SAHCOL MD/CEO Inducted Into The Institute Of Directors (IOD) Nigeria

The Managing Director of the Skyway Aviation Handling Company Ltd, (SAHCOL) Mr. Basil Agboarumi has been inducted into the Institute of Directors (IoD) Nigeria.

The event which took place at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, was in the presence of Directors from various sectors of the economy.

At the event, which also witnessed the presentation of the keynote paper of the day by Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe, with the title ‘Our Stochastic World: Measurable Innovations in Nigeria’s Development’, inductees were reminded of the importance of adhering to the principles of Corporate Governance, for effective and successful running of organisations. He went on to emphasize that the success of companies and organisations depends on the performance and competence of directors, their integrity, fairness and vision as well as the ability to balance the interest of all stakeholders in the society.

As a result, the new inductees were requested to be good ambassadors of the Institute, which have a core focus of institutionalizing good business practices in Nigeria. Basil Agboarumi started acting as the Managing Director/CEO of the Skyway Aviation Handling Company Ltd in December 2017 before his confirmation in September 2018.

Basil joined the Skypower Aviation Handling Company Limited in 2000 when it was a subsidiary of the Nigeria Airways Limited, as the Pioneer staff/Head of the Public Affairs Unit. After the privatization and subsequent takeover of Skypower Aviation Handling Company Limited by the SIFAX Group in 2009, he was appointed the Head of Corporate Communications, with a mandate to spearhead the re-branding of the new company (Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited).

He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (FNIPR) and an Associate Member of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (arpa). An Aluminous of the School of Media and Communications of the Pan-Atlantic University. He was one of the Nigerian delegates to the 2014, 2015 and 2016 World public Relations Forums, in Madrid – Spain, Nairobi – Kenya, and Toronto – Canada, respectively.

Basil is also the recipient of a Special Recognition Award by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), for his “distinct industry and outstanding contributions impacting positively on Nigeria’s Reputation”, is result-oriented, a good team player, motivator, with excellent people’s skill who has a successful track record in Leadership, Public Relations/ Communications.

He was the General Manager, Corporate Communications before he rose to become the Acting Managing Director and finally the Managing Director/ CEO due to his impressive performance at the helms of affair of the company as an Acting Managing Director.

The Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited is a SIFAX Group IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) certified Aviation Ground Handling Company, providing services in Passenger Handling, Ramp Handling, Cargo Handling/Warehousing, Training Services, Aviation Security, Baggage reconciliation, Hospitality/Lounge services, and other related Ground Handling Services, in all the commercially operated airports across Nigeria.

Battle of the Sounds Amuwo

10 Things you Need to Know About Battle of the Sounds – Amuwo

1. It is created by Bizzybody NG, the same outfit that created the Mini Sports Festival Concept tagged AmuwoGames that held its first edition in 2017.

2. It is a month long music contest that will run from November 3-25, 2018. See calendar on www.battleofthesounds.com 

3. Five music genres will be contested in. Rap, Afropop, Fuji, Reggae and Acapella

4. Judges and Coaches will be drawn from celebrities living in or that have lived in Amuwo Odofin including: Faze, African China, Indomix, GT da Guitarman, K Peace and more.

5. Prizes summing up to N500,000 naira will be won along with recording deals in this edition.

6. Registration to participate is free. Click here to register: bit.ly/battleofthesounds.

7. This Amuwo Odofin edition is held in partnership with major community outfits like Den Visuals and Management, Digits Sounds, Lumiere Multimedia and so on.

8. Battle of the Sounds competitions will be held outdoor and in 5 locations within Amuwo Odofin. These locations include:

  • Golden Tulip,
  • Amuwo Odofin Primary School Play Ground,
  • JKings Basketball Court in Festac Extension,
  • 23 road Basketball Court in Festac Town and
  • SuperBee Place also in Festac town.

Details of venues for each competition day can be seen on the competition calendar published on www.battleofthesounds.com 

9. Contestants will be grouped into 8 teams to represent their hood. These hoods are,

  • Mile 2 zones A,B,C
  • Mile 2 zones D,E,F
  • Festac Extension
  • The Amuwo GRAs
  • Festac Town 1st and 7th Avenues
  • Festac Town 2nd Avenue
  • Festac Town 3rd and 4th Avenues
  • Festac Town 5th and 6th Avenues

10. Battle of The Sounds is majorly a community and youth Development project – and a CSR initiative, community and youth Development project – and a CSR initiative

AirBnB Africa Travel Summit 2018

Undeniably, tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today as one out of five of all new jobs created globally in 2017 are attributable to Travel and Tourism, according to the World Travel and Tourism council (WTTC). Although, Africa has witnessed some significant growth in tourism in recent times going by how blessed the continent is in terms of its very hospitable people, wildlife, great weather, flush and greenery, it is clear that tourism is not growing at the rate it should in Africa all things being equal. But the truth is all things will never be equal. However, I am convinced beyond reasonable doubts that if we could find a way of ensuring that every African in every nook and cranny of this lovely continent buys into tourism and own the industry, tourism will flourish as it ought to in Africa.

