It is beyond the imagination what Badagry, the ancient port city in Lagos State, will look like without coconut trees, coconut seed, coconut oil, coconut mats, etc. From its coconut fringed beaches to its centuries old households, everywhere is coconut.
It is therefore no surprise that the indigenes of Badagry–the Egun–have decided to institute an annual festival to celebrate this multi-purpose tree that has continued to be the mainstay of their economy.
The weekend beginning August 14, through August 16, was slated to host the maiden edition of "Coconut Festival".
Tagged "Agunke Festival 2009", and coordinated by "Gunuvi Heritage Entertainment'', the festival, according to Egun elders, is also a conscious effort to create a cultural identity for them.
Observers agree with Egun elders that the coconut has indeed been a major factor in Badagry's economic growth as it is found in large quantity in the area.
Records indicate that it has a plantation that stretches more than 200,000 hectares while thousands of people eke out a living via its many dimensions.
From Kweme Ashipa – also known as Seme Border Town – through Boglo, Aivoji, Sakpo, Gbaji, Badagry beaches stretch to several islands including Yovoyan, Gberefun, Topo, Akarakuma and Epe at the border with Ojo local government.
All these vast areas of land have coconut trees on them, whether cultivated or growing wild, and form the major attraction to tourists – local and international.
"The crop has more than one hundred economic uses and that is a lot to be proud of," says Chief Muyideen Adelabu, a trader in Badagry.