Tourism: Lagos’ll Be Key In Our Strategy Branding- UNWTO Scribe

Tourism: Lagos’ll Be Key In Our Strategy Branding- UNWTO Scribe

…Investment In Infrastructure Geared Towards Boosting Sector-Ambode

…Receives Delegation In Lagos House

Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili on Wednesday said that Lagos would play a pivotal role in the organisation’s quest to promote new tourism destinations across the world.

Pololikashvili, who made this known when he led a high powered delegation, consisting eight Ministers of Tourism and representatives from 44 countries across Africa on a courtesy visit to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, said the Technical Visit to the State, as part of the activities for the just concluded 61st UNWTO/CAF Meeting in Abuja, was a pointer to the role Lagos would play in developing tourism in the continent.

Describing the visit to Lagos as the best part of the meeting, the UNWTO Scribe said, “We are here to promote new tourism destinations. You can count on us, thanks to you, to promote this fantastic place. Thanks for receiving us and rest assured that Lagos will be one of the most important parts of our strategy branding.”

Responding, State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode said the massive investment in infrastructural renewal by his administration was a well thought out strategy to position Lagos as a tourism hub.

He said his administration was not unmindful of the massive economic benefits yet untapped from the tourism sector, adding that conscious efforts are being made to maximise the potentials for the benefit of the people.

“We believe that with the kind of population and the market that Lagos has, we must start to create tourism infrastructure to be able to grow the economy, that’s why as you move across Lagos, you would observe that it is technically a construction site; from the airport and as you go on the bridges and also when you go to the Eko Atlantic City.

“But the ultimate goal is that these infrastructure will now drive people to come and spend their weekend here, just the way you have decided to spend your Wednesday here in Lagos and the government gets some form of revenue from taxes when people use our hotels.

“So there is a cycle of development that tourism tries to drive and that is why we have continuously supported whatever has to do with tourism and let me reiterate also that we would continue to support everything tourism because anything that can integrate and bound the continent together, that’s where we should go because we are the next story,” Governor Ambode said.

He said a UN report in 2016 showed that 86 people enter into Lagos every one hour, with only Mumbai coming close with 79, followed by New York and London with 7 and 9 respectively, adding that it was a viable opportunity to use tourism to drive human and capital development.

“Lagos has almost a population of 24 million right now. According to UN report, as at 2016, 86 people enter into Lagos every one hour and most likely not wanting to go back. Next is Mumbai, 79; New York 7; London, 9.

“So, why are people coming to Lagos and not wanting to go back? It means that at a point where we are not able to provide jobs for them, we need to start looking at the area of tourism to be able to create that next port of building the State’s GDP and tap into the creative mind of our people, which is something that we have not really been doing across Africa,” the Governor said.

Welcoming the delegation to the State, Governor Ambode said the technical visit by the delegation was auspicious, as it would provide an avenue for top players in the tourism sector from the across the continent to rub minds and forge a common course towards making Africa the choice destination for tourists across the world.

The Governor noted that Africa, despite being the least travelled tourism continent in the world, houses the best tourism destinations, adding that stakeholders must use the summit to create a synergy and collaborate going forward to change the narrative.

“In this whole tourism industry, we are just an integral part of the whole bonding story that we are trying to build across Africa. This is very significant for us because now that we are beginning to see that every destination is an important destination across the continent, it is important that we integrate ourselves and also share whatever possibilities and opportunities that we have together.

In his remarks, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed thanked Governor Ambode for his support towards the hosting of the 61st UNWTO/CAF Meeting in Nigeria, saying that it was largely responsible for the success of the event.

“Without the generous support and cooperation of Lagos State this 61st UNWTO/CAF Meeting would not have been possible. When I ran into difficulties it was my brother that I came to and he bailed me out. I remain eternally grateful to you and Nigeria is very grateful to you because your support has made the Meeting successful,” the Minister said.

He said the visit to Lagos was a major part of the conference and Lagos was chosen because of its foremost place in the country’s tourism architecture, adding that the massive investment in tourism infrastructure by Governor Ambode has gone a long way to show the State’s seriousness to emerge as a leading tourism hub in Nigeria and Africa.

