T ourism is a big industry that provides pleasure, entertainment, investment opportunities, employment and revenue etc. to the people and sate alike including visions from all over the world. Anambra State is naturally with rich cultural, historical and traditional, environmental and archaeological features which rank higher than most other tourist centres in Nigeria. The wonderful hospitality of the good people of Anambra State helps to make the state a lucrative destination for both local and foreign tourists and investors in the tourism industry.
The tourism policy of Anambra is in consonance with the tourism policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The main thrust of this policy is: To make Nigeria tourist attraction in Africa by bringing the world to Africa through Nigeria; generate foreign exchange and encourage even development; promote tourism-based rural enterprise; generate employment, accelerate ruralurban integration and foster social cultural unity amongst various regions of the country through the promotion of domestic and international tourism.
However, the tourism industry in the state remains underutilized and under exploited.
The situation is worsened by the many years of neglect of the industry and now the prevailing state of insecurity which the current leadership is tackling head on.
I will nevertheless commend the immediate past governor of the state, Chief Willie Obiano, for building the International Convention Centre with the capacity to host mega events and boost tourism in the state. Without that centre may be I will not be writing this opinion which acknowledges with pride the recent effort by some high visionary young men and women who saw it worthy to return fashion and tourism to the state and they did that with clinical efficiency.
Precisely, on Friday 16th September 2022, Adaora and her team highlighted the better side of the state by refusing the ugly event of 11th September to define who we are.
The theme of the event: ‘In between good times and for all times’ was apt. Some young entrepreneurs led by the first daughter of the state, Adaora Soludo hosted the Anambra Fashion Expo 2022 at the International Convention Centre, Awka. The well attended event paraphrased Mr. Governor’s vision and mission to revitalize culture, entertainment and tourism in the state.
Aorah powered by Adaora Soludo is a fashion label centred around a strong sense of identity and culture, transforming around a strong sense of identity and culture, transforming traditional Akwete and other local textiles into contemporary designs.
Aorah is also an ethically driven fashion label that celebrates talent and diversity, by empowering women and young people of diverse backgrounds. Different designers that participated in the Fashion Expo donated materials to Aorah to make the event possible.
The brands’ empowerment programme trains women in creative skills and 10% of profits are donated to the Aorah Women’s Fund. The brand supports the rising generation of African talent and fosters ethical collaboration with women, young people and artisans.
In a brief conversation with young Adaora Soludo, who hosted the one-day Fashion Master Class and triumphant Anambra Fashion Expo in a big way, she said the show was inspired by femininity, strength and joy in between time and better time. She emphasized that the aim of the Aorah brand is to create high quality pieces as well as promoting Made in Anambra fabrics, shoes and fashion apparels to the global audience.
Despite being the project of the first daughter of the state, the highly successful event took place without the financial support of the state. I think good ideas and projects should be supported by the state, especially progressive ideas with the potential of putting the state on the global stage.
Good initiatives like the Adaora hosted Anambra Fashion Expo need to be encouraged as it has the potential for employment and wealth creation.
Now that the governor has promoted Akwete to high heaven, I think we should go a step forward to establish an Akwete factory in Anambra, train and mentor young women in the art of weaving so as to make the clothing within reach and also affordable. I wish to seize this opportunity to extend my words of encouragement to the very youthful team who put the event together for their industry and creativity. You shouldn’t be discouraged by the none contribution to the event by the state.
Rather than be discouraged I encourage you to strive harder to grow from strength to strength. The event which I attended and sat through met every international standard. The colourful Akwete and floral fabrics displayed on the runway were awesome.
What Adaora and her team has done was to show truly that the youthful population is our best capital investment. They indeed demonstrated that Anambra is filled with great minds and exceptional youths with enterprising skills.
As a gender-friendly and youth advocate Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo has distinguished himself by demonstrating unmatched leadership forte and champion of the youth. That he sat through the event, cheering and clapping like many others says a million words. I am a firm believer that if we build, people will come. The only thing turning off investors from the Anambra State today is insecurity.
The first and foremost responsibility of a government is the security of lives and properties of the people. Prof. Soludo in his capacity as the Chief Security Officer of the state is leading from the front by leaving no stone unturned to deal decisively with some elements from the darkest womb of history that have refused to sheath their swords and allow for amicable dialogue that will birth a peaceful and liveable state.
The journey of a thousand mile begins with a single step! Soludo has taken steps to approach the security situation in a more sensible manner that will accommodate all and sundry to table their grievances and proffer a way forward. Whatever is the grouse, peace remains the best alternative to violence and indiscriminate destruction of lives and properties.
Again, my people, we the Igbo have wasted so much blood from 1966 to date. We must understand we have no more blood to waste and no more cheek to turn. In addressing our complicated union in Nigeria, we must stop the blood lettings of our own.
We must see ourselves as one people despite our contrasting political ideas. We must stop end the war against ourselves.
We have come this far not to give up, but to persevere to the end. Irrespective of party or religious affiliation, we must embrace peace and harmony if we must achieve a better future for our children and the unborn generation. I will end this article with the following words which enjoins all of us to keep the state and our people in prayers; I pray God to keep Anambra in His loving care.
May He place a spiritual hedge of protection around His people. I pray He watches over our land as a good shepherd watches over his flock and may our people find their ultimate safety and security in Him. We must continue to seek God’s divine restoration, divine manifestation.
May the blood of Jesus be sprinkled in every nook and cranny of the state. Bless those that bless our land and curse those that curse our land.
This too shall pass and the spirit of Anambra will triumph through Jesus Christ our Lord. God bless Anambra! God bless the land and the people!!