AFRICAN HERITAGE TOURISM:BADAGRY AS CASE STUDY
8/18/2012 10:16:51 AM -
AFRICAN HERITAGE TOURISM, A PROSPECT FOR WEALTH CREATION IN ANCIENT/HISTORICAL COMMUNITIES OF NIGERIA: BADAGRY COMMUNITY AS CASE STUDY ,being a paper presented by Yahaya Ezeemoo Ndu [Chairman and C.E.O. of the Renaissance Multi-Links[Nig]Ltd]at the Badagry Fesival on the 17th August,2012.
Permit me to start this paper by calling on Black Africans from all over the world to commend the African Renaissance Foundation[AREFO] for its most important and timely initiative to lead the campaign for prayers and expression of remorse on behalf of our forefathers for the atrocities they committed in partnership with western and other nations of the world that perpetrated the monstrous and satanic trade in human beings known as slave trade.
Not only should the African Renaissance Foundation[AREFO] be commended but Africans of all religious persuasions, especially traditional religionists, Christians and Muslims should begin serious sessions of prayers and demonstrations of remorse for these three religions played most prominent parts in the propagation of slave trade and in all atrocities attending it. Traditional religionists, Christians and Muslims should embark on fasting and prayers in their shrines, churches and mosques as well as in their various homes for atonement. While the Christians championed the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the Muslims championed the trans-Saharan trade and both were supplied the Black African slaves by traditional religionists. West Africa more than any other parts of Africa contributed the slaves. No wonder then that west Africa is the most poverty stricken and backward region in the whole contemporary world.--------
According to the United Nations: Slavery and the slave trade are among the worst violations of human rights in the history of humanity. The trans Atlantic slave trade was unique within the entire history of slavery due to its duration[four hundred years].Its scale-approximately 17 million people excluding those who died during transport. And the legitimization accorded to it including under Laws of the time.
The transatlantic slave trade constituted the biggest deportation in history and is often referred to as the first example of globalization. Lasting from the 16th century to the 19th century. It involved several regions and continents: Africa, North and South America, Europe and the Caribbean and resulted in the sale and exploitation of millions of Africans by Europeans.
On the other hand, the Christian Action Magazine tells us:
While much has been written concerning the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, surprisingly little attention has been given to the Islamic slave trade across the Sahara, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. While the European involvement in the slave trade lasted for just over three centuries, the Arab involvement in the slave trade has lasted fourteen centuries, and in some parts of the Muslim world is still continuing to this day.
A comparison of the Islamic slave trade to the American slave trade reveals some interesting contrasts. While two out of every three slaves shipped across the Atlantic were men, the proportion were reversed in the Islamic slave trade-two women for every man were enslaved by the Muslims.
While the mortality rate for slaves being transported across the Atlantic was as high as 10%, the percentage of slaves dying in transit in the Trans Sahara and East African slave trade was between 80 and 90%.
While almost all the slaves shipped across the Atlantic were for agricultural work, most of the slaves destined for the Muslim Middle East were for sexual exploitation as concubines, in harems and for military service.
While many children were born to slaves in the Americas, and millions of their descendants are citizens in Brazil and the USA to this day, very few descendants of the slaves that ended up in the Middle East survive.
While most slaves who went to the Americas could marry and have families, most of the male slaves destined for the Middle East ware castrated, and most of the children born to the women were killed at birth.
It is estimated that possibly as many as 11 million Africans were transported across the Atlantic[95% of which went to South and Central America, mainly to Portuguese, Spanish and French possessions. Only 5% of the slaves went to the United States.]
However, at least 28 million Africans were enslaved in the Muslim Middle East. As at least 80% of those captured by Muslim slave traders were calculated to have died before reaching the slave markets, it is believed that the death toll from the 14 centuries of Muslim slave raids into Africa could have been over 129 million. When added to the number of African victims of the Trans-Sahara and East African slave trade could be significantly higher than 140 million people.
