By Celestine Ajayi
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Friday, March 19, 2021, paid a historic visit to La Campagne Tropicana Forest River Beach Resort in Ikegun Village, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu who was on a tour of the Lagos Free Trade Zone on the Lekki corridor, which interestingly is just a shouting distance from the resort and decided to pay the resort a visit.
On hand to receive the number one citizen of Lagos State was the management team of the resort led by its iconic President, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye who rolled out the big drums to make the visit of the governor a memorable one.
The resort which had played host to numerous high profile visitors of different classes from across the globe displayed the rich cultural heritage and entertainment that the resort is synonymous with.
Atunda Entertainment was at its best on the day as they treated the governor and his team to a classy presentation, spanning musical instrumentation, choreographed Zulu Dance to singing and Ara Thunder, the lady talking drummer and songstress, putting up a star performance.
For close to three hours, the governor explored and felt the pulse of the enigmatic and creative impulse of Akinboboye’s savoury entertaining broth that was designed to treat him to the legendary offerings for which the resort is famed.
Speaking on the experience, a visibly elated Sanwo Olu commended Akinboboye over his huge investment and for keeping faith in his passion, which has kept him afloat over the three decades of the existence of the resort.
He went down memory lane recalling the humble beginning of the resort and his close association with it over the years.
‘‘I am sure that a lot of you don’t know that Wanle (referring to Akinboboye, who stood close to him on the podium)) and also I am sure a lot of you have not heard about La Campagne on Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, that was where it all started.
‘I was a young man like a whole lot of you or maybe even much younger. What this man (Akinboboye) stood for then, it is not here (Resort), this is not where he started from. He started from a building on Adeniyi Jones and that was our amusement park then because it was a wonderful park at that time.
But over the years he moved here. I have been here before and I have slept in your chalet here many times. But coming here this evening, I told him that this place has changed a lot for the better. I remember that there was no wall somewhere there before (Pointing in the direction of the wall) when you drive in,’’ he recounted.
The governor also used the occasion of the visit to reiterate his commitment to the development of tourism in the state.
‘‘I may not be able to see each and every one of you tomorrow but I have a big plan for this industry. So, believe in yourself, believe in your creativity, if you are a dancer dance very well, if you are a drummer, drum well, if you are a model and you are called forward just be the best in your class.
There is no shortcut in business or life. Whatever you find yourself doing just make sure that you are the best and do it with all your energy and your heart because somebody somewhere is looking at you. And you will be great. Stay focused and be the best that you can be” he admonished.
He also praised the talented group of people that had entertained him and made his visit a memorable experience.
‘‘But it is really not about what this place is about alone, but about the energy that I saw in all of you. The originality of your music, how you have danced because dancing is joy and I can see that reflected in all of the things that you have done.
The choreography is about what you are about and what you are building. I can see the passion and drive.
You have entertained me so well this evening and I can tell you that the one, two hours that I have been here have been worth every bit of it. Thank you very much’’ he enthused.
Reacting to the governor’s speech, a visibly elated Akinboboye expressed appreciation to the governor for the visit, which he said is historic.
‘‘In all these years that I have been here transforming this zone, creating jobs and various opportunities for the people and community to develop, Governor Babajide Sanwo – Olu is the first governor of Lagos State to come and sit down with us and honour us like this,’’ disclosed Akinboboye.
He also seized the occasion to appeal to the governor to create a tourism zone along the Lekki corridor.
‘‘I want to seize this opportunity to appeal to your excellence to consider the possibility of establishing a tourism zone on this axis’’ he appealed
He further described that the governor’s visit was ‘‘very timely, encouraging and that is what I believe is part of the encouragement infrastructure that government should give to the private sector to thrive and push them to do a lot more for the industry.’’
He concluded by saying that the visit was a demonstration of Sanwo – Olu’s belief and commitment to the tourism sector:
‘‘I like to thank you tremendously for coming and it is because of your belief in tourism and youth development.
In closing, the platform we are on today was built by yesterday’s people. The platform for tomorrow’s people must be built by us today’s people’’ Akiboboye advised.