5 Minutes with Chiamaka Obuekwe
Chiamaka Obuekwe is a prime example of using what you were created to do for free into a money-making venture. Following her passion for traveling and just being a general “wakabout“, she started a business and dubbed it after a name she had already become too familiar with “Social Prefect”.
Briefly introduce yourself.
My name is Chiamaka Obuekwe; I’m a complete sanguine, adventure lover, tour guide, adrenaline junkie, people person, explorer and a great dancer. I am passionate about travel and tourism, especially within Nigeria and Africa. I’m the founder of Social Prefect Tours – a tourism company that promotes African tourism and connects people.
What inspires you to travel?
I think it’s because, I can’t just stay in one place. I have a wandering tendency, according to my mum and brother. I love to discover new places; I always get a rush from seeing waterfalls, hiking, or crossing something off my bucket list. I also love meeting people and travelling gives me the opportunity.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
The first trip I remember taking was at age 5, our great migration from Enugu (which was my birthplace) to Lagos (where I have lived since then).
What made you decide to make a business out of your passion?
Honestly, it was because people demanded for it. Two or three years ago, I never dreamt that I would have a travel and tourism brand or business. I was working my 9-5, when I started blogging on the side to share my passion for adventure and discovering new places which I did with friends or alone. All of a sudden, the interest from people grew and I started getting requests to join the trips and also comments on making the trips public. I thought about it for a while and decided to organise our first tour, which was successful and it has been uphill since then.
You’ve been promoting travel in Nigeria. Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different from how you imagined? If so, how?
Due to the lack of good marketing, publicity and exposure of our tourist attractions and states in Nigeria, you can’t really tell what to expect when you travel. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised in some places, like Ibadan, Bauchi, Abeokuta, Akwa Ibom, Ondo and many more. I have been disappointed in some others, for reasons like, lack of good food, poor maintenance of tourist attractions, distasteful attitude of some local indigenes, etc.
What’s the most memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
All my travel experiences are memorable; I can’t really pick one.
How do you fund your travels?
They are funded personally, except on occasions when I go on company sponsored trips or government sponsored trips like the “Explore Bauchi”.
In terms of all the traveling you are yet to do, what is the one place you would really love to go?
In Nigeria, I cannot wait to visit Taraba state, I have been seeing some amazing pictures and hearing some beautiful stories of the Mambilla Plateau and other places in the state. Outside Nigeria, I cannot wait to visit Salzburg in Austria, Rome and Venice in Italy. I love ancient architecture, captivating landscapes and culture and I think these places I desire to visit, have all these.
What do you hope to achieve with the brand you are building?
The general aim of Social Prefect Tours is to change the perception and attitude of people (Nigerians and foreigners alike) towards tourism in Nigeria and Africa generally. We hope to create a healthy desire for Nigerians to travel within, as opposed to constantly travelling to and promoting other foreign lands. Every other thing, whether it’s a group tour, a school excursion or corporate retreat, falls in between.