Fred Ezeh & Gracia Iroaja
Saturday, May 11, 2018, will remain a remarkable and unforgettable day for staff and management of The Dome entertainment centre, Abuja, alongside their friends and families. It was the day that life fully returned to the former entertainment hub of Nigeria’s capital, after some years of closure for upgrade. The event, billed to start at 6pm, began welcoming guests as early as 2pm.
The first of the three-day entertainment-packed event, tagged “The Dome Reunion,” witnessed unprecedented turnout of guests from not only the entertainment industry, but other sectors of the economy as well.
The conspicuous presence of people from the political class, business, media and diplomatic corps was an indication that residents of the FCT and its environs have missed the great entertainment platform that The Dome offered several years ago.
It was indeed a night of endless dance, comedy, reunion, and lots of side events. Opportunity was provided for new friendship and business contacts, even as existing ones were strengthened, while business and deals worth millions of naira were sealed at the table over drinks and merriment.
South African musician, Mafikizolo, led international artistes at the reopening event, alongside Flavour, Falz and other Nigerian music stars. There was a rousing welcome for six ex-Big Brother Naija housemates. Their fans, mostly ladies, jostled to take selfies with the reality TV celebrities.
There was no dull moment throughout the event, because a renowned humorous comedian, Ali Baba was the master of ceremonies and he treated guests to the best and most hilarious comedic acts.
The arrival Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in company with the Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed and others signalled the commencement of the evening’s programme. Osinbajo’s first task was to cut the tape that marked the official reopening of The Dome to the public.
He was later ushered into the main building by the chairman of The Dome, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, who took him round the unique facilities in the reloaded Dome. He told Osinbajo that outlets in the new Dome included a world-class six-lane 10-pin bowling alley adjudged to be the best in Nigeria; Camelot Spa, an international franchise with the best hands; a fitness centre and health bar at the Bodytrust Fitness and Health Centre; the Summit Restaurant and Bar, where assorted cuisines are prepared; the Paradisio, which offers options for outdoors and poolside view; a pizzaria with different flavours of Noni’s Pizza and several other mouth-watering services.
He renewed his commitment to the economic diversification agenda of the Federal Government through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), by increasing investment in the non-oil sector of the economy, with more focus on entertainment and hospitality:
“The reality presents opportunities for more investment in the sector and that was what we have done. We have created an indigenous brand in the hospitality industry that we will nurture and grow to compete with similar brands elsewhere in the world.
“With over 300 Nigerian and expatriate workers, we are determined to expand, create more jobs and possibly mop up more youths from the unemployment market. In this regard, we have concluded plans to establish the Dome Hospitality Training Institute, which will have international affiliation, to help in the development of vital manpower for the industry,” Okonkwo said.
Osinbajo noted that such a huge investment was capable of contributing meaningfully to Nigeria’s gross domestic product. He assured members of the entertainment industry that government was committed to providing an enabling environment for entertainment industry to thrive.