GOVERNOR EMMANUEL RESTATES COMMITMENT TO REPOSITION CULTURE AND TOURISM IN A’IBOM …A’ibom earns a prime place in history- Orman Esin …as NATOP holds 2021 Annual General Meeting in Uyo


…A’ibom earns a prime place in history- Orman Esin

…as NATOP holds 2021 Annual General Meeting in Uyo

In furtherance of the avowed determination of the Akwa Ibom State Government to reposition the Cultural and Tourism sector of the state, His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel has again reemphasize that his administration will leave no stone unturned in continually making Akwa Ibom a tourist center for investment to thrive towards promoting the cultural heritage of the state and making it a tourism hub of the nation

Governor Udom Emmanuel gave the assurance on Saturday during the 2021 Annual General Meeting of Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) at Ibom Icon Hotels, Uyo.

The Annual General Meeting of NATOP with the Theme Restarting Tourism In Nigeria. …A New Template featured an Award of Excellence in honour of Mrs. Catherine Afeku, a Former Minister of Tourism and Creative Arts, Ghana and Mr. Akanimo Udofia, the CEO of Desicon Engineering Limited.

Governor Udom Emmanuel, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State represented by Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, The Secretary to the State Government stated that the people of Akwa Ibom State are culturally homogenous with a common identity and
linguistic heritage with the presence of many local languages spoken by the
ethnic groups in the state.

Dr. Ekuwem also stated that the cultural
homogeneity is also epitomized in the
similarities of folklore, songs, dances, foods beliefs and mythology which they are very industrious, resourceful and
hospitable with majority of the rural populace engage in farming, fishing, trading, hunting, woodcarving, raffia
works, blacksmithing, pottery, iron works, arts and craft creations.

The Akwa Ibom Chief scribe disclosed that the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel has invested ginormously in the cultural and tourism sector of the state which today, the investment has given birth to Ibom Air, one of the fastest and reliable airline in the entire region and in the aviation development industry of the world most particularly with the recent arrival of the new Airbus 220-300 which is to boost the aviation industry of the state.

“This government is very passionate about the welfare, well-being and progress of the state and her people, today Akwa Ibom as a state can stand tall to boast about the 21 Story Dakkada Tower Building, one of the tallest building in West Africa which is ready for commissioning, the Ibom Gold Course, the yearly Akwa Ibom Christmas Village celebration with many more tourism centers to mention but a few has placed Akwa Ibom State in the Guinness book of record”. He said.

Dr. Ekuwem however called on all and sundry to come, live and invest in Akwa Ibom State as one of the peaceful states in Nigeria who welcome visitors and investors with the hope of making the state an industrial hub for investment to thrive at all cost.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed represented by Dr. Mrs. Ifeoma Adaora Anyanwutaku, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry maintained that Tourism has the potential to grow the economy and increase the country’s Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) which the Federal Government is optimistic to partner with relevant stakeholders in the country to promote, maintain, sustain and retain the cultural heritage of the nation, rebuild and reposition the cultural sector with the provision of an enabling environment for tourism business to thrive in the country.

Also speaking, Rt. Hon. Orman Esin, the Honourable Commissioner for Culture and Tourism extended gratitude to the Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) for choosing Akwa Ibom among the many states in the South-South region to host her 2021 Annual General Meeting while disclosing that the choice of selecting Akwa Ibom was under the premise of finding the state buoyant, equipped cum outstanding in the cultural and Tourism annals of the country with gigantic hallmarks in this sectors.

“We are privilege to host again the entirety of Tour Operators in the State just about Six Months after the State played host to the Naija 7 Wonders Team and other Tour operators during the Christmas Village which today is ranked the biggest event in the Nigerian social calendar.

“This is a state that has always earned a prime place in history, the colonialists landed here, the amalgamation decree was signed here, Christianity found an entry route through here, the first community-organized scholarship scheme was birthed here and so much more.

“By land, Akwa Ibom State is blessed with a network of roads in, out and within the state that makes road travel safe and enjoyable followed by sea which the State Government has commenced processes for the actualization of the Ibom Deep Seaport project.This greenfield project upon completion is expected to become the Eastern Gateway of Nigeria and will provide vital port capacity for the country. He said.

The Akwa Ibom Culture and Tourism Boss hinted that the Ibom Deep Seaport Project will also serve as a trans-shipment port for the West and Central Africa region which will mainly handle container, breakbulk, dry bulk, and liquid cargo also serving as a game changer in the Completion Agenda of the Udom Emmanuel led administration, hitherto for religious, educational, medical, sports, Agro, adventure and domestic tourism amongst others in the state.

He also described Akwa Ibom State as a land which is very fertile, rich with humongous natural resources, heritage and tourism sites viz Ibeno Beach, Usaka virgin Forest, the Bridge of no return, colonial slave dungeon, the amalgamation House, the Blue River, the confluence river, Women War Museum, the Mary Slessor Cairn, Qua Iboe Church, Ibom Plaza, Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, dynamic cultural values, aesthetic beauty and state-of-the-art facilities offering a window for the world to explore and tap into her rich culture, ethnic diversity, and beautiful scenery.

He however however considered NATOP as a potential partner in progress, a gateway of a strategic corridor, that can draw attention to Akwa Ibom State, not just to the successes of this administration but to avail the world, a piece of the Akwa Ibom Experience.

In their separate remarks, the National President of NATOP, Hajia Bilkisu Abdul and the Chairman of Board of Trustees (BOT) Mr. Nkereuwem Onung noted that Nigeria will be a better place if the government can invest massively in Culture and Tourism which will serve as a catalyst for oiling and lighting the lamp of tourism in the world while agitating for a a Ministry of Culture and Tourism even at the instance of amending the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The 2021 Annual General Meeting of NATOP featured presentation of Award of Excellence to His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel, Mr. Akanimo Udofia, the CEO of Desicon Engineering Limited, Mrs. Catherine Afeku, a former Minister of Tourism and Creative Arts in Ghana, amongst many other Nigerians for their outstanding roles in promoting Culture and Tourism in Nigeria.

The event witnessed His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel, represented by Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister for Information and Culture, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Mrs. Ifeoma Adaora Anyanwutaku, Rt. Hon. Orman Esin, Honourable Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Comrade Ini Ememobong, Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Akanimo Udofia, CEO of Desicon Engineering Limited who served as the Keynote Speaker, Mrs. Catherine Afeku, a former Minister of Tourism and Creative Arts in Ghana,
Hajia Bilkisu Abdul, President of NATOP,

Others includes; Mr. Folorunso Folarin-Coker, Lagos State Commissioner of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, DG of NCAC, Mr. George Uriesi, COO of Ibom Air, Mr. Ikechi Uko, Organizer, Akwaaba African Travel Market, Mr. Ini Akpabio, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Hospitality Management Board, Dr. Iniobong Essien, Chairman, Ibom Airport Development Authority, Hon. KufreAbasi Edidem, Chairman, House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, amongst other notable personalities within and cross the country.

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