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.
Dangote Fertiliser commences pre-testing of $2bn plant ahead of inauguration
Dangote Fertiliser Limited has begun countdown to the inauguration of its $2 billion Granulated Urea Fertiliser complex located in the Dangote Free Zone.
With a capacity of 3 million tonnes per annum, the plant has been classified as the biggest project in the entire fertiliser industry history in the World. Siapem of Italy is the Engineering, Procurement and Supervision (EP) Contractor for the project, while Tata Consulting Engineers, India, is the Project Management Consultants (PMC) for the project.
At this time, several critical sections of the plant are going through various stages of pre-commissioning and test-run. Virtually all the section of the plant such as Central Control Room, Ammonia and Urea Bulk Storage, Cooling Tower, Power Generator Plant, Granulation Plant, have all been completed and are going through pre-testing.
Already, Dangote Feritiser has started receiving gas supply from the Nigerian Gas Company and Chevron Nigeria Limited under the Gas Sale and Purchase was Agreement to supply 70 million standard cubic feet per day (Scf/d) of natural gas to Dangote Fertiliser Limited.
The project, which will create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in construction and related fields, will provide a major boost to the agricultural sector by significantly reducing the importation of fertiliser in Nigeria and ultimately removing the need for imports when plant is in full production.
Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development & Capital Projects, Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin said Nigeria will be able to save $0.5billion from import substitution and provide $0.4 billion from exports of products from the fertiliser plant. “Thus, the supply of fertiliser from the plant, will be enough for the Nigerian market and neighbouring countries,” he said.
Edwin said: “I am happy that by the time our plant is fully commissioned, the country will become self sufficient in fertiliser production and even have the capacity to export the products to other African countries. Right now, farmers are forced to utilise whatever fertiliser that is available as they have no choice, but we need to know that the fertiliser that will work in one State may not be suitable in another State, as they may not have the same soil type and composition. The same fertiliser you use for sorghum may not be the fertiliser you will use for sugar cane.”
He stated that the Dangote fertiliser project, which is estimated to gulp $2billion is the largest granulated Urea fertiliser complex to emerge in the entire fertiliser industry history in the world, with its three million tonnes per annum capacity.
He pointed out that the fertiliser complex, which is sited on 500 hectares of land has the capacity to expand as it is only occupying a small fraction of the allotted portion.
Edwin added: “The management of the complex are confident that the fertiliser business will deliver reasonable profit to the company and its shareholders as it is projected that population growth and the need for food production will jack up the consumption of Urea fertiliser beginning from 2020 when production of the production would have commenced in earnest.
“The current consumption of Urea estimated at a dismal 700,000 tonnes per annum by Nigerian farmers is said to be due to very poor usage and is believed to be the cause of poor product yield, which threatens food security in the country.
“By 2020, Nigerian population is projected to increase to about 207 million which would lead to increased food production. Estimates points out that around five million tonnes of fertilisers are required per year in Nigeria in the next five to seven years bifurcated into 3.5 million tonnes of Urea and 1.5 million tonnes of NPK while current production levels in Nigeria are at 1.6 million tonnes by 2019.”
Aje Festival 2020: Ooni wants government to spread wealth through trade, investment policies
The Arole Oduduwa, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has urged government at all levels to raise the standard of living of citizenry through favourable economic policies.
Ooni, the Co-Chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) gave the charge during the 2020 edition of the annual celebration of Aje Festival at his Ile-Oodua palace, on Monday in Ile-Ife.
Ooni Ogunwusi who is the natural father of the entire Yoruba race worldwide decried the current economic condition of the country which he described as pathetic, adding that the country’s wealth must be be enjoyable to all Nigerians.
“As it stands today, Nigeria has a population of few men and women controlling the economy while countless others are languishing in poverty. We cannot continue like this.
“For us to progress as a country, we must ensure that our wealth goes round especially to the poor and other vulnerable members of the society. We cannot keep having strikingly rich few Nigerians and uncountable ones wallowing in abject poverty.” The Ooni decried.
While explaining the basis for the Aje Festival celebrations, the African foremost monarch explained that it is a unique way through which the Yoruba people globally remember the deity which is known for wealth and riches.
“Aje is a deity which is known for wealth and riches. Its annual celebration as you have witnessed today is to acknowledge its relevance to us as people, especially its indispensable nature to us.
“Did you see the struggle for it during the procession to and from the Aje temple? That is the spirit of Aje, all of us are not rich because it is not easy to accumulate wealth.
