Canadian diplomat recommends Ekiti cuisine at Tourism Bazaar

Ekiti State has continued to be in the news for positive reasons since Mr. Biodun Oyebanji assumed office as the state’s governor.

The state was in the news as the Safest State in Nigeria, void of insurgencies, banditry, and other forms of insecurity, according to the StatiSense 2022 report.

Ekiti State also ranked number one in the Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Index—Accessibility, Open Budget, Public Procurement, Human Resources, Anti-Corruption and Citizens Engagement—in the Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch 2203 report.

This time, it was brightly shown at the 2023 Tourism Bazaar organized by the Canadian Embassy in Nigeria, which was held on Thursday, December 14, 2023, at the embassy in Lagos.

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Led by the Director-General, Bureau of Tourism, Ekiti State, Amb Wale Ojo-Lanre, Esq., the Ekiti State Tourism stand was a melting point for participants, both local and international, at the tourism bazaar.

Among the visitors to the Ekiti Tourism Stand were the Deputy High Commissioner, C. J. Scott, and the First Secretary/CBSA Liaison Officer of the Deputy High Commission of Canada, Robert Lidstone, M. A., who was well-enlightened about the breathtaking landscapes, historical sites, rainforests, and rich cultural heritage that await exploration.

Amb. Ojo-Lanre then treated the diplomats to the pounded yam, the cultural cuisine brand in Ekiti State, which was prepared by members of the Ekiti tourism delegation for the event earlier in the morning at the venue of the exhibition, with Ira soup.

Talking about his experience of the food, Robert Lidstone said, “This is simply delicious—very fluffy and succulent, with such a sumptuous soup. I am willing to eat it again.”

The Canadian Deputy High Commissioner, C. J. Scott, who disclosed that she was just eating the Ekiti local cuisine for the first time, described the experience as one of the best he has had in Nigeria.

“The Ekiti delegation at this bazaar is fantastic, which I will attribute to the representation of the people of the state. This food is simply excellent, fluffy, and sumptuous. With all the pictorial and virtual presentations of the tourist sites, culture and tradition, and investment opportunities I have seen here, Ekiti is great, a paragon of tourism,” Scott affirmed.

Many other participants in the Ekiti Tourism Stand, including Ekiti in the Diaspora, also commended the delegation’s presentations and the agrarian efforts of Governor Oyebanji to position the state as the Nigerian tourism pride.

In his goodwill speech, Amb. Ojo-Lanre, who expressed warm greetings from Governor Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji and the good people of Ekiti State, the land of honor and integrity, extended his appreciation to the Canadian Embassy for organizing this remarkable bazaar.

“This event not only serves as a platform for promoting and showcasing tourism, cultural values, and investment opportunities, but it also serves as a lubricating jelly to strengthen the bond between Canada and Ekiti State, South West, Nigeria,” he said.

He then informed the gathering that “it is only in Ekiti that you can find two springs, one warm and the other cold, flowing side by side and meet at a confluence, with each one maintaining its status quo ante without mixing up! This is the wonderful Ikogosi Warm and Cold Spring located in Ikogosi, Ekiti. It is only in Ekiti State that you can find a rock, Abanijorin Rock, located in Iyin Ekiti, that harbors within its bowels a natural amphitheater with a set of stone seats neatly arranged for over 220 guests. This rock also has, as side attractions, an understock tunnel, seven caves, and a plateau top that can accommodate 40 choppers. This is apart from the most spectacular waterfall in Nigeria, called Arinta Waterfall, located in Ipole-lloro-Ekiti.

“Ekiti State is also unique as the only state located on hills, encompassed by hills, and most perfect for mountain hiking. Most importantly, Ekiti State is the only state in Nigeria with the most pleasant and vibrant people who eat pounded yam three times daily and still parading the highest number of professors and educated people, which earns it the sobriquet of ‘the Fountain of Knowledge. It is also credited with having one of the best soils that can grow any crop, especially the Ise-Emure Ekiti axis. It also harbors mineral resources like kaolin and gold, and its forest harbors chimpanzees and hosts over 660 species of butterflies.”

Ojo-Lanre noted that the bazaar creates a wonderful opportunity for the awesome people of Canada, Canadian investors, and tourists to witness firsthand the marvel that Ekiti State offers.

“As the Director-General of the Bureau of Tourism Development, I have a vision of creating a symbiotic relationship between Ekiti State and Canada. By fostering collaboration, we can harness the tremendous potential of tourism and cultural exchange programs.”

This event serves as a catalyst for both parties to come together, share ideas, and build partnerships that can extend beyond our borders.

Amb. Ojo-Lanre also noted that Ekiti State is eager to embrace the Canadian business community. We believe that by joining hands, we can foster mutual growth and development.

“Our state offers a conducive environment for investment, with favorable policies being planted by Governor Biodun Oyebanji, who is the first Governor of his team to have successfully inaugurated the Independent Power Project (IPP), thereby making available a 24-hour power supply in his state, planting sustainable infrastructure, building internal road networks, constructing a ring road and a kilometer overhead bridge, planting a knowledge zone, building a skilled workforce, and protecting lives and property in the state. Together, we can tap into the untapped opportunities that lie within our tourism sector and create a thriving economy that is beneficial for both nations.”

He then applauded the Canadian Embassy for its unwavering commitment to fostering cultural exchange by showcasing “our cultural values at this bazaar. We can promote understanding, appreciation, and tolerance between our people. Through cultural exchange programs, we can create a bridge that transcends geographical boundaries and unites us in our shared humanity.”

Ojo-Lanre also appreciated the Canadian Embassy for organizing the bazaar, saying that the “efforts have not only provided a platform to showcase the tourism potential, cultural values, and investment opportunities of Ekiti and other states, but they have also laid the foundation for a long-lasting partnership between Ekiti State and Canada.”

Onimesi Imesi Cultural Troupe thrilled the royal highnesses, representatives of the Canadian government in Nigeria, and the diplomatic community with their singing and chanting in the Ekiti dialect. This further electrified the event.
The Ekiti contingent at the Bazaar includes Mrs. Mopelola Owoeye, Executive Secretary Development Ope Sanni, Peculiar Ekiran Femi Ogunsola, Jinadu Olaoluwa, Sanni Friday, Bolarinwa Oselusi received patrons and patronage.
The delegates to the Bazaar also include members of the private sector, Dayo Olujekun, Deputy General Manager, Ikogosi Warm Spring, and Mr. Francis Owoeye Sovenir Creative Artisan! Trainer Mr. Kehinde Olatoye, Ministry of Investment, Ekiti, Members of NANTA, Mr. Sunday Olaolorun and Mr Yusuf Olanrewaju, the Onimesi Musical Ensemble, Wuraola Lasore Team, Artdagunodo Gallery, Enudunjuyo and a donation of mat made souvenirs by the Olupoti of Ipoti Ekiti, Oba Kola Dipo

Other exhibitors at the event included Siles Creative Consult, Lucky L, River State Culture and Tourism, Hope4sure Foundation, Site Creative Consult, African Canada Investment Summit, Akwa Ibom State, Lagos State, Ogun State, SmallyFares Ltd, Wikie Arts, JNC International Liired, Musry Clothing, and Mobkilishi

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