He said the day-long Technical Visit will see the 101 delegation from UNWTO, including Ministers of Tourism from eight countries and representatives from 44 countries in Africa visit the Eko Atlantic City in Victoria Island, arguably the biggest of its kind in Africa with world class facilities that would further drive tourism in Nigeria.

 

 

Mrs. Bolanle Ambode Distributes 50,000 Shoes, Socks To Lagos Pupils

Mrs. Bolanle Ambode Distributes 50,000 Shoes, Socks To Lagos Pupils

…All The State’s 1,016 Public Primary Schools To Benefit

Wife of the Lagos State Governor and founder, Hope for Women in Nigeria Initiative, (HOFOWEM), Mrs. Bolanle Ambode on Tuesday flagged off the distribution of 50,000 shoes and branded socks to primary one pupils of public schools across the State.

Mrs Ambode flagged off the distribution at the Cherubim and Seraphim Primary School, Lagos Road, Majidun in Ikorodu.

The distribution is the 2018 edition of the “Project Bright Steps,” a pet project of HOFOWEM, to boost the morale of the children and sensitize the society that the welfare of pupils is important, in getting the best of them in their academic pursuits.

In the first edition of Project Bright Steps in February last year, 175,000 shoes and HOFOWEM-branded socks, were distributed to all Primary 1-3 pupils of public primary schools across Lagos State.

Flagging off the distribution, Mrs Ambode said getting the best from education began with proper dressing to school, saying that the foundation had observed with some pain, that many pupils were less than properly dressed to school, as some turned up in bathroom slippers while many others went barefooted.

The First Lady stated that this sort of daily appearance for school activities certainly could not guarantee them the desired self-esteem, for confidence to excel in their academic work.

“Our Foundation had pondered this and settled on the mass procurement and distribution of shoes and socks to the pupils, at least to prepare them for school. By the grace of God, upon the huge success recorded in the first edition, we are flagging-off the second edition of the project today, with a plan to distribute no less than 50,000 shoes and branded socks, to the primary one pupils of public schools across the State.

“The distribution centres are: Agege, Maryland, Yaba, Ojo, Amuwo Odofin, Epe, Lagos Island and Ikorodu which doubles as the flag-off venue. This arrangement is for easier accessibility to the various schools and the benefitting pupils,” she disclosed.

Mrs Ambode noted that Project Bright Steps was planned as an annual event, and would continue as such, by God’s grace, to touch as many pupils as possible in the state’s public primary schools.

Thanking all public-spirited individuals and corporate bodies, who had assisted HOFOWEM in its humanitarian endeavours, she urged the pupils to be serious with their academic work and that they should not make excuses of challenges and limitations.

“You can learn something new every day, if you listen attentively in class. And with strong determination, you can overcome all barriers to achieve your desired dream. Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet to the ground, do small things, in great ways. It is about your attitude of mind,” she counselled the pupils.

Chief Executive Officer, CEO, HOFOWEM, Mrs. Oyefunke Olayinka said since the commencement of operations, the foundation had touched the lives of many and is still putting smiles on the faces of the less-privileged without wavering, adding that through the foundation’s various humanitarian programmes, hundreds of women, children and youths had been reached.

She said the Project Bright Steps was a programme aimed at increasing school attendance by equipping pupils for school, thereby serving as a means of support for indigent parents, who might find it difficult to provide the basic school needs, required by their children and wards for enjoyable schooling.

“Parents and guardians should know that anything worth having does not come easy. All hands must be on deck, backed by prayers to achieve our most ambitious goals for our children,” she said, while charging the pupils to put in their best in everything they set out to do.

Speaking at the event, Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, Dr. Ganiyu Sopeyin said the distribution of the shoes and socks would take place in all 1,016 public primary schools across the State.

He said last year, pupils in primary one to three benefitted from the distribution in 1,010 primary schools.

