The Ogun State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Rt. Hon. Muyiwa Ladipo, has said that tourism has been relegated in Nigeria. He said this at the Ogun State Ministry of Culture and Tourism when the Tourism Innovation and Development Advantage (TIDA) press team paid him a visit while on a tour of some tourist centres available in the ancient city of Abeokuta, Ogun State on Wednesday, February 7.
While addressing the organising partners of TIDA and members of the press, Oladipo said “tourism in Nigeria is relatively new. I personally am pained that Nigeria, the giant of Africa, is the midget in tourism. You can imagine, till tomorrow, Nigeria does not have tourist visa. So tourist coming to Nigeria would always come via visiting visa or business visa. For that alone, we have problems. But that is at Federal, no state is in charge of any visa. But respective states try as much as possible to promote themselves. We in Ogun State have tried as much as possible to get across to the whole world that Ogun State is a tourist destination.
“Some of us here must have heard about Olumo Rock even if you know of no other place. As a matter of fact, if you look at all the types of tourism across the world, Ogun has them. Talk about cultural tourism, educational tourism – Ogun State has the highest number of higher institutions in Nigeria, religious tourism – half of you here go to redemption camp, MFM Prayer City, not to forget Winners Chapel, Ogun is also one of the few states that thrive with eco tourism, which is the Ogun waterside axis of the state. Of course there is medical tourism as well. So we have all this, and incidentally we are trying to put them together and promote.”
He further shared that Ogun under the leadership of Governor Ibikunle Amosun is making efforts to promote tourism, also to prevent the culture from dying.
In his words, “We are inching towards making Ogun State a place to visit. We have even reconstructed Federal roads and we are not stopping. You will all give us kudos in the years to come.”
When asked his opinion on security in the country being one of the factors preventing the growth of the tourism sector, he explained that “Everyday in the U.S, people are being killed, so anywhere you think is safe isn’t really. It is for us to have a second look at what we do and how we go about it.
“But you and I must promote ourselves, let the word know that Ogun State and Nigeria as a whole is a place to visit. Our economy needs to diversify because crude oil is drying up and leaving Nigeria.”