Pilot Film & Television Productions, producers of the highly acclaimed travel documentary series Globe Trekker are currently producing the fourteenth series of the show - and they are hoping to feature Nigeria as one of their travel destinations. They want to find out as much as possible about the country, and are hoping that villagers might be able to help me out with some contacts and story ideas in Nigeria.
The following is the document villagers collectively put together.
1. Lagos State
Lagos (Eko in the local language)
The city takes its name from Portuguese for lagoon, has been a Yoruba port, a British political centre and until 1991, was Nigeria’s capital city. It remains the economic and cultural powerhouse of the country, and has a superb live music scene and West Africa’s most inimitable street life. It’s the world’s 2nd largest city in the world (after Mexico city)
Nightlife: Vital nightlife, responsible for giving us Afrobeat, Juju, Fuji music, among others. You can get a lesson on African drums, meet the Afrobeat maestro Femi Kuti, son of the Afrobeat legend Fela. Also pay a visit to Motherlan' nightclub wher Lagbaja, the Masked One and one of Nigeria's most enigmatc artistes holds court.
- Crime/ Area Boys
Nollywood: Lagos serves as one of the main centers of the production and distribution of Nigerian home videos (the home video industry is collectively referred to as 'Nollywood'). Surulere, a Lagos suburb, serves as one of the main centres of production. Many videos are sold in Idumota, another suburb.
Fashion: Jewel By Lisa: Young trendy designer who uses traditional ankara fabrics and motifs
Transport: get a lift on a “mammy wagon”: truck with wooden barriers that sometimes carries passengers
Eyo MasqueradeThe Eyo Masquerade Festival or Adamu Orisha Play is an annual parade of masquerades who are supposed to be embodiments of the ancestral spirits of Lagosians. There are five major Eyo groups and each Lagos family has an Eyo tradition. The Eyos are identified by the colours of the Eyo Hat. The Eyos are dressed in white flowing robes and no part of their bodies is visible to the onlooker. He carries a staff called 'Opa mbata' which is used to salute, acknowlege or chastise depending on the circumstances. Eyo masquerade speaks a ventriloqual voice, suggesting that he was not human and also that he represents the spirit of a departed person. The Eyo symbolizes the arrival on earth of the spirit; in view of this believe, when one meet an Eyo and greet himwith the words :‘Agogoro Eyo’ , he is expected to respond thus: Mo yo fun e, mo yo funra mi. In the past, Eyo outings were characterised by confrontations between the rival houses and beatings of the public especially those who did not respect the Eyos by walking barefooted and removing their head coverings. The Head of the Eyos is Eyo Adimu, the most powerful.
Ogboni CultThe Ogboni Cult which used to be all-powerful in Yorubaland prior to colonization has witnessed a resurgence in its powers and membership. In the traditional administrative system, the Ogboni was a secret fraternity which regulated behavior, established norms and disciplined erring members of the society. It was decried as western culture became assimilated for its predilection for human sacrifice and occult practice. Today, membership spreads across yorubaland into Edo State and as far as Eastern Nigeria. In response to its banning in the height of colonialism and in response to the exclusion by the whites of Africans from Freemasonry, the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity (ROF) was formed by an Anglican Priest Reverend Ogunbiyi. It is a christian and reorganized form of the fraternity. Ogboni Art in the form of wooden and brass sculptures is highly collectible and rare. It is characterized by the raised triangular eyes and representation of the twin male and female deities (ibeji). Both Ogboni movements have their Headquarters in Lagos.
Slave Museum: This is the most important site for slavery in Nigeria. The slave museum is located close to the beach where around 500,000 slaves between the 16th and 18th centuries were packed into ships for the transatlantic voyage to the New World. The museum houses chains and shackles, whips, and dungeons where the slaves were kept under control. It is also possible to see the port from where the slaves embarked on their journey, where there is evidence of canons, the ‘point of no return’, the slave route, the slave market where captives were bought and sold, the well where slaves were able to drink, the European cemetery.