Therefore, I am particularly pleased that the South African Tourism (SAT), partnered with Airbnb and hosted me as one of the West African participants at the first-ever Airbnb Africa Travel Summit which was held in Langa, Cape Town, South Africa between September 11-13, 2018. The Summit brought together well over 120 innovators in tourism and tech for two days consecutively and we shared, discussed and debated how technology could be used to accelerate inclusive and sustainable economic growth through tourism on the African continent.

Airbnb which is basically an online marketplace and was founded in 2008 has over the years clearly shown strong belief in the power of healthy tourism – tourism that is local, authentic, diversified, and sustainable – to benefit underserved areas and create opportunities. In my opinion, the agenda of the summit was quite straight forward and it directly connected to what I consider the main driver of tourism — the people. The innovators that were brought to the summit shared their thoughts on how they have been helping to democratize tourism in Africa. We were given the opportunity to share our expertise and ideas on what tourism can do to empower more people in Africa. We learnt about the Airbnb Academy, Airbnb’s programme to connect underserved communities to tourism in South Africa through technology.

The organizers of the summit clearly knew what they wanted to achieve with the summit as they were able to create a very cozy environment. They ensured that participants were not too many so there was optimum participation by all and sundry. Although I had been to Cape Town a couple of times before the summit, I was able to experience Cape Town through the Airbnb lens.

We left Nigeria as scheduled around 10pm on Monday the 10th of September 2018 and like I have always had on all the South African Tourism (SAT) hosting to South Africa, that I have been on, my fun-filled and very exciting experience started from the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, Nigeria. As soon as I got to the South African Airways (SAA) counter, my pampering started right there, I did not have to pressure the lady who attended to me to get me a seat with enough leg room for my very long legs. The service on board is traditionally exquisite and like it has been on most of my flights on board SAA, this particular flight to South Africa was also smooth, the pilot and the crew were very engaging.  On arrival at Cape Town, there was a ready shuttle waiting at Cape Town International Airport to convey us to Southern Sun Cullinan where we lodged. As customary with SAT, there was a tour guide in the shuttle who ensured that as we drove through the city we got familiar with certain sites and landmarks on our route to the hotel. After a slightly late lunch, we refreshed and headed to the Bungalow Restaurant, where the welcome dinner was held.  The dinner was Afrocentric as we had been advised to dress in our traditional attires; we took drumming lessons and there were more than enough food and drinks, to guarantee that everyone was satisfied.

Wednesday, 12th September marked the first conference day of the Africa Travel Summit 2018. The day kicked off with an opening ceremony and welcome by Summit MC, Afua Osei (Founder, She Leads Africa) with a performance by Black Roots Foundation. A keynote address by Chris Lehane (Head of Policy and Communications, Airbnb) followed. Another highlight of the day was a discussion on, “Government as An Enabler for Innovation.” Anita Mendiratta (Global Strategic Advisor & Author in Tourism & Economic Development) moderated the panel featuring Kalle Palling (Estonian politician and MP, Lance Greyling (Director of Trade and Investment, City of Cape Town), Rosette Rugamba (Founder and Managing Director, Songa Africa) and Najib Balala Kenya’s Tourism Minister. In the evening before attending a concert hosted on the Airbnb platform featuring MC Marc Lottering and music by Jimmy Nevis and Demi Lee Moore, delegates were spread all across Cape Town to have dinner hosted by local hosts on Airbnb at various restaurants.

Thursday, 13th September which was the second and final day of the summit was equally as exciting as the first day was. It kicked off with another panel discussion on the role media play in shaping the African continent’s narrative as well as its role and responsibility in telling the stories that drive more inclusive tourism. While some panelists represented traditional media, the conversation organically shifted to social media and the role social media plays in redefining the African narrative.   The panel was moderated by Thabile Ngwato (Entrepreneur and News Anchor) and featured panelists; Larry Madowo (Business Editor, BBC Africa), Pearl Boshomane Tsotetsi (Lifestyle Editor, Sunday Times) and Sarah Waiswa (documentary and portrait photographer). Another highlight of the day was a presentation by Velma Corcoran (South Africa General Manager, Airbnb) sharing contents from the Airbnb Africa Academy. The Academy is a programme focused on empowering individuals and organisations in under-resourced communities by providing tools and information to help them share homes and experiences with a global community.