But as we do this, we must ask ourselves what indeed is slave trade and has slave trade really stopped?. Or did it merely change form?. Are Black Africans still not subjected to slave trade, even today? Trafficking aside, are most Black Africans not currently transformed into slaves in their own countries and motherland in the name of capitalism, globalization and privatization?
I cannot quite remember when I first started hearing of Badagry, but I am sure it was very early in my life. But I recall that I stayed a little at Ojo town close to Badagry around 1984 and that I attended and participated in the first Nigerian International Tourism Expo that held at the Trade Fair Complex, at Badagry expressway in 1987.
In 2004 on my way to Ghana, I had passed Badagry and was surprised to discover that I had not noticed any particular land mark pointing it out.
However, it was in 2010 that I set foot physically at Badagry during the Badagry Folk Festival at the invitation of the African Renaissance Foundation [AREFO] to make a presentation as of now.
Looking at Badagry today, it is difficult to believe that it was founded as far back as 1425 and that in 1600s this ancient city was already thriving so to say in trade of salt and saltpetre; that it was a full fledged town in 1740.
History tells us that it was in this same Badagry that the British Flag[the Union Jack] was first hoisted in Nigeria and that was in 1842;that the first Western Elementary school in Nigeria was started a year later  here by the Church Missionary Society[CMS].In fact, as far as western influence in Nigeria is concerned ,Badagry had recorded many firsts ,included being the first place that Christianity was first preached in Nigeria.
The multi-dollar question is then why is Badagry with such firsts one of the least developed cities in modern Nigeria today and why is it today less then a shadow of itself?
After the Badagry Folk Festival of 2010,efforts were made to get the governments of Nigeria at federal, state as well as the relevant local government levels to support an initiative to up grade the Badagry folk festival to the status of an African Folk Festival, such that in place of having participants primarily from the communities of Badagry, participants would come from all the nations of Black Africa including its Diaspora.
But suffice it to say that none of these governments of and in Nigeria demonstrated any interest whatsoever in the project. In fact, not even the African Union, under its former leader His Excellency Jean Ping.
Some of the programs that were planned for the proposed African Folk Festival were:-
*Colloquium on African/Black contribution to human civilization.
*Conference of African/Black traditional and religious rulers and leaders.
*Masquerade parade-parade of masquerades from allover Africa and the Black world.
*African traditional medicine fair.
*African indigenous technology fair.
*African Fashion fair.
Fashion fair of traditional as well as modern regalia of all African and Black nations, nationalities and ethnic groups.
*Boat and canoe regattas.
*Arts exhibitions of African universities. Polytechnics and colleges of education as well as other tertiary institutions.
*Exhibition of portraits of African and Black heroes, heroines and civilizations including architectures.
We often forget that a peoples heritage includes all elements of their historical realizations and cultural essences. It goes beyond dances and modes of dressing and includes medicine, technology, religion, forms of governments, e.t.c..
*LIVING IN BADAGRY.
I relocated from Abuja in February this year to Badagry to better reposition myself in my quest to establish a global center for African Cultural Renaissance to start the much needed correcting process to return black Africans and the African Diaspora to the true path of our ancestors and the following has been my observation on Badagry.
*Condition of Roads.
*Total absence of taxis.
*hazards of motor cycle transportation.
*Electricity worse than epileptic.
-Nigeria's worse case scenario.
*Road to mile 2.
*Dirt, filth everywhere!
*Marina-open defecation galore.
*Tourism facilities-overgrown with weeds! Extreme disrepair!
--Honor Mr. Akala of the First storey building for exemplary performance.
*Almost total absence of good restaurants.
*No vegetarian restaurants.
*Lack of portable water.
*Moral decadence.need for moral rearmament.
*Lack of friendliness to visitors.
According to WIKIPEDIA[the free encyclopedia],Cultural heritage tourism [or just heritage tourism or Diaspora tourism] is a branch of tourism oriented towards the cultural heritage of the location where tourism is occurring. The National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States defines heritage tourism as travelling to experience the place and activities that authentically represent the stories and peoples of the past and Cultural heritage tourism is defined as travelling to experience the places and activities that authentically represent the stories and peoples of the past and present.
