Prince Adetunji Fadina, Chairman Tourism Committee of Ado-Odo/Ota local government has said Ogun state is endowed with massive potentials to become one of the major tourist destinations in the world.
Speaking at the 2019 edition of the Ogun State celebration of United Nations World Tourism Day organised by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Prince Fadina expressed that the state is one of the few states in Nigeria that has shown a definite understanding of its potential.
Fadina, the Chief Executive Officer of Dinat Consulting, one of the nation’s foremost tourism establishments, further noted that “tourism is our God given crude oil. Can we find the will power to mine it, refine it and prosper our people by it? Should we find the will power to strengthen tourism, we would invariably significantly increase our (IGR) internally generated revenue.”
“We must continue to work until Ogun State becomes one of the major tourism destinations in the world. We must translate our understanding into tangible palpable essences that make this dream a resounding reality,” he said
Below is the full text of his speech
SPEECH BY PRINCE ADETUNJI OLUWAFEMI FADINA AT THE OGUN STATE CELEBRATION OF WORLD TOURISM DAY 2019
It is with joy on the one hand and a deep sense of responsibility on the other hand that I stand at this podium today to deliver the Address at this auspicious occasion of the 2019 Ogun State celebration of World Tourism Day.
This is for two broad reasons.
First, I brim with joy because tourism is everything to me. It is my lifework, my calling, what I live for because tourism in itself is life; the driving force of development, of growth and of the transformation of human societies.
Tourism is a testimony to the resilience and outboarding capabilities of the human spirit. It celebrates us for who we are, what we are as we are.
Secondly, I deliver this address with a deep sense of pride and responsibility knowing full well that our state, Ogun, is one of the few states in Nigeria that has shown a definite understanding of the potential inherent in tourism by deservedly dedicating a full ministry to it – the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. That is how it should be.
Not culture and information! Nigeria needs to borrow a leaf from Ogun State in this regard because it is a misnomer to embed culture in information.
Why culture and tourism? Simple.
Culture is the content and tourism is the vehicle that carries it to the world. What tourism sells is the culture of a people, that which defines them. But then, e maa je ki a gun iyan wa kere, we are Ogun, the Gateway State, we lead, we show the way.
It is however neither enough to merely understand nor to remain as a mere directional signpost. We must move from that stop. We must carry on. We must continue to work till Ogun State becomes one of the major tourist destinations in the world. We must translate our understanding into tangible palpable essences that make this dream a resounding reality.
To do any less is to be less than we are.
To do any less is to wastefully punch below our God-given weight.
To do any less is to betray the crystal understanding we have demonstrated by manifesting that understanding in the first place.
The ingredients to realize this are all there.
From the cradle of Egungun and the home of Bishop Ajayi Crowther where the bible was translated into Yoruba language and effective evangelization commenced in Ota to the home of the recognized father of Nigerian theatre, Chief Hubert Ogunde, in Ososa, to the homestead of Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka in Ake, through the Ojude Oba festival in Ijebu Ode and our various kingship and traditional institutions, some of which date as far back as 1621, to our breathtaking topography and the rustic rural settlements that constitute a significant part of our communities added to the industry, diversity and dynamism of our people and our unique strategic location, every ingredient needed to galvanize our state to the lofty heights of global tourism destination has been provided by God and the ingenuity of our heroes past.
For the avoidance of doubt, we are the only state in Nigeria endowed with a complete tourism product.
But it is not just about getting to the lofty heights of being a significant destination in international tourism.
It is more than that. Much more than that.
It is about pulling our people out of the doldrums of devastating poverty through the instrumentality of tourism.
It is about empowering our government to do more.
It is about geometrically increasing the internally generated revenue of Ogun State.
It is about creating a befitting and conducive environment to unleash the positive energies of our people to excel.
It is about giving Omo Ogun an all-round better shot at life. Believe me when I say it is possible.
