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The Anambra International Conference Center

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THE INTERNATIONAL Conference Center, Awka, is an iconic legacy of the Governor Willie Obiano administration that has changed the landscape of Awka. Yet, it is almost the least talked about of his legacies.

It is a masterful architectural marvel that was designed to heighten the aesthetic allure of the Awka capital city while performing its simple function as the largest, most modern conference center in Nigeria.

At the moment, the Eko Hotel Convention Center with 5,151 square meters of space and Sheraton Lagos Hotel, Lagos, with 6,878 square meters are regarded as some of the largest event centers in Nigeria. The Eko Hotel Convention Center has a capacity to host 6000 in concert.

Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Lagos, with its 6,729 square meters of space is also among the largest in the country. And contrary to expectation, the Abuja International Conference Center can only accommodate 2000 guests in its main conference hall. The Calabar International Convention Center is also a great conference facility with a capacity to seat 5000 guests.

However, the Awka International Conference Center is on a whole new planet with a capacity to accommodate 10,000 guests. It is the game-changer for conferencing and hosting of big concerts and shows in Nigeria. It is bound to shift the scale in the event management circuit a bit and probably tilt it eastwards. If it doesn’t quite succeed, it would at least ensure that the South East is not completely forgotten by event planners while drawing up their annual event calendars.

And quite frankly, when was the last time any state in the South East hosted the annual conferences of the Nigerian Bar Association or the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria or such other big national professional bodies? How can they remember the South East in their plan when there are no big conference facilities in the region? Thankfully, the Awka International Conference Center has come to change all of that.

The point to note about the Awka International Conference Center is that just like the Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport, it is a reflection of Governor Willie Obiano’s sense of aesthetics, his taste and his ambition. Obiano is a dreamer whose dreams are usually the size of the sun; immense, luminous and large like a big boulder over the landscape.

Dreams are not enough though.  But he is also a doer. He never lets his dreams vanish with the sunrise. “The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do,” says American writer, Sarah Ban Breathnach. Governor Obiano is a dreamer who is also a doer. And Anambra is blessed for that.

On completion perhaps, all these shows and musical concerts that have been sporadically taking place in Uli, Ojoto, Oba, Nnewi, Onitsha, Adazi and other towns will move to Awka, where a world class facility awaits them. It would also come in handy for movie premiers and if the community of creative artistes in Anambra can push hard enough, it could become the new watering hole for artistes, minstrels and poets. The tourism value of the center cannot be overemphasised.

A tour of its layered labyrinths, its manicured lawns, the verdant green trees swaying in the evening breeze, could be the perfect therapy for folks whose taste for leisure stretches beyond the raucous laughter in the noisy beer parlours. Folks like me who look the other way from hard liquor.

Yes. The Awka International Conference Center will be a sanctuary of sorts for dreamers and idealists who need an idyllic place to begin the journey within. It will be a great meeting point for social butterflies looking for contacts that will open powerful doors. It will also be a great place to mark historic moments and days with as many people as one wants.

Surely, Governor Willie Obiano has given us so much to look forward to in Anambra State.

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