AFRICA HERITAGE TOURISM
We learn from the Institute for dark Tourism Research-Slavery heritage tourism dates at least from the period immediately following the American Civil war, when tourists from the Northern Unionist states came to visit the plantations in the Southern confederacy states where slaves had been used as labor until the end of the war. However, there is no continuity between this and today's slavery-heritage tourism, a recent phenomenon.
The phenomenon can be categorized In a number of ways. Arguably the most noticeable is on geographic grounds. The major slave trade followed a triangular route: Western Africa [ where European traders bought slaves and sold or bartered European manufactured goods, then via the notorious middle passage to the shores and islands of the Caribbean [where slaves were sold and raw materials, notably cotton, bought] and finally back to Europe, where the American cotton was sold to textile manufacturers.
In modern terms, the earliest of these three locations to see slavery-heritage tourism was in the Southern United States. This has generally taken the form of visitation to former slave plantations, although a number of variants have emerged.
In Western Africa a number of sites are open to the public and they consist of the coastal forts where trading actually took place and where slaves were imprisoned before being shipped across the Atlantic. They are comparatively few in number and attract few visitors.
Slave heritage tourism, also known as roots tourism involves visitation of sites that were formerly instrumental in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and/or evoke strong memories about slavery. As the slave trade itself was an enterprise that spanned Africa, the Americas and Europe, so too is the contemporary tourist industry associated with the slave trade and slavery. UNESCO's Slave Route Project has been instrumental in the research and development of linking together trans-continental sites associated with slave trade.
On the African continent, guided tours typically focus on the perspectives of slaves and the tragedies they were made to endure, and scarcely mention the European merchants, missionaries, African Chiefs, and middlemen who also featured in this history.. These tours necessarily emphasize memory over history[Nora 1989] and encourage visitors to imagine for themselves the cries, moans, and horror captives faced on a daily basis in dark and dank dungeons. Some of the most famous of these destinations are Cape Coast castle and Elmina castle in Ghana, and Goree Islands in Senegal. The village of Jufree in the Gambia, popularized by Alex Haley's Roots, is an additional site through which visitors' memories of the slave trade and fond imaginings of re-uniting with African kin are envisioned.
In 2010 at the Badagry festival, I had also advocated in the paper I presented entitled CULTURAL RENAISSASNCE, A PRIORITY CHALLENGE FOR AFRICA IN THE 21ST CENTURY, amongst other things the setting up of a major film industry possibly here in Badagry for the production of cultural, historical and traditional African films . Films from the African point of view that will tell our stories to the world. At that event, I advocated for the production of films on great African historical personalities such as King Jaja of Opobo and Shaka Zulu,films that tell our children and the world about the Egyptian empire of 1570-1070BC, of the Kushite empire of 760-650BC, of the Carthaginian empire, the Aksumite empire, Kanen empire, Ghana empire and so on.
At that time, I had absolutely no idea whatsoever that the Lagos state government was planning to establish a film village not to talk of the site of the said film village being already surveyed here in Badagry.
However, the truth is that a large parcel of land has been mapped out here in Badagry for the setting up of a major film village by the Lagos state government. My advice and recommendation is that the proposed film village be constructed and established to specifically celebrate Africa's pre-colonial heritage. The way Nigerian and other parts of Africa were before the advent of the Europeans. The film village should feature the elements of Africa's enlightened culture and the way Africa was before the contamination by foreign influences. This film village should also double as an African heritage/cultural theme park tourist resort.
A PROSPECT FOR WEALTH CREATION IN ANCIENT/HISTORICAL COMMUNITIES OF NIGERIA.
TOURISM AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
Tourism provides significant revenue to many countries worldwide, including a number of African nations. Many have argued that robust economic development is a key to Africa's future, and that strong, growing economies help stabilize democracies, promote peace and improve social and health sectors.
International tourism receipts in Africa totaled 44billion U.S.dollars according to Reuben Brigety, deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs of the United states government. This signifies that the tourism sector can become a powerful platform for Africa's economic growth.
