While the people dance and merry, some investors are daily smiling to the bank with huge proceeds from building event centres. The love for holding parties and ceremonies popularly called ‘Owambe’ has turned the business of event centre a good business. AGBO-PAUL AUGUSTINE (Abuja) And GEORGE OKOJIE (Lagos) writes on the millions of naira event centres generates.
It can be argued that the number of event centres across most states in south west of Nigeria is fast catching up with the number of religious places in the region. This is owed to the fact that ‘Owambe’ (parties and ceremonies) that daily take place in most towns and cities in the region is surprisingly unabated in spite of the hard times.
The love for ceremonies either individual or groups is palpable among the people who see it as part of their way of life whether, poor, average or of the upper class. It is about party ‘Owambe’ every day in some areas while at weekend it is nothing but eating, drinking and merriment with coloured and choreograph attires to match the occasion.
Naming ceremony, child dedication, marriages, burials, corporate party among others attracts lots of people whom must be held at an event centres. These event centres are specially built for that purpose, some often large enough to fully seat 8,000 guest.
The love for parties in the region has created a lucrative business for investors who are now pouring hundreds of millions in putting up structures befitting for the various occasions.
As at today, hotels, and other hospitality places prefer event centres to building conference hall for seminars and workshop because of the cash flows from event halls.
Some hotels build multiple story buildings of halls only for parties. It is a big business.
In Lagos, one lucrative business any business savvy minded person will not hesitate to consider when considering investing in the Mega City of Lagos is the establishment of an Event Centre.
There is high patronage for it because the interesting phenomenon popularly known as the ‘Owambe party’, in the southern parts of Nigeria are held regularly in these event centres.
The average Lagosians will want to flaunt what he or she has acquired and tell you that is the essence of ‘Owambes’. So it is a common feature to see people taking ceremonies such as weddings, society birthday bashes, burials, anniversary celebrations and sometimes at naming ceremonies to Event Halls.
It is normally colourful and there is a band to entertain guests who would spray cash is the ‘Owambe’ party.
One attraction too is the dress codes pervade Owambe parties occasions is the ‘Aso Ebi’ meant specifically for the occasion. As they sit together, smoke and have bottles of beer lined up for the moment the event centres make more money.
From the mainland to the Lagos Island, business centres are always filled because no day in Lagos, weekends most especially, goes by without one form of social event or the other.
The reason for this is not far fetched, Lagos is one of the largest cities in Africa and with a growing population of about twenty million people Lagos is business hub, the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria.
No matter the economic situation in the country, there is always one event or the other in Lagos every weekend. In fact, statistics published by the Lagos state government revealed that Lagosians spent N1billion (One Billion Naira) on parties (Owambe) in 2013 alone.
The most sought after event centres in Lagos are categorised are the Eko convention centre; Oriental hotel; Landmark event centre ; Dorchester event centre; Radisson Blu anchorage hotel; The Lekki coliseum; Victoria crown hotel; Aquatic hotels and waterpark; Anchor events place; Civic centre, among others.
For instance the Eko Convention centre located in Eko Hotel and suites, Victoria Island is the largest multipurpose event centre in Lagos. With a floor space of 5,151 square metres, the multipurpose conference centre has both banquet and exhibition centre that can be divided into five separate sections.
This facility provides sufficient space to fit 270 exhibitions stands; it also has the capacity to cater for dinner and conference events for up to 3,000 people and concerts with audiences of up to 6,000 people. The price of renting this hall is nothing less than N9,000,000 and the place is always booked for events.
In the same vein, the oriental Hotel situated on the Lekki-Epe area of Lagos and it is one venue that speaks class. It offers some of the most breath taking event venues in Lagos. It has theatre sitting space of about 2,000 persons and banquet sitting in the Grand Ball Room can take up to 1,200 persons. The facility offers a personalised service with a top-notch quality. The price of using the centre is nothing less than N5,000,000 if you desire to host an event here.
Landmark Event Centre too is in the heart of Victoria Island. The 40,000 square metres event has the capacity to hold a 2,000 theatre sitting and a 1,200 banquet arrangement. The event centre speaks luxury having its own private beach and parking space that can take well over 1,000 vehicles. The minimum cost of renting this event hall is N5,000,000.
The Dorchester Event Centre too is on Lagos Island. To use this event center, you would have to budget around N3,000,000.
As far as Segun Akoni , an estate surveyor is concerned hiring a good event centre for an even is a way of showing class.
He said, ”Ceremony has class, it is not about dancing, drinking alcohol alone. It is a real life forum. The kind of visitors you are expecting depends on the even centre you will use for your event. So invitees will refuse to grace your occasion simply because of where you are holding your event. That is why those investing in this line of business are making the place look good.”
In Ibadan the Oyo State capital, LEADERSHIP Sunday met a manager of a popular event centre located in a hotel along the Molete area of the city. Kayode Martins said the revenue from the event centre he manages makes more money and less cost than two hotels owned by his company as the three halls are booked all year round.
He gave the income in excess of N300,000,000 as clients’ jostle for bookings. The story is same in several capital cities in the south west as investors continue to pour in millions and billions in the business of building event centre.
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