In the evening of Thursday, 13th September, delegates who had pre-registered for  township experiences were able to have the following experiences: Townships into Town hosted by Project Maboneng;  Art Workshop in the Townships hosted by Our Workshop; Gumboot Dance hosted by Happy Feet; and Beading and Technology hosted by Quirky 30.

On Friday 14th September we started our post Africa Travel Summit experience at the wine lands in Franschhoek, where we spent the better part of that day. After we had gone through part of the vine in a Wine Tram, we then went for wine tasting and got to know the story behind all the wine we tasted before we had a very sumptuous meal.

On Saturday, 15th September which was virtually our last full day spent in Cape Town of this trip was a busy day. We started with the Robben Island experience and though I had been to Robben Island before, there is always something new to learn on how one can be a better man that lives a life of positive impact on others. After the Robben Island experience, we had lunch before we went to Table Mountain. The mountain which forms part of the Table Mountain National Park is a beauty to behold. Table Mountain is home to a large array of fauna and flora, most of which is endemic.

After the Table Mountain experience, then it was shopping time and we went to Canal Walk Shopping Centre which hosts over 400 stores, 7,000 parking bays, numerous restaurants, 20 cinemas plus a game arcade is arguably Cape Town’s largest shopping centre and the third largest shopping centre in Africa.  The farewell dinner that we had at the Red Roof of Radisson Red Hotel V &A water front Cape Town was simply spectacular and I must say that it was an icing on the cake to bring the Travel Summit that offered me the opportunity to have yet another very memorable experience in South Africa,  to a close.

RadissonBlu Anchorage partners Remy Martin For Exquisite Guests Experience

RadissonBlu Anchorage Hotel Lagos has partnered Remy Martin in Nigeria to continue to give its guests exquisite hospitality experience second to none.

At an exclusive cocktail event at RadissonBlu Anchorage Hotel Lagos, guests and selected dignitaries of the hotel got a taste of the world famous French distilled cognac brand, Remy Martin XO, VSOP and 1738 Accord Royal.

Stephen Jimba, Brand Ambassador of Remy Martin brand in Nigeria took the guests through the historical age and production of Remy Martin in France as well as gave insights on special tasting techniques that leaves the taste buds with exquisiteness.

According to Kevin Kamau, General Manager, RadissonBlu Anchorage Hotel Lagos, the partnership with Remy Martin provides an opportunity to leverage on the rich history and global acceptability of the brand to continue to enhance service quality to guests of the hotel.

“Remy Martin is a premium brand that has got a rich history and global pedigree that the RadissonBlu brand is proud to partner in giving our guests a superlative experience,” Kamau mentioned.

Also, Ahmed Raza, Manager-Food & Beverages, RadissonBlu Anchorage Hotel Lagos stated that Remy Martin is an established brand that will complement the delicious cuisines offering of the hotel which will ultimately result to guests loyalty.

L-R: Manager, Food & Beverage, RadissonBlu Anchorage Hotel Lagos, Mr. Ahmed, Raza; Country Manager, Nigeria, Remy Cointreau, Mr. Xavier Carbonel; General Manager, RadissonBlu Anchorage Hotel Lagos, Mr. Kevin Kamau; Remy Martin Brand Ambassador, Mr. Stephen Jimba; and Director of Sales & Marketing, RadissonBlu Anchorage Hotel Lagos, Mr. Wellington Mpofu, at the Remy Martin cocktail, in Lagos… on Wednesday. Photo: Odutayo Odusanya

Xavier Carbonel, Remy Cointreau Country Manager Nigeria says buying Remy Martin brand represent legacy and rich culture of fine premium French distillery. “The Remy Martin brand distillery is superior giving you same taste irrespective of the time in history. This uniqueness of the brand gives us an edge,” Carbonel affirmed.

The partnership between RadissonBlu Anchorage Hotel Lagos and Remy Martin will see staff of the hotel travelling to France to learn the unique culture of the cognac brand to be replicated in enriching and elevating guests experience of RadissonBlu Anchorage Hotel Lagos, Nigeria.

South African Airways Celebrates Nigeria’s 58th Independence Day With Orphans

South African Airways (SAA) celebrated Nigeria’s 58th Independence anniversary at the Arrows of God Orphanage in Lagos by donating food materials and goodie bags to the children of the home.

As part of the airline’s commitment to Nigeria and the less privileged, SAA donated customised cake, gift bags, drinks, noodles and other food stuffs to the Arrows of God Orphanage to ensure the children of the home are not left out of the celebration mood of the Nigerian nation as it clocks 58 year of Independence.