My journeys over these past thirty-Five years in tourism across the world tells me it is possible. My interface with business tourism, sports tourism, Medical tourism, education tourism, environmental tourism, religious tourism and other forms of tourism declare boldly from the mountain top that it is possible.
Take religious tourism for instance. We gave the world the Celestial Church of Christ(?). We are home to the largest Christian congregations in the world. Can what we generate from these as a state compare to what Mecca generates for Saudi Arabia or Jerusalem for Israel?
How much do we earn from our arts and crafts? Chinos and jeans are fabrics found in virtually every household in the world. How much revenue do you think they generate for their originating cities? Who says our adire cannot attain such heights? Who? Who even dares think that? Certainly, not me. I stoutly believe it can. We only need to do the needful.
To do the needful is to create institutions that can raise the finishing competence of our craftsmen and women to global standards through training and re-training.
The needful is to get our institutions of learning to offer courses in tourism because it is only those with the right competences that can transform our state into a world class tourism destination.
The needful is to, working through the relevant unions, train and retrain our taxi drivers on how to communicate with visitors to the state because they are usually the foot soldiers of marketing or de-marketing the state.
The needful is to fix our roads and unlock traffic bottlenecks that make commuting a testy experience.
The needful is to ensure adequate security so that people can freely move about in peace. The needful is to bring the hospitality industry up to global speed through proper regulation and certification.
Clearly you can see that the needful in a nutshell is accelerated development. That is what tourism delivers. That is the win-win dynamic tourism creates – as you prepare to host your esteemed visitor you improve yourself through proper preparation.
The litany of the needful, however, need not befuddle us because we can strategically go from where we are to where we ought to be in a modular fashion.
It is a win-win because globally, the tourism sector is a leading source of employment, supporting multiplied millions of jobs and driving economies forward.
Knowing full well that 1 out of every 12 jobs in the world is tourism-related, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s choice for this year’s WTD theme, ‘Tourism and Jobs: A better Future for All’ is very apt as tourism is extremely labour intensive and a significant source of employment for many global economies. This ‘better future for all’ must not pass us by in Ogun State.
Our case cannot be different especially because tourism employments give women and youth with those living in rural communities the chance to support themselves and their families to fully integrate into wider society.
It is a very important tool and contributor to the Sustainable Development Goals as enunciated by the UN. Goals such as no poverty, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production among others can be largely addressed through the impact of the tourism sector. With barely eleven years left for the SDGs target to be met, more focus must be placed on tourism and its massive potentials.
Tourism especially allows us to develop in areas where we have innate global exclusive advantages.
There is only one adire fabric in the world.
There is only one Imeko Afon in the world.
There is only one residence of Bishop Ajayi Crowther in the world.
There is only Ososa in the world.
There is only one Ije-gba in the world.
There is only on Obasanjo presidential Library in the world
There is only one Olumo Rock in the world.
There is only one birthplace of Professor Wole Soyinka in the world.
There is only one burial site of the Queen of Sheba in the world.
There is indeed only one cradle of Egungun in the world.
There is one golf course that you can see all the 18 holes from the mountain top
All these unique sites and expressions are domiciled here in our land. Here in our State, Ogun.
It bears repetition to remind ourselves again that Ogun State is the only state in Nigeria endowed with complete tourism product.
Ladies and gentlemen, tourism is our God given crude oil. Can we find the will power to mine it, refine it and prosper our people by it? Should we find the will power to strengthen tourism, we would invariably significantly increase our (IGR) internally generated revenue. Should we find the will power to unleash our tourism potentials, we invariably open a sesame of rapid development, massive job creation and ultimately, prosperity of our dear state.
On behalf of Ado Odo-Ota Tourism Committee Initiative, I thank the Ogun State government through the Ogun State Ministry of Culture and Tourism for organizing this forum in celebration of World Tourism Day 2019 and giving me this opportunity.
Igbega Ipinle ogun, Ojuse gbogbo wa ni oo
Omo Ogun Ise ya
Thank you very much.