From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
Efforts by the administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola to develop the tourism sector of the State of Osun through Public Private Partnership is beginning to yield positive result, as both Sterling Bank Plc and Union Bank have pledged to place Osun atop the list of the states to benefit from their huge financial support for massive transformation of culture and tourism in the country.
Already, a delegation led by an adviser to the African Union and Consultant to the partnering banks, Otunba Olawanle Akinboboye, had commenced an inspection tour of tourist sites in the State with a view to exploring the possibility of immediate investment in the sector.
Speaking during a courtesy call by the delegation from African Union, Continent Building Initiative, Goge Africa, Sterling Bank and Union Bank on Governor Oyetola at his office on Wednesday, Akinboboye said the choice of Osun as one of the benefitting states, was based on its rich culture, attractive tourist sites and the business-like presentation by the state through its Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Adebisi Obawale when he visited the team in Lagos.
Akinboboye, who disclosed that both Sterling and Union banks had earmarked the sum of N15billion as initial commitment to the development of culture and tourism in the country, noted that Osun with all its attractive tourist sites stood a better chance to benefit immensely from the gesture than any other state.
He expressed satisfaction with Governor Oyetola-led administration’s level of commitment to rejuvenating the tourism sector, just as he assured that Osun will top the list of the benefitting states.
Akinboboye said, “Africa has not been able to compete with other continents of the world in spite of its relatively huge size. We have stunning sites waiting to be transformed to attractive destinations.
“Efforts to build the Africa we want is ongoing. And this has to be done through tourism. We therefore aim at forcing all the leaders in the continent to focus on culture.
“The State of Osun has it all. Sterling Bank has earmarked a sum of N5billion for capital tourism creative development as a starting commitment as it is willing to give us more while its Union Bank counterpart has equally set aside a total sum of N10billion for the same purpose.
“All of us were highly impressed by the presentation by the Osun Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Bisi Obawale and this is the reason we decided that the State is the first to visit.
“I am very pleased to state that all the attractions visited are quite good. I can see the desire in the impressive disposition of Mr. Governor and his team. In my 37 years in this industry, I have never seen this level of commitment.