Kemi Leke-Bamtefa, South African Airways National Sales Manager in Nigeria led the staff of the airline to share the joy and hope of Nigeria’s Independence with the orphans.

“As part of our corporate social responsibility and giving back to the people, we are celebrating Nigeria’s 58th Independence Day with our long-time friends at the Arrows of God Orphanage. We are optimistic and committed to the Nigerian market and will continue to provide necessary support accordingly,” Kemi stated.

The National Sales Manager used the occasion to announce SAA will continue to prioritise the Nigerian market as it marks the milestone of 20 years of service in Nigeria this year.

The children and teachers of the Orphanage expressed their appreciation to the SAA team for their continuous support in putting smiles on the faces of the children always.

Recall that South African Airways began flight service between Lagos, Nigeria and Johannesburg, South Africa in December 1998.

The Voice Achievers Award, The Netherlands, Releases List Of 2018 Awardees

Almere, The Netherlands – 20th September 2018 – The Voice Magazine, the organizers of The Voice Achievers  award has released the official list of the 2018 winners as part of activities to mark the Magazine’s 19th year anniversary. The Award is an appreciation of individuals, organizations and professionals that have made exceptional contribution towards the advancement of Africa and her people in various fields of human endeavour. This year’s list contain multi-facial recipients drawn from around the world.

The awardees will be recognized on November 23rd at the annual “The Voice Achievers Award” holding in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Preparations are underway to celebrate the winners at African’s most elegant ceremony in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

It is a two-day event commencing from 22nd of November with a round table discussion/business networking on the theme: “Reinventing the future of Africa now”. A panel of discussants will interrogate this subject in an interactive session with the audience. There will be an exhibition of goods and services across the hall, thereby creating a window for the exposition of your goods and services. This is a strategic opportunity to promote your businesses and services to a unique audience.

The 2018 Award Committee, rigorously and meticulously chose from a pool of prominent nominees for their notable accomplishments in various fields of human endeavour – businesses and service to humanity.
As it is in our tradition, the unblemished and conscientious work of our Award Committee bears its testament to these wonderful set of awardees for 2018.
Below is a complete list of 2018 Awardees.

(1) Governor Godwin Obaseki, (Nigeria)
(2) Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu (Nigeria)
(3) Dr. Osahon Enabulele (Nigeria)
(4) Miatta Fahnbulleh (USA/Liberia)
(5) George Wachiuri (Kenya)
(6) Gloria Jones (USA/Sierra Leone)
(7) Patti Boulaye, OBE (United Kingdom)
(8) Eyo Bassey (Nigeria)
(9) Emeka Okonkwo (E-money) (Nigeria)
(10) Her Excellency, Ambassador Vestine Nahimana (Burundi)
(11) Princess Tokunbo Adenike Ajayi (Nigeria)
(12) John Bunyeshuli (Rwanda)
(13) Pastor Chuks Anizor (Nigeria)
(14) Margaret Anizor (Nigeria)
(15) Terabel Marini (Cameroon/Italy)
(16) Don Ceder (The Netherlands)
(17) Abada Iwuchukwu (The Netherlands/Nigeria)
(18) Patrick Ngambi (Cameroon)
(19) Ambassador Charles Onyebuchi Onyieke (Nigeria/Germany)
(20) Funke Oshonaike (Nigeria/Germany)
(21) Owuor Jakano (DJ) (Kenya)
(22) Tony Airhenbuwa (Germany)
(23) Uche Nwatarali (Nigeria/The Netherlands)
(24) Christine Among (Uganda)
(25) Sunday Eromosele (United Kingdom)
(26) Mary Tataw (Cameroon)
(27) Princess Tina Amuziam (Nigeria)
(28) Joy Zenz (Germany)
(29) De Cardinals International Friends Club (The Netherlands)
(30) Assumpta Gahutu (Angola)
(31) Eve Pamba (France)
(32) Dr. Angela Okemena Unufe-Kennedy (United Kingdom)
(33) Gideon Boateng (Belgium/Ghana)
(34) Lilian Ogechi Esoro (Nigeria)
(35) Shan George (Nigeria)
(36) Hon. Osaze Osemwegie-Ero (Nigeria)
(37) Iwan Wilfred Leeuwin (Surinam)
(38) Dennis de Almeida (Ghana)
(39) David Smith (United Kingdom)
(40) Prince Afolabi Obasuyi (Nigeria)
(41) Muzaffer Kosan (Turkey)
(42) Shirley Ogechi Igwe (Nigeria)

The Voice magazine has been a trusted media name for almost two decades, communicating news, events, promoting businesses and connecting consumers to top-rated services across the Diaspora. We provides unique media tools and support business activities to improve the local service experience for both clients and consumers.

