Explore Bauchi 2017.
On a Thursday morning, February 23rd, by 10am, a number of youthful Nigerian tourist men and women, mostly entrepreneurs were arriving to the Eagle Square in Abuja, to embark on a three days organised trip to Bauchi State. The arrangement began only a month before, using social media. People came from as far as Lagos, Benin and Bayelsa in the South. The aim is to take a tour to the Yankari Games Reserve and other places, such as the tomb of the first and only Prime Minister of Nigeria, Late Sir AbubakarTafawa Balewa, to explore the potential of tourism in Bauchi State and promote tourism in Nigeria. The tour was hence tagged as #ExploreBauchi2017. Bauchi State, unlike many Northern States, has it's rich tourism potential well utilised. The journey at about 12am, which was considered late according to schedule for a 510 kilometer journey, but nevertheless we continued about 55 of us. It was a convoy of one costa bus Toyota Hiace and a private truck, which voluntarily helped with some of our luggage’s. It was the beginning of new friendships. Many of us have never crossed to the other side of the country until now, but yet have travelled abroad. The journey was interesting and adventurous. At Bauchi, another convoy of tourist consisting about 50 people joined us and together we proceeded. Before we are got to Yankari, we have already blended from casual acquaintances to friends. Consequently, we discussed about issues, and had debates about politics. The mindset of the typical vibrant Nigerian youth; football and feminism are among other topics. We were learning about one another. We stopped at a village called Babale, before Jos, where we prayed and ate suya before we continued. Our tourist experiences began as soon as we left Abuja; we came across different landscapes and vegetation; mountains, rocks, plains and forests. We passed through Jos, Plateau State, Bauchi city and finally arrived at Yankari games reserve which about 110 kilometers away from the city. There, the Sole Administrator, Engr Habu Mamman and Hon. Ibrahim Bala Hassan, a member of Bauchi State Assembly, whose constituency we were in, received us. They gave us all assurances and confidence but warned us about some area boys in the place, referring to the naughty monkeys. We ended up the night with a dinner and retire from the long day.
The next morning, not everyone could wake up early, including myself because of the comforting rooms and beds of Yankari. Although, there were some complaints here and there about one thing or another not working properly in the rooms which were duly attended to promptly. I managed to make it to the kitchen for breakfast, but not without passing by several monkes and guinea pigs. Such an amazing experience! One of the tourists even remarked that we are now in their territory instead, which is quite true because they have outnumbered us. Therefore one has to be careful, they are the area boys we were being told about. They simply snatch anything that pleases them, especially in the hands of females. At about 1pm, we went to the safari where we saw a number of animals like the antelopes, dares, guinea pigs and even snakes. Even though, many of us wanted seeing lions, such hopes and fantasies were dashed because they were not readily on sight. There were also the historic ancient Marshal caves. However, we also were at the Waikiki stream to swim, relax and freshen up, it was beautifully blue, and amazingly clear that everything in it appears visible. Back at the residence, we played cards, chess, and video games and had genuine connections with ourselves. One thing special about this journey is a that celebrities and other popular people were invited to be in the mist of everyone. People such as ClassiQ, a hip-hop artiste, MC Tagwaye, Bushkiddo, Jaruma and others. There were also in our mists, P.A on new media to the President, Mr Bashir Ahmed, S.A to the Vice President Mr. Gambo Manzo, some professional photographers, actors, filmmakers, bankers, lawyers and many others. So there was never a dull moment. On our third day, a gala night was held on our behalf, where the governor although unavoidably absent, was represented, his wife Barr. Aisha M.A Abubakar, and some commissioners were honoured with awards of excellence for their support and contributions towards the success of the trip. Usman Abdulhamid of Velcroz Nigeria and Isa Ozoh of Abuja facts, the pioneer organisers of the trip were also awarded as Yankari ambassadors, while Engr Habu Mamman the sole administrator was awarded with the award of excellence on tourism. The wife of the governor pledged to continue to give support to such trips to Bauchi State, and pleaded with those who haven’t been to Bauchi to come. She also added that it gives her joy that Nigerians unite under tourism in Bauchi State.
After the event, we proceeded to a barbecue and cultural night, where we ate roasted meat and enjoyed beautiful performances by a cultural group. It was our last night in Yankari games reserve. The next morning, we went back to our various locations just as we came. There was no accident, no fight or any negative incident. It was a successful trip and experience. But regrettably, we couldn’t make it to other places, like the tomb of the late prime minister and the emir’s palace because there was no time.