Over 20,000 tourists are expected at the Christmas in Badagry (CiB) celebration driven by the Lagos State Government in conjunction with CiB 2.0.
The event is to mark the 181st Christmas anniversary in Nigeria.
Project Manager of the forthcoming CiB, Olufemi Iroko, at a news conference in Ikeja, Lagos, on Friday, to unveil the programmes for the commemoration of the 181st Christmas celebration said the initiative was being done in partnership with the Lagos State government through the Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
He said the CiB event stood as a testament to the rich historical warmth that enveloped this town, saying that this year’s celebration promised to be an extraordinary blend of tradition, heritage, and joy.
Iroko stated that the first Christmas celebration in Badagry was a remarkable event, bringing together people from various backgrounds to partake in the festivities.
“Against the backdrop of the azure waters of the Gulf of Guinea, the residents of Badagry, along with visitors, joined hands to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
“The sermon message of Rev Henry Townsend and Rev. Birch Freeman on that faithful day tagged ‘’The Incarnation of the Redeemer of Mankind’’ still resonates in the town till today. Traditional songs and dances filled the air as the community gathered for a collective expression of joy and gratitude. It was a celebration that transcended religious boundaries, uniting people in the spirit of communal harmony.
“This service marks a significant milestone in the spread of Christianity in Nigeria, Africa and around the world. It signifies the beginning of a spiritual journey, a profound shift in the religious landscape, and the introduction of a transformative message of hope, love, and redemption,” he said.
Iroko said the Christmas in Badagry event continues to be a beacon of tradition and unity, saying that this year marks the 181st anniversary of that historic Christmas celebration, and that the CiB event is poised to make it an unforgettable experience for residents and visitors alike.
“The celebration of 181 years of Christmas in Badagry not only symbolises the passage of time, but also serves as a poignant reminder of the resilience and strength of our community. Badagry as you may know is the community of many firsts starting with the first location gospel was preached in Nigeria.
“The first place Christmas was celebrated in Nigeria (just so you know, Badagry is the only location experiencing 181st Christmas in Nigeria this year). Others are the First Storey Building, first primary school…among others,” he added.
Iroko added that with the ongoing Hamas-Israel war, Christian pilgrimage had been put to a halt, but noted, however, that Badagry is positioned to be the destination for Nigerian Christian Pilgrimage.
He said activities for the celebration would kick-off between 23 and 26 December, 2023 in Badagry, saying that the festivities would kick off with the largest Santa walk and lightening of its 40ft tall Christmas Tree.
“Other activities include an exhilarating Beach Soccer Tournament, where teams will compete against the stunning backdrop of Badagry’s beautiful beaches and party hard. A Carnival Parade which promises to be a riot of colours, with participants adorned in vibrant costumes, dancing to the beats of traditional and contemporary music.
“Cultural Exhibitions will provide an opportunity for attendees to delve into the rich history of Badagry. Museums, landmarks, and heritage sites will be open for exploration, allowing visitors to connect with the town’s past and appreciate the role it played in shaping Nigeria’s history.
“Beyond the entertainment, Christmas in Badagry is about community engagement and giving back. The event will feature various outreach programs and charity initiatives, reflecting the spirit of compassion and solidarity that has defined Badagry throughout its history,” he said.