I almost always keep a bag packed. It’s within the territory of being a professional wakaabout, wandering the world and seeking beautiful stories. I had to pack extra this time around because I have acquired a new wakaabout buddy, David, who I shall introduce to y’all soon and who is the reason why I ended up in a night bus owned by The Young Shall Grow transport company, a synonym for “Never Expect Anything Good From Mediocre Folk”, but this is a story for another day.
On Friday, 19th October 2018, I arrived in Uyo, supremely tired from the unexpected trials I faced while plying Nigeria’s death traps in a vehicle that should be sold off to people who make use of scrap metal. I was however, super excited. I checked into Luton Park Hotel, had a quick bath and tried to look like a snack before heading out to Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort in a taxi which happened to be an SUV provided by Luton Park Hotel.
David, my mom and I got to the Marina at Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, the venue for Ake Nnyin, and we were immediately engulfed by beautiful art. Fragile was performing her famous poem, “Sister Charity” and all that nighttime artsy ambience filled my heart with a desire to sit glued to a chair and not rise unless dragged from it. Other beautiful performances quickly followed; I got to watch Amarachi Atama do the chant poetry she is known for and Diana-Abasi weave a beautiful story from strands of Ibibio music, Ibibio dances and soul-stirring poetry. The Port Harcourt Literary Society Resident Poet, Chijioke Amu-Nnadi did one of his poems, a beautiful evocation of love-drenched feelings. And, I would be doing the good people of Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort a disservice if I neglect to mention the mouth-watering small chops they made available.
The first night ended well, and attendees were conveyed back to our different hotels.
The night was however not over for me. I had to confuse the calories. So after three plates of small chops and a bottle of soda, I took myself to the gym in the hotel by 11pm and I worked out till 12:01am. I then enjoyed a refreshingly hot bath and thanked God for beautiful things like art, nature, small chops and hotels with gyms.
The second day began with me trying to look less like a teddy bear and more like a meal. The American Style Tennis Tournament had started by the time we arrived at the Marina. I got to watch some of it, explore my surroundings and marvel at how much more can be done if Nigeria pays attention to the tourism potential in Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort. I took a ton of pictures and short walks to get a better feel of the environment.
By 4pm, after an interactive session which was very illuminating for me as a creative, we said our farewells and began to depart.
I left Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort feeling so many things. I felt the familiar sadness that floods my soul whenever I have to say goodbye to my Port Harcourt Literary Society family. I felt determined to do more for art and tourism in Nigeria and Africa. I was awed by how much can be done if we set our minds to it. There is this belief that young Nigerians are uninterested in art, however, we had over 400 people at Ake-Nnyin, a poetry and music event. I realised that a lot more can be achieved when we cast aside such erroneous beliefs and begin to invest a lot in tourism and art. Other collaborations like this should happen if we intend to harness the ability of art and tourism to transform our nation.
Of course my wanderings did not end here. I had a reunion of some sort with members of my “St. Bottles” family and then, I wandered into Calabar because it’s almost Christmas time and like I always do, it’s time for me to offer you juicy ways to enjoy your Christmas in Calabar. You’d get all that juiciness soon.
Here is a YouTube link to a short video of my Ake-Nnyin Wakaabout. Watch it and subscribe to my channel. I would be doing a lot there: https://youtu.be/G_q4RHM0pns