The event industry is a multi-billion naira industry. It is one of the highest employer of labour in Nigeria with unlimited resources. If well structured, in 2020, it can add over N1 trillion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria…” Mr. Temitope Amodu, founder and convener of Event Market Nigeria.
Recently, as I drove past the Lagos Shagamu Road in Ikorodu, close to the Federal Low Cost Estate, I could see an event hall, BOT events, that used to be a beehive of event activities in the neighborhood.
The walls are smeared by dust and the locks on the gate said it all: the place has been under lock and key for some months now. I looked over to the other side, I could see some catering and event decoration outlets which tell the same story.
On my right, I could see the popular Oriwu Club building, which recently now has a big event hall for social gatherings. There was nothing to show any social life there too as it was looking a shadow of itself.
This stark reality rudely imposed on us by the Covid 19 pandemic that has hit the world by storm, is evident in the event industry in Nigeria. The Industry is almost in comatose, so sad!
I could recall vividly that before the outbreak of the Corona virus pandemic, event planners, decorators, event rental personnel, logistics companies, bank staff, social media planners and a host of others in the industry in Ikorodu, other parts of Lagos and some States in Nigeria, were always very busy each week planning and executing parties and other social gatherings.
Event halls were always filled to the brim and sometimes, some people found it difficult to even get halls for their events. Hotels, churches and even other recreational places were used for events. The event industry was adding more than 150 billion naira annually to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria. In Ikorodu, more than 100 million naira exchange hands annually from the activities of the event industry and more than 6,000 people benefited from this in Ikorodu alone.
Ironically, since Federal Government placed a ban on social and large gatherings, many have lost their jobs and millions of naira lost. The stark reality is that even those who once were millionaires in the Industry are today debtors being harassed by financial houses for their inability to fulfill their financial commitment, which in the past was a trivial issue.
In June 2018, during the 10th “meet and greet” organized by the founder and convener of Event Marketing Nigeria, Mr. Temitope Amodu, where many big players in the industry were in attendance, Mr. Amodu clearly pointed out that in 2020, the event industry, if well-structured, would have the capacity to employ thousands of people and be able to add over one trillion naira to the GDP of Nigeria.
With that analysis, it means that the projection would have seen Ikorodu earn as much as 350 million naira in 2020. This would have positively impacted to the value chain, which would have trickled down to the market women and vulcanizers on the road side. Ironically, all these money are gone and what do we have? Job losses and financial incapacitation everywhere. Covid 19 is the biggest gainer.
Although, the Federal Government has lifted ban on interstate and some other businesses, the question is, “When will the ban on large gatherings and the event industry be lifted?” Now that the NCDC officials keep showing that the curves are not flattened yet as a result of the figures increasing geometrically in Lagos State especially, there seems not to be immediate hope in sight. Is Covid 19 the new event planner?