The Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, has said that the Ministry must be repositioned as the chief pillar of the Nigerian economy, in line with the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan
Stating this in a meeting with the Board Chairmen and Heads of Parastatals of the Ministry in Abuja, Chief Duke added that part of what would make the task achievable was for all stakeholders to work in tandem with Vision 20:2020.
Handing over a document, Tourism in the Transformation Agenda, to the heads of parastatals, where the potentials of the culture and tourism sector have been articulated, Duke emphasized the need for all to work towards putting the sector in its rightful place as an alternative source of revenue to oil: “Mr. President’s Transformation Agenda and Vision 20:2020 emphasize the need for us to aggregate all the initiatives and potentials within the sector into a massive agenda that depicts one Nigerian Tourism/Culture identity; strengthening collaboration internally between the Ministry and its parastatals on the one hand, and among the pararstatals on the other, as well as streamlining the activities of all the parastatals with a view to having a common goal. We need to explore the prospects for effective collaboration and synergies with stakeholders outside the ministry, especially in the area of sports tourism as well as the film industry in Nigeria.’’
Calling on the Board Chairmen and heads of parastatals to contribute ideas that are necessary for the growth and development of the sector, Chief Duke stated that he is aware of the challenges, especially the need for improved budgetary provision.
He noted that something was being done to ensure that machineries are accelerated at the Ministry’s level to review budgetary allocation to the sector: “We are not sparing any efforts to take advantage of every avenue that could assist in proffering solutions to this problem. So, there is no gainsaying that all the stakeholders in the sector must work together as a family to create strategies and platforms for attaining international best practices; it follows that we must eschew all forms of rancour, divisiveness and distractive tendencies to be able to even identify our common goals. In other words, we must mainstream tourism into the current economic transformation agenda.’’
He continued: “We all know that if tourism is about dancing as people feel, countries like South Africa could not have been leading the continent’s economic index. We must therefore gird our loins to harness and leverage our tourism and oil potentials to attain our proper place in the leadership of the African economy.”
The Meeting was attended by the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Ibrahim Mahe, board chairmen, heads of parastatals, directors, deputy directors and assistant directors in the Ministry and the parastsatals. They include, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) Board Chairman, Amb. Ibrahim Ganyama Abubakar, Executive Secretary, NICO, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, Chairman, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) Board, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, Executive Director, NCAC, Mr. M. M. Maidugu, Artistic Director, National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN), Mr. Martins Adaji, DG, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Alhaji Munzali Dantata, Chairman of National Gallery of Art (NGA), Mr. Peter Eze, and DG NGA, Alhaji Abdullahi Muku.
Others are DG National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Alhaji Abdallah Usman, DG Nigerian Tourism Development Commission (NTDC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, DG National Orientation Agency (NOA), Alhaji Idi Farouk, GM National Theatre, Alhaji Kabir Yar’adua, Director Admin and Human Resources, NICO, Barr. Abayomi Oyelola (mni), among others.