20,000 Tourists To Attend Christmas In Badagry Celebration
Luqmon Balogun, Lagos
Over 20,000 tourists are expected to attend the Christmas in Badagry (CiB) celebration driven by the Lagos State Government.
The event tagged CiB 2.0 is to mark the 181st Christmas anniversary in Nigeria. Project Manager of the event, Mr Olufemi Iroko, at a news conference in Ikeja, said the initiative was put together in partnership with the Lagos State government through the Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Iroko explained that the CiB event stood as a testament to the rich historical warmth that enveloped the Badagry town, saying that this year’s celebration promised to be an extraordinary blend of tradition, heritage, and joy.
Activities for the celebration according to him would kick-off between 23 and 26 December, 2023 in Badagry, with the largest Santa walk and lightening of its 40ft tall Christmas Tree.
“Against the backdrop of the azure waters of the Gulf of Guinea, the residents of Badagry, along with visitors, joined hands to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
“The sermon message of Rev Henry Townsend and Rev. Birch Freeman on that faithful day tagged ‘The Incarnation of the Redeemer of Mankind’ still resonates in the town till today. Traditional songs and dances filled the air as the community gathered for a collective expression of joy and gratitude. It was a celebration that transcended religious boundaries, uniting people in the spirit of communal harmony.
“This service marks a significant milestone in the spread of Christianity in Nigeria, Africa and around the world. It signifies the beginning of a spiritual journey, a profound shift in the religious landscape, and the introduction of a transformative message of hope, love, and redemption,” he said.
Tradition and Unity
Iroko maintained that the Christmas in Badagry event continues to be a beacon of tradition and unity, saying that this year marks the 181st anniversary of that historic Christmas celebration, and that the CiB event is poised to make it an unforgettable experience for residents and visitors alike.
According to him “The celebration of 181 years of Christmas in Badagry not only symbolizes the passage of time, but also serves as a poignant reminder of the resilience and strength of our community. Badagry as you may know is the community of many firsts starting with the first location gospel was preached in Nigeria.
“The first place Christmas was celebrated in Nigeria (just so you know, Badagry is the only location experiencing 181st Christmas in Nigeria this year). Others are the First Storey Building, first primary school…among others”.
Israel and Hamas
Iroko added that with the ongoing Hamas-Israel war, Christian pilgrimage had been put to a halt, but noted, however, that Badagry is positioned to be the destination for Nigerian Christian Pilgrimage.
“Other activities include an exhilarating Beach Soccer Tournament, where teams will compete against the stunning backdrop of Badagry’s beautiful beaches and party hard. A Carnival Parade which promises to be a riot of colours, with participants adorned in vibrant costumes, dancing to the beats of traditional and contemporary music.
“The Bonfire Delight, set against the rhythmic sounds of the Gulf of Guinea, will provide a magical ambiance as participants and spectators come together to celebrate the season. The beautiful performance of our talented Badagry metropolitan choir and other gospel artistes which will fill the air with beautiful hymns and carols that capture the spirit of the season.”
“The retelling of the nativity story through captivating drama and recitations that will transport you to the Bethlehem of old. Christian leaders and speakers will share their insights into the significance of the incarnation of the Redeemer, spreading hope and love. A special Shepherd’s Inn where children will have the greatest fun of their lives.
“Cultural Exhibitions will provide an opportunity for attendees to delve into the rich history of Badagry. Museums, landmarks, and heritage sites will be open for exploration, allowing visitors to connect with the town’s past and appreciate the role it played in shaping Nigeria’s history.” he added.
Beyond the entertainment, Christmas in Badagry is about community engagement and giving back and the event according to the convener will feature various outreach programs and charity initiatives, reflecting the spirit of compassion and solidarity that has defined Badagry throughout its history.