“The award honours top on the ladder of success stories and recognizes upcoming individuals whose ambition is to make it to the top. It is a blend of the young and the older generation to share experiences and exchange ideas and network for future advancement of their services.

The Publisher and Chairman of The Editorial Board of The Voice Magazine, The Netherlands, Elvis Iruh, sums it up: “It is our belief that the Award winners will continue to have significant effect on the advancement of Africa and her people. Through the support of their businesses, hard work, social activities, philanthropy, service to humanity, academic and personal development skills, we are simply encouraging you to continue the good work because one day you will be publicly appreciated and acknowledged. It is our obligation to empower and inspire the younger generation coming behind to improve the life experiences of others through their career and other works”.

The Voice Achievers Award will host ‘a dress to impress’ Award Gala Evening at De Koning Party & Event center, Amsterdam. The event will showcase the awardees and celebrate their success stories.

 

For more information & Media Contact:
The Voice media department
Elvis Iruh: +31648519292
Abeka Salmin Abdallah: +31629340503
info@thevoicenewsmagazine.com
https://www.thevoiceachieversaward.com
www.thevoiceachieversaward.com

South African Tourism Partners With Sun International And South African Airways To Reward Upcoming Travel Agents

In support of Small and Medium Scale Business in the Travel Industry in Nigeria, South African Tourism (SAT) partnered with South African Airways (SAA) and the Sun International (SI) to give 9 small and upcoming travel agents (trade) executives an opportunity to explore South Africa and have their products at a Brand Expo which took place on 29th & 30th June 2018 at Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria. The 9 travel agencies taken on the trip includes Crew Training Institute, Greater View Travels, Saffron Travels, Apeiron Travels, Vectra Travels, Foshizi Tours, Teeysz Tours, Akenn Tours and Nje Tours.

Taking off in the brand new South African Airways Airbus A330-300 series from Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos and led by Trade Relations Manager, South African Tourism West Africa, Mr Mohammed Tanko Kwajaffa and Mrs Motunrayo Ajomale of South African Airways Nigeria, the trade executives were prepped ahead of the two-week power packed and exciting trip to South Africa. Arriving at the O.R Tambo International Airport in the early hours of the 2nd of August, the travel agents were whisked off on a 30-minute drive to the Maslow Hotel in the heart of Sandton.

While SAA was responsible for providing the flight to South Africa, Sun International provided the befitting accommodation at Maslow for the travel agents and SAT provided the experiences & ground logistics throughout their stay in South Africa. The experiences were specially curated to give the agents a chance to experience that culture and the variety of memorable attractions that South Africa offers in & around Gauteng (Johannesburg & Pretoria) & North West (Sun City) provinces which was the coverage area of the fam trip while they sell the beautiful country as a top travel destination.

Unaware of the many robust attractions and world-class locations in South Africa, many tour operators have been limited in offering South Africa as a potential holiday destination to their clients due to negative mind-sets about the country. Through the hosting, the travel agents who went on the trip were able to see a different side of South Africa and also experience the warmth and diversity of her people. From the visit to the Lesedi Cultural Village to the trip to Soweto, home of the legend, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the travel agents had an opportunity to interact with South Africans who welcomed them with warm smiles and were also eager to share their culture with them.  At the Lesedi Cultural Village, less than one-hour drive from Jo-burg, they encountered people of Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Ndebele and Basotho origin. From listening to individual cultural stories of the people, to tours of the local houses, the travel agents received a fuller picture of the South African heritage.

While exploring top tourist destinations like Gold Reef City theme park and Sun City Resort, a world-class resort that offers a wide variety of hotels, attractions and events, including the luxurious Palace of the Lost City where they stayed, the travel agents were also able to witness, first-hand, the fun side of South Africa. Boasting of many top tourist attractions with exciting activities, South Africa is a place to go and let your hair down, either alone or with family or friends. Individually or in a group, South Africa has something for everyone. There are also a wide variety of activities from mountain climbing to zip lining to suit different interests and passions. The travel agents were able to take part in these activities as they continued to explore South Africa during their the one-week visit.

Aside from the places visited and the activities they were involved in, the trade had a taste of indigenous South Africa food bursting with flavours and richness in palate. At Maboneng, which boasts of a wide selection of restaurants and artistic stores for visitors to enjoy, the trade tucked into sumptuous meals and they also had an opportunity to experience foot tour of the artistic environment, South African style.

