Categories
Lifestyle

National Museum of Unity: A Mausoleum for Nigerians’ Antiquity

Seye Fakinlede

After days of careful thoughts, I decided to pen my experience at the National Museum of Unity, Ibadan, which houses a collection of forgotten culture; tradition and history as each compartment acting as some resting home for our once loved artifacts as well as fast-fading away identity and truth.

I found my way to the museum even though it was threatening to rain that Thursday. And it was quite easy to locate as passers-by and the bike man were maps.

Its environment was serene, only for some audible religious activity coming from a small amphitheater, adjacent the main entrance to the gallery. Soon, my tour began from one section to another with a plump beautiful woman who became my tour guide.

Museums are time machines and truth centres that can give you a different outlook, a change in perspective and a better appreciation of one’s history and tradition.

I discovered that…

The 2-3 hours movement from one segment to another was enough to re-orientate, learn, unlearn and re-learn a lot about Nigeria’s cultures, places, people, and traditions.

Although, the largest collection asides the musical instruments are the earthen wares for various purposes, sadly, most of these things have been regarded local, uncivilized and worst of all, fetish.

A tour around the museum indicated that Nigeria was once largely into the production of pottery, thereby appreciating every form of it. There is pottery for everything, like cooking, preservation, eating, storage, refrigeration, carriage, dirt, including special potteries for rituals.

Although, presently, few people are still involved in this craft as pottery purchase is mainly for decoration; and are no longer considered for utensils or any of the aforementioned usage.

The National Museum of Unity, Ibadan is built on the principle of constantly reminding citizens of the things that binds us together as Nigerians. Emphasis is based on the fact that sounds from the hides and strings are universal, no matter the region it comes from in Nigeria. And despite the different shapes, designs, size and length, they produce same musical sounds when blown or beaten.

The museum has a special stand to represent this called, “The Unity Stand”.

Also, I discovered that working in a museum or visiting one, has the tendency to help relearn and unlearn if you are open minded.

Remember the plump beautiful woman? Yes, she is an example.

She says, “I used to have some crazy ideas about our culture but since I started working in this museum, I have understood some things better …we have allowed our newly found religion to sweep our culture underneath the carpet.”

I guess this explains why people visit (and they should visit) historical sites not just for sight-seeing but to reaffirm or affirm a belief, be wiser , better informed and know what’s up.

The effigy of a onetime wealthy and scholarly Yoruba monarch, Oba Abimbola of Ijebu Remo was another discovery.

According to history, his regalia were made of about 7 million beads just to differentiate himself from the other monarchs. History has it that it took him five years to complete this rare robe. He was a retired policeman.

You would also learn that indigenous Nigerians have medicine for every ailment and solution for every issue even though many consider the processes fetish. From barrenness, impotency, child bearing, malaria, sickle cell, knowing ones path for life and the lists goes on.

Answers and solutions are either carried out by simple ritual dance, àwúre (prayers), ìwèréré (good behavior) or àṣèje (concoction) as directed by the deities when consulted.

Seye Fakinlede, Unity Museum, Ibadan

Tips when visiting the National Museum of Unity

It is very important to be open minded towards learning about the culture, people and history of Nigerians.once you decide to visit the National Museum of Unity, Ibadan. In case you consider visiting the museum for the first time, the following tips should help: The entrance fee is #200. Do note that pictures with phones are not allowed in the gallery. The museum is opened from 9 am till 5 pm.

Also, you should prepare to ask questions. The curators are very much open to answer all your questions, and they are sincere if they can’t answer any at that time.

Looking at how one of the major purpose of visiting is to have a bit of history, get writing materials or at least make an audio recording as you journey through the compartments

Final thoughts

The beauty of traveling to some destinations is to know, see, then listen.

The price for “civilization” involves trading then shaming some aspects of culture, tradition ,and crafts and no nation remains the same if these things are lost or abandoned.

But is abandoning ones way of life “civilization?

At first, I sincerely find this challenging because of the no picture rule (A rule in most museums) thinking of how best to relay a message but thank goodness I didn’t undermine the power of words.

However, you can always visit the National Museum of unity, Ibadan to see these bits of history, culture, and practices laid to “rest” . Perhaps then, you would see that they were once Nigeria’s and similarly Africa’s treasures laid to rest for new ways.

