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Akeredolu Unveils Plans For Tourism In Ondo State, Strikes Partnership With Akinboboye

Babajide Okeowo

Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has unveiled his plans to tap into the vast tourism potentials in the state as part of efforts to consolidate on the emerging economic hub he is building in the state.

To this effect, he recently struck a strategic partnership with a renowned tourism practitioner and a son of the soil, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, the President of La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort.

The duo recently held a meeting where the governor not only signed on Akinboboye as a strategic partner and arrowhead of the Ondo State tourism project, but he also unfolded his dream for tourism and what he intends to achieve with it for the state.

This recent development is coming on the heels of the maiden Asun Carnival, which was staged in Ondo Town by Akinboboye and his team which has now been adopted as a yearly event by the people of Ondo town.

Speaking on the alliance, Akeredolu stated that this is in keeping with the tradition of partnering with professionals in giving vent to his tourism dream.

‘‘To realise our dream for the development of Ondo’s tourism and entertainment industry, we have entered into a strategic alliance with a much-lauded private sector practitioner, Otunba (Dr.) Wanle Akinboboye, the founder of La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, who is also a son of the soil from Ondo town’’ Governor Akeredolu disclosed.

He continued; ‘‘Otunba Akinboboye has been in the tourism industry for over three decades and has shown his mettle via the creation of his flagship resort in Ikegun Village Lagos State. He was also involved in the initial creation of the Mare Festival and recently the Asun Carnival launched by Destination Ondo, an initiative created by him this month for his town and by extension, our state.

We believe that with this alliance, our expectation for tourism, and entertainment development, will be realised and our Sunshine State will once again set the pace on finding unique and creative solutions to our challenges as a people.’’

He is very clear where he is headed with his tourism dream as he said to Akinboboye that: ‘‘We believe that the employment generated by the type of tourism industry we envisaged for our state will provide opportunities for all. This is because it does not focus solely on educational achievements. Rather it embraces an understanding of our culture, the ability to showcase our music and dance, and a willingness to display our pride in the talents and heritage of our great people.’’

To underscore the fact that he is on top of his game and knows where attention should be focused, he then outlined a number of the tourist attractions of the state that he wants to be put on the global tourism map for the benefit of his beloved people.

As you are aware, our glorious state is filled with many natural attractions.  These attractions include an expanse of coastline of sandy beaches, countless mountains, rivers, and the famous Idanre Hills, where mountains came to host a conference and then refused to leave.

Ondo State also has a rich cultural heritage that embraces unique music and dance. Our state must harness her natural features, culture, and talents to create and operate a tourism and entertainment industry that focuses on showcasing the best of Ondo State’s culture and natural features while creating wealth and hope for our youths.’’

Speaking on how he is addressing the issue of insecurity, Akeredolu stated that as part of the commitment to the tourism project, he has created an atmosphere for peace and security to thrive in the state through empowering a security outfit for the state, known as Amotekun.

‘‘In Nigeria today, two key issues that require intense focus by the government are security and youth engagement, employment, and empowerment.

It was with this in mind that the Ondo State government, under my leadership, established and is operating the Amotekun Security Force, which has introduced and maintains a security network that leverages off the security skills of our people to assist in making Ondo State a more secure state.

Simultaneously with this initiative, our government is also focusing on job creation and youth empowerment. In this regard, we are acutely aware that the major part of the security challenges in Nigeria arise from the disenfranchisement felt by millions of our youths, who are unable to find gainful employment to generate the income they require to cater for their basic needs and the dreams to which they are entitled.’’

As he takes this tentative step with Akinboboye on the driver’s seat, Akeredolu is calling on the people of the state to take a ride with him on the Destination Ondo’s tourism bus.

‘‘I would also encourage others from Ondo State who have made their marks in their various areas of endeavours to lend their support to the development of our great state and people, so that they can be proud not only of where they are now but also of where they originated from.’’

Governor Akeredolu has always demonstrated his preference for tourism. Although Ondo State is one of Nigeria’s oil producing states, he, however, understands the need to look beyond oil and gas in generating the kind of resources he needed to achieve his dream economy.

He believes that tourism holds a key to that economy hub he is building. On personal note, he believes strongly in the potency of a tourism economy, saying that: ‘‘If you give me an oil field or tourism and ask me to pick one, I will pick tourism.’’

To this end, he has started on the journey of consolidating on the gains of building a tourism economy he started in his first term in office where he implemented a number of initiatives back then, one of which was partnering with Oshodi Art Gallery to facilitate ARTFEST.