7 December 2012

Nigeria: The New Goldmine

Maduabuchi Ubani writes that owners of landed properties in metropolitan cities such as Lagos are converting their properties to event centres that have become money spinners

For five years, the site of the eye-catching multipurpose hall at Ikotun was an abandoned building. But now that has changed. An event centre with the capacity to accommodate 500 people comfortably is now there.

As a growing phenomenon, event centres have turned out to be lucrative ventures for their owners and have in some salient ways created employment too. Owners of the event centres are smiling to the banks every day, as street parties that used to be commonplace are no longer fashionable.

Just like comedy and other forms of entertainment have come to stay in the country, event centres have become the abodes of comfort for partygoers as well as cash cows for their owners.

A survey of Lagos metropolis shows that there is an average of 2 event centres on major streets, while some city centres boast of an average of 5-10 event centres.

Event/conference centres are not only used for parties; executive meetings, conventions, seminars and display of merchandise by a wide variety of industrial groups and/ or trade organisations have also become part of events play host to by the centres.

The size of the event facility ranges from small to very large. For instance Oregun area of Lagos has Balmora, Grandeur, 10 Degrees and K and G that are typically big.

Joy okafor, an event planner, elaborates on the financial boom in the event centres and stresses the need for people and organisations to truly understand the importance of event centres and for them to make the right choices.

According to her, "event centre is becoming a goldmine because of the comfort it's providing. It is also convenient for everyone, whether you are an event planner, party goer or the man of the day."

She adds: "conventional centre requires meeting spaces, movable partitions to sub divide the spaces, sanitary facilities, loading docks, adequate heating, cooling, electricity and communication equipment which will not only make guests feel relaxed but also portray an event in the right light."

She said owners of event centre get an average of N1 million per month depending on season and capacity of the event centre.

Some event centre, she argued generate no less than N10 million per month because of location and the caliber of patronage they get.

Lately, Lagos is playing host to the largest number of exquisite, equipped and sophisticated event centres in the country and what used to be old tradition of having banquet hall in a hotel is now changing to gigantic event centres outside the hotels on the streets.

Analysts say the event centres are adding to the features of new Lagos and its mega city infrastructural plan.

According to Gladys okegbe, "Lagos is the heart beat and engine room of the country and as we all know, most events that draws the high and mighty are held here. So it shouldn't be a thing of surprise if conventional centers of five star standards are sprouting up here and there and such development is really worth a commendation."

She highlighted the fact that event centres ensure smooth running of any event and also plays a part in organising. And due to increase in demand by people to get a serene environment for their events, it has prompted individuals to erecting structures that reaches this standard.

"Conference centers takes off extra workload and makes occasions hassle free," she said.

A manager of an event centre in Lagos, Samuel Abiodun said, "Event Centres give good image of any occasion. The selection of the right venue adds more professional look to an event and makes it a grand success."

He confirms that any Event Centre will have a good return on investment, but should be up to standard.

"People will pay for a good facility and that is where the owners need to pay attention to. There should be good audio-visual system and presentation facilities, which should be available at a centre," he said.

"Some event centres also provide event organisers, who are skillful professionals and well experienced. They take charge of the whole event and make it a grand success. They are a good option as they take all the responsibility, which can give one the ample time to concentrate on other things to make an event impressive. They are also adding to that reliable security."

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