Tourism: Akwa Ibom Plans Annual International Festival

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Okon Bassey in Uyo

Akwa Ibom State Government has concluded arrangement to be floating an annual International festival that will attract tourists within and outside the country to the state. The annual festival tagged “Akwa Ibom Heritage Festival” (IBOMfest) will commence this year, December 15-17 with the theme ‘Our cultures beyond boarders’.

The State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Emmanuel Ibiok, disclosed this recently at a press briefing jointly held with Special Assistant to the State Governor on Tourism Development, Miss Ini Edo.

The commissioner explained that the planned festival is in line with the five point agenda of the present administration of the state which included developing the tourism industry by projecting the beauty and people of the state.

“The IBOMFest is designed to divert tourism traffic and investments to Akwa Ibom State by providing, artistic, cultural and tourism platforms that will add value to the fledgling economy.

“Akwa Ibom State is known all over the world as a natural haven for tourism. Our people are renowned for their great spirit of hospitality, their natural God-given habitat is littered with sculptural landscapes and topography while the artistic creative spirit of our people are easily spelt out in the unique arts and crafts created by naturally gifted local artists whose products can hold their grounds against the best anywhere in the world.

“In songs, dances, drama and even in contemporary theatre, our people occupy prime positions of prominence.

“Above all, our environment is remarkably clean and healthy while the peace and security status of our state, even in these turbulent times of

terrorism and insurrections the world over, speak volumes about our status as the prime tourism destination in our country,” he said.

Ibiok maintained that the festival which is in the spirit of the Dakkada (Rise) Philosophy of the state government is positioned to contribute significantly towards the enhancement of the revenue base of the state and yield positive harvests to the people and government.

He stressed that the festival will be expected to take its pride of place in the annual calendar of legacy tourism, cultural and artistic events like the Calabar Carnival, Osun/Osogbo Festival, Ofala Festival and Argungu Fishing and Cultural Festival recognised globally.

Shedding more light on the festival, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Tourism Development said the event was targeted at opening up the state huge investment potentials, its luxuriant culture and hospitality to tourism destination marketers, local and foreign investors, tourists, arts and crafts makers/traders, tourism promoters, media and tourism stakeholders.

Edo posited that government economic value of the festival includes, promoting foreign direct investment, establishment of trade relations with states and countries that will participate in the event, employment generation and income generation for the communities.

According to her, the event will help strengthen relationship between government, policy makers and private tourism operators in the state, the country and overseas towards further development of the abundant tourism potentials of the state.

The festival, she said would feature a cultural float tagged ‘Parade of Cultures’ through the streets of the state capital, Uyo; fashion parade by local and international designers of cultural attires, dances; food fair and exhibition including cooking, eating and drinking competitions, comedy boat regatta and other recreational activities.

Eko Atlantic City Project Will Boost Lagos Economy, Increase IGR, Says Ambode

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has embarked on an extensive tour of the Eko Atlantic City (EAC) Project, expressing confidence that the initiative will not only boost the economy of the state, but also increase its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

Governor Ambode, who was accompanied on the tour by members of the State Executive Council, pledged the total commitment of his administration towards the success of the project, saying that it would go a long way to facilitate the quest to grow potentials of the state economy.

“I would like to express the total support of this government to this project because at the end of the day we need to grow the economy of Lagos and this obviously is going to have multiplier effect on our IGR.

“We promise that we are going to grow our IGR to N30bn by 2017 and N50bn by 2018 and this project is a sure outlet in achieving that goal,” he said.

He also expressed satisfaction on the infrastructure already put in place, saying that it now behooves on investors to take advantage of the massive opportunities.

The Eko Atlantic City Project is a multi-billion dollar project sitting on over 10 million square metres and is expected to accommodate over 150,000 people who would reside there and another 250,000 who would work and commute within the city on a daily basis.

While commending the promoters of the EAC Project for their confidence in committing huge resources to the Nigerian economy, Ambode said their investment was a positive sign that Nigeria remains the investment hub in Africa.

The Governor said: “Notwithstanding the economic recession that has befallen the country right now, we have come to also show that outside the recession, there is a whole lot of progress going on in the investment climate in Lagos State.

“We are very happy that the signs are looking very good for investment in Lagos. We are also very happy that we are doing everything possible to encourage investors to come into the State and I will like to assure that we are committed to make this project a big success,” he said.

Ambode, who also inspected the 8.5km long shoreline wall, otherwise known as the ‘Great Wall of Lagos’, built to protect the EAC, said it was gratifying that the project will not only protect the new city, but also protect the whole of Victoria Island against any ocean surge, which was one of the primary reasons for the project.

“This is a new and a bigger version of Victoria Island. We are going to have an Energy City here, a financial hub that is more or less going to run under a Free Trade Zone and so on.

“Basically, all these put together turns Lagos to that leader that we want it to be in Africa and the quality of infrastructure that has been put here is also encouraging.

“I just want to encourage other investors and other people who had taken one step or the other in respect of the Eko Atlantic City that the time is now because in another one and half years, this place will be something else,” Ambode said.

So far, out of the over 10 million square metres of the project, about six million square meters have been reclaimed, while there are 15 bridges and two tunnels designed with the project.

Earlier, Chairman of Eko Atlantic City, Mr. Ronald Chagoury, said one of the first two residential buildings in the new city will be completed by the end of August, while the second will be ready before the end of the year, adding that the first office block will be ready between September and October, 2016.

Chagoury described the project as an impressive financial district which upon completion, would compare with the financial district in Paris, France and the 5th Avenue in New York, United States.

He added that the Great of Lagos was scientifically designed to withstand any ocean surge and that it was built to last for 1, 000 years.

Also, Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, whose bank is the major partner with the promoters of the EAC project and the Lagos State Government, said aside the fact that adequate arrangement had been made to protect the City, the project was all about saving the state and creating a new tomorrow for people to live in Lagos.

He added that with the project, the land that was lost over time to the bar beach had been reclaimed, adding that investors and interested people need not entertain any fear as to the safety of the City.