Possible contributors: Descendants (great-great grandchildren) of the Mobee family and William Seriki Abbas family, who were important slave traders (able to visit their ‘compounds’).
Bamtgose Mates, a descendant of a liberated slave who made it back from the New World to Nigeria, can be interviewed.
The King of Badagry can be interviewed and can explain the town’s past. Black Heritage Festival This is a yearly week-long festival organized by the Lagos State Government to commemorate Slavery. It involves cultural displays, Boat regattas and visits to Slavery sites and thte Museum of Slavery relics.
Olumo Rock Abeokuta (under the Rock), the State Capital derives its name from this giant rock which served as a shelter for the settlers during the period of the Yoruba Civil wars in the late 18th and 19th Centuries. The Rock has been turned into a modern tourist center and can be climbed manually or ascended by a lift. Abeokuta is also the home of the Tie and Dye and Batik fabrics which have become the rage among Diaspora Africans.
Bilikisu SungboAn Ancient Ijebu Queen who constructed the largest ditch fortification called Eredo, known to Africa is also reputed to be the Queen of Sheba of the Bible and Koran who sent so much gold as dowry to her husband-to be King Solomon, that her tale has been handed down for centuries. The fortificationwhich spans more than 40square kilometers and is about 150 kilometers long is up to 20meters deep in places It. has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
[*]Idanre HillsIdanre Hills is one of the most awesome and beautiful natural landscapes in Ondo State and Nigeria. Added to its beauty which fires human curiosity is the fact that the entire people of Idanre lived on these boulders for almost a millennium. There is a yearly hill climbing Festival which was won recently by a ten year old boy who beat expatriate climbers with abseiling equipment to the top.
4. Osun State
Erin-Ijesha - Olumirin waterfalls. A breathtaking seven-level waterfall whose charm and tourism potential is underestimated.
Ile-Ife Cradle of the Yoruba. One account nof the origin of the Yoruba traces the founder, Oduduwa to Ile-Ife. where he is reputed to have descended from heaven. The King of Ife, the Oni is traditionally the custodian of the Rituals of Yorubaland. Ife is the site of a curious monument, a obelisk called 'Opa Oranmiyan'. Near the top of the monolith are Egyptian hieroglyphics. This seems to lend credence to the theory that the Yoruba had at sometime migrated from Yemen in the Arabic peninsula through Eqypt.
Oshogbo:Cradle of Yoruba art. Visit the massive sculptures and the monumental shrine to the river goddess Osun. Site of thriving art colony, including the home of the eccentric Austrian artist Suzanne Wenger and her husband; she revived the cult of Osun and remained an Osun priestess till she died. Also well-known Nigerian artists like Twin Seven Seven.
Arts & Craft: Born into a family of craftspeople in 1951 Nike Okundaye-Davies learned how to dye and weave from her great grandmother. Today she is the custodian of ancient Nigerian techniques, such as painting on cloth with cassava and traditional dyeing techniques. Today, she runs a cultural centre that teaches these methods to young Nigerians and gives workshops to international audiences on Nigerian textiles.
Ibadan Juju market, near Oshobogo: One of the biggest markets; chat to market mammas and meet a Juju witchdoctor who can explain traditional charms.
3. Kwara State
Ilorin is the capital city of Kwara state, and neighboring towns include Offa, Omu-Aran, Omupo and Igbaja.
Visitors: Ilorin people are very friendly and accommodating of visitors, evidenced by the array of languages you are wont to hear in social gatherings.
Learning Centers: The University of Ilorin is one of the best in Nigeria, and has attracted the services of high caliber professors like the late Prof Zulu Sofola (The Wizard of Law, Old Wines are Tasty, Wedlock of the Gods,…), Prof. Olu Obafemi (Dark Times are Over, Nigeria Has no Gender,…), and the Late Prof. Dopemu (NTA).
