President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, disclosed that tourism and culture which had been neglected in the past would soon be the bedrock of Nigeria’s economy.
To this end, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, challenged the rural dwellers, who were blessed with rich country’s cultural heritages and tourist sites to live up to the responsibility of managing and protecting the sites for economic purposes.
Buhari, who declared the 2016 National Summit on Culture and Tourism open, in Abuja, described tourism as rejected stone that would be rejuvenated to address the dwindling economy of the country.
Represented by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Dr Okechuwku Enelama, the president said though culture and tourism sector is driven by private sector all over the world, the government would provide conducive environment to encourage investment in the sector.
He said; “As a result of the combination of various factors such as the sharp drop in the price of oil, combined breakdown of protectionist policies and changes in social relations, countries are compelled to look for alternative sources of revenue and employment.
“Tourism, therefore, is a resource of development and means of providing an additional opportunity for a non-industrialised country like ours, to diversify its economic base for the betterment of all.
“Consequently, the road for us as a nation to achieve our set objectives of diversifying our economic base will depend partly upon the quality of design and implementation of tourism policies; we must develop appropriate policies and the right attitudes towards achieving the desired goals.
“We are aware that the development of the tourism sector all over the world is largely Private-Sector-driven. However, as evident in the 2016 Budget, this administration will continue to provide the required enabling environment for arts, culture and tourism to thrive and develop, through the massive upgrading of infrastructure and the provision of security.
“We will continue to encourage public and private sector participation and partnership in all the desired areas including transportation, beach and resort development as well as tour operations, hotel and hospitality development.
“As you are aware, culture generally represents the totality of the history and way of life of a people. Over the years, Nigeria is recognised to have a rich cultural heritage – not just in our arts and crafts but also in our ways of life. However, over time, as a result of so many experiences we seem to have lost the tenets of our cultural values; which are of integrity, honesty, sincerity and God-consciousness.”
In his remarks, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, explained that the summit was designed to explore all the various opportunities in tourism sector to improve the economy, calling on corporate bodies to join hands with the government.
According to him: “The crash in the price of oil, the mainstay of our economy, has triggered a disaster for the economy.
“But, this administration has decided to turn that disaster to a blessing by diversifying the mono-product economy and widening our national revenue base.
We want to turn adversity into sustainable fortune by tapping our National cultural heritage and tourism.”
He maintained that the ministry had been working in the past six months quietly to see how best Nigeria reposition culture and tourism, adding that “the important of the tourism sector cannot be quantify because it’s the only sector that are pro-poor, pro-rural and pro-under-privileged.
“The sectors are not just about creating jobs or earning revenues, they also help stem rural-urban migration, foster unity, ensure holistic and inclusive growth as well reduce crime.”
However, the minister identified rural dweller as the only challenge militating against the tourism development in Nigeria.
“The challenges are to get the rural folks as tourists guides, festival managers and protectors of the sites,” he said.
RSG Alerts On Orchestrated Media Campaign
The Rivers State Government has raised alarm over alleged moves by some critics of the government to use selected media houses in the state to denigrate the state government.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, reads, “The Rivers State Government is aware of clandestine plans by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State to use selected media houses in the state to denigrate the government of Governor Nyesom Wike.
“This is as a result of the intimidating sterling performance of Governor Wike in infrastructure, healthcare, education, agriculture, rural transformation, housing development, administration of justice, social welfare and sports development.
“This orchestrated campaign spearheaded by a defeated and dumped governorship aspirant of the APC, Dr. Dakuku Peterside is designed to portray the government of Governor Wike as one that is not meeting the developmental aspirations of Rivers people.
“However, the uncommon transformation of the 23 local government areas as witnessed during the last six years of projects commissioning and flag off shows clearly that Governor Wike is actually meeting the yearnings of the people.
“The fact that Rivers people that turn out en mass at the various projects sites to heartily welcome their beloved governor and his guests drawn from all political divides is a clear indication that Rivers people can no longer be swayed by cheap politically induced blackmail.
“The truth of the matter is that the APC government that boasted that Governor Wike will not see money to pay workers’ salaries and execute projects has been humbled by the revolution in governance currently witnessed in the state.
“Instead of people like Dr. Dakuku Peterside and his acolytes to eat the humble pie, they are busy looking for cheap popularity through sponsored appearances in the media.
“No matter how hard these detractors push their propaganda, Governor Wike will never be distracted in executing his social contract with the people of Rivers State.
“In the next few weeks, more projects that have direct bearing to the lives of Rivers people will be unveiled.
“Governor Wike’s promise to continue working as if this is his first tenure and not abandon any project remains sacrosanct.
“Rivers people are watching those whose stock in trade is to dance naked and pray that they continue as merchants of mischief, falsehood and baseless allegations.”
“The people of Rivers State love Governor Wike whose outstanding achievements in salvaging the state from the dearth of basic infrastructural development required for speedy socioeconomic transformation has received national and international applause.
“Therefore, no amount of negative propaganda by the failed APC can diminish the legacy of Governor Wike in Rivers State.
“Rather than launder the thoroughly battered image of the APC, such media appearances by Dr. Dakuku Peterside and his cohorts will further expose APC’s penchant for lies and deception which is now a public knowledge.
“The former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, has confirmed that Governor Wike is the best Rivers State has produced.
“’I have been there. And I make bold to say Governor Nyesom Wike, you are the best,’ Dr. Odili said.
“Odili’s comment serves as an answer to those masquerading as informed commentators with puerile and suffocating commentaries”, the statement added.
Bandits In Trouble As Super Tucano Aircraft Arrives
The first batch of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft has arrived in Kano, yesterday, at about 12.34 pm.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, confirmed the arrival of the fighter aircraft in a statement.
“On hand to receive the aircraft were the Hon. Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd); Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Farouk Yahaya; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao”, he said.
We’ve No Patience With Failure, Oyedepo Lashes Out At Sacked Pastors
The General Overseer and Founder of The Living Faith Church International also known as Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, has reacted to the recent sack of over 40 pastors by the church.
One of the affected Pastors, Peter Godwin, took to social media, claiming they were sacked for not generating enough income.
Godwin, who was in one of the church’s branches in Ekiti State, had claimed, “I was told by the management that the church doesn’t operate at a loss.
“They also told me that the total income that is being generated from my station should be able to cater for my welfare and accommodation, so as a result of low income, I’m hereby dismissed.”
Reacting to the allegation in a video posted on the social media, Oyedepo said the sack of the pastors was not about money, adding that the latter were sacked as a result of their failure and the church “has no patience with failure.
“Money? Nonsense! We have never lacked it, and yet, we have never prayed for it.
“We are just simply obeying God, and He is backing up what He is asking us to do. Awesome God,” he noted.
On those criticising the sack, the GO said, “People are confused about our ministry. I learnt some fellows said, you know, they are not bringing income, that is why they asked them to go”.
He added, “We asked you to go because you are unfruitful. Unfruitful! Blatant failure. Doing what there? We have no patience with failure here.
“When we employed 7,000 people at a time, social media was dead.
“We have more employees in this organisation than most of the states. No one is owed a dime salary and we don’t borrow, we don’t beg. Ask our bank whether we take overdraft.
“We are covenant bound, working in the light of God’s word, enjoying an open Heaven.”
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