However, a country's success as a tourist destination depends to a large extent on ease of access and the tourism sector cannot fully develop without enhanced health services and personal safety in tourist areas.
The International Tourism Partnership recently held an event entitled Tourism and Local Economic Development. This event was chaired by Dr. Harold Goodwin of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism, University of Greenwich, and Chair of the Academic Advisory Panel of the International Tourism Partnership and sponsored by Scott Wilson to examine tourism and local economic development.
The seminar raised a variety of challenges that face the tourism sector. How these challenges are met will certainly influence the sector in the long term, and it is clear that positive initiatives by the industry will enable local and regional economic development, including that which has a poverty alleviation agenda, to take place in parallel with the needs of a viable economic business. In fact, it was argued by some that these two components of tourism should not be separated.
The UN Millennium Development Goals include specific commitments to reduce by one-half the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2015. Poverty is a multi-faceted concept which embraces not only insufficient levels of income but a lack of access to essential services such as education, water and sanitation, health care and housing.
At the same time, the World Tourism Organization estimates that tourism accounts for up to 10% of global gross domestic product, making it the world's biggest industry. The potential for tourism to contribute significantly to poverty alleviation is considerable and work by experts has demonstrated that tourism can contribute to poverty reduction and that for many of the least developed countries, and in many rural areas, tourism is one of the few current viable strategies for economic development.
After the seminar the following was concluded:
*There was general agreement about the importance of facilitating local community access to the tourism market[ comprising tourists and the tourism industry locally] in order to maximize linkages and minimize leakages.
*Support for strategies which assist the development of local capacity to realize these opportunities.
*Developers and financiers, hoteliers and tour operators can all act to create those opportunities to assist local communities to benefit from them.
*The importance of measuring and demonstrating impacts on local economic development and the reduction of poverty was emphasized ,it is time to move beyond statements of general principles and to measure and report the impacts of initiatives in specific terms.
*It is time to move from pilot projects and experiments to programmers of action.
*Scalability is the current challenge. How do we take what we know about how to enhance the impact of tourism on local economic development and the reduction of poverty and implement it at the destination to make real change?
TOURISM AND WEALTH CREATION/DEVELOPMENT
*Which are the major ancient/historical communities in Nigeria?
BADAGRY COMMUNITY AS CASE STUDY
According to a paper entitled Sustainable Tourism: A local Authority Perspective, prepared by the INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES[ICLEI] of the United Nations' Department of Economic and Social Affairs:
A primary challenge of local governance, both today and in decades ahead, is to steer increasingly external, global forces on local development so that development achieves the shared vision of the local population. In cities, towns and villages throughout the world, the primary responsibility for this steering process rests with the institution of local government and its diverse local authorities.
As providers of social services, builders of economic infrastructure, regulators of economic activity, and managers of the natural environment, local authorities have many direct instruments at their disposal to influence development. Yet in addition to their direct roles in the development process, perhaps the most important role that local authorities can play in a global economy is that of facilitator among the diverse interests seeking to influence the direction of local development. Only with such a facilitator can a community of diverse interests define a shared vision and act consistent with this vision.
Clearly, tourism is one of the many external forces influencing the direction and options for local development and a truly legitimate and practical discussion on sustainable tourism must take place in and with communities that are being influenced by tourist industry development. It must create accountability of the tourism industry to locally-defined development visions. The true proof of sustainable tourism will be the sustainable development of local communities that serve as tourist destinations.
Tourist activities , as traditionally defined by the tourist industry, fundamentally involve the transportation and hosting of the tourism consumer in a local community ,i.e., tourist destination, where the tourist product is consumed. No other global industry structures itself in such a way, that the consumer is brought to the product, rather than the product being delivered to the consumer in his or her own community.
Many of the technologies and measures required for sustainable development in the tourism sector exist . Resources exist within the tourism industry -which annually generates hundreds of billions of dollars-to apply these technologies and to make development within the sector more equitable. It must be said however, that as experiences of hundreds of local authorities demonstrate, through their engagement in broad based sustainable development planning, the appropriate application of technologies and recourses requires effective and truly accountable development partnerships.
