, the government, the good people of Benin and Amb. Dine Bouraima.