Despite sitting on tourism and hospitality goldmines with several tourist attractions of international reputation that could make other states and countries envious, Oyo state has yet to develop the industry to drive diversification, boost revenue and create jobs for its teeming unemployed youths.
The goldmines that could substitute irregular income from Abuja, the nation’s capital tagged ‘Allocation’ has not been exploited due to the negligence and inability of several administrations in the state to creatively utilize the tourism potentials around for economic development and transformation of the society are some of the problems militating against the advancement of Oyo state.
Unfortunately, most of these tourist attractions, have yet to be fully developed by successive administrations. Issues around lack of supportive infrastructure, insecurity, policy inconsistency, and lack of political will to articulate a clear policy roadmap that will reposition tourism, have continued to thwart efforts at leveraging on a vibrant tourism industry to grow the economy.
Tourism sites that could have served as Oyo’s major pride and economic booster are now in ruins and safe haven for hoodlums, armed robbers, kidnappers, among others.
Among several tourist attraction sites in Oyo state, the abandoned Agodi Gardens was the only site that received the attention of the immediate past government, while others, as usual; suffered total neglect. Right now, the celebrated Agodi Gardens is gradually fading away due to lack of adequate maintenance.
Mega Icon Magazine visit to Eleyele river, a maritime tourism site, housed by Ido and Ibadan North West Local Government Areas of Oyo state, reveals the pathetic state of the tourist attraction site with huge potentials that when harnessed properly, could form part of the state’s economic mainstay.
Aside from the Dam project which supplies water to the city, the river and its environs is underutilized for other purposes which include, water transport, fishing, construction of resort of international standard, recreational boating, yachting, cruising, nautical sports, and water based tourism such as marine wildlife tourism (marine parks).
Our reporter also identified a ferry terminal run by private boat operator, who is making brisk business on the water ways without remitting anything to the coffers of government. Further checks revealed that the private boat operator is a company from Lagos state, operating with six boats with engine capacities, ranging from 20, 30, 40 horse powers. The boats convey passengers from Eleyele, Ifelodun, Taaska, Alakuta, Apete.
Residents of Obaido, Ologuneru, Agbaje, Ijokodo, Power line communities are among the commuters who are abandoning stressful road transportation for the boats. The fare for a boat trip is N50.
The boat operators, who confided in our reporter, also disclosed that morning hours and evenings are the peak period for their business.
“During rush hours, around 6pm when people are coming from their shops or offices, we normally charge N100”.
The boat operators blame poor funding, high operating costs, poor infrastructure and lack of government support for their inability to develop the sector.
“Oyo state government had earlier visited us here and they promised to assist us, but we are still waiting for their gesture. Honestly, we are ready to partner with the government, we need new boats, there are new boats that will enhance smooth operation.
“Also, we are appealing to Governor Makinde to come to our aid by clearing the hyacinth on the waterways to pave way for free flow of water and ease movement on the water to all areas as we intend to expand our routes”.
Not only that the access road is in a lamentable situation, fishermen are also busy carrying out their illegal businesses without proper license from the government, while the traders at Temidire Market have no option than to continue with their trading activities in an unhealthy environment.
The market further confirmed the extent or degree of neglect by the government as unbearable odour from cassava products such as fufu , garri, starch and other waste products hijacked the atmosphere, posing considerable risks for public health.
Part of the areas covered by the teak plantation, which is also providing an interim shelter for buildings around, is expected to accommodate resorts, cafes/restaurants.
During the visit, our reporter also observed that automobile mechanics are major occupants of this untapped tourism site with several abandoned vehicles whose components had deteriorated and leaked, polluting the surroundings. The disused vehicles left in the environment are not only unsightly and affect the visual amenity of the site, but also provide harbourage for pests like rats and mice which spread disease.
Speaking with Mega Icon Magazine, some of the commuters who are steadily abandoning the road for the waterways narrated : “Before the introduction of the new boats, we use to cross through Canoe and we have recorded several casualties. We have lost friends and loved ones as well, we are appealing to the state government to take rightful steps on this, because this is the only shortest route to our homes.
” The waterways has made it easier and quicker for us to keep appointments and go about our normal business without much stress about the chaotic traffic congestion on the roads”, the commuters claimed.
Also, the President, Awotan Community Landlord Association, Ahaji Rasaq Fabayo, in a chat with our reporter lamented the underdevelopment of the tourism potential.
According to the Community leader, ” apart from being concerned as a landlord, I am also a tourism enthusiast, I understand the import of tourism in economic development . Eleyele river is a great potential”, he added.
CBN dares House of Reps, Says no going back on cashless policy
Nigeria’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reiterated that it would continue to implement the cashless policy in line with its mandate to ensure an efficient payment system.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Friday said this while briefing journalists shortly after the Monetary Policy Committee meeting.
Emefiele said that contrary to claims in some quarters that many Nigerians would suffer the negative impact of the policy, only about five to ten percent of bank customers would be affected.
He emphasized that if the Nigerian economy is to compete effectively with those of developed countries, then a payment system that encourages the use of other non-cash channel was desirable.
Kano govt. shut down O’Pay office, gives reason
The Kano state government has ordered the police to shut down a branch of Opay office in the state. Opay is an online payment outlet for commercial tricycle operators.
The outlet, as gathered was closed down during a raid carried out by the Kano state police command over alleged non-compliance with the government rules and directives.
The armed security personnel stormed the state office at Lodge road in Kano at about 11:00am on Thursday.
The police officers also ordered all the staff and scores of commercial tricycle operators known as Adaidaita Sahu to immediately vacate the premises, threatening anyone who failed to comply with the order risked arrest.
Confirming the development, the spokesman of the Police Command, DSP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, explained that the command received an order from Kano state government to close the office.
Haruna added that the Opay company didn’t comply with some rules set for it by the state government in order to operate
Ex- Manchester United striker, Berbatov retires
Former Manchester United and Tottenham striker, Dimitar Berbatov, has announced his retirement from football.
This is coming 18 months after leaving India’s Kerala Blasters, bringing an end to a glittering 20-year career.
The 38-year-old, Bulgaria’s record goalscorer, also played for CSKA Sofia; Bayer Leverkusen; Fulham; Monaco; and Greek side PAOK.
He has been without a club since leaving India’s Kerala Blasters 18 months ago.
“Someone told me I need to say something, and seeing that people were asking me, especially back home, I need to give a farewell message,” Berbatov wrote on Instagram.
“My last game was more then one year ago, so I think it’s the right time now to stop, and it’s long overdue.”
The Hotspur striker, who won two Premier League titles with Manchester United and was named Bulgaria’s Footballer of the Year seven times between 2004 and 2010, added that he planned to remain in soccer in some capacity.
“When I think about it, it’s never the end, because I will stay in the game one way or another,” he said.
Berbatov joined Manchester United from Tottenham in 2008 for what was then a club record fee of 30.75 million pounds (38.38 million dollars) .
He made his Bulgaria debut in 1999, aged 18, but retired from international football in 2010 after scoring 48 goals in 79 matches.
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