Goge Africa Worldwide Ltd., has kicked off its “Twin Towns” initiative, designed to connect communities across Nigeria based on shared or similar heritage.
Mrs Nneka Isaac-Moses, Managing Director, Goge Africa, said in a statement on Monday in Lagos, that the first set of twin towns were the ancient kingdoms of Badagry in Lagos State and Bonny in Rivers.
Isaac-Moses said that the Goge Africa team and a group of youths from Bonny had earlier visited the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. According to her, during the meeting, Mr Isaac Moses, Chief Executive Officer, Goge Africa, explained that though, both towns are separated by about 500km, they have a lot in common.
Isaac-Moses quoted Moses as saying that both seaside communities served as embarkation ports during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
She said Moses also noted that many centuries ago, Badagry and Bonny were important trading hubs known not only for their coconut plantations, but also for producing commercial quantities of salt.
“Historically, both towns were among the earliest to welcome the British and embrace Christianity; they were and still are both renowned for their rich cultural heritage.
“With these striking parallels, Goge Africa is happy and proud to be the bridge that is about to connect both communities,” she quoted the chief executive officer, Goge Africa, as saying.
Moses had explained that the “Twin Towns” project was initiated as part of a two-week tourism training programme in Lagos for 20 youths from Bonny Kingdom and sponsored by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Ltd.
He said this was in addition to an intensive a weeklong classroom sessions, adding that a key highlight of the training was organising a tour of established tourist attractions in Lagos State.
According to him, it was designed to introduce the trainees to the rich traditions and history of the host community and show aspects that closely match that of Bonny Kingdom. “While in Badagry, the group visited the Akran of Badagry, Mobee of Badagry, and Wawu of Badagry in their respective palaces. “In Topo Community, the Baale welcomed them with the awe-inspiring Zengbeto performance.
“The visit also included tours to slavery- and missionary-related landmarks in Badagry, including the state-owned Badagry Heritage Museum, Brazillian Baracoon, Mobee Family Slave Relics Museum, Vlekete Slave Market and premises of the first-storey building,” she said.
Receiving the Goge Africa team, Princess Adenike Adedoyin-Ajayi, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, commended the team’s efforts in facilitating the human capital development of the participants.
“The organisers have put a lot of thought into this and the least we can do as a ministry is to support them, because it is our mandate,” Adedoyin-Ajayi said.
She encouraged the trainees to use the opportunity provided by the training to identify where their passions lie and how they plan to fit it into the business of tourism, According to her, it is important that states work together to promote and project the best of Nigeria.
“We, Rivers and Lagos are not in competition, we have a duty to promote both destinations equally; when visitors come to Lagos, we can tell them to visit Bonny and vice versa, or any other parts of Nigeria for that matter.
“Though, we might belong to different states or ethnic groups, at the end of the day, we are all Nigerians,” she said.