Princess Pat Akpabio
Greetings distinguished ladies and gentlemen
We all know that the government has been talking about reducing our dependency on oil and increase production in other aspect of our economy like tourism, mining, agriculture, aviation, entertainment and the list of our economic potential is inexhaustible. Today we are focusing on maximizing tourism potential in our dear country, Nigeria
What is tourism? Tourism as defined by Websters dictionary is “the commercial organization and operation of vacations and visits to places of interest:”
Nigeria is blessed with plenty tourist attractions. In the course of our discussion I’ll use a few as an example but let me start by the problem we have in our county then we will get to the solution and the role beauty queens and Kings should play.
Our fundamental problem is religion: we were doing just fine before the white man’ religion arrived our land and by that I mean euro-Christianity which came with the good and the bad
What you see in other parts of the world when you go for tourism for those of us that are privileged to do so are historical sites and historical events that has a spiritual connotation to the specific area of visit. When you are on a tourist Tavel aka vacation the tour guide will give you the history of their people and how the whole place came to be and what it has done for their people but when we accepted the white man’s religion we accepted their own style of history and gradually left our heritage.
Most religion will tell you that new Yam festival and fishing festival and other festivals are demonic. the question is why do the white celebrate their festivals till today and they told us and have made us to believe that ours is demonic. Or are we the ones that told ourselves that our cultural festivals are demonic?
Something to think about. I’m not trying to preach to y’all just being real right now. Places like benue, northern cross river and other farming community are still celebrating their festivals and crops are still crowing. We buy and eat but those from the riverine area stopped celebrating the aquatic festivals and we are seeing a steady increase in cost of buying crawfish and the rest. Just thought I let you in on that.
When you celebrate God he will continue to bless you because you are being thankful for what he has given to you that’s simple why we have festivals.
So religion has robbed us from harnessing our tourism potentials by telling us that carnival is satanic but the same people will travel To Brazil or the Caribbean’s for the yearly festivals. Hypocrites, they are just every where.
Festivals make a location popular, for instance northern cross river are known for the cultural display during new yam festivals and it attracts visitors in and out of the country yearly. They don’t bring religion to the whole festivity. Keep your religion at home and come celebrate God’ gift to mankind
We are talking about Maximizing tourism potential in Nigeria, in order for us to do that do us a favor by giving religion a beautiful place away from the festivals, the cultural displays, our rich cultural heritage that attracts tourism. Do you know our traditional marriage is a tourism attraction?
The western culture wear a white wedding dress and that is it and here we have our traditional marriage which is the main marriage not the white wedding which is a borrowed culture and if the man can’t afford a wedding dressing and a white wedding some women will feel they aren’t married who told you that? Child you have your priorities misplaced. Our main marriage is traditional not white wedding.
We are the children of the eastern culture practicing the western culture that is why we have problem in our administration, you want to establish an attractive tourism in Nigeria start practicing the Eastern culture which is the African culture our heritage and leave the borrowed culture of the west alone.
Let me tell you something, the same igbos, Yoruba’s, Hausas, efiks, Ibibio’s, Annang in nigeria will day our traditional dances, masquerades, aquatic displays are demonic, but it is our same people in the diasporas that will pay money to the various tribal conventions to watches the same traditional and cultural displays. Wake up to the dry ash realists that we are slowly losing our heritage and inheriting a culture that has never been ours and will never be understood by us
Our nation should not be depending on oil but rather invest in our tourism potential like developing and maintaining obudu cattle ranch, abogkim water falls, ibeno beach etc.
How to make this a reality
- To fix the religious problem be more spiritual than religious that’s why God said know no man after the flesh but by the spirit in him. Religion is you judging the Sect a person belongs to and drawing a conclusion on a person because some religion see festival and carnivals as being satanic and some don’t. over time this has crippled our tourism potential in nigeria. But if you are spirits filled you will know that you can attend a festival and go home nothing will happen to you but you will gain knowledge learning your history, you will be entertained and lastly, it brings income to the host and the host community.
- Stage pageants at the tourism site like abokim water falls and make the walks way on the street close to the water falls. Stage a pageant at Ibeno beach, stage a pageant in the game forest we have in Nigeria take people there by staging your pageant at the tourism site. It will also move government to create conducive environment for people to visit this locations. Make the move and watch government follow you. You are the leaders of tomorrow.
Take religion out of tourism and watch it grow. Religion is the undertone that people really don’t talk about but it is the big problem here in nigeria why tourism has been suppressed.
I am Princess Pat Akpabio