Former Nigerian President and father of the nation’s modern tourism development initiatives, has berated the lack of progressive continuity in government tourism polices, saying the tendency shows that Nigeria is not serious about tourism development as an alternate source of revenue.
The visibly worried Nigerian leader who during his tenure gave Nigeria a standalone Ministry of Tourism, Abuja Carnival, Tourism Master Plan, a Presidential Council on Tourism and also empowered Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) by appointing a tested hand in Segun Runsewe, wondered at the swan song of diversification of Nigeria’s economy when all the indices for diversification particularly in tourism and agricultural are all missing.
He noted “we can’t be serious about tourism or even agriculture when we do not support or grow institutions and manpower to drive these processes and it clear to everyone that we are not serious with tourism.”
President Obasanjo who made remarks at his Presidential hill top mansion in Abeokuta, at a lavish reception for a delegation from National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) who visited the former Nigeria leader to brief and invite him to chair the association’s eminent persons award ceremony slated for December, told his visitors that they should not wait for government to help them but strive to lead the crusade to organize all key players in hospitality travels tours, aviation, transport and entertainment into one powerful vehicle to drive Nigeria’s tourism.
The former Nigeria leader who practices what he preaches on tourism with a vintage multi-million naira investment in his Green Legacy Resort in Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, assured NANTA delegation led by its chairman Board of Trustess (BOT) Mr. Steve Isokariare that he would be pleased to honour NANTA invitation to chair its eminent person award and share his vision for a greater Nigerian tourism future.
Obasanjo who later treated the NANTA delegation to a surprise lavish lunch, had earlier directed that the NANTA delegation be conducted round the massive complex of his Green legacy tourism project comprising of hotels, children play ground, a mini zoo, Youth Centre, Banquet hall and theatre, an all Bamboo green area, swimming pool, inspiration hill and a Presidential library with an octopus historical museum.
Earlier in his speech, NANTA BOT Chairman, Mr. Steven Isokariare who led VP, Lagos NANTA Mrs. Lola Adewole and Slyvester Olobor, NANTA Executive Secretary to the Hill Top home of the former President, told him that NANTA desires his influential Voice to NANTA’s position for a new aviation and tourism business template in Nigeria, adding that Nigeria’s tourism and aviation needs visible turn around in order to help create jobs and reposition the Nigerian economy.
Mr. Isokariare apologized and excused the absence of NANTA President Bankole Bernard who is out of country but who directed that he (Isokariare) should represent him at the event to appreciate the former president for what he has done for tourism in Nigeria and what he is currently doing.
“We came to appreciate you about what you had done for tourism in Nigeria during your tenure and we look forward to having you as chairman and key speaker at our eminent persons award to share your vision and inspire new generation tourism players in Nigeria”, he noted.
The NANTA delegation also visited the office of Deputy Governor of Ogun State Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga to intimate and invite her to the NANTA award as special guest of honour.