Travu
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Travu

This is an email from Going Places , a newsletter by Travu.

Monuments to remember

Today, as Nigeria celebrates its 62nd independence anniversary, I’d like to encourage you to visit a national monument this independence weekend.

You see, I consider myself lucky to have travelled to some of the most important national landmarks in Nigeria. I can’t even begin to count how many of these I have checked off my list in the past 20+ years of backpacking across Nigeria.

But some of the experiences I cherish the most are visits to the spots where some of Nigeria’s founding fathers were buried: Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe’s residence, Onitsha; Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s mausoleum, Ikenne; and PM Tafawa Balewa’s tomb, Bauchi.

Here I am at the country home of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and where he was also buried

Walking through the Awolowo museum (and later stepping inside the mausoleum); pacing around Azikiwe’s graveside (now a gorgeous mausoleum and resource centre); and touring the architectural marvel that is the Balewa tomb, all filled me with awe and a sense of appreciation for their individual sacrifices to Nigeria.

In addition to these historical sites, I have also been privileged to visit some landmarks built in honour of other national heroes. Among them: the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja.

And just last week, while on a writing assignment, I re-visited the Kuti Family Museum (Abeokuta) and the Ogunde Living History Museum (Ososa).

I’m also quite happy to reflect, every now and again, on my visits to three of Nigeria’s four Museums of Unity — in Ibadan, Kaduna and Enugu.

The truth is, if you really want to appreciate the historical, cultural and material riches of Nigeria, you’ll be more than well served by any of the 40+ national museums nationwide.

That’s me some years ago soaking in the displays at the SHehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja

There’s at least one national museum in your state of residence. And they are a storehouse of so many informative objects and displays.

Do more than wave the flag

As we celebrate the 62nd anniversary of our great country on October 1, I think we should go beyond waving the flag and singing the national anthem. Consider doing something symbolic: visit a tourist attraction/ national monument/ notable landmark nearest to you — with friends and/ or family.

If you’re in Lagos, I’ll say you visit the Independence Arcade, at the Tafawa Balewa Square. If for nothing, but the fact that it’s where our journey of nationhood began.

And if for any reason you’re unable to make the visit, then travel by proxy — through the pages of my latest travel book, “9 Degrees North: Backpacking Stories Across Nigeria”.

It’s a collection of 25 travel stories from 17 states of the federation. On their own, each is a celebration of the people and places I have encountered over these many years. Collectively, they celebrate Nigeria’s diverse cultures and rich heritage.

That’s me holding a copy of “9 Degrees North”, my latest travel book. Photo by Adedeji Olalekan

Since the subject of this newsletter is about national heroes and national monuments, I devote some chapters to these subjects in the book.

So you’ll read about the spectacular Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, the wondrous Ogunde Living History Museum and my reportage of the coronation of the sitting Oba of Benin — among other immersive stories.

You may read a preview copy here: https://bit.ly/3ASmUkw

If you’d like to pre-order and get 25% off the cover price, please click on this link: https://bit.ly/3cR148Z (offer now extended by a week because of the independence anniversary).

I’ll stop here for now. Until my next newsletter, enjoy the independence anniversary weekend, one and all.

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