BY ANDREW IRO OKUNGBOWA
OF the eight Nigerian cities hosting the FIFA Under-17 Championship, Lagos is the most popular considering that it was once the nation’s seat of power.
Located in the south western Nigeria, it enjoys a long stretch of the Atlantic Ocean with vast coastal land. Also, there are pockets of streams, creeks, swamps and lagoon that make the city a place to enjoy ‘aquatic splendour.’
Known as the ‘Centre of Excellence’, Lagos served as the capital of Nigeria between 1941 and 1991, when it was moved to Abuja.
Despite the relocation, Lagos remains one of the most important cities in Nigeria. In fact, it is the commercial and entertainment capital of the country.
Believed to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, Lagos is a cosmopolitan city with virtually every ethnic group making appreciable presence in the city, which is located in the Yoruba speaking area of Nigeria. It is a friendly abode for people of other nationals across the globe.
Lagos is Nigeria’s most significant economic hub with nearly every major commercial enterprise operating in the city. The yearly growth rate is projected at 4.8 to 5.5 per cent and the city is currently undergoing a massive infrastructural rehabilitation, considering its projected mega city status.
It is the melting pot of entertainment in Nigeria and visitors to the city should expect to have a feel of this vibrant industry.
It is the home of highlife, fuji, juju and Afrobeat, among other genres of music, with the late King of Afrobeat, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, as an icon of the city’s musical scene; evn in death.
Many recording studios and music promoters operate from the city as well as it is the seat of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), which caters for the interest of the artistes.
It also the home of Nollywood, which is regarded as the second largest film producing industry after India’s Bollywood. Idumota, which is the largest distribution centre for films, is in Lagos.
Lagos also enjoys a thriving arts and culture sector, and a visitor to the city is sure to find quite a number of galleries and museums — state and private owned— in the city.
The list of entertainment centres in Lagos is endless, however, you can visit Ikoyi Club, Country Club Ikeja, Ikoyi Golf Course, Ikeja Golf Course, The Coliseum and African Shrine, and others to enjoy.
City Hall— Headquarters of the Lagos Island Local Council is in the heart of Lagos Island and a symbol of pride and identity for the Lagos people.
First story building —Built in 1845, the building, which is located in Badagary, a town famed for the inglorious slave trade. The first missionaries to Nigeria built it.
It is a must visit town, especially for Blacks and those in The Diaspora seeking to reconnect with their ancestral root. There is a slave museum, among others, where the history of the past has been preserved. The site of the fallen Agia tree where Christianity was first preached in Nigeria in 1842 is another interesting place in the town.
National Museum, Onikan – Has on display different historical, cultural and political artifacts of Nigeria.
Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos — Is the seat of Catholic Archdiocese.
Relics of Brazilian and other colonial quarters could also be found in the Lagos Island section of the city. Others include CMS Building, Campos and Madam Tinubu squares. All of these are located within the Lagos Island area too.
Palace of Oba of Lagos and Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) are also interesting places to see
MUSON Centre, Onikan — Just like the National Arts Theatre, it is a centre of entertainment, especially classical music performances and other events. It will host the yearly MUSON Festival of Arts and Culture later in the month.
National Theatre – Though it can also pass for a historical site, it remains Nigeria’s cultural centre for art, culture and entertainment.
Art Centers: The city has an array of art centres and galleries for the connoisseurs of arts and craft to feast on. Some of these centres include Silverbird Galleria, Didi Museum, Terra Kulture, Mydrim Gallery and National Gallery of Arts, which is located within the premises of the National Theatre, Ajibulu Moniya Gallery and Treasure House. You are also likely to find good art and crafts shops in some of the hotels in town.
IT is not for nothing that Lagos once styled itself as a place to savour ‘Aquatic splendour,’ a result of the body of water that surrounds it.
For the best of sun, sand and sea a visit to the numerous beaches round the city and its environs is recommended.
The list of beaches include Bar Beach, Tarkwa Bay, Badagary Beach, Eleko Beach, Alpha Beach, Akodo Beach, Suntan Beach (Badagry), Lekki Maiyegun Beach, Cocoanut Beach, Snake Island and Kuramo Waters.
For an opportunity to interact with nature, the places to visit are the Nigerian Foundation Conservation (NCF) Centre in Lekki. NCF is the nation’s foremost non-governmental conservation body. Murtala Muhammed Memorial Botanical Garden, also located along the same axis as NCF, is another good natural enclave to visit.
The list of resorts to catch some excitement in the city are Whispering Palms, which is located in Iworo Village, near Badagry; La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, in Ikegun Village off Lekki – Epe Expressway; Akodo Tourist Village and Hermitage Resort and Garden and Resort are also recommended and they are both on the same axis as La Campagne Tropicana Tourist Beach.
Lagos has a number of hotels ranging from luxury to low budget hotels. Some of the hotels are Eko Hotel and Suites located on Victoria Island, Victoria Crown Plaza Hotel, Protea Hotel Leadway, Maryland, Protea Hotel Ikeja, LagosProtea Hotel Oakwood Park, The Place, Ikeja, Excellence Hotel and Conference Centre, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos Airport Hotel, Mainland Hotel, Ebuta Metta, Lagos Hilton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos Travel Inn, Ikeja, Hotel Support Continental, Ikeja, Etal Hotel, Apapa, Federal Palace Hotel and Suite, Victoria Island, Aquatic Hotel, Ikeja, Kessington Meadows (apartment service/luxury), Ikoyi, Bogobiri Guest House, Maitama Sule, Ikoyi, Rockveiw Hotel and One Nation Garden Hotel, FESTAC Town, among many others in the city.
The Club (membership), Lagos Sheraton Hotel and Towers, The Coliseum, Salvation, Opebi, Motherlan’ Opebi, Africa Shrine, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Planet One, Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja, National Arts Theatre, Orile Iganmu, Pub Disco bar, Marine road, Apapa, O’Jez, Surulere, Ikoyi Club, Club road, Ikoyi, Tarzan Boat Jetty Restaurant and Tourist Centre, Atlantic Bar, Adeola Hopewell, Victoria Island, Pat’s Bar, Ajose Adeogun, Victoria Island, Piccolo Mondo, Idejo Street, Victoria Island, Casa Chanti, Eko Hotel and Suite, Swe Bar, City Mall, Onikan, jazz Session, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Old English Bar and restaurant, FESTAC Town.
Balogun Market, Jankara, and Oke Arin all are in Lagos Island The Palms, Park ‘n’ shop, Cash and Carry, City Mall, Onikan, Silverbird Galleria, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Goodies, Kofi Abayomi Avenue, Ikoyi, Mega store, Martins, Steet, Ikoyi, Adam and Eve, Isaac John, Ikeja, The Jazzhole and Quintessence, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi.