Stories by Jimoh Babatunde & Laide Akinboade
NIGERIA was the cynosure of all eyes Tuesday in Johannesburg, South Africa as the Nigeria tourism village built by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) to promote Nigeria at the ongoing world cup 2010 was opened.
President Jonathan who was represented at the occasion by the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Sadiq Abubakar Mohammed commended the Director General of NTDC, Segun Runsewe for the initiative, which he said is overwhelming and presented Nigeria in a positive light as it is design to draw the attention of the world to Nigeria.
â€˜I think the Nigeria village is there to convince the whole world that Nigeria after 50 years of independence has arrived. In this village we stand out clearly as the best. And what would follow in the next few weeks is something unimaginable as the greatest artistes of African are around here both in terms of the performing artistes and the Nollywood actors and actresses, said the president.
The president described the tourism village as one a very good opportunity to showcase Nigeria. â€˜This is an opportunity that would showcase Nigeria, this is a village that we hope would make the right impression of what Nigeria is.â€ The Nigeria envoy to South Africa, General (Rtd) Buba Mohammed Marwe who was also at the village said the DG of NTDC has done the country proud with the tourism village project.
â€˜It is a unique opportunity for Nigerians to feel that they are home away from home and also for non_Nigerians to come and have a feel of Nigeria, our culture, music, dance, food, Nollywood actors and actresses. It is wonderful and we are very happy that it is declared opened by the representative of Mr. President,â€ said Marwe.
The former Minister of Transport, Ebenezer Babatope and Chairman of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in his remarks said â€˜it is a good and commendable thing for NTDC to build this fantastic village not only to exhibit the culture of our people at home but also the tourism potentialities of the people called Nigerians. Anybody who sees what has been made of this place by the NTDC under Segun Runsewe would no doubt be happy that he is a Nigerian.â€
According to him, the tourism village has received the commendation of many cultural officers and enthusiasts across South Africa who has visited the place. â€˜I came here two days ago when it was under construction, I was here also yesterday and believe me it has been a talking point of those who in fact are very important in public relations and cultural matters in South Africa,â€ Said Babatope.
The tourism village, which is constructed by NTDC in the Africa village in Johannesburg, is being used as a platform to display Nigeria vast and rich culture with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), National Gallery of Art (NGA) and National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) displaying various materials on Nigeria alongside NTDC.
Also on parade are a host of Nollywood actress and actresses that include George Shan, Bob Manuel, Paul Adams and Bimbo Akintola and musical artistes such as T â€“ Mac, Yinka Ayefele, Sunny Nneji, Alariwo, Wande Cole and Yinka Davies while Abiodun (Abbey)Paul heads the list of comedians.