The Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria (ATPN) has appealed Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, to reconsider his decision to seal off the Ikoyi Jetty of Gani Tarzan Boats and unilaterally revoke the lease agreement the state entered with the water transport company to use some jetties in Lagos as a springboard to develop water transportation the state and also access islands in the state for touristic purposes.
The President of ATPN, Malan Kabir, in a statement titled ‘No, Governor Ambode’, said it was unfortunate that after spending and putting in so much to develop water transportation in the state, hostility is now being visited on Gani Tarzan Boats by the state government.
His words: “When Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s government approached the managing director of Tarzan Jetty, Mr. Ganiyu Balogun (De Boatman), to invest in the hitherto waterlogged areas to complement the government efforts of easing the monstrous traffic jams, little did the boatman imagined that a day would come when he would be thrown out.
“When he was encouraged by the then government to rehabilitate the marshy and waterlogged areas, as a businessman, he took it very seriously. He brought his expertise and funds and invested. It became a very good service to the people who move around daily for their daily bread. He greatly contributed in making things easy to the transportation of hundreds of people.
“Now the order being given by the government of Ambode is, to say the least, unfortunate. This certainly will send a wrong signal to both local and international tourism investors in the state. Because tourism has a long gestation period where one makes investments and waits to reap the benefits at much later years. This is exactly what Tarzan Balogun and his company did. He made his investments and now time for him to recoup his investments.”
ATPN therefore advised the Lagos State government to tread carefully urging that the matter should be handled properly. The association called for dialogue. It said the state should look back at the days when the state jetties were yearning for development, not now when it is being cleaned and put to use by the dexterity and business acumen of Ganiyu Balogun.
It continued: “We, members of ATPN, are watching carefully how this issue is resolved. It will help us shape our thoughts about the state. But certainly the harassment and threats being issued by the Lagos State must stop now and pursue the path of dialogue. This will give the necessary confidence investors need, especially tourism investors, whose investments take a long period to mature.”
It would be recalled that last month, the Lagos State government shut down Tarzan Boats’ loading jetty at Ikoyi, Lagos and ordered him to vacate the jetties which the company allegedly leased from the state for 25 years.
Tourism: Lagos to Take Centre Stage at Toronto International Film Festival
Lagos State Government has said that the state’s tourism and entertainment potentials will take the centre stage at this year’s edition of the City to City Toronto Film Festival, saying that eight films produced in the state would be selected to feature at the festival.
The State’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, his counterpart in Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Folorunsho Folarin-Coker, who briefed journalists alongside the Artistic Director Toronto Film Festival, Mr. Cameron Bailey, at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, said the development would help project tourism potential of Lagos to the team audience at the festival.
Ayorinde said the move was in line with the State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode’s campaign promises to make the state a hub for tourism.
He said the eight films to be selected does not necessarily have to be about Lagos, but films produced by directors based in the state.
According to him, “What is important is that the films that will be selected will be films by film makers that are Lagos based it won’t matter what subject matter you are dealing with, it is about the creativity the talent you are exhibiting as a Lagos-based film maker that Toronto is interested in.“
Ayorinde said the state government would be fully involved in any collaboration to celebrate the city and market its potentials as well as appreciate the talent of the motion industry.
“What this government policy implies is that the Government will promote any initiative that will project Lagos as the home of film making not only in Nigeria but before the entire world,” Ayorinde said.
Folarin-Coker on his part said the move falls in line with government’s policy that entertainment can be used to drive consumption to create employment and improve the revenue generation in the state.
“This falls clearly in line with Governor Ambode’s mantra of THESE which stands for Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment, and Sports for Excellence,” Folarin-Coker said.
He also revealed that the long term plan of the Government is to take back dead public spaces such as under the bridges across the State and develop it for residents to exhibit and develop their talents.
The commissioner also informed that the state is collaborating with Federal Government to build a car park at the new museum to help drive tourism.
Explaining the drive behind the Lagos and Toronto spotlight for the Festival, Bailey said much of the films Lagos produces are not being showcased in Toronto, explaining that the idea is to seize the opportunity of this year’s festival to begin a new dawn for Nigerian films.
“We have had films like Tunde Kelani’s Abeni feature at the festival as well as Half of a Yellow Sun, which is a collaboration between Nigeria and the UK, but I think this is an opportunity to do more and to go bigger. So what we are doing this year is a spotlight on the film makers who live and work here in Laos. We have been so impressed with the ingenuity and creativity of individual film makers who have made the Nigeria film industry one of the largest in the planet,” Bailey said.
He said Lagos, like Los Angeles, Paris and Mumbai is one of the big capitals of film around the world.
He said films produced in Nollywood have spread all over the world, saying though the Nigeria Film business has gone global; the next step was to fully integrate it into the international film industry.
“The films that are bought and sold at our Festival, the films that are written about and reported on by the critics and film journalists, the audiences that embrace the films that go on to win the big prizes like the Oscars, those films should include the films from Nigeria, the films from Lagos; the heart of this industry that has become so large and dominant around the world. This is what really projects the image of Lagos and Nigeria, the stories that are being told resonate with the people whether or not they set foot on this country,” Cameron said.