Ghanaians love Nigerian music – Mike Abdul Best

Popular gospel artiste, Mike Abdul, shares fond memories of his trip to Ghana, with TOFARATI IGE

Where’s the most interesting place you’ve been to recently?

I have visited a lot of cities and my favourite city in the world is London. And that’s because it is organised and the transport system is easy to use. I don’t need to know anybody to move around in London and that’s why I like the city. However, the best place I’ve been to recently is Accra, Ghana. I lodged in a hotel throughout my stay there and the hotel basically has everything that one may need. As a matter of fact, it is the best place I’ve visited in my life. I was never bored throughout my stay in the hotel as there were more than enough things there to keep me occupied.

What exactly was the purpose of your trip to Ghana?

I travelled with my music group, Midnight Crew, to minister at Pastor Mensah Otabil’s church.

Was that your first trip to Ghana?

No. Before this particular trip, I had been to Ghana several times but on this particular occasion, I was blown away by the hotel.

Did you try any of their local dishes while there?

Yes, I did. Most of the local dishes there are not originally Ghanaian food. There are also lots of Nigerians in Ghana, so I found myself doing a mixture of both Nigerian and Ghanaian food. However, I like waakye a lot. It is a mix of rice and beans with lots of protein and it is very fantastic. There was also a soup I ate there which is not like the ones we’re used to in Nigeria. It is filled with onions and tomatoes. Though it is not very sweet, they love it very much in Ghana and I had to like what they like.

What’s your opinion of the customer service in Ghana?

The customer service at the hotel I stayed was very nice. I’ve been there twice and I don’t have any complaints about the place. The hotel is designed in such a way that you don’t even need customer service because everything is provided. But anytime you need their service, it is swiftly made available.

What were the similarities you noticed between Nigeria and Ghana?

I visited a market in Accra and I was amazed when I heard Tope Alabi’s music. I think they love Nigerian music a lot, so most of the places one goes to, you’re likely to hear Nigerian songs, even the very old tunes by people like Ebenezer Obey and King Sunny Ade.

What do you think Nigeria can learn from Ghana in terms of maximising tourism potentials?

A lot of tourism hubs around the world are attractive because the people value their heritage and they show that it is very valuable to them. If we can do that too and make our things special by portraying them in good light, people would also be attracted to Nigeria. There is a place I visited in Ghana which is in the Volta region. It is the place from where slaves were transported out of the country and they were able to preserve it well till date. If you visit the place, you would feel like you are back in the era when slave trade took place. If we can preserve what we have, it will certainly appeal to tourists.

Can you recall some of the memorable places you visited in Ghana?

Amazingly, I didn’t go out a lot because of the comfort I enjoyed at the hotel. The only memorable place I visited was the Ghana market. They value their kente fabric so much and because it is special to them, we were moved to buy some of it.

What impressed you most about Ghana?

In that regard, I would compare the country to South Africa because that is where impresses me most in Africa. They think out of the box and they don’t let their black skin define them as people who are suffering. Even if we are struggling as a people, we don’t have to look it. We should try to look like what we hope to be and I think Ghana is doing well in that aspect. There is more serenity and orderliness in Ghana than Nigeria. People obey traffic laws and things are relatively more peaceful.

Did you experience any culture shock?

No, I didn’t.

What would a first-time visitor find most striking about Ghana?

They try to maintain some ancient landmarks. We drove by some places which looked like they were still in the colonial era, but not in a bad way. They were clean and I think they’re just trying to preserve their history. As we were coming from the airport, our driver explained the history behind some of those landmarks to us with glee. I think that is something that would strike you immediately you arrive in Ghana.

Did you meet anybody who recognised you as a singer?

Yes, I did. There is a big banquet hall in the hotel where we gather to eat every morning. A lot of people walked up to me there and said they see me on their TV screens.

What’s the best travel advice you can give?

I would advise that one should have a guide wherever you visit. Internally, they could be having some issues in the country you’re travelling to which you may be unaware of but your guide would have such information and advise you accordingly. In places of black heritage, we still believe in some fetish things and you might unknowingly go to places which are out of bounds. Even here in Nigeria, I’ve visited some places that I unwittingly put myself in danger. I’m just thankful that nothing bad happened to me, so it’s very important to have a guide. If you cannot get one, you should go on the Internet and read as much as you can. about the place you intend to visit.

Source: Punch

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