Seeing the beauty in the natural landscape in South Africa while taking a tour of Johannesburg, the trade was convinced that South Africa is the top travel destination which everyone should experience. Conversations throughout the trip was centered around building the capacity of the trade and giving inputs to help them scale their travel business and offer competitive services to their clients.

According to Victoria, MD, Akenn Travels, “This was a huge privilege given us even as a relatively new business, we have taken this with both hands and commit to delivering on the purpose for which this hosting was put together.” while Ms Tina Tinachi, MD, Nje Tours says “The trip was amazing, fun & informative”

On a similar note, Mrs Folasade Adegboyega of Apeiron Travel & Tours confessed “I have been to SA a couple of times, but this experience was exceptional. There was so much to do & see that time didn’t permit us. South Africa is an AMAZING destination. I will sure visit & sell again and again.”

With South Africa as a top travel destination in their minds, the travel agents now understand the key highpoints of the country that their clients must encounter. What better way to sell a location as a potential holiday destination than to have first-hand experience of the fullness of what the location has to offer? The travel agents ended the tripped equipped to increase and diversify their offerings to their clients and curate the best experiences in the travel packages they offer to them.

 

 

 

Congo Fashion Week

Here are some images from the recently concluded Seventh edition of Africa’s biggest francophone fashion which was headlined by Nollywood’s Iconic Ramsey Nuoah.

The event was held in Kempinski the international Five Star hotel on Kinshasa. Congo Fashion week is rewriting the narrative of the Congolese people by breaking stereotypes and fostering pan African collaborations giving the Congolese people an investor friendly outlook contrary to the war torn country with isolated Ebola outbreak.

The Founder and CEO Marie Francie Idikayi and the Director Nancy Kondo reached to Huge Management in Nigeria to make this possible.

MANDELA DAY TURNS “MANDELA WEEK” IN HONOUR OF MANDELA CENTENARY 2018 CELEBRATIONS IN NIGERIA

It was a week-long of activities in Lagos & other parts of Nigeria in commemoration of the goodwill and life of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s globally recognized Nobel Peace laureate and the first democratically-elected President of South Africa.

The Nelson Mandela Centenary celebrations, led by the South African Consulate Lagos was in collaboration with South African Tourism West Africa, United Nations Information Center (UNIC) and National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) both in Nigeria.

The week began with a press briefing on the theme of this year’s Mandela Centenary celebration “Be The Legacy” and upcoming events planned to keep the legacy alive. South African Tourism had major media houses, trade partners, stakeholders and associates in attendance throughout the various activities.

CG, SAHC with SAT TRM WA & ushers in Xhosa traditional attire

 

The Consul General SA Consulate in Lagos, Ambassador Darkey Africa said: “This year is to celebrate and highlight the key role Mandela played in securing freedom of the South Africans, on how Mandela pushed for peace, embraced people of various races and sort for reconciliation despite been imprisoned for 27 years.”

A lecture in honour of Mandela Centenary was held at the NIIA Office with renowned Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka as the keynote speaker alongside UNIC Nigeria Director, Mr Roland Kayanja and Prof. Modupe Faseke all emphasizing the numerous learnings worthy of emulation from the life of Madiba. As a highlight, Prof. Wole Soyinka recited a beautiful poem he penned in honour of Nelson Mandela titled: “And He Said No” following his personal encounters with Madiba. The lecture was followed by a photo exhibition of the life & times of Nelson Mandela at the NIIA Library with a cultural highlight of a fully dressed Xhosa man & woman representing Nelson Mandela’s traditional attire.

On July 18th, to celebrate Mandela’s birthday, the SA Tourism West Africa Hub office participated in a 67-minutes cleaning exercise of the Freedom Park Lagos, done with other partners, stakeholders and students from various schools in attendance. A lecture on the centenary was also held alongside cultural activities that included “The Mandela in You” drama on the life of Mandela acted by local students.

In Asaba Town of the Delta State, there was a tree planting activity at the Mandela Garden where five additional trees were planted, to add to the 95 trees previously planted on Mandela’s 95th birthday in 2013.

The week came to an end with an elegant South African dinner in honour of Madiba’s 100 Years with the guest of honour, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of Common Wealth of Nations who had very close interactions with Mandela and shared so much of his legacy to be emulated.

South African Tourism West Africa Hub used the opportunity to share some of the amazing content of the Mandela Centenary assets such as the Mandela Centenary AV, indoor & outdoor banners to mention a few throughout the various events.

