Date Published: 04/01/10
Tourism Ministry Press Conference
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS IN CULTURAL TOURISM- TEXT OF A WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE LAGOS BLACK HERITAGE FESTIVAL ADDRESSED BY THE HONOURABLE COMMISSIONER FOR TOURISM AND INTER-GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS, SENATOR TOKUNBO AFIKUYOMI ON 31ST OF MARCH, 2010, AT THE PRESS CENTRE, LAGOS STATE SECRETARIAT, ALAUSA, IKEJA.
The Black Heritage Festival which will take place in Lagos between the 3rd and 9th of April 2010 is going to be an extra-ordinary cultural festival and performances which is rarely seen in this part of the world. It would be recalled that two other editions have been staged previously during the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, then it was called The Black Heritage Festival but now re-christened Lagos Black Cultural Heritage, with a unique logo.
The essence of this change is to emphasise the cultural importance and tourism potentials of Lagos State. Lagos is the melting pot of several cultures - European, American, Latin American, Asian, Middle Easterner and African. Even the indigenous Lagosian is a product of many other Nigerian cultures- Yoruba, Hausa, Kanuri, Igbo, Fulani etc. Lagosians have a relish for music, dances, carnivals, festivals, religious ceremonies and social events.
A lot of efforts have gone into the preparation of this festival, there is the inter-ministrial committee that have met severally to fine-tune strategies to make the cultural event a very successful one. Also, there is the taskforce headed by Professor Wole Soyinka and taskforce consist of several other seasoned practitioners, professionals and highly respected academics that have worked day and night, through think and thin to make sure that, against all odds the cultural festival becomes the cynosure of all eyes and memorable event that will be the talk of the town for a very very long time to come. In addition to this is the tourism ministry committee that has worked round the clock and ceaselessly to put in place the necessary platform and facilities for the festival to succeed.
Apart from all of this, security in the state has been stepped up to ensure that peace, order and mutual harmony is maintained in the state throughout the period of the festival. Also, the environment is witnessing an accelerated transformation in the areasof drainages, roads and waste disposal.
LASTMA has also been mobilized to ensure that traffic hold up is reduced to the barest minimum, health officials and other essential duty workers will be on hand to attend to any emergency in the unlikely event that any occurs, hotels across the state are very ready to receive these August visitors, designated taxi cabs and tourist guides have been trained to politely receive their guests.
In this regard, a good number of exciting events have been mapped out to thrill all and sundry, some of these carefully planned programme of events include, filila procession, boat regatta, cultural performances, contemporary dance performances, Lagos carnival, children’s black heritage village, artist performances, film shows, African traditional games, stage plays and performances, heritage exhibition, fashion and style shows, Lagos food fair, reading and performances, painting competition, festival concerts and others.
Therefore, the festival will help immensely to showcase the diverse cultures of Lagos. Lagos, abounds in tourism resources, a combination of geographical, historical and cultural factors make Lagos, a haven for tourism. There are wonderful beaches all around Lagos, there are historical, cultural and religious monuments, we have unique hotels, exotic bars, assorted eateries and restaurants, interesting night clubs, different shopping malls, so that even after the festival, our numerous guest can still stay back and enjoy the hospitality of Lagos or even come back to Lagos to have joy-filled funfare. I know that all our visitors from all over the world would have good stories to tell about Lagos. This years festival would record unprecedented success and people would continue to talk about it, long after the festival must have come and gone.
It is also imperative to underscore the fact that fashion and dressing modes among the people of Lagos State reinforce the fact that the state is a cultural crucible. The trends by virtue of the cosmopolitan nature of the state are eclectic. Again, the dietary habits of the people of Lagos State are largely determined by the state’s peculiar topography (wetland environment) and its exposure to Afro-American, European, Brazilian (Aguda) and Sierra-Leonen (Saro) inflences.
At this juncture, it is instructive for me to thank partners and sponsors including Air-France, Coscharis, IBTC Stanbic Bank, Glo and many others, who in one way or the other, their support is helping us to host a wonderful cultural festival. I would also like to thank the members of the Nigerian Police, Marine Police, Rapid Response Squad (RRS). Nigerian Army, Nigeria Airforce, Nigeria Navy, LASTMA, LAWMA, LAGBUS, LASAA, Fire Service, Nigerian Civil Defence, University of Lagos, Adminiistrative Staff College, French Village, Terra Kulture, Gloval Memoriam Hall, National Theatre, Civic Centre, Muson Centre, Tafawa Balewa Square, LTV/Radio Lagos, TVC/Radio Continental, Lagoon Restaurant, all emergency workers, on essential duties, cultural troupes from different States of the Federation and elsewhere, Artistes, Models and Musician from Europe, South Africa, United State of America and Carribean, as well as others too numerous to mention.
No doubt, Lagos is home away from home, and home to all. The people are loving, caring, friendly and accommodating. I invite you all to participate in this cultural festival and make it a memorable one.
God bless you.