Session 35: Development via Social and Cultural Tourism

  • Itsekiri NextGen Project: 2022 Session 35 Report
  • Topic: Development via Social and Cultural Tourism
  • Date: Saturday 17/09/2022 
  • Volunteers Present: 4
  • Total Number of Attendees: 52
  • Timings: 9:00am – 1:00pm
  • Venue: Former Caravan 4, Aja-Pessu (Pessu Town), Warri
  • Main Topic/Activity: Development Socio and cultural Tourism
  • Resource Person: Uwala Tedeye


The 35th session was focused on development via social and cultural tourism with a case study on Ghigho Aghofen and Olu of Warri coronation anniversary. The topic is anchored on the Socio-cultural mandate, which is one of Itsekiri Nextgen’s core mandates.

Session Delivery

Itse Mirabel Ukubeyinje began the session with an opening prayer and the Itsekiri anthem.

She did a quick recap of the previous session, reminding participants of the importance of charity work in our society.

Itse went further to introduce the topic of the day and ask what the participants understand by the words development and tourism.

The answers got for development goes thus; 

  • Development means to improve. 
  • It is a stage of going through high-level technology.
  • It means to grow.
  • It means to improve from one stage to another.  

The definition of tourism by a participant is travelling from one place to another. 

They did well to attempt the question with such awesome answers.

They were told that development is the process that brings about growth, progress and positive change, while tourism refers to the act of travelling for business or leisure purposes to a location away from one’s usual area.

Ghigho Aghofen was one of the case studies used, as people came from different parts and beyond the shores of Nigeria to watch the display of the distinct culture of indigenous Itsekiris and other tribes that are resident in Warri.

Ghigho Aghofen which is loosely translated as palace watch is an initiative brought about by Olu of Warri Ogiame Atuwatse III to make communities take turns in watching over the palace for a period of three months. When the three months elapse, they hand over to another community. Prior to this, the king visits the community on duty and blesses the people and the land.

The coronation anniversary of the Olu of Warri Ogiame Atuwatse III was another case study used. To mark the 1st coronation anniversary of the Olu of Warri which was the 21st of May, there were a series of activities in Warri, Ode Itsekiri and Koko. People came from far and near to watch the rich display of the culture of the Itsekiris ranging from boat regatta to paying homage (gbosen).

People leaving their place of abode to Warri to come to watch these various ceremonies is an act of tourism. 

Itsekiris are known as colourful people who adore their king, hence in preparing for these ceremonies; 

  • Different individuals and groups go to the market to get fabrics for kemeje and wrappers with matching headtie, shoes, bags and hats. 
  • Tailors and fashion designers get more patronage as people would prefer to wear new clothes during these ceremonies.
  • Cabs, buses and tricycles get more passengers as people get on the move as they plan, prepare and transport during these ceremonies.
  • People from far places check into hotels with their friends and family.
  • As there is a need for eating and drinking, sellers of food and drink items make more sales during these periods.
  • Canopies will be used to shield people from the scorching heat of the sun and from downpours of rain. This gives more business to those in the rental business.
  • Make-up artists are not left out, as ladies would want to complement their gorgeous outfits with beautiful make-up. They also rent out kweke.
  • People would want to go build houses and develop their communities because the Olu of Warri will be visiting one day.

It can be seen that Ghigho Aghofen and Coronation Anniversary brings about development as there is a rise in the level and quality of life of people. This is due to a boom in business caused by patronage during the period of the ceremonies. It also creates and expands local and regional income and employment opportunities without damaging the resources of the environment.

Key activities during the session 

The video clip of the second series of Ghigho Aghofen was shown to the participants, and they watch the display of the beautiful culture of Ureju and Inorin people as the former hand over to the latter. The culture of other tribes resident in Warri was also displayed. This they watched with keen attention and excitement.

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