Akeredolu opts for tourism development over oil blocks
As Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State gradually settles down for his second tenure, one thing upper most in his mind is how to generate the huge resources he needs to implement his audacious projects for the state. The Governor plans to create an industrial revolution and economic hub in Ondo State that will become the envy of all in no distant time.
Although his state is one of the oil producing states, he, however, understands the need to look beyond oil and gas in generating the kind of resources he needed to achieve his dream economy. He believes that tourism holds a key to that economy hub he is building.
On personal note, Akeredolu believes strongly in the potency of a tourism economy, saying, “If you give me an oil field or tourism and ask me to pick one, I will pick tourism.”
To this end, he has started on the journey of consolidating on the gains of building a tourism economy he started in his first term in office. He implemented a number of initiatives back then, one of which was partnering with Oshodi Art Gallery to facilitate ARTFEST.
In keeping with the tradition of partnering with professionals in giving vent to his tourism dream, the Governor has struck a strategic partnership with Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, the president of La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, as he held a meeting with him last week to hatch a plan. The meeting held on the heels of the debutant Asun Carnival, which was staged in Ondo Town by Akinboboye and his team. The people of Ondo town have now adopted the carnival as a yearly event.
The meeting ended on a successful note with the governor not only signing on Akinboboye as strategic partner and arrowhead of Ondo State tourism project, but he also unfolded his dream for tourism and what he intends to achieve with it for the state.
‘‘To realise our dream for the development of Ondo’s tourism and entertainment industry, we have entered into a strategic alliance with a much lauded private sector practitioner, Otunba (Dr.) Wanle Akinboboye, the founder of La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, who is also a son of the soil from Ondo town,’’ Akeredolu disclosed.
‘‘Otunba Akinboboye has been in the tourism industry for over three decades and has shown his mettle via the creation of his flagship resort in Ikegun Village Lagos State. He was also involved in the initial creation of the Mare Festival and recently the Asun Carnival launched by Destination Ondo, an initiative created by him this month for his town and by extension, our state.
‘‘We believe that with this alliance, our expectation for tourism, and entertainment development, will be realised and our Sunshine State will once again set the pace on finding unique and creative solutions to our challenges as a people.’’
Akeredolu is very clear where he is headed with his tourism dream as he said to Akinboboye, “We believe that the employment generated by the type of tourism industry we envisaged for our state will provide opportunities for all. This is because it does not focus solely on educational achievements, rather it embraces an understanding of our culture, the ability to showcase our music and dance and a willingness to display our pride in the talents and heritage of our great people.’’
To underscore the fact that he is on top of his game and knows where attention should be focused, he then outlined a number of the tourist attractions of the state that he wants put on the global tourism map for the benefit of his beloved people.
‘‘As you are aware, our glorious state is filled with many natural attractions. These attractions include an expanse of coastline of sandy beaches, countless mountains, rivers and the famous Idanre Hills, where mountains came to host a conference and then refused to leave.
‘‘Ondo State also has a rich cultural heritage that embraces unique music and dance. Our state must harness her natural features, culture and talents to create and operate a tourism and entertainment industry that focuses on showcasing the best of Ondo State’s culture and natural features while creating wealth and hope for our youths.’’
As part of his commitment to the tourism project, the Governor has created atmosphere for peace and security to thrive in the state through empowering a security outfit for the state known as Amotekun.
‘‘In Nigeria today, two key issues that require intense focus by government are security and youth engagement, employment and empowerment. It was with this in mind that the Ondo State Government, under my leadership, established and is operating the Amotekun Security Force, which has introduced and maintains a security network that leverages off the security skills of our people to assist in making Ondo State a more secure state.
‘‘Simultaneously with this initiative, our government, is also focusing on job creation and youth empowerment. In this regard, we are acutely aware that the major part of the security challenges in Nigeria arise from the disenfranchisement felt by millions of our youths, who are unable to find gainful employment to generate the income they require to cater for their basic needs and the dreams to which they are entitled.’’