African heritage/Cultural tourism development can create wealth in Badagry community in several ways and through different stages.
I, Pre development stage.
Ii, development stage.
iii.post development stage.
PRE DEVELOPMENT STAGE.
*Tourism sites renovations.
*Water ways clearing.
*Hotel and restaurants springing up.
*Commerce and Trade.
*Training of tour guides.
*Multi-faceted employment creation.
*Improved road transportation.
-enhanced movement of goods and services.
*Greater international, federal and state governments presence.
*Greater Slave Routes Development.
*Hotels and Restaurants employing greater number of people and creating more patronage of tourists.
*Greater local, state, national and international trade.
*More patronage for products of artisans of all sorts and also for local service providers.
*More employment opportunities for tour guides and guided tour operators.
*Massive housing generation.
POST DEVELOPMENT STAGE.
*More improvement of road transportation occasioning even better movements of goods and services.
*Even greater international. Federal and state government presence.
*massive settlement and taking of permanent residences by returning Black Diaspora.
*Even greater slave routes development and its multiplier effects.
*Greater employment opportunities in more expanding hotels and restaurants and tourist resorts.
*Ever growing local, national and international trade.
*Ever growing patronage for products of artisans of all sorts and also for local service providers.
*Ever growing employment opportunities for tour guides and guided tour operators.
*Ever improving housing projects.
*REPARATION FOR AFRICA.
The poverty inhibiting Black and African economies are traceable to the atrocities visited on them by the processes of colonization and imperialism and in acknowledgement of the fact that if no extra and considerable funds are injected into these economies, such countries shall remain impoverished and beggarly for the foreseeable future. It is therefore imperative that a practical and pragmatic solution be found.
African leaders of distinction have worked towards the realization of Reparations for Africa. Outstanding in the campaign was the late Chief M.K.O.Abiola.
In December 1990, Chief Abiola convened and sponsored the first World Conference on Reparations at the Nigerian Institute of International affairs [NIIA] in Lagos, where he officially inaugurated his campaign for Reparations.
The International Conference featured prominent people from different parts of the world and did a thorough study on the issue of Reparations. Distinguished persons in attendance included Chief M.K.O.Abiola, who was convener and host, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida who was then the Nigerian head of state, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Dr. Randolph Peter-the Trinidad and Tobago High Commissioner to Nigeria, Prof. A. M. Babu of Tanzania, Dudley Thompson the Jamaican High Commissioner to Nigeria, Congressman Craig Washington of the United States of America, Hon. Bernie Grant of Britain, among many others of distinction. At the conference, after a critical look at the reparation issue, a communiqué subsequently established an International Committee for Reparation[ICR] with Chief M.K.O.Abiola as the Chairman and Mr. Frank Igwebueze as Secretary.
Subsequently, the reparation cause was taken to the African continental level and to the Organization of African Unity[OAU] which recognized and identified with the campaign . Reparation became a prominent subject of discussion within the OAU. The 27th Summit of Heads of State and Governments as well as the 55th Council of Ministers of the organization, which met in June 1991 in Abuja, Nigeria and passed resolutions recognizing the injustices to Africa. The resolution affirmed the right to Reparation and suggested a Group of Eminent Persons[GEP], drawn from Africa and the Diaspora, to further take action on the Reparation issue. This Group of Eminent Persons[GEP] was later empanelled formally in June 1992, at the 28th yearly Summit of the OAU Heads of Sate and Governments held in Dakar Senegal. The group [GEP] which has as members, men and women of proven integrity included Chief Abiola, who as sole financier of the Reparation cause was elected the Chairman, Professor Ade Ajayi[Nigerian],Ms.Mariam Makeba[South Africa],Professor Ali Mazrui[Kenya],Dr.Amadan Mahtar M'bow-Co-Chairman[Senegal],Ex-President Aristide Pereira[Cape Verde Island], Professor Samir Amin[Egypt],,Dr.Quaissan Sackey[ Ghanaian], Madam Grace Machel[ Mozambique], Ambassador Dudley Thompson [Jamaican],Congressman Roland Dellums [U.S.] and Professor Rex Nettleford[ Jamaican].
