The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Ekiti State on Tourism Development, Mr Wale Ojo-Lanre has tasked the Federal Government to earmark huge resources to lift the states’ investment in the tourism sector as being done to agriculture.
Ojo-Lanre disclosed that the Federal Government has a lot of intervention funds that were available to farmers in different fields, saying such should be extended to develop vast Nigerian potentials in the tourism sector.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Ekiti State on Tourism Development, said this on Monday at ‘Oke Abanijorin’ during a tourism programme tagged ‘Hike Ekiti Mountain Safari’, a collaborative ecotourism event between his and a private sector tourism promoting organisation, Discover Ekiti.
Addressing the tourists, Ojo-Lanre, called on the Federal government to place high premium on tourism as being done to oil and Agriculture, describing this as the best option for Nigeria that was rated as the tourism hub of Africa.
“From time immemorial, the government has placed a high premium on oil and in the spirit of diversification, they are investing billions of naira on agriculture through intervention funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“I urge the federal government to do the same for tourism. For while oil is exhaustible, tourism is inexhaustible.”
Ojo-Lanre commended Governor John Kayode Fayemi for his unrelenting support for the tourism sector to grow in Ekiti State.
“Though we understand that Ekiti is purely agrarian, our economy rests heavily on agriculture, but tourism has its priceless place and Governor Kayode Fayemi has given us the latitude to ensure that the numerous natural and cultural tourism potentialities in Ekiti are enhanced and developed for prosperity and economic empowerment.”
He pointed out that “The rolling hills and mountains, waterfalls, the Ikogosi Warm Spring, some discovered caves, Rivers, and others have the potentials to turn around our economy if they are harnessed properly, but funding has always been the issue and we believe that the federal government can fill this gap”.
Ojo-Lanre revealed that the programme was a Public-Private initiative geared towards engaging the youth, assuring that the government of Governor Kayode Fayemi was committed to widening the scope of tourism for revenue generation.
“This Hike Ekiti Mountain programme was an initiative of our youth. We have asked the young people to be developing ideas, the government is ready to collaborate with them in any purposeful event that can empower them and enrich the state.”
The Commissioner for Arts and Culture, Prof Razaq Ojo-Bakare, who flagged off the event applauded the initiative, saying it would go a long way in engaging the youth and curb their criminal tendencies.
The Commissioner added that Ekiti State is partnering with private bodies, international organisations and countries to expand the frontiers of tourism development.
The Discover Ekiti Team Leader, Mr Michael Peculiar, revealed that the programme was conceptualised to redirect the youth to the path of sanity and turn them away from crime.
“This is going to be a continuous exercise, not a one-off thing. We will explore all tourism opportunities available to Ekiti to empower our youth and make them relevant economically”.