Accra Weizo 2018: Creating seamless Intra-West Africa Travel

The global reports on the goings-on in Africa are most often negative and it seems to me that there are deliberate steps being taken by certain people to create negative and deleterious narratives about Africa as well as aggressively propagate such narratives about the continent to the rest of the world. It may seem innocuous, but I find it funny and mischievous the fact that most people in the developed world see Africa as just one big country rather than a continent.

This vista or perspective, in my opinion, goes a long way to expressly underscore the level of ignorance and how misinformed the developed world is about the true state of affairs in Africa.

The question is, who should and can better tell the true story of Africa better than Africans themselves? Therefore, rather than being unnecessarily over-protective and conscious of territorial boundaries in our dealings within the continent, Africans should rise and take up the responsibility of championing the creation and dissemination of the true African story to the rest of the world.  In the past 10 years that I have had the opportunity of traversing the length and breadth of Africa in line of duty for Inside Watch Africa (IWA), I have seen undeniable similarities in the culture and character of the average of African not minding the different geographical expressions (countries) that we find ourselves.

 

Maybe we should take advantage of the fact that our colonial masters who scrambled for our lands and petitioned the continent in the first place see Africa as a single country to package and sell the continent to them as a destination.

It is instructive to say at this junction that the African story today is not a woeful tale after all; a good example of some of the steps we are taking in the right direction is Accra Weizo which is essentially a tourism and travel fair, convened annually by Mr. Ikechi Uko and his team to sell and promote Intra-Africa travel and tourism in the West Africa sub-region. Mr. Uko who is a veteran travel journalist, team leader of ‘Team Africa’ and founder of Akwaaba in Lagos, Nigeria, as well as Bantaba in Banjul, Gambia both of which are also tourism and travel fairs like Accra Weizo has shown his resolve to unequivocally and relentlessly champion the cause of ensuring that more Africans travel within Africa.

Just as I was opportune to participate in the event in 2017, I was privileged to attend Accra Weizo 2018 that took place between June 22 and June 23, 2018 as one of the hosted  media. In taking you through the gleeful and very educative experience I had at Accra Weizo 2018, let me start by saying Weizo, which simply  means welcome in “Ewe’’ language of Ghana and Togo.

As a travel and tourism writer, I should ordinarily long for and enjoy the experience of travelling to Ghana from Nigeria by road, but going by the unhospitable and unwelcoming dispositions and attitude of most of the security agents on the Nigeria-Ghana corridor coupled with the deplorable condition of the international highway on the corridor, particularly at the Nigerian side, my trip to Ghana by road on Tuesday June 19, 2018 and back to Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday June 24 for Weizo was anything but fun. It seems to me that the governments of Nigeria, Republic of Benin, Togo and Ghana do not really understand or see the socio-economic gains and benefits that will naturally accrue to their countries if and when now people travel on this corridor by road.

My suspicion is that there is an erroneous belief that most people who travel through the corridor by road are either smugglers or petty traders. This is very unfortunate as every traveller is treated as somebody who has done something wrong to be travelling on the corridor by road. As long as this abysmal situation continues, there is no way that the level of travellers’ traffic that could substantially and positively affect the economies and social lives of the three countries on the corridor can be generated.

On arrival in Ghana in the evening of Tuesday the 19th of June 2018, we drove straight to Chances Hotel in Ho, the capital of Volta Region, one of the ten regions of Ghana, into the warm embrace of our host, Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA). After we had refreshed and had dinner, GTA treated us to an exhilarating Ghanaian traditional dance that I participated in and relished every moment.

As early as 7.30am on Wednesday June 20, 2018, we checked out of Chances Hotel. Guided by our very informed and eloquent tour guide, Mr. Yao Dzide, who all through the familiarization tour loaded us with lots of information about the people, culture and history of Ghana, we first paid a visit to Tafi Atome Monkey sanctuary, where were able to interact with the monkeys in their natural habitat. It was intriguing when we were told by the curator at the sanctuary that the sanctuary was primarily a community-based project with no government support and the major sources of funding for it was from funds generated from entry fees paid by visitors to the sanctuary and contributions made by donor agencies. However, I was more enthralled when the curator informed us of how residents of the community are encouraged to accommodate tourists and visitors to give them the opportunity to have “authentic village and community experience’’ whenever they decided to spend the night at the sanctuary.

After the eco-tourism experience we had at Tafi Atome, we moved to the Eastern Region where we first visited Akosombo Dam, the hydroelectric dam also known as the Volta Dam. We were told that the construction of the dam which started in 1961 led to the flooding of parts of Volta River Basin and subsequently led to the creation of Lake Volta which is arguably the largest man-made lake in the world. We then moved to the Royal Senchi Resort to join the travel agents and tour operators who were lodged at the magnificent resort. We had a very sumptuous lunch after which we got a dose of the luxurious treatments one gets when one stays in the palatial Royal Senchi.

