As the world gets set to mark the 2020 edition of World Tourism Day on September 27, a group of culture enthusiasts, African Culture Advocates (ACA), has called on the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to help preserve the few festival sites in the state, which are gradually being developed as standard tourists’ attractions.
This came to the fore following the recent demolition on the Ibeju-Lekki axis of the state, which unfortunately affected the Ekoonibaje Festival Ground near Eleko Junction, Lagos.
According to the chairman of the group, Tunde Ajala, this is necessary now that Nigeria, earnestly desires to diversify her sources of income. He said: “Our amiable Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is known for having listening ears must rescue one of the tourists’ sites, the Ekoonibaje Festival Ground, which has been reduced to rubbles due to a demolition exercise recently. We, members of African Culture Advocates, appeal that the space is ratified and allocated for the purpose it has been known for in the past 12 years. This is important as Nigeria pursues her economic diversification plans, using tourism. Our group believes God made Africa unique with her various cultures and there lies Africa’s economic emancipation.”
Meanwhile, all is set for the 12th Eko Oni Baje New Yam & Beach Festival slated to hold at the Festival Ground at Ibeju-Lekki between September 25 and September 27.
The 3-day fiesta has various programmes on parade this year: Children’s Cultural Fiesta and Arts Exhibition (September 25); Beach Soccer/Gala Night (September 26) and Traditional Wrestling Competition and Grand Finale for World Tourism Day Activities (September 27).
According to Chiedu Idezuna, the proprietor of Castledown Art Centre, the organisers of the event, the 2020 edition, promises to be more exciting than the previous editions in spite of the odds posed by the corona virus pandemic as well as the demolition of the festival ground by Lagos State government. “This festival has metamorphosed into a cultural melting pot of all tribal nationalities living in Lagos. Unfortunately, we will be celebrating the 2020 edition on rubbles as a result of the harsh teeth of the bulldozers. We appeal that the Lagos State government should approve this acquired arena for us to continue hosting our cultural event. We are willing to pay the fees for its ratification by the government”, he said.