Ikechukwu Uko is a known name in tourism world, light-heartedly put, our own famous AJALA that travelled all over the world, his dripping travel around Africa made him an instant experience personified as it benefits Nigeria in her ‘rethink’ towards developing her hugely untapped tourism potentials which it has given cosmetics look in since her political independence from Britain October 1, in 1960.
Uko is a delight to behold when it comes to discussing tourism and about the youth who and who can make use of these travel. The majority of the populace are already deeply engrossed with what he is doing and they want to be like him.
He highlighted more as Waka About Africa went to know about the difficulty (ies) involved because what people are looking at now is a perfect story one can start from the difficult or any angle, however, after reading this travel according to Ikechukwu Uko, one will no doubt be armed vividly depth information spice with courage to say ‘I will get there, I want to make it like Ikechukwu Uko’.
According to him, he thanks God, starting from day one of what he does, it was like a dream. For instance, when he was younger, he had this dream that he wants to travel everywhere in the world, so living that dream is what he needed to thank God for He made it possible.
He recalled that how he started traveling as a young person, he remarks that he traveled around his neighborhood in Enugu, which he followed his friends to their homes, and he at the same time ensured he knew closely many people as possible and when he went to secondary school he traveled out of Enugu to Lagos, meeting more different people and places to see my uncles and deliver letters his mother gave him to her relatives, and foremost, his father’s job involved traveling so he believes that it will be safe to say he had it right in my blood. When he was in secondary school, he goes from Enugu to Ibadan by road so that helped him know a lot to know many places very early in life.
Uko painted a glowing picture of how very difficult it was moving into Africa, part of which he explained like this ‘when I started traveling within Africa, Ghanaian and Togolese were not in good terms with each other, likewise Nigeria and Cameroon. It’s not like now that people want to pan- Africa they want to travel to and associate with Africans Fela even song about it. But now all Africa vision of coming together is becoming a reality and I am excited to be a major driver of that pushing travels within Africa and I am equally happy to be part of that dream making it happened in Africa, it’s just a vision that got me here,’ he confesses.
Let me make it abundantly clear that yes, haven said that some time ago visiting our Calabar here could prove all difficulty I will you tell and at the same coloration urge the youths out there that the only sure and dignity root to overcome the difficulty and move forward is patience, foresight, determination, diligence, visionary, prudence and hold. Uko supported his assertion with7c n Bible said the righteous man fall seven times so I have been beaten by masquerade, I have been arrested by JTF in Koko, captured by emissary who later became our guide, got surrounded by Fulani people somewhere in plateau state got stuck between Benue and lafia war so I have been exposed to so many danger while traveling around the country. The interesting thing about it, is you are well informed on how to move around don’t go out anywhere blindly ask questions find out about everything including your stay. Uko can safely be referred to as Mr. Nigeria travel as he quickly added that he started just like that before he became Mr. Africa, it is instructive to say that his first book was about Festival in Nigeria it is authentic account because he traveled to watch some these festivals and it was an eye witness account.
According to him, without movement, there will be no economy. It grows based on the distribution of money service that can only move around so without mobility you don’t have goods. How do you move anything in Nigeria today, you move it through by air in Nigeria whoever wants to travel to New York has to fly an international airline because Nigeria has no international airlines so these airlines are not compensating us rather they are offering us services, the only reason is they seem to make a lot of money. We don’t have any option so they are an asset to the economy because, without them, we can’t do business, we can’t move around the world and we can’t engage. So if we see aviation as a necessary and strategic part of our economy it will be easy to appreciate the roles the airlines are playing and I will be more excited if we can equally have our own international airlines playing parts of that role, while these foreign airlines compliment because they are asset to our economy without them Nigeria can’t do anything.
It is against such inflammable background therefore that Waka About Africa conference with the theme: ‘’ICT AND FINANCE AS CATALYST FOR TOURISM AND CULTURE IN A DIVERSIFIED ECONOMY ’’ because without ICT and Finance everything cannot move well. Considering the theme ICT and Finance are actually the cause of modern tourism. First, payment platform which is ICT and also finances almost 40 percent of all the airline’s bookings are done online and an online payment which is ICT people pay with their card do transfers and much more. You hear from New York operators is all about social media so the theme you have here is a nice topic for your conference and also Waka About Africa has thought us a lot and having a conference is just like bringing all the experience and all the knowledge together in a place and I think people who will come will be taking benefit of all the experience that Waka about Africa has gathered over the years so we know it will be successful. I wish you well in the much-awaited conference.