We went on a boat cruise on Lake Volta which runs behind the resort and after the cruise, we were treated to some indigenous very tasty cocktails after which we had dinner and danced late into the night before bed time.

The ladies among us were the first to depart for Accra as early 7.00am on Thursday the 21st of June, 2018 because they had to attend the Women in Tourism Conference that was took place in the country’s capital that day. Although, we got into Accra a little late, we were still able to experience night life in Ghana, courtesy the CEO of Kaya Tours, Mr. Gilbert Abeiku Aggrey Santana, popularly known as Abeiku Santana.

There were a lot of VIPs who attended Accra Weizo 2018, some of who were the Dean of the Diplomatic Corp in Ghana as well as Zimbabwe Ambassador to Ghana,  Her Excellency, Mrs. Pavelyn Musaka, South Africa’s Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency, Mrs. Lulu Xingwana and Nana Mbroba Dabo,  the Queen Mother of Anomabo Traditional Area.

Some tourism Industry leaders in West Africa such as the CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr. Akwesi Agyman, Mr. Steve Isokarairi, chairman of the board of trustee of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mr. Nkereuwen Onug, chairman of the board of trustee of the Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), President of Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA), Mr. Kwesi Eyison and President of NATOP, Hajia Bilkisu Abdul.

The fair was declared opened by Ghana’s Minister of Aviation, Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, ably represented by Mrs. Evelyn Ama Lartey on Friday 22nd of June 2018, at Ada Ekesi Hall at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, with the presentation of a paper entitled, “Harnessing the Opportunities in Aviation Value Chain in West Africa.’’ The first discussion of the day focused on aviation in West Africa and this included “Interlining in West Africa, a Possibility or a Mirage?”, “Integrating West African Airport System”, “Standardizing Aviation Laws in West Africa for Regional Growth” and “Why West African Airlines Fail”.

The panelists comprising the Managing Director of Nigeria’s oldest Airline Aero owners of the major MRO in the region, Capt. Ado Sanusi, the Vice-Chairman of SAHCOL, a leading Nigerian-owned Aviation Handling and Logistics Company, Chike Ogeah, the CEO of Ghana-based Smile Aviation and former CEO of Nigeria-based Associated Airlines, Alex Nwuba and Richard Kyereh from Africa World Airlines, the leading Airline in Ghana, were simply brilliant with their contributions.

At the end of the sessions, it was obvious that the aviation industry in West Africa was going to receive a boost. In addition to the seminars and deliberations, Nana and the Ghana queens, a traditional dancing group from Ghana and the Calabar Carnival dancers were also on hand to entertain the guests. Some awards were also given to tourism organizations and individuals in recognition of their contributions to the development of the travel and tourism industry in Africa. The deliberations of the day was not just on aviation before we went for lunch, there was another round of discussion that was moderated by Marigold Vivian Mingle, who is currently the Managing Consultant of Ridge Royal Resort located in the Central Region of Ghana.

The panelists was made up of top hotel managers including Didier Bayeye, market manager, Africa & Indian Ocean, Pastor Emmanuel Geadda-Asando, Vice-President, Ghana Progressive Hotels Association, Sajid Khan, General Manager of Golden Tulip Hotel, Ghana, discussed a topic, “The Adapting of International Hotel Standards to the African Environment”, which stirred up some level of emotional comments in trying to establish what true international standard really is.

June 23rd 2018, the second and closing day of Accra Weizo 2018 was as exciting and enlightening as the first day. It was essentially the ‘Ekaabo Day’, hosted by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), and they ensured that everyone present had more than enough Ghanaian delicacies and drinks as they showcase their new tourism campaign which is: “see Ghana’, ‘wear Ghana’ and ‘eat Ghana’. The discussion of day which centered on “How effective travel bloggers, writers and influencers in promoting travel destinations in West Africa’’, had the following as its panelists — Gabe Onah, Chairman Carnival Calabar Commission, Mr. Lehlohonolo Pitso, Regional Manager, West Africa for South African Tourism, ably represented by Mr. Mohammed Kwajaffa, the Trade Relations Manager, West Africa for South African Tourism, Ms. Stella Fubara, Director Africa, Dubai Tourism, Ghana’s Tourism promoter media Mogul and CEO of Kaya Tours, Mr. Abeiku Santana, the Nigerian CNN Journalist of the Award winner and leading travel writer, Obinna Emelike of Business Day. The discussion was moderated by Mrs. Ebele Enemchukwu   former Mrs. Tourism United Nations.