Recently, friends and associates of Prince Huxley Adiniebo Unumadu, the poster boy of culture and tourism promotion in Delta state, threw a surprise birthday bash to celebrate his 52nd birthday anniversary.
This spectacular event, which is however restricted to a few selected number of people in respect to the COVID 19 protocol, took place at the newly opened Kayden’s lounge at the heart of Obiaruku town, the headquarters of Ukwuani Local Government Area.
Prince Huxley Adiniebo Unumadu is the Izomo of Umuebu kingdom, of Akashiede Dynasty. His Izomo Cultural Foundation (ICF) is in the forefront of researching and promoting Ukwuani Historical and Cultural life. The foundation, ICF, organizes his annual Izomo Festival, held in Umuebu Kingdom every year.
His Tourism and culture focused travel magazine is billed to debut in December, 2021.
Below are excerpts of the interview:
Question: In your little way, how have you been able to give the culture and Tourism industry in Delta State a boost?
Answer: Yes! In so many ways, I’ve made remarkable impact in my mission to promote culture and tourism in Nigeria, especially in Delta State.
First and foremost, I’ve been largely pro-culture in my physical appearances, in public events and official circles, I’ve been promoting African cultural attires and costumes in my personal out looks too. And in my capacity as a cultural brand, by creating and expanding the Mr. Tourism identity and cultural awareness and consciousness. And to a very large extent, I’ve created that identify.
Equally, people and organizations invite me to add cultural content and value to their events, especially public events that requires the input of our various cultural heritages and identities. When I attend traditional events like coronation of new kings or rulership anniversaries or even different festivals, which I’m invited by traditional rulers over the state and all over our nation; Nigeria, I bring along with me, my Izomo cultural regalia, comprising my physical official customs, dancers and trumpeters to add colour and cultural values to the events. By so doing, I’m in the central stage of promoting and enhancing social integration and unity of our various ethnic groups.
Equally, I’m the founder and current head of the Izomo cultural title holders of Edo and Delta States and our meetings and events bring about cultural integration of the various Izomo chieftaincies in our two sister states of Edo and Delta.
To a very large extent, therefore, I’ve taken the spot light in culture and Tourism promotion and apart from events like marriages, annual anniversaries, festivals etc, promoting culture and Tourism has taken me to a number of countries in Africa and Europe and the nook and crannies of Southern Nigeria.
But that notwithstanding, I’m still pained and deeply disappointed by the failure of the secessive governments in Edo and Delta State to give me the necessary support and open the window of opportunities for me to impact fully in the culture and tourism industries of the two state.
You can see that in Delta state for example, we still have a lot to do in pushing the frontiers of culture and tourism to enable the sub-sector play its role in uniting our people and clans. We still experience a case of brothers fighting each other in the name of communal clashed as they make claims of land ownership and so on, the modern state of tourism and cultural values have grown above that barbaric level of communal conflict to the extent of killing one another. That is a simple assignment for those of us in culture and tourism practice to handle. My Izomo foundation and of course our Izomo culture title holders association could handle this intervention effectively. It’s part of our traditional mandate to promote peace and harmony in our polity.
Question: What inspired your love for culture and tourism and how did you immerse yourself in promoting them?
Answer: My love and interest for culture and Tourism emanated mostly from my search for something that would constantly reflect my identity as a black man. As a black African. As somebody who is proud of his identity, his culture, his origin. You see the white man dress on suites. That is his cultural dressence. That is his identity as a white man. So, too, we must identify ourselves anywhere, anytime by our cultural dressence. Our outlook.
Equally, I got captured by the mysteries surrounding our traditional heritage, the history of wars of our fore-fathers, the stories of our ancient discoveries. These issues are like magnetic pull on me. Gradually, out of sheer curiosity in the entire fabrics of our traditional existence. When we look at our marriage, our languages, our proverbs and the values and ethics which guided the up bring of our fore-fathers, we discover that our ancient life have certain attributes that are superior to those of the white man who brought modern civilization to us.
Do you notice that our fathers were healthier and physically stronger than we are today? Do you notice that they lived longer and a better structured, better organized life than we’re living today? Can you see that they were guided by individual values, ethics and philosophies which made their life’s more valuable than what we have today? So, you see, these are the various issues of life that promoted ancient existence more than what obtains in modern life.
So, life in those days were more interesting, more valuable and much more better than the frustrations, stress and challenges that attack modern existence.
Therefore, following my continuous research and discoveries, I got challenged to immerse myself in promoting our cultural heritages and tourism potentials.
Question: Is government living up to expectation in Tourism and Culture Promotion?
Answer: No. it’s a big no and this is where we’ve failed as a nation in terms of uniting our peoples from different (multi-ethnic) backgrounds. This is why we have lost out on the concept of love, togetherness and the needed unity we require to build our nation. If our different layers of Government do the needful in terms of promoting Tourism and Culture, you’ll discover that there would be a greater level of social cultural, economic and political integration.
There would be peace and development will be raised because the private sector will come in to invest, social integration will bring about increase in the tourism section. You see that because of insecurity, the north has become completely locked up to non-northerners. Nobody wants to go to the northern part of Nigeria for any purpose because nobody really wants to submit his or her life to senseless killing.
Tourism and Culture are all about security, peace, unity and freedom to co-exist.
So also is about religion and spiritual life of the people which is very vital to them.
When some miscreants hide under the cover of a religion to commit horrible crimes against humanity, they unavoidably make the religion unpalatable to people who desires to reach and worship God through the religion. That, also, hinders religious tourism to any country which is not safe and which is ridden by violence senseless killings. If what is happening in Nigeria happens in Sandi Arabia and in Israel, who will visit the two countries in the name of pilgrimage?