____________________________________________________________________________

This Article was first published on https://sasedotng.wordpress.com/author/sasaycom/

Categories
Lifestyle

Victor Gbenga Afolabi: Africa’s Culture and Art is the Gateway to a Buoyant Tourism Destination

The Chief Executive Officer of GDM group, Hazon Holdings and Founder of Eko Innovation Center, Victor Gbenga Afolabi in this interview with The Parakeet Show speaks on his journey into becoming a successful serial entrepreneur as well as the enormous potentials of the country’s Culture and Tourism space. Happiness Irabor presents the excerpts:

Tell us a bit about your background and journey into becoming an entrepreneur

I got my Bachelors Degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where I studied pharmacy, and then moved on to a Master’s Degree in Managerial Psychology from the University of Ibadan in 2016, as well as an MBA from Manchester Business School in 2018. I am also an alumnus of Lagos Business School as well as the Advertising Practitioner Council of Nigeria, which has been of great help towards my entrepreneurship journey over the years.

Currently I find myself playing in the various key sectors of the economy where we have been able to make a lot of social economic impact.

What brought about the drive to establish Eko Innovation Centre and how has the innovation hub been able to support curators thus far?

My passion for creating enterprises of the future led to me founding the Eko Innovation Center which is basically a place where we accelerate technology driven innovative ideas by providing curators with access to capital, mentor-ship schemes, and all the support structures required to help businesses grow.

We have been able to identify the various vital sectors of the economy in which we are interested in accelerating innovations and enterprises that are adding value to the country and citizens.

Also, we are delighted to have partnered with the Lagos state government last year in an attempt to get the state government to handshake with the ecosystem of innovators, hubs and enterprise curators through design thinking sessions, in order to co create and accelerate innovations and startups.

Thus, we have been working on accelerating enterprises to their maximum potentials by providing all the required support needed to upscale. We have provided mentor-ship and hand holding initiatives, as well as the funding needed for the startups to become sustainable businesses.

At the Eko Innovation Centre we have an ideology of concept to commercialization. We believe it is okay to have an idea if you are ready to work towards making that idea a reality and available for patronage. It is in view of this we are ready to work with entrepreneurs and startups to support them with generating structure and funding that would sustain-ably develop the businesses across the various sectors of the country’s economy.

Also, remember that the innovation center is just 7 months old and yet we have been able to contribute quite a lot to the development of the Eco system.

How do you think innovators and curators can infuse African Culture into their solutions and enterprises in order to yield greater results?

One of the authentic things I believe Africa has is her Art and culture, which makes it a perfect tourism destination for local and foreign investors.

Her culture and Art is the gateway to a buoyant industry called, Tourism. Thus, we need to study the sector more in order to understand and harness its enormous potentials. Entrepreneurs should be able to build their business module in such a way that they tap into and leverage on the enormous potentials the sector has.

We have a very diverse, beautiful and rich culture that the whole world looks at and admires; so, it is up to us to leverage on it and create standard and conducive destination experiences for indigenous and foreigners across the globe that are looking to invest towards the sustainable development of our Society.

Meanwhile, on our part, we are working on a global Jazz Festival called, Runway Jazz because we know when you integrate Art and culture, into a business, you are projecting such enterprise for long term growth and higher yields.

Victor Gbenga Afolabi

How can we harness the rich volume of innovators and curators in the country and change young entrepreneurs’ mentality of selling off their ideas as a result of impatience and lack of access to capital?

That is why I created an enterprise that can mentor people, train and assist people to scale up. Young startups do not need to have such a mindset of selling off their ideas. Instead they should do the necessary ground work required to develop and accelerate such ideas into a sustainable and efficient innovation. Entrepreneurs need to have a long term perspective towards business and innovation.

One of the things that lead to that is when you do not see the potentials of what you posses. For instance; you are holding a seed and people tell you it is a mango seed and if you plant it, within five years it will be a mango tree and that mango tree will produce lot of mangoes that will last for the next ten years and you can then open a mango juice factory from the mango tree. Instead of working smart and being patient you decide to break open the mango seed and eat the nut instead of waiting five years to manufacture a mango juice factory.

What do you think is the level of innovation in Nigeria?

I think we are just scratching the surface, I think a lot of work needs to be done. We find some hubs which we think are not so vast in acceleration of innovative ideas, but rather, more into offering co working spaces. We think the business at hand is bigger than that. We think the real deal is how we create the mentor-ship and the hand holding experience for these entrepreneurs who are emerging into the economy as scalable businesses; how we can support startups to harness the tools required to change the lives of our people thereby, bringing out that local solutions that will transform the landscape which, is one of the major foundations upon which Eko Innovation Center was founded. Hence, it is okay to have an idea; it is okay to build castles in the air because we are ready to provide the pillars that would help the castles become a reality.