â€¦As Edo govt identifies more tourist sitesÂ
The rising profile of Edo State as an emerging investment destination following the reforms embarked upon by Governor Godwin Obaseki, across all sectors of the state, has caught the attention of South African investors and other big-ticket investors in the global tourism sector, who are jostling for the development of Sokponba Blue Water Resort.Â
According to the Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Osazee Osemwingie-Ero, the investors have indicated interest in the development of the Sokponba Blue Water Resort, a world-class recreational and leisure facility that will give Edo State her slice of the annual global tourist receipt.
Â Osemwingie-Ero disclosed this during a tour of the ancient Illewa Hill in Okpella, Estako East Local Government Area, which the state has penciled down for development.
He explained that firms from South Africa and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, are billed to make presentations to Governor Godwin Obaseki on their interest to develop the facility soon.
He added several tourist sites have been identified by the state government and are being categorised and repackaged for international exhibition.
Â â€œThese are natural sites, second toÂ none in the world. If you have the privilege of travelling abroad, you will discover that the tourist sites we see over there are artificial.
â€œEven theÂ Unuamen, where Queen Idia fought the war withÂ Aruan and Oba Esigie has become a tourist destination for students of history,â€ the commissioner said.
He explained that the visit to the site at Ido II, in Okpella, was on the order of Governor Obeseki,Â after the heads of the Okpella communities submitted a letter to the him to include the Hill as a potential tourist site in the state.
The commissioner said the governor has urged his ministry to identify moreÂ touristÂ sites as part of efforts to diversify the stateâ€™s economy and improve her revenue base.
â€œThere is a lot that can take place here, fromÂ movies, hotel accommodation,Â gymnasium and more.Â Few weeks ago, we were in Abeokuta for the Drum Festival and we climbed Olumo Rock which is not as beautiful as this, so we have decided that we will beautify this place and make it a proper tourist site.â€
On his part, theÂ Otsegban of Okpella, High Chief PeterÂ Airenokhale expressed his appreciation to the governor for his prompt response to the communityâ€™s request, noting, the community anticipates that the visit will put the Illewa Hill and Okpella community on the global tourism calendar.
Vice Chairman of Estako East Local Government Area, Princess Benedicta Attoh, assured that the people are ready to support the programmes of the governor to ensure that the Illewa Hill becomes a notable tourist site in Nigeria.