Sanwo-Olu, Marcus Garvey Jnr attend Diaspora Festival
Luqmon Balogun, Lagos
The son of the foremost civil rights leader, Marcus Garvey, Dr. Julius Marcus Garvey jnr, and the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu are amongst the dignitaries expected at the ‘4th Lagos Door of Return’ event.
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The Diaspora festival tagged ‘Door of Return’ is being organized in partnership with the Lagos State government to reminisce on the story of slave trade in Nigeria and to showcase Tourism potential to the world.
Speaking at a press conference, the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa said that the event slated for 21st of October will include visits to historical sites among others, in the Badagry area of Lagos.
Dabiri-Erewa explained that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is expected to be the chief host of the event and will open the door of return to prosperity, while Dr. Julius Marcus Garvey jnr, who will be visiting this part of the world for the first time, will be the Special Guest of Honour.
“The door of return includes receiving our brothers and sisters that were taken as slaves over 400 years ago historically, spiritually, emotionally and physically. It is a connection to what we call the joy of return. They are going to take a long walk through that path to the point of no return and we now receive them as kings and queens to where their ancestors were taken away so many years ago.
‘’It is a very emotional ceremony. It is an event everybody needs to participate in. What Lagos will eventually do is to open a permanent door in Badagry, Lagos. We are going to witness the return on the 21st of October, you are going to see what Badagry has, what Lagos has for tourism. No country in the world has what Badagry has for tourism. If the Lagos state governments builds on it, it will now be world renowned heritage for anywhere in the world.’’ she said.
She explained that the festival will witness the re-enactment of the experience of captured slaves chained in the neck and legs as they wriggled through the ‘Point of No Return’ to the ship.
According to her “Investors are waiting to build the Diaspora Palace in Badagry. A lot of people have done their DNA and they are saying, we are from Nigeria and we want to come back home. Badagry is a route to slave trade in African soil and that same Badagry will be the 4th Door or Return to many black men and women in Diaspora to experience the motherland first hand.
“I am glad that the Diasporas are coming here. And as they are coming here, they are being led to what they can do for Africa, particularly in Nigeria here. It is a land of opportunities. It is a virgin land waiting to be tapped. For me, it is a lifetime experience and it is an experience everybody should have.”
She however promised that her office will work with the state, with the Commission and NGOs to ensure adequate protection of our dear country.