Nigeria: S/South stakeholders demand Oshiomhole’s stewardship on tourism

Posted: March 29, 2012 in travel & tourism

As Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole seeks re-election for a second term in office, the state chapter of Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), umbrella body for all private sector tourism organizations, practitioners and affiliates in the country, has demanded an account of the governor’s stewardship as it concerns tourism development during this first tenure in office.

In a letter addressed to Oshiomhole, and jointly signed by Sir Andy Ehanire, a foremost activist in tourism and social transformation, and Mr. Piriye Jonathan Kiyaramo, the FTAN South-South Zonal Council Secretary, the association said, as informed tourism stakeholders, it was duty bound to demand for a comprehensive report of the administration’s tourism development efforts in the last four years.

According to the letter, dated March 6, 2012, tourism stakeholders’ participation in this stewardship appraisal process, through select representation of its sub-sectors would lend credence to the tourism development efforts of the government, noting that a systemic appraisal of the performance of political office holders is a clear scientific means of attestation by the relevant independent sources, which underscores the importance of the subject matter.

It noted that without following through such process, any statement of performance would only amount to self glorification on the part of the State Government.

FTAN pointed out that the unique historical, cultural and ecological endowments of Edo State imposed on it the unique role of providing tourism leadership in the South-South Geo-political Zone, and even the nation, hence the call for the appraisal.

The letter stated that FTAN’s emergence as an umbrella body for all tourism associations was informed by due consideration by the Federal Government that in the multiplicity of tourism associations in the country, FTAN becomes the voice of private sector tourism in the regulation of the industry in Nigeria.

The group, however, congratulated Oshiomhole for his efforts towards massive infrastructural development, while explaining that FTAN’s role has always been to seek collaboration and synergy with government, in the spirit of public-private sector partnership (PPP), so that the immense tourism potentials of the State could be properly harnessed.

The body extolled the National Assembly Tourism Committee, under its former Chairman, Hon. KGB Ogwuakwa, for initiating a Legislative Dialogue Series on Tourism and also applauded the initiative of the incumbent Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, for holding a National Workshop on strategies for implementation of the National Tourism Master Plan in Abuja.

FTAN had in the past lamented the near paucity of action on the part of the Edo State Government in the above critical tourism policy issues, considering that tourism is on the concurrent legislative list in the constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria, thus allowing State Governments to handle tourism development with all seriousness it deserves.

The state chapter of FTAN regretted that the state tourism potentials have been relegated to the background by successive administrations in Edo State, saying that the omission of the state’s tourism sites in the National Tourism Master Plan, in spite of their strategic cultural and ecological value was a sad outcome of the weak tourism administration in the past.

The state Chapter therefore called on the governor to involve relevant experts and informed stakeholders in the tourism sector, if the State is to regain its pride of place, adding that FTAN had made repeated calls for the development of a Tourism Master Plan for Edo State, without which there would be a continuing disjointed approach to tourism development, devoid of synergy.

FTAN had also called for a Regional Tourism Master Plan for the South-South Zone or the Niger Delta Region and the creation of a sixth Tourism Cluster, to be known as the “Amalgamated Cluster” in the National Tourism Master Plan, to assuage the consequences of a future in the post oil economy, after the devastation from its exploitation.

In a critical assessment of the comrade governor’s response to constructive criticisms, the body rated him high, saying that the ultimate litmus test is when a man comes face to face with his principles. FTAN maintained that the governor has always been dispassionate on sensitive issues, adding that the prevailing mood in Edo State has been that of admiration for the Comrade Governor due to his track record in the Nigerian labour movement and in his drive for massive infrastructure development.

Meanwhile tourism Stakeholders in Edo State, including tourism journalists, are anxiously waiting for government’s response to this call for account of stewardship in the tourism sector, which is a sure path to possible endorsement, with a signpost for a future tourism agenda and new rules of interface amongst stakeholders.

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