Commending the Governor’s wife for the gesture, Sopeyin added that the exercise was a testimony that the present administration’s clarion call to Non-Governmental Organisations, NGO, was yielding the needed synergy between government and well-meaning Nigerians to raise the standard of basic education in the State.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs. Elizabeth Adekanye described the project as laudable and a step in the right direction to provide quality and accessible education to pupils in Lagos State Primary Schools.

“The First Lady has a burning desire to touch the lives of the less privileged in the society. She is everywhere assisting the indigents. This initiative is continuous all through the year,” she said.

A representative of the parents, Mr. Ajayi Ajibola commended Mrs. Ambode for the gesture, as it would relieve parents the burden of providing shoes and socks for their wards

Security Of Lives, Property Our Biggest Achievement In Three Years

Security Of Lives, Property Our Biggest Achievement In Three Years

Buratai Lauds Lagos Gov’s Developmental Drive, Support For Security Agencies

…As Army Opens Base In Epe

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday described the security of lives and property of residents as the biggest achievement of his administration in the last three years, saying it was gratifying to note that the State is now the safest in Africa.

Speaking at the commissioning of a Forward Operating Base (FOB) of the Nigerian Army in Epe, Governor Ambode said the combined investment of his administration in the security architecture of the State and efforts of security agencies had resulted in peaceful atmosphere for residents and visitors.

The Governor, who recalled the days of kidnapping, cultism and other security challenges in Ikorodu and Epe axis, said it was satisfying that the activities of criminal elements such as militants, among others had been confined to history in the State.

“As I mark my own three years in office tomorrow (Tuesday), I can say significantly that if there is anything that I have actually achieved in these three years is the security and safety of lives and property in Lagos State.

“There is no way that could have been possible and that is why I say it quietly and openly if not for the support and cooperation of all the security agencies and most significantly the efforts of the Nigerian Army which is actually hidden underground but visibly seen by everything that is going on here,” he said.

Recalling his early days in office, the Governor said his first major task was how to address kidnapping and other nefarious activities perpetrated by militants in Ishawo axis, adding that a Military Base was eventually set up as well as Military Operation code-named “Operation Awatse.”

“At the beginning, the issue of kidnapping and cultism was actually in this eastern axis between Epe and Ikorodu but with the efforts that we have seen and visible to all of us, it has become a thing of the past and we are very grateful to the Nigerian Army.

“I want to quickly recollect that my first task was the issue of kidnapping that was so notorious in area of Ishawo in Ikorodu and there and then, we had the support of the Nigerian Army to set up a small base and we had to also take over property of some of those militants to accommodate the Military Base,” he recalled.

He said crime rate had drastically reduced in the State, and that no efforts would be spared in sustaining the peace in the State.

“I must say the last three years have been very peaceful and everybody would agree that crime rate has reduced in Lagos. We need to sustain it because at the end of the day that is what really grows our GDP and that is what makes other people to want to come to Lagos and I can clearly and openly declare that Lagos right now is the safest city across Africa,” the Governor said.

While alluding to how former military barrack in Epe was closed, Governor Ambode described the commissioning of the FOB as historic and significant considering the fact that it was witnessed by traditional rulers and community leaders in the area, saying the development was a new dawn for community relationship with the Army in the axis.

Besides, the Governor lauded the General Officer Commanding in charge of 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Enobong Udoh for his steadfastness in promoting peace in the State, just as he reiterated commitment to continually support the Military and other security agencies in the State.

“I want to openly say I will support the second FOB that is coming up in Ikorodu and if there is any need for us to give further support for gunboat engines or infrastructure, you can count on us that we would support anything that will keep the lives and property of our people safe at all times.

“Our support for Operation Awatse is continual and we would support every other thing that is necessary and also beyond this, we would also support the welfare of all the security agencies that are operating in Lagos so that we can continue to have peace.

“What we are seeing is a new strategy to keep our outer spaces safer than ever before and we need the Military presence in Ikorodu, in Epe and all the outer spaces so that we can go away from the central protection and also make every other place in Lagos livable and also economically viable,” the Governor said.

