Day 1 -
Lagos Trade Fair Returns Back
To Base, Opens Amidst Fun Fair
eagerly anticipated Lagos International Trade Fair 2002 finally started
today, Friday 1st of November 2002 with much pomp and pageantry.
The most striking thing about this year’s fair is the fact that it is
being held at the ultra-modern Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
along Badagry Expressway, Lagos which is a departure from its sojourn at
the Tafawa-Balewa Square, TBS, Lagos for some years now.
Neglecting the African
time factor syndrome, the program for the event started in earnest with
the arrival of guests. Among which was the Minister of Commerce,
Engineer Mustapha Bello, representing the President, Chief Olusegun
Obasanjo. At around 10.00 am the National Anthem was recited which was
closely followed by the welcome address of the President of the Lagos
Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Chief John A. Odeyemi.
In a bid to hit the
nail on the head, considering the over-dependence of the Nigerian economy
on crude oil as the sole foreign exchange earner for the country, this
year's theme for the Trade Fair was aptly titled “Harnessing Nigeria’s
Economic Potentials for Sustainable Development” . The various key
speakers in their addresses underlined the importance of a diversified
economy and gave kudos to the Lagos Chambers for their consistency in
staging the annual fair whose success has made it unarguably the best
and the biggest in the Southern Sahara of the Africa continent.
In an orderly manner,
the Address by the National President of NACCIMA, Nze C. O. Maduako, JP,
MFR, followed the address of the President of the Lagos Chamber of
Commerce and Industry. A brief interlude was observed with a rich
cultural display by the African Heritage Ambassadors, the display
stirred the patriotic spirit of the invited guests and they received
This was followed by
the Opening Address of the President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, whose
representative, Engineer Mustapha Bello, duly delivered. The vote of
thanks was then delivered by the Chairman, Trade Fair Board, Dr H. Ademola Ajayi.
The fair was formally
declared opened with the cutting of the tape by Engineer Mustapha Bello.
The tour of Pavilions by dignitaries commenced at around 12.43 pm, which
was subsequently followed by refreshments at the conference room of the
Fair Complex and a mini press conference.
Another positive note
is the return of the USA pavilion, which was conspicuously absent the
previous year. The USA group pulled out of the last edition
on security grounds as the issue of The “Ground Zero” was still fresh in
their memory. Some of the other foreign participants that also pulled
out then are also at the fair this year. The presence of the USA Group
will undoubtedly have a great impact on this year’s fair. According to
the organisers, and visitors alike, there is high hope that this year’s
fair will be one of the best and biggest in recent time.