Did you know that Awo coined the name Naira? Tourism is Life reveals
THE question from the book, NIGERIA: Tourism is Life, as published by the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) under Chief Olusegun Runsewe and put together by Dayo Adedayo boldly asked the question, did you know that, Chief Obafemi Awolowo coined the name “Naira” as Nigeria’s currency (formerly known as the Nigerian Pound)?
Truly, I might have been born before the conversion and was in the primary school as at then. I, like many others did not know that our currency (Naira) was the brain child of the sage when he was serving as the Federal Commissioner of Finance. Yes, we were taught who gave Nigeria the name, the flag and other pieces of vital information, but this book enriched my knowledge much more.
The book, NIGERIA, Tourism is life is beautifully packaged and rich in contents. Chief Runsewe’s comment on the book that this document is an attempt to give expression in symbolic form to the various phases of the socio-political evolution of Nigeria is apt and correct. He said further that “the beautiful photographs and historical landmarks in the book serve as representative samples of Nigerian history and portray the distinguishing characteristics of the diverse landscape, culture, tradition, history, economy and government of Nigeria.
Chief Runsewe invited all to savour the rich and riveting photographic documentation of the history, culture and people of Nigeria that has been carefully put together in the book. The book definitely lives up to expectation as it shows clearly that in Nigeria, there is more to see in the country than what one has seen if only one cares to see.
Professor Ahmed Yerima commented on this book as ‘taking one on a safari of pictures of a lifetime’. According to him, the book presents Nigeria “years of the history of the culture, ecological co-existence and inter-relationships, colours, dances, influences and hegemonic developments which all make Nigeria a wonderful place to behold.” Speaking further, Prof Yerima said, “the book serves as an inspirational work of art for those who are yet to physically see the country and as a great resource handbook for scholars and tourists who have come and must take something away from Nigeria”.
The exposition of our rich culture which was displayed in the book was a great delight to me. I hungrily consumed the book from cover to cover and could not resist going through it again. One wondered how a country richly blessed could still lack!
The traditional images are blended with modern ones which accounts for the story of cultural pluralism in sharp, clean professionally produced photos. History of the founding fathers of Nigeria like the great Herbert Samuel Heelas Macauley, Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo and others with their currencies and mausoleum was showcased.
It is not all about pictures and history alone, it is also educative. For instance, I learnt through this same book that the site of the first public tap was commissioned in July 1915 by Lord Lugard who wedded Nigeria together in 1914. The site was at EnuOwa/Docemo/Princess Street, Lagos Island.
That Christianity came into the Northern part of Nigeria in 1899 through British Missionaries who came into Zaria. The group of five led by Bishop Jugwell, Dr Miller, Rev Dudley Rider, Mr Burgin and Rev Richardson before coming to Nigeria learnt Hausa Language in Tripoli through Nigeria Hausa pilgrimage who usually had a stopover during their journey by foot to the Holy land of Saudi Arabia. It showcases the Palace of Oba of Lagos built by the Portuguese in 1705 among others. The palaces of the various Obas, Emirs, Obis are tourists delight anyday. Looking at the pictures in the book, one would feel the ego of being a Nigeria, the sense of pride- and that of patriotism to reclaim a motherland of greatness. At every point, the book introduces topic, it will educate and enlighten the reader about a specific history. For instance, the reminder of the fact that the first administrative capital of modern Nigeria was Lokoja, Kogi State. The highest peak in Nigeria is ChappalWaddi (mountain of Death) which measures 2419metres above sea level and located in the Southern sector of the Gashaka Gumti National Park in Taraba State.The finding of archaeologists which shows that Ile-Ife in Osun State has been occupied since 800 BC.
Indeed, NTDC with this book and the eBiz Guides City book packaged together should be commended.
Apart from the fact that Tourism is life showcases Nigeria potentials in tourism, the eBiz Guides of Lagos and Abuja is a total package of the economic activities and diversity of the major hub of economic capital of the country. It is an overview of all the business sectors, giving information and basic facts about the different companies. It is another landmark achieved by the NTDC under the leadership of Otunba Runsewe. Little wonder, the former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo commended Otunba Runsewe, describing him as an icon who has taken tourism and hospitality industry to great heights in the country. He said if Nigeria desires to do something seriously about tourism development, “you need an energetic, enthusiastic and rightly-oriented young man like Runsewe to fan the embers of our interests in tourism and encourage all of us to appreciate our environment. He is a man with passion and commitment for the industry”.
Adelaja is the Secretary of The Guild of Tourism Journalists of Nigeria.
Culled from Tribune
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