To advance the struggle for reparation to the global level, the OAU Group of Eminent Persons[GEP] convened the first Pan-African Conference on Reparation in April 1993 at Abuja. The event drew participants from Africa, America, Asia and Europe. It also issued a communiqué aimed at redressing the injustice of slavery, colonialism and imperialism in general in Africa, a decision which if implemented will quite substantially contribute to alleviating Africa's sufferings as has been the result of centuries of merciless exploitation and inhuman degradation by the West.
Though the slave trade occurred over 500 years ago in the main, Africans have retained all the moral and legal justification to demand compensation from the West as slavery and colonization remained the very foundation of the backwardness of Africa .Slavery cost Africa millions of able bodied men and women. The physical and psychological brutality, socio-cultural dislocations and economic dysfunction which trade in human beings imposed on Africans and the Black race in general is terrible and beyond quantitative and qualitative comparism in human history. It was from these traumatic experiences of Africa that the West achieved her present development. The argument is that the West must pay compensation to us for the brain, sweat and blood of our forefathers. For the forced labor enjoyed for centuries from millions of vibrant Africans shipped away from Africa to build the wealth they are living on today.
The last major event on this reparation cause was the 1993 conference in Abuja. 10 years after that one of the registered political parties in Nigeria , the African Renaissance Party[ARP] sought to refocus Nigerians and Africans in Nigeria, Africa and the world over to the unfinished business of making the western nations to pay reparations for the social dislocation, forceful enslavement, looting of treasures and artifacts, destruction, and desecration of cities, empires and civilizations. For colonization and for centuries of rapacious economic exploitation of our people.
The party tried first of all to organize a World Summit on reparation for Africa at Kingston, Jamaica in April 2004. This was frustrated by powers that be in Nigeria and in Jamaica. The party then sent a bill to the nation's National Assembly entitled: AFRICAN REPARATION BILL but the National Assembly has sat on it up till date.
Exhaustive deliberations have revealed that Judicial Action is the next step in the reparations for Africa struggle. In the new world order of the 21st century, Judicial Action is the appropriate way to bring the age-long struggle to its logical conclusion.
The World Summit on Reparations for Africa that the African Renaissance Party[ARP] planned for Jamaica in 2004 was programmed amongst other objectives to :
1, Delve into the achives to fish out specific cases of atrocities, illegalities and injustices committed against Africa and Africans for litigation in Western, International and African courts of law.
2,Create a legal platform for the program actualization of the goals of the reparation struggle.
3,Provide further information for the realization of the reparation objectives.
4,Undertake a comprehensive analysis of successful reparation crusades in human history, viz-a-viz that for Africa.
5,Establish an African Reparation Judicial Action Fund to cater for the legal and other attendant costs of the judicial actions.
6, Demonstrate that reparations due to African nations are at least many thousand times the value of all foreign debts crippling African economies.
*REPATRIATION OF AFRICANS./Marcus Gavey./AFRICAN DIASPORA VILLAGES.
At this stage, we must remember one of the most influential black leaders of the early 20th Century, who was born and raised in Jamaica-Marcus Garvey, who travelled in Central and South America, then moved to England to continue his education. Who in 1914 started the Universal Negro Improvement Association and began speaking out publicly in favor of worldwide black unity and an end to colonialism. Who moved to the United States in 1916 and helped start a steamship company, the Black Star Line. It was both a business venture and a part of his back to Africa plan for Americans of African descent-the notion that African-Americans should return to Africa and set up their own new country there.
We must also remember the Back-to-Africa Movement ,which was also known as the Colonization Movement ,which originated in the United States in the 19th Century, and encouraged those of African descent to return to the African homelands of their ancestors. This movement would eventually inspire other movements such as the Nation of Islam and the Rastafarian Movement.
