#Destination Ondo: Responding to the Obligation to Recreate Africa

The world is in need; not the need to produce billionaires but the need to generate billions of wealthy people; to create wealth that will circulate equitably.

Africa is a major topic in world economic discussions despite Africans ranking among the richest in the world. Africa needs to focus on inclusive enterprises that will not only generate income but involve a larger number of the population in the value chain. Make them see their future in the business visions of the respective enterprises. There is no other time to act on this but NOW!

The Executive Secretary of Centre For Innovation and Inclusive Development for Africa (CIIDA), Mr Olusola Akinbinu met with the President of La Campagne Tropicana Lagoon, Beach and Forest Resort, Otunba (Dr) Wanle Akinboboye on site of the Destination Ondo Hills Resort in Ondo State. Asking the president about the motivation behind the amazing designs and constructions at the Destination Ondo Hills Resort, he says, “Africa needs to tell their story, especially by themselves. The world has nothing against Africa, but will not do for Africans what Africans are obliged to do for ourselves. We are to redefine ourselves, our image and our content. Not as it suited the colonialist or contemporary neo-colonial economic actors. Africans should take steps and not just talk, and that is what we are doing at Destination Ondo. Everyday we are writing our actual stories with great pride and we want the world to come and learn from our African values. We want the world to come and enjoy our resources but in sustainable ways. The world has a lot to learn and benefit from Africa. We should not deny the world, and we should not deny ourselves the benefits attached to this. Dubai was a desert, they re-wrote their story and the world is better for it. Panama also re-wrote their story, why not Africa?”

“At Destination Ondo we are crystallizing the numerous values of our indigenous people and our God-given and undisturbed natural environment. These are part of our programs at the CBI (Continent Building Initiative). We are showcasing this to the world to create equitable and sustainable wealth for resident Africans. Due to unsustainable ways we have managed our resources in the past, lots of Africans are migrating in search of jobs. But in Destination Ondo we are deliberate on creating the jobs locally. Our people can proudly work here without losing their personalities, histories and cultural values. They will be able to raise their children as Africans who can distinguish good values from bad values and project the African heritage.”

“Unlike many areas in the world that are not geographically favoured, a whole lot of places in Africa are blessed with excellent natural vegetation. They still have indigenous natural plants with medicinal and social values. They have good soil and natural animals ranging in the wild undisturbed. These are potentials for knowledge inquisition on the natural interactions of different members of the natural ecosystem. Humans learn from the wisdom of animals (Prov 6:6), their specially designed ‘coverings’ have been the bases of many expensive clothing lines, generating millions of dollars for companies. Many machines have been produced from watching the ways of animals, even aeroplanes. At Destination Ondo we are creating a market of amazing experiences where people can come from all over the world for self-studies or group learning. All facilities that guarantee their comfort are provided. These include all forms of fun and engagements to create a memorable experience.”

One of the special features of the Destination Ondo Tourism project is that we are also deliberately marketing our local dialect and speaking accents. They are heritages handed down to us by our great grandparents. It comes with our pride, nuances, message contents, body languages, names and identities of many of our local features, indigenous architectures, indigenous animals, insects, plants and cultural relations. A whole package of economic bundles will be lost forever if we do not deliberately revive this. We have to incentivise the speaking of our Ondo dialect and make the world see reasons to learn it. It is the language that built great industries in the past and the potentials are not lost, it only needs to be set on a clear path. Tourists will have the opportunity of interacting with our indigenous people for cross-cultural, cross-national and cross-continental value exchanges.

It is quite funny today that many families are mistaking language for knowledge; It is not. The ability to speak English for example does not imply that you can design a jet that will fly. Designing that jet is knowledge. If you develop yourself in that critical knowledge you will produce a jet anywhere you find yourself in the world, regardless of the language they speak. That accounts for why Asians are doing wonders across the world today. They focus first on the knowledge, but we are doing the exact opposite. That accounts for why foreigners are designing our civilization for us and we are only interpreting them in vocal grammars. We are taking a back seat in the journey of our own destiny.

Akinboboye said further that, Destination Ondo is not just a place to visit, it is a package of life experience. A people re-creating a new world out of relative obscurity. Taking advantage of our advantage and creating a desirable product that the world needs. We are doing these while solving major problems of the world. We are solving the problems of poverty, insecurity, inappropriate migration, inadequate working skills, readdressing value migration, and restoring genuine African confidence. We are re-creating a new generation of Africans that will be enviable all across the world from producing great values from ordinary things in nature. We are using the power of knowledge and organization. We are taking decisive and generational steps, we are building the African continent.

By Olusola Akinbinu
Executive Director, Centre For Innovative and Inclusive Development for Africa, CIIDA
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