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From Slovenia to Ogidi rocks for the love of Naija

To many, attending choice parties in Lagos or Abuja, shopping in exquisite department stores and a few public places are best spots for seeing the best of Nigeria. Just a few are more adventurous like Anze Zadel, a Slovenian researcher and culture enthusiast. He took some time out last week and went away from the hustle and bustle of Lagos to Ogidi Rocks in Kogi State and climbed to the top, for him, it was a memorable thrill.AGOZINO AGOZINO reports.
Often, it is said that Nigeria can attract huge investment capital if the tourism sector is well positioned to showcase the country’s vast endowments and heritage. Not many will think that the Ogidi-Ijumu rocks, in Kogi State, would fit into this category. But somehow, there are some people who do and can travel millions of miles criss-crossing continents to realize this.
While some people are wary of the insecurity in some parts of the country, a Slovenian national thought otherwise. To Anze Zadel,  a designer and aspiring policymaker, who had climbed the Ogidi rocks and relished the serene environment of the ancient town, when he recently visited, believes it is the best story he would ever tell about the country, especially, when he leaves Nigeria. Zadel, a Ph.D student, concerned with equity, public health, and wellbeing in Public and Urban Policy Program at the New School in New York and holds an M.Sc in Architecture and Urban Ecologies from Parsons School of Design, is, currently,  conducting research for his Ph.D in participatory urban practices in two Lagos communities, Makoko and Maroko. He is also a member of an initiative called the Amenawon Solar School.
According to Zadel, he had heard so much about the country, meeting the locals in Ogidi-Ijumu was thrilling. He was assisted by a local guide when he was to climb the rocks.
When Zadel  came to the country on the invitation of  the Amenawon Solar School Initiative, which is transforming a compound in Lagos, and owned by the late Amenawon Amayo, he could not imagine experiencing the beauty of the hustle and bustle of Lagos, especially, the human traffic, and this further inspired him to probe more into the interior of the country.
His words: “Yes, this is the first time I am visiting Nigeria. But I have heard so much about Nigeria and I made my researches on the country. I must say that I am very impressed with what I have seen in the country. I can say that I am happy for this place in Ogidi.’’
The adventurer, who also works on developing low cost and sustainable technologies to access potable water, renewable energy, and other resources for healthy and sustainable living, said his experience is unforgettable. According to him, although, there were other places he had visited, his recent trip to the countryside was one that was borne out of his desire to know more about the country.
He stressed : “With what I saw here in Ogidi, of course, I will tell my friends that Ogidi Rock in Kogi State is a nice place to visit and relax, particularly, on top of the rock. We can relax here, unlike Lagos. Of course, whenever I come to Nigeria, I will like to visit a place like this. I am glad that the people also are very hospitable. It is an inspiring place to be. I have experienced the serene atmosphere on top of the rock and it is something special to me and the history of the place makes it more inspiring”, a highly emotional Zadel said.
True to his words, when Zadel  came into the country recently on his Ph.D research project , he had plans to visit the countryside. This dream was cherished in his mind until someone introduced him to Nike Gallery, through which his dream later manifested.
An elated Zadel said, “Even when I leave the country, I don’t think the memory of the place will disappear from my memory. I will continue to have an exciting imagination of Nigeria.
“I climbed up the rock and it’s really a great experience for me with the narrow steps and other places that we have climbed”, he added.
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