To revolutionise Nigeria’s economy, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been urged by Dr. Franklin Adejuwon, a former state agriculture minister, to view tourism as a real vehicle for transformation. The suggestion was made in a note on the development of Nigeria’s tourist sector by Adejuwon, one of the country’s leading tourism technocrats and enterprising operators. In addition, he was the first Director of Tourism for what is now known as the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (NTDA) after the Nigeria Tourist Board went through a number of modifications.
Although he is now retired and in his later years, he promised he would never stop reminding and pressing the government on the importance of the tourist sector’s development to the overall national economy. As the country is undergoing dynamic and extremely feasible changes for betterment under the President Ahmed Tinubu administration, he explained that he sincerely advocates for a reliable consideration of the reorganising and dedicated re-launching of the sector, which has been so deliberately suggested in the past almost four decades.
It encompasses a wide range of industries and people of different cultures.
As the Pioneer Commissioner of Home Affairs and Tourism in Lagos State, he emphasised that the sector encompasses a wide range of industries, including but not limited to culture, physical planning and environmental control, hospitality (accommodation), transportation, border control, recreational areas, beaches, and historical sites. This industry has stood the test of time and now subtly connects people from different regions. Cross-border tourism, with its connotations of both sports and medicine, has the potential to promote mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence among different cultures.
There is no “tout” indicated in the tourism industry; rather, it is a serious global business that many nations benefit from. He explained that the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (NTDA), which was formerly the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), under its current leadership, has turned into a “lame dog” and a conduit for wasteful spending of funds and purpose, whereas the only sector that is thriving and still continues to keep the flame up at both ends is the culture, however, he said he maintained respect to the Director General.
The sector should be a vital contributor to the country’s economy.
It is a sad narrative all the way through, especially for those of them who have done everything they could in all of their days to see the nation spring up as one of the most prominent nations in the world in this field. In light of this, he earnestly requests that the President thoroughly examine the state of this industry and its potential for revitalisation so that it may once again serve as a vital contributor to the country’s economic, social, and cultural success.
Moreover, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, which is responsible for the industry, may need to be in better shape to deal with something as sensitive, skilled, and professional as tourism. His first recommendation is to transfer the department to the President’s office, where it will fall under the purview of Communication and Strategy. Establish it correctly under the Special Adviser and resolute direction to prevent all waste and unrestricted perversion of its intended use and resources. It will also take the industry more professional, rescue it from its inept leadership, and ensure its continued viability.
Qualified professionals and business-minded individuals to run the ministry
Bringing back the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, which was formerly in existence but has since been abolished, is another possible alternative to having tourism’s administrative offices located in the Presidency. However, a solid foundation must be laid by engaging qualified professionals along with individuals with a strong business sense to run the ministry. Instead of functioning as a government department, it should be treated as an enterprise with the explicit goal of revitalising the economy through Arts and Culture, Tourism, and related fields.