Kehinde Adewole, Ado Ekiti
The Governor of Ekiti and Chairman of Nigeria’s Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, has put necessary machinery in place to make the state the country’s entertainment hub.
The state government has urged investors across the world in entertainment, and particularly tourism, to take advantage of her unique tourism facilities.
Speaking on behalf of Governor Fayemi after a tour of the state’s tourism facilities with reporters, the state’s Commissioner for Arts, Tourism and Culture, Prof. Rasaki Ojo Bakare, said that Ekiti boasts of numerous natural endowments that are tourist wonders.
He said: “… The essence of our identification of tourism facilities in the state is to show the world the potentials this state has for tourism business. You have seen the depth of what we have. What is left is for investors to come in and do business with the state. It is good to build filling stations and hotels, but tourism sites when invested in, can give you what petrol stations and running a hotel cannot give you.
“We are calling on domestic and foreign investors to come to Ekiti and do tourism business with us. The message is simple if your ambition is to make money, come to Ekiti. We have a lot for you to key into and make money.”
Bakare mentioned some of the state’s tourism facilities, saying: “You have seen the Arinta waterfall, the Ero Dam, Fajuyi Amusement park, the Ikogosi warm spring, and the Civic Center edifice which contains the cinemas, art theatre, gallery and other facilities here. I don’t know where something like our Civic centre is in Nigeria except the National Theatre in Lagos.
“In the next couple of months, Ekiti will be the hub of entertainment, that is why we are calling on all potential investors to come in now and key into what we are doing in Ekiti State,” he assured.
Prof Bakare, who is a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Artistic Director, Abuja carnival, revealed that the state has already begun to provide friendly legislation and relevant infrastructure to boost tourism and entertainment businesses.
” … Ekiti State has become one big construction space. There are road constructions going on everywhere, especially, roads leading to where our many tourism sites are. Some days ago, the governor flagged off the construction of Aramoko-Erijiyan-Ikogosi-Ipole-Iloro roads, leading to Ikogosi warm spring, Arinta waterfall, Oke baalu – the place where the first aircraft crash occurred in West Africa, not far from the Arinta waterfall.
“Another thing on the tourism corridor is the cenotaph of the late Joseph Ayodele Babalola, the first General Evangelist of Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), for religious tourism. Because of the Ogun Onire site, another road construction is on from Ilupeju to Ire linking to Ero Dam so that there will no problem in accessing the tourism site. We have also gone further to begin discussions with a helicopter company, OAS, based in Lagos, so that they can pick tourists from Lagos to Ekiti as long as they are willing to pay.”
The University don, who until his appointment as Commissioner, taught at the Federal University Oye-Ekiti as a professor of Dance and performance aesthetics as well as Dean, School of Post Graduate Studies, assured tourists and investors coming to Ekiti that they are secured against any criminal act:
” The crime rate here is close to nil. There are many destinations world over with serious security issues and people still go there. But, in Ekiti, you can attest to the fact our security operatives are almost on vacation because there is little or nothing for them to do in terms of chasing criminals. We thank God for the peace we enjoy in the state, which is an added value to the tourism business.”
The Ekiti Culture Commissioner, who is Nigeria’s first Professor of Dance, added that his people in Ekiti already has a very hospitable nature to accommodate tourists:
“Ekiti people are warm people. They receive and take care of people. It is one state that solves the problems of other people irrespective of where they come from. Already, our people naturally have the nature to receive and take care of people and that is the fundamental of tourism.
“All we need to do is to encourage our people to continue in that line of behaviour, that warm spirit to receive and take care of guests. We will also technically work on some other demographics of the population; the okada riders, the taxi or cab drivers, food sellers and the rest of them to know how to handle tourists, how to relate and treat tourists and work is already going on in that area,” he said.