By Olasunkanmi. Akoni
In view of daunting threats to world economy, the Federal Government has been urged to harness the potentials in the creative and cultural industry to strengthen growth of the nation’s economy in post COVID-19 era.
President of Asa Day Worldwide, Mr. Olaniyi Oyatoye, gave the charge at a press conference held in Ikeja, on the forthcoming Lagos 2021 Asa Day celebration, being organised in partnership with Lagos state governmen, billed for November 21st with the theme, ‘Let’s use our cultural heritage to revive our economy
The event also had in attendance: Special Adviser to Lagos state governor on Tourism Hon. Solomon Bonu and the permanent secretary ministry of Tourism Princes Adenike Ajayi, among other senior officials.
Oyatoye, said Nigeria stands a great chance of surviving the current economic lapse in post COVID-19, if it could focus more on cultural tourism.
According to him: “There is the urgent need for a meaningful and sustainable financing of cultural development by the government and financial institutions, and multinational organisations in Nigeria.
“The arts, culture and tourism sector has been denied government attention and financial empowerment. If properly funded, the creative and cultural industries would enhance and strengthen the growth of the economy as well as contribute to stem youth restiveness and criminality.’’
Oyatoye added that Nigeria can forge a solid partnership with symbiotic foreign countries for culture and tourism in developing and marketing their potential to boost patronage of local and foreign tourists.
‘’If collaboration and partnership are cultivated between performing artists, museums and states that are blessed with natural and cultural endowments, the resultant cultural tourism synergy will be presented as exciting performances at vital tourist destinations across the country. As a significant tourist destination, museums are the cultural central and memory bank of any nation, including Nigeria,’’ he said.
Oyatoye noted: ‘’As far back as 2015, according to Wikipedia (Free Encyclopedia), countries that made so much money from tourism in that year include: U.S.A, $177.20 billion; Spain, $65.20 billion; China, $ 56.90 billion; France, $55.40 billion; Macau, $50.80 billion; Italy, $45.50 billion; United Kingdom, $45.30 billion; Germany, $43.30 billion; Australia $42.20 billion; Hong Kong $41.30 billion and Thailand $38.40 billion.
‘’In Africa, South Africa grossed $35.00 billion; Morocco $34.00 billion; Namibia $33.80 billion; Kenya $32.00 billion; Tunisia $31.80 billion while Nigeria trailed with a depressing $2.79 million earning! Indeed, Nigeria ranks 131 out of 141 countries with a tourism competitiveness index in 2015. We are still miles away from the countries that make the money from tourism development in terms of naira and dollars from 2015 to the present.’’
He said there was the urgent need for a meaningful and sustainable financing of cultural development by the government and financial institutions, and multinational organisations in Nigeria.
Also, Bonu, tasked all cultural enthusiasts to key into the initiative and begin to innovate creative items that could be exported by tourists from other countries whenever they visit Lagos state.
‘’These cultural items should speak to our identity and be resilient as a state and should be targeted towards promoting our uniqueness as a state that places a premium on cultural Renaissance and preservation,’’ he stated.
Meanwhile, the event is slated for November 21, at the Blueroof of LTV 8, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos.
Lectures will be delivered by Professor Bayo Omolola, Department of World Language and Cultures, Howard University, Washington DC USA and
Professor Oladipo Ajiboye, the Head of Department of Yoruba Department, University of Lagos. All royal fathers and chiefs in South West are expected to grace the occasion.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture and Otunba Segun Rusowe will lead the Federal Government delegation to the event.
Lecture of how to tackle health issues with local herb will be delivered by Chief Akintunde Ayeni (Yem Kem).