By NORBERT CHIAZOR.
Does governor Ifeanyi Okowa watch movies? Is he enamoured with romance, bestseller or war films? What is the sound of music to him? Does amusement meet fascinate him? Posers without immediate answers.
A medical doctor turned governor has taken a unique road less travelled with the development of a massive Arts and entertainment centre to simulate fun and boost the thriving tourism industry in Nigeria.
Welcome to the Film Village and Leisure park Asaba, a dreamland in the Niger -Delta! Those who are familiar with the fantastic Walt Disney resort in California America, enchanting London eye tourist attraction, Versailles Palace grand spectacle in Paris, France, Miracle Garden of Dubai and Sun city in South Africa to mention a few can recreate vividly in their mind’s eyes the Asaba entertainment complex. A modern wonderland, it is the improved and brighter model of Apapa amusement park.
The Nigerian entertainment sector with particular reference to the Film Industry or Nollywood is one of the biggest non-oil sectors of the economy. Its annual revenue is estimated at about $7 billion dollars according to the International Monitoring Funds.
Nollywood which ranks second to America‘s Hollywood and ahead of Indian Bollywood in the global film industry is one of the key sectors identified in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the Federal Government, as a huge revenue earner and source of employment.
The Nigerian film industry has provided job opportunities to numerous talents like actors, screenwriters, directors, make-up artists, cinematographers and audio-visual editors among others.
With the coming of the Delta entertainment centre, the Nigerian creative industry would gain, inspiring youths especially the unemployed to hone their skills and talents towards self-discovery and fulfilment for a sustainable future.
The film is a recreation of the trials and triumphs of man. The fears and foibles of life.The vicissitudes.Hopes and prospects. People go to the cinemas to have profound fun and education. In a harsh nation where life expectancy has plummeted to an all-time low of about 55 years, the entertainment sector is good medicine and cure for the deadly stress and worries of Nigeria. An antidote for poverty with its revenue /wealth creation potentials.
In recognition of the importance of Nollywood, Delta has indeed witnessed the construction of a world-class film village and leisure park, the first of its kind among the 36 states in Nigeria. Asaba surely is dressing up to assume another enviable status as the Nollywood Capital of Nigeria.
The multi-billion Naira projects would boost the economy of the state and provide entertainment and preferred destination for film making at the state capital acknowledged for its peaceful and friendly setting.
Strategically located at Ugbolu-Illah road minutes from the Asaba International Airport, the Film Village and Leisure Park, as legacy projects of the Okowa administration would serve as a sustainable entertainment and tourism hub in Nigeria while creating sundry social and economic activities.
Tourism destinations in foreign climes could be less attractive and unnecessary waste of funds with the attraction of Asaba Leisure park, designed to meet international standards.
Governor Okowa, on a tour of the facility, said with enthusiasm that the twin projects expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, would change the landscape of Asaba, nay Delta.
The entertainment centre would also compliment the tourist monuments of Mungo Park house, the man who sailed through the River Niger and the Lander Brothers Anchorage and museum in Asaba, built-in memory of the British explorers showcasing their boats, artworks and writings on their exploits in Africa.
Youthful Delta state commissioner for Information and one time AIT frontline correspondent, Mr Charles Ehiedu Aniagwu is upbeat that with the spectacular film village and leisure park, Deltans would remember Okowa for good, long after his retreat from governorship power.
CHIAZOR is Media Aide to Governor Okowa.