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Re-directing economic potential via destination branding, the ISAPA connection

By Princewill Ekwujuru
Before now, people had been undertaking branding unknowingly. The earlier humans had used the re-branding concept to differentiate their cows, fowls, goats, among others, from that of their colleagues to avoid theft.

However, in earlier times, the branding concept had not been accorded acceptance in the business and corporate circle, but  has come to be recognised, taking a different dimension and changing the face of the political and corporate world.

Quite recently, branding had been applied extensively to products and services, and  tourism destination.
Today, some states have keyed in to the branding concept, re-focusing their economic potentials, such states like Lagos, Calabar, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Rivers and recently Ekiti state had exposed their tourism potentials, the re-positioning the Eyo festival (otherwise referred to as the Adamu Orisa festival) by the Lagos State government, the Calabar carnival, the Abuja carnival respectively to name a few.

The economic potential and influx of tourists help to boost the economy of the states mentioned as a result of the power embedded in destination branding.

However, keying into the branding concept, the new face of Imo campaign, by Ikedi Ohakim’s regime which is hanged around the  ‘Clean & Green’ initiative for years now, will be the  first and biggest lake resort in the West Africa sub-region, named the Oguta Wonder Lake Resort located at the outskirt of the state capital, the state government pointed out.

Speaking on the project (s) during a familiarisation tour tagged: ‘See Imo, Feel Imo’ by Brand Journalists’ Association of Nigeria (BJAN) members,  Ike Nwankwo, Special Adviser to Governor Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State on Projects Monitoring, had reiterated that the Resort has a holiday complex including an ‘A’ Golf Course with 18 standard international holes. Relic of war (mini bunker) constructed by the defunct Biafran Navy during the Civic war, Natural confluence of Oguta Lake and Urashi River, boat Cruise services, Golf Club Bar House/Oguta Lake Motel for refreshment, lodging and accommodation as well, a children recreation centre  and the ultra modern Ahajioku’ conference centre that would seat about 10,000 persons.

According to Nwankwo, “the Imo State government has decided to transform and reinvent the Oguta Lake and Golf Resort to reflect the goals and objectives of the “The New Face of Imo.”

Continuing, he said, the resort is to be redesigned and developed into a World Class Edutainment Center to be known as the Imo Wonder Lake Resort and Conference Center , Oguta, or simply as Wonder Lake Resort, Nigeria.

“Already about N10 billion has been sunk into  phase one of the projects which must be delivered before the end of Ohakim’s second term in office should he be re-elected.”

Chinedu Okpareke, Director General, Imo State Investment Promotion Agency, (ISIPA), said, “Oguta Wonder Lake when completed would act as Africa recreational hub.”

Aside the above, other projects include agriculture, where commercial farmers from South Africa have been working in the state in the last one and half years to develop large scale farming under the public Private partnership (PPP).

Security, the state has invested heavily, in recent time of Kidnapping, no known report has been heard or read. The state electronic media was dilapidated, the administration has revived the state radio and television stations.

Road revolution had been of the major focal point of the Imo state government; dualisation of roads with drainages, street lights and the clean and green touch, completed water supply; motorized an solar system propelled.

All these were at the instance of ISAPA. ISAPA  was established to attract foreign investment to market the state to world investors and investment heavyweights from across the globe.


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