Date Published: 10/14/09
LAGOS: THE PREMIUM DESTINATION OF BUSINESS AND LEISURE By Jide Ayobolu
As the FIFA under 17 world cup kicks off in Lagos on October 24, 2009, the immense potentials of Lagos as the premium destination for business and leisure will again be on display. Undoubtedly the under 17 world cup will be taking place in seven different centres across Nigeria, but all eyes will be on Lagos, the commerce cum financial nerve-centre of not only Nigeria, but indeed West Africa. Lagos is blessed with massive and active population of over 18 billion people. Hence, the under 17 world cup is not just a sporting fiesta, but an all-round, once-in-a-life-time funfare that should be celebrated amidst pomp and pageantry, it is for this reason that the Lagos state government has gone brass task of mobilizing all resources at its disposal to make the global soccer event a memorable one.
At this juncture, it is imperative to underscore the fact that, Lagos state, the centre of excellence is a premium destination of business and investment, with 29 industrial estates and four Central Business Districts (CBD), it has the largest market in sub-Saharan Africa, as a result of its huge population. Lagos is home of the Nigerian capital and money market (financial hub), West Africa oil and gas pipeline project and National Power/Energy and load centre. Significantly, Lagos is also home of Nigeria’s chief ports, Apapa/Tin Can Island (70% of total National Cargo Freight), it is the media hub and international telecommunication gangway, over 50% of Nigeria’s PTO/GSM subscribers reside in Lagos. Similiarly, Lagos is the location of Nigeria’s busiest international aviational hub, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, with over 70.61% of international and 58.30% of domestic traffic.
In a related development, Lagos is home to 70% of the country’s total industrial investment and 65% of its commercial activities. Hence, Lagos has huge business potentials that foreign and indigenous investors can tap into, as the under 17 world cup would avail them of a unique opportunity of not only enjoying the game, as Lagos own the game, because of endless actions and limitless opportunities, but create an avenue for investing in the ever-increasing economic growth and development in Lagos. This is coupled with the fact that potential investors can key in, into the various infrastructural development that is presently going on in Lagos in a massive scale, this ranges from housing to road construction, water ways development, rural agriculture development, light rail services, building and clearing of drainages, provision of street lights, refuse disposal, recycling plants, beautification of Lagos, fish farming and animal husbandry, building of hotels, cinemas, galleria, shopping malls, casino, film village and development of tourism sites, beaches and historical monuments. This is in addition to the development of Free Trade and Export Process zone, water supply and development, power generation and supply (IPP), business parks, solid minerals, refineries and petro-chemical plants as well as heliport/airport development and many more areas where investors can latch on to and make meaningful impact.
It is germane to point out very vividly that Lagos state is the economic, financial and commercial epi-centre of Nigeria and ECOWAS, contributing 31.98% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2004. On Gross State Products, Lagos state along with Rivers and Delta states contribute 37% of Nigeria’s GDP with Lagos state contributing 12% to place second. However, Lagos state is the nation’s lead contributor in the non-oil sector with 19% attainment, which is equal to the contribution of 13 Nigerian states (economic associates 2005). Overall, Lagos alone accounts for over 70% of national industrial investments with the state GDP put at N2.156 trillion in 2008. Regionally, Lagos Gross National Product (GNP) is three times that of any West African country thus making Lagos state ECOWAS economic hub and springboard for innovation and development in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. These are good indices that should be the needed fillip to encourage investors to invest the Lagos business environment.
