By Valentine Tobechukwu Achum
I agree with both Aristotle on one hand, and Claude Ake on the other, on their different perspectives about what is categorically central to the priority of man. First, while Aristotle stresses that man is a political animal, Ake on the other hand sees man as an economic animal.
For Aristotle who is regarded as the father of Politics, man is a Political animal, because Politics which is all about the use of various means to promote and protect one’s own interest is inherent or inborn in man. All men either promote their interests, protect them, or both.
Even when a baby cries, he is indirectly promoting his interest for breast milk, or to change his poo-pooed diaper, or to see his mummy, or to be showed a bit more care. On the other hand, Professor Ake, who laid a solid foundation for the study of Political Economy in Africa, sees man as first and foremost an economic animal before any other thing.
This, according to him, means that man must first work in order to feed and quench his hunger before he decides to do any other thing like pursue a career, play golf, listen to music, dance, talk politics or even go to church. However, while I agree with both Aristotle and Ake that man is on one hand political in nature, and in another an economic being, I also propose (though within sociological precinct) that man is a pleasure animal as well. This means that man loves pleasure.
He seeks whatever gives him pleasure, whether overtly or covertly. It is difficult to find any man who is not a connoisseur of one form of pleasure activity or another be it sports, vacation, sex, concerts, laughter, sleep, picnic, tasty dishes. If you think the pleasure business is not much of a big deal to man, then think again. Find out from Malaysia and Brazil how much they make as revenue from tourism yearly.
Find out why people go to cream locations like Vancouver and Hawaii to ‘play’ after working at Wall Street and Silicon Valley. In Nigeria, Cross River State and Lagos State are two different kinds of states. While Cross River State is eminent for hospitality and pleasure, Lagos is known for commerce and industry.
Put daringly, while Cross River State is the tourism and hospitality capital of Nigeria, Lagos needs no introduction as the commercial and industrial Washington of the country. In Cross River State, statistics show that thousands of tourists from within and outside Nigeria troop in and out of the state to experience the rich cultural heritage, gastronomic dexterity, aquatic splendour and magnificent scenery of its landscape.
No other state in the country can boast of the kaleidoscopic Calabar Carnival, which is known as Africa’s biggest street party, ranked in the league of the London and Brazil carnivals. No other state can pretend to be on the same level with the touristic chefs-d’oeuvre of the Obudu Cattle ranch and mountain resort that play host to Africa’s biggest mountain race, not to mention the marine magnificence of the Qua falls in Akamkpa, and the unrivalled edifice of Tinapa business resort/ Free trade zone, as well as the unique hospitality pattern of its indigenes, among other touristic interests too numerous to mention. In Lagos state, no need to be told the quantity and quality of people, both within and outside the country, that troop into the state on a daily basis to do good business. No other state in the country can boast of the commercial and industrial biceps which Lagos State is flexing without rival. Put succinctly, in the people’s paradise (Cross River State), the business of pleasure is what the state is mostly celebrated for.
Whereas, at the centre of excellence (Lagos State), the business of business is the mainstay of its economy. Having said this, it is important to fill up the fundamental lacuna between business on one hand and pleasure on the other. Anybody who believes these two things are not two sides of the same coin should know that even God rested on the 7th day after six days of work, which means Come-And-Live-And-Be-At-Rest can provide all the rest after your proverbial six days of work. At the moment, when the Buhari administration has banned public office holders from going on foreign vacations, this should be a good time to properly market our local tourism ‘brands’. States like Cross River State, known for its peace, rich cultural display, culinary vivacity and tranquil beauty should be at the front row in receiving and giving pleasure seekers within and outside the country a good reason to spend their hard earned money in Calabar.
Unfortunately, the existing transportation infrastructure in the country is inadequate to cater for a proper linkage from Lagos to Calabar, especially during prime touristic periods. For example, on December 27th 2017, thousands of fun-seeking tourists from various parts of the world were stuck at the Lagos Airport on their way to Calabar, and could not travel due to bad weather, and hence missed the opportunity of witnessing the Calabar Carnival that held the following day.
This made Cross River state forgo considerable amount of revenue that could have accrued to it if these set of fun seekers made their trip. The Lagos-Calabar rail project, if completed, would serve as a good bridge in ensuring merger between business of business, and business of pleasure.
This will result in multiple gains both for Calabar- on the receiving end of more tourists (which translates to revenue), and Lagos- on the receiving end of more predilection; and Nigeria- on the receiving end of more income through tax, and more importantly, unity and development of our dear country.
Achum writes via [email protected]