By Jimoh Babatunde
FOR the few privileged Nigerians that have visited Dubia or familiar with Arabian architecture, if they are blindfolded and taken to the re-developed Apapa Amusement Park, they will definitely think they have been dumped in Dubai. The first impression one gets on entering the park is the feeling that one is in one of those fun spots that dot the city of Dubia.
Arabian style architecture
The buildings are built in the Arabian style architecture. The flat top with horns, the dark yellow paint and the rough wall all remind one of Dubai Jumeirah. This is a kind of mini Jumeirah tucked inside Apapa.
Some years ago, the Apapa Amusement Park used to be the number one leisure spot for family entertainment. Families trooped to the leisure spot for healthy family entertainment. That was before the edifice collapsed , not only taking away leisure and entertainment from children, the youths and adults of the area but creating an opportunity for hoodlums in the site.
Not so happy about the situation , in 2013 the immediate past administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola in his desire in promoting private sector participation in the establishment and management of Recreational Facilities in the State, entered into a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with a consortium to upgrade the Park on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis.
Today, the Concessionaire and its technical partners have delivered a one stop mixed use tourism cluster, comprising of hospitality, entertainment, leisure and amusement facilities within the Park.
The facilities at the park today include Rides, Adult Games, Junior Games, Children Games, Kart Racing, Gardens, Restaurant and Coffee Shop, Snack Bars, Passages, Fountain and Seating Area, First Aid, Parking Area and Conveniences
At the commissioning weekend, Lagos state government re-iterated its policy of using tourism, hospitality, entertainment and sports as a tool of stimulating the economy of the state.
Speaking weekend at the commissioning of the redeveloped Apapa Amusement Park, the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Folorunsho Folarin-Coker, said the state government is ready for ideas and plans by investors for the replication of leisure facilities in all parts of the state.
While re-iterating the government’s promise of creating an enabling environment for partnership with interested private sector organisations, Folarin said the intervention will affect all facets of tourism, entertainment, hospitality and generate multiplier value for the state economy.
Folarin-Coker said the Apapa Amusement park offers Lagosians an opportunity for the regeneration of family values and bonding, “provision of a leisure spot with facilities as contained here goes a long way in stimulating the mind through recreation and entertainment.”
He called on Lagosians to visits the park, Folarin-Coker said it will help in conserving foreign exchange that would have been spent visiting such facilities elsewhere in the world as well as create jobs for people in the area.
“If this place generates one million tourists in a year and they spend at least N5000 that is about a billion naira. You see that the volume is what we need to keep this place going.”
The Tourism Commissioner explained that the tripartite project of the state government in resuscitating the park will provide a symbiotic benefit for return on investment as well as attainment of the government’s long term vision to make the state the destination of choice for tourists.