…..as D’banj, Don Jazzy others thrill at the concert cancellations

‘Tour Nigeria’, a brand aimed at promoting Nigeria’s tourism potential and showcasing Nigeria as a major tourism destination, unveiled by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has embarked on a campaign to drive consumption of Nigerian cuisine globally. The director-general, NTDC, Folorunsho Coker, who launched the brand, organised a rich culinary diversity of Nigerian cuisine and delicacies in Abuja recently with an initiative of the Ministry of Information and Culture and in collaboration with the National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR).

Speaking to journalists at the event themed: ‘Nigerian Flavours’, the director general, NTDC, Folorunsho Coker stated that, Nigeria has been the big cuisine in sub-Saharan Africa where you would find Akpu (fufu), Ukwa, African salad, Amala, ewedu, Tuwo-miyan kuka and many more. Adding that “there is nothing you want to eat that you cannot find in Nigeria, by numbers, by varieties, even quality.” Coker said, “we are great people, great nation in sub-Saharan Africa. We are creating awareness in Abuja. We are also setting an example that we hope to be replicated by states and local governments across the nation. Abuja sets the pace and we replicate in other states. This event is driving incomes into the local economies of the states, if this is done in Calabar, the food seller, music seller, wine seller even local musicians, everybody will benefit directly from something that is massive, even if is a government initiative. So, government is behaving like a private sector promoter, to push the revenues and income into the grassroots and that is what we need in terms of budgetary intervention”, he explained.

Similarly, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Grace Isu Gekpe, who responded to the issues of SME’s, said, “We have various funding agencies and it is our design that at the end of this programme, we should be able to take an inventory of all the people that are here today and we will be able to link them up with the various funding agencies in Nigeria. We have Bank of Industries (BOI), the SMEDAN, and Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) for those who want to export, so we do not despise little beginnings. I advise that whatever is made out of this little should be re-invested from the ministry. We will link you up to the many funding agencies,” she buttressed.

“This is from one agency, this is for NTDC and NAHOURTO, we want to promote many agencies. Another agency will soon come up with another program, it’s our plan to have it if possible funding permits from January to December, but unfortunately, we are just starting in March so it depends on fund. We want to be busy and keep everybody in Abuja engaged with one activity or the other.”
Meanwhile, president of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Saleh Rabo, said his association is here to support NTDC and NIHOTOUR because they are the government arm while FTAN is the private sector arm. “You know, tourism is driven by the private sector arm so when an event like this is taking place, we have to participate so that together, we can be able to drive tourism in Nigeria because it is not the government’s affair alone. If you check all the stands, the food vendors there are our own private people. They constitute the private sector and the government is trying to see how we can promote Nigerian cuisine and Nigerian products so that we can make Nigeria great because we have all it takes as a nation”.

Highlights of the event include; over 60 food and beverage vendors across the six geo-political zones were showcased, musical performances by Nigerian Artists, Don Jazzy, Dbanj, Terry Apala, Korede Bello,Reekado Banks, CDQ to name a few. The event also features merchandising opportunities for arts, crafts and fashion, safe children’s games area, affordable framer’s market, great comedy and others.