Pre-tertiary institutions: Roemichs and Effective are two institutions that have picked up where Abdul Azeez Attah, St. Joseph, Trinity and Olumawu, alumni of which are excelling in their chosen careers, left off.
Cleanliness: Ilorin has been listed as the cleanest city in Nigeria, with dumpsters at strategic locations for people to make use of.
Traffic: Traffic in Ilorin is any driver’s pleasure. Traffic congestion is the exception, as are pot holes on the roads.
Where to Shop: JMK (boutique, unisex salon, supermarket and restaurant), Gomola (supermarket, restaurant), Linos (restaurant), Royals (eatery) and Brunch Café (eatery).
Fashion: Salons include the Ghanaian owned Fumbert and JMK.
Fun: Places to relax in include the Ariya Garden located inside of Kwara Hotels and Bekandims Resort
Lodging: Places to lodge in include Kwara Hotels, Roemichs and Excellence. Have a taste for Ponmo (Cow Skin)? Let the students of the University of Ilorin treat you to a sumptuous bowl of Ponmo pepper soup off campus. Any bonafide student of unilorin knows exactly where to take you. People have been known to travel to Ilorin from Maiduguri for Ponmo.
The home of the famous Okin biscuit. As okin is said to be the leader amongst birds, Okin is the leader amongst biscuits in Nigeria.
4. Ekiti State
Ikogosi Warm Springs
Experience the mystery of Ikogosi Warm Springs, where cold and warm water originating from separate sources join in a confluence but retain separate temperatures.
The springs are located in Ekiti West Local Government and the facilities (well-maintained chalets, a restaurant and a warm spring swimming pool) and the tranquillity of the valley in which the Springs are located provide a conducive atmosphere for tourists who throng Ikogosi all year round.
Hausa Fulani territory. Predominantly Islamic. Walled old city quarters found in Zaria, Katsina and Kano.
Kaduna State Kajuru Castle is not an ancient monument because it was built in 1978 by a controversial German expatriate living in Kaduna. The style is very European and clearly German with a baronial hall, complete with suits of armour. There are bedrooms that look like dungeons and several towers with crenulated walls. Once you are there, beware the crocodiles in a pit protecting the huge castle like gates! The views of the surrounding mountains are terrific and obviously that is why it was sited here.
Farin Ruwa FallsThe Farin Ruwa Waterfalls Resort is located in Wamba local government area, some 120 km from the state capital, Lafia. This is the most magnificent waterfalls in Nigeria. The water falls from a height of 150 metres. It is about 50 metres wide. A golf course is nearing completion. The state government has also embarked on the construction of modern chalets. Farin Ruwa is also the site of the state hydroelectric independent power plant.
4. Jos, Plateau State Located on a high plateau, this tin mining town, the capital city of Plateau State, makes for pleasant respite from the hot plains because of its very temperate weather. Sample local cuisine. Hike to nearby Wikki warm springs, crystal clear 31C mineral water,
Visit the Jos Wildlife Park where tourists can encounter animals such as lions, elephants, hippos and crocodiles.
Shere Hills: one of the highest points in Nigeria, a great place to go hiking. Americans and Europeans would like this location as the climate is more akin to what we find out here. There used to be a major Man-O-War camp at the location I do not know if it still exists.
Kurra Falls: Some great water falls in Jos.
The Museum of Traditional Nigerian Architecture for building geeks.
Formerly the largest of the ancient Hausa cities, Kano is today Nigeria's third-largest city. It is also the oldest city in West Africa (it was founded about 1400 years ago). It was a major crossroads in the trans-Saharan trade routes and, from the Middle Ages, an important centre for Islamic scholarship. As the capital city of a sharia state,c alcohol was officially banned in 2004, though you can still get a drink in the Christian quarters.
Kano & Zaria: Durbar celebrations: This are held yearly when the various Emirs come to pay homage to the paramount ruler, there are parades from each community and horseback riding to demonstrate the power and prowness of the people. very colorful event, though in the HOT sun!