Let us also remember the History of Liberia after the arrival of Europeans and its uniqueness in Africa; as it started neither as a native state nor as a European colony, but began in 1821 when private societies began founding colonies for free blacks from the United States on the coast of West Africa. The first American ships were very uncertain of where they were heading. Their plan was to follow the path that the British had taken beforehand, or simply take a chance on where they would land. At first, they followed the previous routes of the British and reached the coast of Sierra Leone. After leaving Sierra Leone, the Americans slowly reached the southern part of the African coastline. Eventually, the Americans found what they were looking for, what the British called, the Grain Coast.
Black's interest in Liberia emigration began when the American Civil war promised the end of slavery and meaningful change to the status of Black Americans.7,000 slaves were freed by their masters, so at that point those free African Americans left the U.S. to escape racism and have more opportunities. Mainly because they had lost all hope of achievement. In the 1830s, the movement became increasingly dominated by slave owners who wanted Liberia to absorb the free blacks of the South. Slaves freed from slave ships were sent here instead of their country of origin. The emigration of free blacks to Liberia significantly increased after the Nat Turner rebellion in 1831. Middle class blacks were more resolved to live as black Americans, many rural poor folks gave up on the United States and looked to Liberia to construct a better life. Liberia provided freedom and equality; it also represented a chance for a better life for the South's black farmers. The Liberian government promised 25 acres of free land for each immigrant family, 10 acres for a single adult, who came to the Black Republic. In the early 19th Century, Liberia evoked mixed feelings in the minds of black Americans. At that point Liberia was packed virtually to the brim with black families who left the United States in search of a better way of life, only to later return to their ancestral homeland of Africa.
Today, the turn of global economic meltdown and the wind of socio-political change blowing allover the world has increasingly set the black Diaspora from allover the Americas and Europe as well as other parts of the so called developed world thinking of a possible return to the father land and Badagry, I dare say, has a golden opportunity to fill this need.
Badagry with purposeful and visionary leadership and the right partnership and planning can virtually give impetus fro a new city that can grow faster than Abuja the Nigerian federal capital grew. Surely the land can be found for the Africa Diaspora Villages or city to emerge which can mean trillions in injected money and millions of jobs for youths and others alike which can permanently wipe out poverty from Badagry.
There can be no gain saying that left to the current system and flow of funding available to the Badagry local governments and considering the enormity of work confronting the Lagos state government and the distance of federal government, radical improvement of life in general in Badagry and its Heritage/Cultural Tourism development in particular will remain a mirage. Therefore there is surely an urgent need for a creative source of considerable revenue generation to finance the multi-faceted work necessary to transform Badagry from its present self of today to the heritage/cultural tourism destination that we all want.
The necessary funding must be such that shall be insulated from partisan and myopic interest.
After serious consideration it is hereby recommended and I make bold to say that my mind is made up to begin to put machinery in motion without further delay for the organizing of a Badagry Heritage/Cultural Tourism Development Endowment Fund.As a matter of fact, I have already sent a proposal on this to His Royal majesty, De Whenu Aholu Menu-Toyi 1, the Akran of Badagry Kingdom.
AFRICAN RENAISSANCE ICONS AWARDS AND AFRICAN CULTURAL RENAISSANCE CONFERENCE,NIGERIA 2012.
An African Renaissance Icons Awards as well as an African Cultural Renaissance Conference had been planned to hold at the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria[ASCON], here in Badagry from the 21st to the 24th of this very August 2012 , to coincide with the ongoing Badagry festival.
While the African Renaissance Icons Awards is aimed at honoring Africans and friends of Africa from allover the world who have distinguished themselves in the promotion of the ideals of African renaissance, the African Cultural Renaissance Conference is aimed at assessing how successful the African Cultural Renaissance campaign which the African Union[AU] launched in 2010 and which was programmed to last from 2010 t0 2012 had been, and to proffer the way forward.
