Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
As Nigeria continues to explore other sources of revenue owing to dwindling oil prices and activities of vandals in the Niger Delta, the federal government has identified Bauchi State’s tourism and cultural endowments as one of the major endowments the nation is shifting its attention to.
The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who stated this yesterday after a meeting with Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar of Bauchi State on a courtesy visit, said with the untapped potential in the state and the effort being made by the governor towards that very important sector that the federal government was focusing attention on the information, culture and tourism has no reason not to partner the state in that regards.
Mohammed said both the ministry and the governor are working for the same goal of making Nigeria successful, stressing that they share many things and have discussed at length with the governor on how to harness the cultural and tourism potential that Bauchi is heavily endowed with, noting that the Yankari Games Reserve is also going to be accorded necessary attention to restore its place as an international tourism destination.
According to a statement signed by the Press Secretary to Bauchi State governor, Al-Saddique Abubakar, which was made available to THISDAY, the minister explained that they had also discussed on the revival of Durbar festival in the state because Durbar is an international festival that requires revival for its uniqueness, pageantry and great potential to attract tourists from all parts of the world.
Mohammed observed that “all over the world, the new oil is in culture and tourism and unlike oil, it can unite people and reinforce the bunch apart from being a very serious revenue earner.”
The minister revealed that he had already initiated discussions on Durbar in northern Nigeria, especially Bauchi with the UNESCO during his recent visit to Paris. He said that the Bauchi Durbar “can hardly be replicated anywhere in the world and is unique and has the potential to create jobs and wealth for the people.”
He promised that his ministry would partner the state government to ensure that all the tourism and cultural potential in the state are fully harnessed and commended the governor investing so much in exploring other non-oil sources of revenue and developing the tourism and solid mineral sectors.
“But for some last minutes hitches, we were supposed to commence the tour of Savanna scenic master plan from Bauchi because we want to commence our tourism tour with Bauchi,” the minister said.
He said his rescheduled visit to the state not only be for exploring the culture and tourism potentials of the state, but will also accord him the opportunity of letting the world know the “good job the governor of Bauchi State is doing,” since he assumed office.
Earlier, Governor Abubakar, who explained that he was in the minister’s office to explore areas of mutual cooperation with the ministry, observed that information and communication are central to the success of democratic governments, noting that the minister is well groomed in information management, “especially with the way he handled his assignment from the national publicity secretary of an opposition party before assuming office as the cabinet minister in charge of information, culture and tourism.”