Mr. Tourism Nigeria, Chike Christopher Nwachukwu, is fully determined to carve a niche for himself in the nation’s bubbling tourism and hospitality industry, as the youthful-looking emerging star gets set for a fruitful busy year. The amiable and soft-talking young man, spoke to Daily Sun in Lagos recently, on his determination to promote Nigeria’s vast tourist destinations. Excerpts.

What are some of your experiences while growing up?
Mr. Tourism NigeriaAs a young boy, I spent most of my time in Lagos with my parents, Eze and Lolo Christian Uche Nwachukwu, Eze-Igbo of Lagos State. I attended Monica Montessori Children School, Lagos and Model Government College, Kanko, Badagry. Later, I proceeded to the University of Benin, where I studied International Relations and Diplomacy in 2012. Basically, my childhood was very interesting and also challenging, growing up in the midst of four elder brothers and a younger sister. As a young man, I was so much fascinated with the idea of becoming a diplomat, perhaps ending up as a Nigerian Ambassador in a foreign land. I can say that was why I chose that course in the University. This dream was informed by my desire to improve the image and represent the interest of the nation overseas, as well as spread the good message that Nigeria is a better and safer place to live in.

What prompted your interest to participate in Mr. Tourism Nigeria competition?
My participation in Mr. Tourism Nigeria competition 2013, especially my confidence and determination to win the competition can easily be traced to a good friend who strongly advised me to go for it. He told me that I have the features of a good model, impressive height, good looks, among other qualities needed in the competition. After much persuasion, and being fully convinced on the possibility of winning, I registered online, went for audition in Benin City, and scaled through. I later went for the finals, representing Delta State, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

What was your experience like while participating in the competition?
The competition was both tough and interesting, as we were kept inside a camp for a week. At the camp, there were rules and regulations for to abide. We also had a retinue of daily activities, such as rehearsals, workouts, dances, runway walks, and few others. We also embarked on courtesy visits to sponsors of the project, Oron museum and other places of interest. We were 32 contestants in the camp, and I was made the camp captain, responsible for the activities and needs of others. For the short duration we spent in the camp, we developed relationships with other contestants. They were cordial and friendly, and there was no misunderstanding or rancour amongst us.

How did you feel when you were adjudged the winner of the contest?
Truly, I was full of joy and happiness. I felt on top of the world the moment I was pronounced the winner of the Mr. Tourism Nigeria 2013, because it was a very good platform to reach out to different parts of the country, and even beyond, on the importance of tourism as a source of revenue earner for the nation. I am fully convinced that the platform can be used to create more awareness both nationally and internationally, on the immense opportunities in the nation’s tourism sector, including attracting investments to the sector. Also it is a platform to empower our youths to be more dedicated and devoted in nation-building, because there is no place like home.

What are your areas of focus during your duration as Mr. Tourism Nigeria?
I will focus on opening up the hidden and unknown richly endowed tourist sites that dot the different parts of the country, as well as promote existing tourist sites. You know, Nigeria is well endowed with lots of what I call, “natures technologies,” which include waterfalls, lakes, Ogbunike caves, and other interesting tourist sites, in different parts of the country. Also across Nigeria, there are numerous interesting cultural festivals and events, like Argungu Fishing Festival, Durbar horseracing festival, Ogun festival, and many others. Certainly, I will work on showcasing some of these tourist sites to the entire world to see, and visit annually. In order to achieve desired results in this aspect, I am hopefully looking forward to having a good working collaboration and partnership with the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation and other relevant federal government agencies, as well as state governments and their relevant agencies. I will be seeking the partnership of corporate organizations and individuals, especially those whose activities are in line with the promotion of tourism in Nigeria.

What are your dreams and visions as the reigning Mr. Tourism Nigeria?
Using the Mr. Tourism Nigeria platform, I am determined to make a change, and build a standard which other young people can look up to, and follow with the aim of rebuilding and transforming the nation, for we do not have any other country of own except Nigeria. Therefore, we must strive hard to make this nation a good, standard and comfortable nation that we all desire.

What message do you have for your teeming fans?
I want them to simply understand that wherever you come from does not determine who you are, but you can make that positive change that will make Nigeria better, for the change starts from you. Believe in yourself, work hard, and the sky will be a stepping-stone.

© Tony Udemba
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