The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the development of the Museum of West African Art (MOWAA) will promote cultural renaissance and attract tourism receipts to the State in line with the government’s vision to reposition the State as West Africa’s culture and tourism hub.
Obaseki said this when he inspected ongoing construction work at the Museum of West African Art (MOWAA) project, in Benin City. He was accompanied by members of the bronze casters’ guild, woodcarvers’ guild, and tourism industry experts, among other stakeholders in the tourism industry.
Expressing satisfaction with the progress of work, the governor stated that the project would be transformational and position Edo as the centre of arts and culture in West Africa.
According to him, “I am glad we found both local and international partners who believed in this project and contributed immensely to making sure the project sees the light of day. We have members of the bronze casters guild, woodcarvers’ guild, tourism industry professionals and excursion experts here. They will all be part of the new cultural renaissance in Edo State. We are building Edo into a culture and tourism hub. There will be more jobs created in the State through this.”
He added, “The project is on course. The last time we came here, the foundation had barely been laid. That was about three months ago. Today, they have almost finished the foundation and are moving the construction to the roofing level. “Beyond the physical structure, you can see from the exhibition mounted by the Museum of West African Art (MOWAA). A lot of work is going on as it will help us understand the rich history and culture of Edo through the various art media. They will be going into the details of materials found from the archaeological work that has been done. This will help us understand and explain who we are, how we developed our systems, and show the greatness which Edo is known for.”
The governor noted that there were several challenges along the way but the resilience and support of the project’s partners was instrumental to the progress recorded, adding, “I am grateful that we have been persistent and ensured that this project sees the light of the day. It’s a very transformational project. It’s not about the physical expression but children from different schools have been taught to understand how to preserve and conserve materials. They have learnt how we lived in the past and how that has transformed throughout several generations.
This is, perhaps, the most transformational project we have engaged in since we came into office.”
On the tourism potential of the project, Obaseki said, “Hotels, restaurants, and many more hospitality businesses will be on ground as this is core to our goal of making Edo a tourism hub. It will attract a lot of people and the economy of the State. “It is a call for the diversification of our economy as we cannot continue to rely on Abuja for revenue for our existence or to run our state. We are beginning to develop and build the foundation for a resilient economy for the State as this is what the project represents.”