Governor Ambode also commended the new initiative by the Nigerian Army to promote human security alongside national security, saying the State Government was solidly behind any initiative aimed at ensuring unity of the country.

Earlier in his remarks, Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai commended Governor Ambode for the support to security agencies and the massive infrastructural development across the length and breadth of the State, saying the initiatives of the Governor were laudable.

“We really want to thank you (Governor Ambode) for the transformation and development going on in Lagos State.

“We acknowledge the transformation in Lagos and we say thank you,” Buratai said.

He said the FOB was set up to enhance security in the axis, and as well help to facilitate other military formations that would soon be moved to the area.

Talented Youths Contributing To Excellence Of Lagos

Talented Youths Contributing To Excellence Of Lagos

…Marks Children’s Day With Special Evening Of Arts

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday evening acknowledged the efforts of exceptionally talented children and youths in contributing to the excellence which the State is known for, saying they deserved to be commended and celebrated.

 

Speaking at a Special Evening of Arts held at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja to celebrate Children’s Day, Lagos at 51 and the third anniversary of his administration, Governor Ambode said it was gratifying that the frontline position of Lagos in the area of performing arts was now globally acknowledged, and attributed the recognition to the young ones who are doing the State proud with their talents.

 

Describing children in the State as the most cherished assets of his administration, the Governor said any nation desirous of realizing its full potential could not afford to toy with its youth, which according to him, was why deliberate policies were put in place to support them to use their talents for the benefit of the State.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), interacting with Miss Sikemi Onanuga (left) as his wife, Bolanle (right), watches during a Special Evening of the Arts to commemorate Children’s Day at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Sunday, May 27, 2018.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), interacting with Miss Sikemi Onanuga (left) as his wife, Bolanle (right), watches during a Special Evening of the Arts to commemorate Children’s Day at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Sunday, May 27, 2018.

“No nation achieves its full potential without the human capital that the children and youth represent. Our State as you know has the largest concentration of such beautiful, brilliant set of children and youths anywhere in the black world. Whether in education, in innovations, arts and literature or in sports, Lagos excels because of the exceptional talents of our young ones.

 

“This is why we have chosen to specially celebrate them this evening with one of the gifts that the world now acknowledges the frontline position of our State – performing arts. This of course is in line with our promise to make Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment and the Arts together with Sports the centrepiece of our development agenda for the youths in our State,” Governor Ambode said.

 

He said it was satisfying that the critical stakeholders in the sector appreciated the efforts being made by his administration to nurture and grow the performing arts industry, just as he assured that no efforts would be spared to sustain the drive to place the State on a sound pedestal for growth and development via the sector.

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“In three years of renewed vigour and commitment to the finer things of life like the Arts and Culture, we are pleased with the fact that our critical stakeholders appreciate our modest intervention and are encouraged to do more.

 

“This evening we have chosen four of such stakeholders today not only for the beautiful performance they have treated us with; but to also specially honour them too for their contributions in uplifting the standard of performing arts in our State, especially as it concerns children and the youth,” he said.

 

The Governor specifically celebrated the parents and members of the youth groups which performed at the event – The Dream Catchers, Dance Na The Main Thing (DNMT), The Q Dance Company and Footprints of David, among others, just as he urged them to keep up the good work.

 

“These children mean so much to me and I love them all from the bottom of my heart. I am and I reiterate once again committed to the upliftment of the culture and the heritage of Lagos. I will do it with it with all my strength and I also promise that I will keep the performing arts growing by investing in the sector.

 

“Already, we are in the process of having a Lagos Museum and we will do everything to create the atmosphere that will allow these young ones to thrive and also become additional celebrities that we want them to be,” the Governor said.

 

Earlier, Governor Ambode performed the official kick-off of the finals of the Channels International Kids Cup football competition held at Campos Mini Stadium, where he rewarded the top four teams with N5million.

 

The winner, LGEA Central Primary School received N2million; Baptist Primary School which took second place was given N1.5million, while Emmanuel Anglican Primary School in third place received N1million.

 

X-planter Private School from Lagos in fourth position was also not left out as the Governor rewarded them with a sum of N500,000.