Kurmi Market has many tourist souvenirs, including the richly embroidered Fulani horse blankets and decorations used at festivals.
Dye pits (Kofar Mata), still in use and apparently some of the oldest in Africa, are interesting
Emir's Palace is an outstanding example of Hausa architecture.
Chafe: Fulani village. Watch warriors getting ready for their traditional fights. Fulanis are a tall, aristocratic tribe (like Masai), they weave their hair into plaits and mark their bodies and faces. Eat with the Fulani at a campfire. Watch a bride choosing ceremony or a manhood contest in which the bravest are beaten with sticks without flinching. Learn how to make a Nigerian Pot from Fulani women. Watch cattle herders on the move as we drive off.
6. Zaria, Kaduna State
Walled city that retains much of its old character and has a fine mosque and Emir's Palace.
7. Katsina, Katsina State
Another magical walled city on edge of Sahara. Visit the Emir’s Palace and Gobarau Tower (tallest mud tower in Africa). Watch Sallah Durbar festival here. Get a riding lesson from one of the Emir’s horsemen. Dress up in the traditional robes or Nigerian turban. Meet one of the Emir’s attendants and hear the ancient legends and customs surrounding him.
Bauchi:Yankari Game Reserve, this is reputed to be Nigerians number one tourist attraction and has featured vistors from over 100 countries. Highlights are walking amongst the animals and also the natural warm spring swimming pool.
Sokoto / Kebbi: Argungu Fishing festival: Also an internationally recognized event. The river is closed for most of the year to allow the fishes to grow. What is amazing about this "fishing festival" is the location! More or less in the Sahara Desert! There are various competitions that take place during the festival, swimming, traditional boxing, duck catching, archery et al. Its a bit of a rowdy event, but it appears to be getting better organized each year.
The Eastern highlands are the most spectacular highland landscape in Nigeria. Rolling grasslands, deep wooded valleys, waterfalls. Largest mountain in Nigeria.
8. Calabar, Cross River
The capital city of Cross River State, Calabar has historically been Nigeria’s most prosperous city. It was once Nigeria’s biggest slave port and later became a major exporter of palm oil.
Best culinary reputation in Nigeria; saying goes that if a Calabar woman cooks for you, you’ll never leave town. Try local favourites like Calabar soup with periwinkles; dog meat is also a local speciality!
Take a ‘fly boat’ through dense mangrove greenery to Creek Town with an intimate village atmosphere. Some houses have factories producing palm oil using antiquated C19 mills from UK. Try palm wine at one of the bars, accompanied by monkey meat
Slave Museum: The museum is housed in the old government house, the former residence of the colonial governor. Very extensive museum on trading, missionaries and colonials. Also colonial architecture in Calabar town and the old cemetery.
9. Cross River National Park
Almost entirely rainforest. WWF recently discovered at least four separate gorilla populations in the Okwangwo division of the park. Take to the hiking trails with an expert and spot gorillas.
- Nigeria’s female football team. Won 1998 African Cup
- sharia law
- Witness the mix of Gospel and animistic spirituality in weird cultish church meetings
Zuma and Aso Rocks in Abuja, the granite rock formations in the area and great.
The Sungbo Eredo walls of Ijebu-Ode, also called the Queen of Sheba walls. I am not sure this site has been developed as a tourist location yet. But the story links the people to Queen Sheba.
Olumo Rock in Abeokuta Ile-Ife, for those interested in the Yoruba Divinity of course and also the famous wood carvings.
Also a visit to OAU Ife is always an architectural treat and they have their own Zoo, several Museums and conference center for accomodation. Which means we can't leave out the Bronze sulptures of the Benin people.
Nigeria's High Commissioner to Canada, Dr. Iorwuese Harry Hagher. A good resource person who has savvy in culture and tourism and may be easily accessible because he is in Canada...he can give them all the sources contacts and even open doors because that was what he taught as a professor. He was Director of the Benue Arts Council and had led the Benue Performing Arts Troupe..