In the area of tourism the potentials the potentials are very legion, with its costal lines stretching along the Guinea coast of the Bight of Benin on the Atlantic Ocean, which makes it home to many exotic beaches which are good for fun, parties, relaxation and meditation. Lagos state is blessed with about 180 kilometers of coast line; majority of it can be described as beaches. The following are the most patronized by tourist
- Victoria Beaches (Barbeach) The Bar beach lies parallel to the Ahmadu Bello Way Victoria Island. It is the first recognized holiday Beach in Nigeria. It is the most popular to both foreign and domestic tourists
- Lekki Beach- situated at Maiyegun village. It is presently one of the busiest of the beaches attracting over five million tourists yearly. It is noted for its musical jamborees. It has good access road, car parks, and facilities such as beach huts, seats umbrellas are provided. There is also a big podium for open air performance
- Eleko beach: it is situated at Ibeju Lekki , it is about 65 kilometers from Lagos Marako-Epe Express Road. It is the most sought after by expatriates and rich Nigerians because of its cleanliness and privacy
- Badagry beach is a continuation of the beaches from the Republic of Benin. It runs parallel to the Lagos-Seme Road. The beach is operated by different groups, some of the recognized beaches are Ocean-views, Atlantic beach, Odidi beach, Sapo beach and Aivoji beach
- Alpha Beach- leisure seekers can relax to enjoy premium facilities and services, including quad bikes, beach volley/soccer, pool karaoke, premiership matches, small chops and chilled drinks
- La Campaigne Tropicana Beach is located in the Lekki axis with very cosy environment, unique facilities, comfortable and African rooms, bars, restaurant and club
- Takwa Bay is located on Victoria Island, is owned by the Nigeria Ports Authority. The only access to the beach is through the lagoon. The following organizations provides water transportation tours
- Paradise Holiday Inn, Eleke Crescent, Victoria Island
- Tarzan Boat Transportation, Maroko Foreshore
- Fiki Bal Enterprises, Ozumba Mbadiwe Road, Victoria Island
- Mc Ewen Jetty, Victoria Island
- Lagos Motor Boat Club, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi
Apart from this, there are different places other places in Lagos where visitor to the under 17 world cup can always catch their fun, these places are scattered all overall Lagos, examples of such are,
PLACES TO STAY: Eko Hotel and Suites, Federal Palace Hotel, B-Jay Hotel, Sheraton Hotel and Tower, Protea Hotel, PR Oakland Park, Southern Sun Hotel, The Palmview Manor, Sofitel Lagos Moorhouse, Lagos Airport Hotel, The Lekki, The Dover, Bay Dorchester, Akodo Beach Resort, Excellence Hotel and Conference Centre, Kuramo Lodge, La Campaigne Beach Resort etc.
DINING OUT: Feminar Café, Tastee Fried Chicken, Tantalizers, Mr. Biggs, Sweet Sensation, Munchies, Chicken Republic, Mama Cass Restaurant, Oceanview Restaurant, Atlantic Bar and Restaurant, After Hours, Al-Basha Restaurant, Flamingo Multi-Complex Restaurant, Robert Café, Tetrazzinni, Golden Gate Restaurant, Lagoon Restaurant, Calabash Kitchen, Mandarin, Vintage etc.
SHOPPING OUT: Every Woman, Just Jeans, Collectibles, Cash and Carry, Park and Shop, City Mall, Shoprite, Rocky Plaza, Pentagon Plaza, Adebola House, First Capital Plaza, Gift World, The Ankara Place, Mega Plaza, Murphy’s Plaza, Monan Shoes, Computer Village, Balogun Market, Alaba International Market, Glendora, Falomo Shopping Centre, Tejuosho Market, Alade Market, Oyingbo Market, Oke Arin Market, Sabo Market, Oshodi Market, Sand grouse (Sandgross) Market etc.
ENTERTAINMENT AND LEISURE SPOTS: Coliseum Nite Shift, Y-Not, 11.45, White House, Water Parks, New Afrika Shrine, Palm Beach Spot, Silverbird Gallerria, Planet One, National Theatre, The Civil Centre, Muson Centre, Didi Museum, La Campaigne Tropicana, Terra Kulture, Jazzhole, Mydrim Gallery, Ovuaroro Gallery, Treasure House Gallery, Pendulum, Quintessence, Signature, Nimbus Arts Centre, Ellays, Motherland, Atlantic Bar, The Club, Pat, Pino, Alfredo’s, Lagos Polo Club, Ikoyi Club, Lagos Island Club, Yoruba Tennis Club, Lagos Golf and Motorboat Clubs, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos Country Club, French Cultural Centre, Goethe Institute, British Council, United States Information Service etc. It is apropos to note that, apart from Lagos being a premium destination for leisure; it is also an area that offers large opportunities for investment.
At this point in time of our national history and development we must not lose sight of the fact that sport has transformed from within the last decade from the traditional spectator-subsidies-sponsors-local (SSSL) model to a global media-corporations-merchandising-market (MCCM) model. The new model has resulted in new and profound forms of vertical integration in the industry and also created profitable and sustainable synergies between businesses and sports organizations across the world. The market of sports goods has expanded under this new model. And, this is exactly the point the Lagos state government is trying to make, that we can not just host just because others are hosting, but we must host to expand the frontiers of business, investment and leisure. It will mean channeling resources to development and re-development of Lagos state sports facilities, change in the Lagos state infrastructural and aesthetic outlook, the burden of unemployment and poverty will be effectively reduced and diversification of revenue sources makes for rapid growth.
The Lagos state government is the only government that has made elaborate arrangements to effectively and efficiently host the under 17 world cup without hiccups and it is determined to host and make huge economic gains in the process. This is geared towards the overall socio-economic development of the lots of Lagosians, and reduces the development of underdevelopment to the barest minimum using the international best practices.
Jide Ayobolu resides in Lagos.