The Chairman, Governing Board of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Nollywood icon, Kanayo O. Kanayo, popularly called, KOK, has said that under the Transformation Agenda of the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan administration, Nigeria can be expanded through the robust patronage and appreciation of local cuisines.
KOK made this known in Abuja while welcoming guests at the opening ceremony of the Nigerian Food and Cultural Fair, organized by NIHOTOUR at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, Tuesday, 24th June, 2014, as part of activities to mark one hundred years of food culture and hospitality in Nigeria.
According to him, if both domestic and international tourists can savour the rich array of dishes in Nigerian restaurants in and around the country as well as airline in-flight meals, not only will our food become a major plank of the nation’s Transformation Agenda but will also be accorded global recognition.
Maintaining that the food and tourism sector is a critical sector in the nation’s economy, Kanayo who said the food fair was designed for Nigerians to showcase themselves and promote indigenous foods first amongst Nigerians, stressed that the greatest thing to do for the country was to indigenously develop that which we have and make sure that Nigerians patronise their products.
His words: “We know very well that for one hundred years, we wish to tell a story of the evolution and preservation of food which forms part of the whole essence of the fair. In the Centenary Year, a lot of us are not aware that the Centenary did not stop on the 1st of January 2014. It goes on. The story we are telling is 100 years of food from the farm to the table; and it goes beyond promoting food and culture and covering the diversities of the cultures of our country, Nigeria.”
He further pointed out that Nigeria is so great that when you visit certain states, you find between twenty-five to forty varieties of food, which makes Nigeria a great country, saying that there was the need for citizens to realise that there is strength in whatever they do and food is a central part of their culture.
Promising that the Institute will, on its part, continue to provide the needed platform and support for the promotion of Nigeria through our food and culture, Kanayo said it was in realisation of the fact that our food was our identity that the Institute organised the food fair for like-minded organisations to work towards promoting our food culture to national and international pride.
Present at the occasion were the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Hon. Ben Nwankwo, Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele, Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, Executive Director, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Mr. M. M. Maidugu, Director-General, National Gallery of Art (NGA), Alhaji Abdullahi Muku, and the Director-General, NIHOTOUR, Dr. Munzali Dantata, who was the host.
Corporate Affairs Unit