by Stanley Azuakola

Ikogosi

The first edition was thrilling, with lots of teachable moments and high points.

In case you haven’t heard, The Future Project has announced that the second edition of The Future Awards Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders would hold from April 4 – 7, 2013.

The event which has capacity building for the new generation of Nigerian leaders as its objective was first held in Lagos in 2012. Then, the host, Bolaji Abdullahi was still the Minister of Youth Development; the headline speaker, Obiageli Ezekwesili was still vice-president of the World Bank; and Gov. Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, who was one of the guests present at the event was not facing an onslaught from Aso Rock. How about that for how things can change in less than a year?

The event itself will experience some changes this year. For one, it would not hold in Lagos. The Southwest state of Ekiti would be the venue this year and Gov. Kayode Fayemi (who was also present at last year’s event) would be the host this time around.

The headliners for this year’s event as well as the expected special guests have not been announced yet by the organisers but the host government Ekiti is already itching for the event to hold already. And there’s just one reason for that – Ikogosi Resorts. That’s the exact place in Ekiti where the event would hold.

“We are also proud to host The Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders as one of the first programmes to be held at the Ikogosi Resorts which our administration would be unveiling soon. I am certain that the comfort offered by the world class service and facilities at Ikogosi, coupled with the relaxing natural ambience of one of Africa’s finest resorts, would augur well for robust engagements amongst all participants at the symposium. It will be an enriching national conversation,” said the host governor, Kayode Fayemi.

Even the executive director of The Future Project, Chude Jideonwo, could not help but gush about it. “We are even more excited to announce that the event will be hosted by the Government of Ekiti State, Nigeria at the soon to be commissioned Ikogosi Resorts, which has been constructed to world-class standards by the Governor Fayemi administration,” he said.

So what’s so special about the Ikogosi springs which has been variously described as “a miracle”, “an untapped goldmine” and “nature’s gift to mankind” and because of which the Ikogosi resort exist at all?

Hear it directly from the Ekiti state Tourism Development Board:

In the heart of Ikogosi, a small, quiet town with rich, local customs, in the Western part of Ekiti State (Ekiti Tourism Corridor), lies a warm spring which has now catapulted Ikogosi-Ekiti to national and international limelight. What is mysterious about the Ikogosi Warm Spring is the fact that, flowing side by side the warm spring, is another spring, a cold one. According to experts, it is a geological wonder to have such occurrence out of the same rock formation and this Ekiti flagship tourist destination is said to be the only one of its kind discovered anywhere in the world. The warm and cold springs of Ikogosi originate from a close proximity, come to a meeting point, and flow onward together with each spring retaining its thermal identity. It represents another uniqueness and is the first of such occurrence in the world. The warm spring has a temperature of up to 70oC at the source and 37oC after meeting the cold spring. The meeting point of the warm and cold springs is a unique attraction to tourists.

The springs sprout out and flow with a constant temperature and volume up to 150 litres/seconds from morning till night, at all seasons, all-year round. The whole environment of the spring has been deliberately left untampered with, for eco-tourism appeal while the source of the warm spring has been provided with a viewing structure for easy spotting by tourists. Strangely also, there is a tree and a palm growing from the same source at the meeting point area of the warm and cold springs. A wonderful work of Mother Nature!

Another unique quality of the Ikogosi Warm Spring is its acclaimed curative power. It is widely-believed to have some kind of therapeutic effect which relieves body aches and all sorts of ailments. A lot of tourists visiting the place take advantage of the large warm water swimming pool provided for this purpose and other recreational needs. It is also the home of the 5-star Gossy Brand Spring Water bottled by UAC of Nigeria.

The resort itself, built to give tourists a long lasting experience, is exquisite and befitting of the wonder that is the Ikogosi springs.

Of course, if last year’s event is anything to go by, Ikogosi isn’t the only thing participants should be excited about. The first edition was thrilling, with lots of teachable moments and high points. There were also various opportunities for networking and rubbing minds with some of Nigeria’s finest young people. Although it seemed a bit rushed and the programme too crowded, that did not detract from its overall brilliance, especially on the first day.

This year’s edition, according to the organisers “is focused on Nigeria’s next general elections – and young people effectively engaging the process across board, from business, politics and civil society.”

- For registration details, click HERE.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.