“We are not devaluing the currency by spraying it to our people, we only do it on a special day like this to spread happiness. In the olden days, it was cowries, sometimes ago it was coins, nowadays it is naira notes and we hold it in a very high esteem.” The Ooni noted.
Coordinator of Aje Festival, Princess Toyin Kolade while briefing newsmen expressed happiness for the massive turnout of participants from within and outside Nigeria. She thanked the Ooni for the opportunity, pledging her commitment to the development of the prestigious Yoruba cultural heritage.
Similarly, the Lowa Adimula of Ife, High Chief Adekola Adeyeye, described the 2020 Aje festival celebration as the best in history, thanking the Ooni for uphold the cultural values of Ile Ife and Yorubaland. He added that the Ooni has rebranded the ancient city positively to the world, praying that God Almighty will support him in realising the greater Ife Kingdom of his dream.
The Obaluru Oranfe, Oba Isoro Abiodun Molato said “Aje is a goddess that provides Wealth and Fortune for People. She was among the 401 deities sent to the world by Olodumare .
Her primary assignment was to ensure a smooth transition of the country’s economy. For this, she is always being celebrated and commemorated by the people of Ife and other tribes of Yoruba so as to laud and epitomize her past good deeds and also how she has diligently improved people’s welfarism and the commerce of the country”.
Speaking on behalf of the international participants, Mr. Rodrigo Abdon from Brazil described the festival as awesome representation of the African rich cultural heritage.
“What I see here today has further represented the economic potentials of the enviable Yoruba cultural heritage and Africa at large. I see arts, I see dance, I see music, I see paintings and many others like we have in Brazil. The people are also receptive, very accommodating and it shows the good nature of the land. We are really feeling at home”Mr. Rodrigo noted.
The traditional rulers who graced the epoch cultural event are; Alapomu of Apomu, Oba Adenekan Afolabi, Ajero of Ijero-Ekiti, Oba Joseph Adewole, Olugbon of Ile-Igbon, Oba Olusola Alao, Onigogo of Igogo-Ekiti, Oba Sunday Adewumi, Elerinmo of Erinmo-Ijesa, Oba Michael Ajayi, Onigbaye of Igbaye, Oba Morounfoye Okunola, Olubogun of Ibogun-Ifo, Oba Fakayode Faluade, Aragberi of Oragberi, Oba Funso Makanju, Oloba of Oba-Ile, Oba Adekunle Oyeyemi, Eburu of Iba, Oba Adeogun Ogunoye, Onitetiku of Owode-Ota, Oba Wasiu Ogungbayi, Asoya of Ile-Isoya, Oba Muraina Adedini, Obalufe of Iremo-Ife, Oba Idowu Adediwura and a host of others
The former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Consular General of Brazilian Embassy in Nigeria, Helge’s Samuel Bandeira, several traditional rulers and Nollywood stars including Adewale Eleso, Iya Rainbow, Lanre Hassan(Iya Awero) and Saheed Balogun others dignitaries witnessed the event while the Apala music maestro, Musiliu Haruna Isola thrilled the guests.
FRCN denies harassing NUJ President in Ibadan
Chairman, Nigeria Union of journalists, NUJ, FRCN, Ibadan Chapel, Alhaji Nafiu Busari on Wednessday urged the public to disregard an information making the round that his members assaulted the union’s president, Chief Chris Isiguzo.
The chairman described the report as unprofessional and barbaric in nature, just as he implored the group that wrote the story to take time to upgrade their journalism skills to avoid dishing false information to the public.
In a statement made available to Mega Icon Magazine, Busari explained that the national president, Chris isiguzo and his entourage had earlier informed the management of their intentions of paying courtesy call on Tuesday, 25th February.
” On arrival, they came with Demola Babalola who has been facing legal charges on his eligibility to participate in NUJ election.
” My members held a congress earlier in the day and resolved that Babalola, and other syndicates were not expected in the station”, he said.
Busari added that the president with his entourage were welcomed by the FRCN management while others were politely informed that they were not welcomed.
“The Zonal Director, Alhaji Muhammed Bello gave a warm welcome to NUJ President and the meeting was fulfilling as Isiguso described Alhaji Bello as a good union man.
“If there was any rancor, it would be reflected in the pictures, NUJ delegation were comfortable as they even left with souvenir of FRCN.
” My members are decent and professional, I understand where the story is coming from and I understand their plights.
“We have a matter in court and we are determined to see that justice prevails. No matter how long.
“The public should disregard the information, the reality will soon be revealed to the public”, the statement concluded.
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