Among those invited to be honored are Prof. Ali Mazrui, Prof. Shadrack Gutto[pioneer chair and Director of the Center for African Renaissance Studies of the University of South Africa],Prof. Tunde Babawale[Director General of the Center for Black and African Arts and Civilization],Naiwu Osahon,Dr, Wilfred Ngwa[President of the African Renaissance Ambassador,Inc],Prof. Catherine Achalonu,Prof. Runoko Rashidi, and so on. A former President of the Republic of South Africa and leading global voice of African renaissance-Mr. Thabo Mbeki was invited to bestow the awards on the awardees , while the King of the Ashanti, Osei Tutu the 11 was to be the Royal Father of the day.
As for the conference, thousands of invitations were dispatched to africanists allover the world and virtually all universities in the world that have center for African and related studies were invited and numerous of them signified deep interest in participating.
However, suffice it to say that despite all approaches, neither the Lagos state Government , nor the Badagry Local Government showed any interest whatsoever in the events and the organizers , led by myself have been forced to postpone the event and are presently in search of an alternative venue to host them.
The Federal Ministry of Cultural and Tourism even called from Abuja[ through phone number 08033310117] to inform that the African Union and almost all ministers of culture in Africa were demanding to know the degree of preparedness for the conference.
These events would draw the cream of Black and African intellectuals from all over the world and has the potential of profoundly and fundamentally promoting which ever locality hosting them as the front line centers for African cultural renaissance.
Finally, let me urge the current Chairman of Badagry Local Government, the Chairman of Badagry west Development Council and the Chairman of Olorunde Development Council to size the opportunity staring them in the face to take the necessary steps to turn Badagry into a major African Heritage/Cultural Tourist Destination. They should bear in mind that no opportunity remains forever. They should realize that as important as the seats they now sit on are, that many have sat on those seats before and that many more will sit on them in years to come. They should recall that Mr. Oni Kiriun,Salami Fadairo, Prince Claudius Dosa Akran, Chief J.O.samuel, Chief F.N.H. Ayeni, Chief Senu Oke, Engineer Hameed Onipede, Chief S.Ajose Harrison,Chief Ola Hunnu-Moeitt,Mr. Ayo Raji, Chief J.J. Gbededo,Mr.Ladipo Odunaiya,Mr. Felix Obayomi Davis, Chief Samuel Avoseh, Mr. Gboyega Isikalu, Mr. Simeon Kiki Whenu, Otunba Ojora Adejiyan, Mr. Seyon Adewale Amosu, Mr. Philip Aivoji, Mr. Felix Mayomi George, Mr. S.O.Adewale,Chief Moses Owolabani, Alhaji R.Giwa, Mr. Sehunu Alabi Hundeyin, Mr. Michael Zannu, and Otun have all at one time or the other been Chairmen of Badagry Local Government since its creation in 1938.
They should remember the sayings on opportunity, such as:
Miss not the occasion by the forelock, take that subtle power, the never halting timeWordword.
A philosopher being asked what was the first thing necessary to win the love of a woman, answered, opportunity.-----Moore.
Opportunity has hair in front, behind she is bald; if you seize her by the forelock, you may hold her, but if suffered to escape, not Jupiter himself can catch her again.----From the Latin.
For truth and duty it is ever the fitting time; who waits until circumstances completely favor his undertaking will never accomplish anything.
Who makes use of the quick moment, is a genius of prudence.----Lavater.
Vigilance in watching opportunity; tact and daring in seizing upon opportunity; force and persistence in crowning opportunity to its utmost of possible achievement. These are the material virtues which must command success.----Austin Phelps.
Great opportunities come to all, but many do not know they have met them. The only preparation to take advantage of them, is simple fidelity to what each day brings.----A.E.Dunning.
What is opportunity to the man who can't use. An unfecundated egg, which the waves of time wash away into nonentity----George Eliot.
There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood leads on to fortune, omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries, and we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.----Shakespeare.
Mr. Fadipe Ashamu, a son of Badagry is today the permanent secretary of the Lagos state Ministry of Tourism and Inter governmental affairs. If Badagry, led by its traditional institutions and the Local government chairmen do not make use of the glorious opportunity staring them boldly in the face to turn this ancient kingdom into a major African Heritage/ Cultural Tourism Destination, then I do not know what to say!
Thank You All.
Yahaya Ezeemoo Ndu