After a break following the induction of new members into the Tourism 100 Club (Class of 2020) which took place early September, the Seven Wonders of Nigeria Zoom Conference resumed on November 14, 2020 with its 13th episode which was hosted live from Calabar, Cross River State.
The occasion marked the first time the show was hosted outside Lagos.
The panelists for the day included: travel journalist, Lucky George Onoriode, the publisher of African Travel Times; Atinuke Nwakohu, CEO of Aviator Travels and the intrepid Omotoke Fatoki, popularly known as Alarinka.
The show began with a clip of the recent familiarisation tour and fact finding mission to ascertain the present state of Obudu Mountain Resort in Cross River State.
Host of the webinar and organiser of the Seven Wonders of Nigeria project, Ambassador Ikechi Uko led the team of tour operators and travel journalists from Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Calabar to get a first hand account of the situation and it was clear to all that, Obudu Mountain Resort is welll on its way to reclaiming its lost glory.
Among the destinations unveiled were several popular ones and a few new ones. For instance, Lucky George highlighted the Kusugu Well in Daura, Katsina State in Northern Nigeria.
According to legend, a large serpent called Sarki stayed at the well and made access to water difficult for the people.
A prince of Baghdad named Bayajidda came to town and slew the snake and was celebrated by the people.
He married the princess and had seven legitimate sons known as the Hausa Bokwai who became founders of Seven Hausa states. Bayajidda also another group of seven illegitimate sons called the Banza Bokwai who founded seven other states.
Meanwhile, the CEO of Aviator Travels, Mrs. Nwakohu gave a detailed presentation unveiling a couple of new attractions in Kwara State, such as: Mungo Park Monument, Succoth Gardens, and Okuta Ilorin, a granite boulder on which knives, axes, and such were sharpened.
Another new site unveiled by her is the Imoleboja Rock Shelter which served as a safety hide-out for local maidens protesting against their peers who engaged in pre-marital relations and become pregnant.
Omotoke Fatoki unveiled the Larmurde Hot Springs, about 120km from Yola, capital of Adamawa State.
She described it as the hottest water spring she has come in contact with.
Speaking further, she described the Farin Ruwa waterfalls in Wamba LGA of Nasarawa State as the most beautiful fall in Nigeria, choosing it as her favourite.
On her part, Atinuke Nwakohu mentioned several waterfalls, such as: Ero Omola, Awoyaya and Owu all in Kwara State, as well as Ero Dam, Arinta Waterfalls and Ikogosi Warm Springs in Ekiti State.
A piece of information she shared about the famous warm springs piqued the curiosity of the male audience – and some women too. According to her, the waters have the ability to help men ‘below the waist’ – sort of like a liquid viagra.
Idanre Hills was another place that got a mention as Lucky George gave some interesting facts about the famous rock settlement in Ondo State. According to him, it was only in 1948 that the locals came down from the top to settle at the foot of the hills, after several years.
He also highlighted some similarities between Idanre and the Sukur Cultural Landscape in Adamawa State.
Meanwhile, Madam Nwakohu also took the audience down south to Rivers, her matrimonial state, showcasing several interesting attractions such as: Isaac Boro Gardens, Port Harcourt Cultural Centre, Pleasure Park, Golf course, Bonny Island and the urban regeneration Rebisi Bridge, as well as the Bole Street festival.
Her elaborate presentation also included Olosunta Orole Hills of Ikere, Ekiti State.
Others include: Emir’s Palace, the majestic Central Mosque built in 1981 with a capacity for 20,000 worshippers. There’s also Sheikh Alimi’s Mosque, built around 1831 by the founder of the Ilorin Emirate; the 18-hole Ilorin Golf course, the all-female run Dada Pottery Centre, Esie Museum, University of Ilorin Zoological Gardens all in Kwara State; and popular spots in Lagos such as Lekki Conservation Centre, etc.
Meanwhile, Omotoke Fatoki spoke glowingly about Gembu or Mambilla Plateau in Sardauna LGA of Taraba State. With an astonishing landscape, Gembu is the coldest place in Nigeria. The town of Kakara on the Mambilla Plateau is home to the biggest tea plantation, and it is also the only highland tea plantation in West Africa.
The Mambilla is teeming with as much as twenty attractions, including waterfalls and more.
While the locals are welcoming, Ms. Fatoki thinks there is a need to tighten security in the area.
Also, she admitted that access is difficult because of the bad road.
Meanwhile, Lucky George capped off his presentation by mentioning the famous Obudu Mountain Resort, giving the audience a bit of history about the place.
According to him, he was involved with the initial transformation when African Sun took over the management of the old Obudu Cattle Ranch, and the name was changed to Obudu Mountain Resort.