The drop in global oil prices has revealed the vulnerabilities of Nigeria’s reliance on crude oil revenues. Although agriculture has been emphasized as the “redemptive industry,” the tourism industry, if revitalized, can attract significant foreign exchange earnings.
Tourism has evolved into one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. This expansion has been fueled by advances in travel technology and a growing holiday culture. With a rich geographical landscape that includes beaches, mountains, UNESCO-approved heritage centres, historical monuments, wildlife, and diverse culture, Nigeria should be able to carve out a niche in the global tourism industry.
With the combined efforts and investment commitment of a Public-Private partnership, with significant efforts from local communities and state governments, tourism development in Nigeria will be rapid. The Yankari Games Reserves in Bauchi, the Mambilla Plateau in Taraba, the Obudu Mountain Resort in Cross Rivers, and other tourist destinations could be developed to international standards. Even though the tourism industry is global, states can create niches that cater to tourists with various interests.
It is interesting to note that efforts of this nature are directed at the Trans Atlantic Centre in Nigeria’s Kogi state. Special guests, including Chief J.O. Omuya, Dr. Abdulrahman Musa Adeiza, Haija Ramatu Tasalla Shehu Atta, Alhaji Abu Imam, and His Royal Highness, Aliu Victor Onoreri of Onogwu, were present to grace the event that was highlighting Nigerian culture to celebrate its fifth anniversary.
On January 1, 2023, Dr Abdulrahman Musa Adeiza, the event’s chairperson and a two-term president of the Ebira People’s Association, currently a lecturer at the University of Abuja, addressed the audience. He praised the pioneer of the Trans Atlantic Centre’s efforts. He urged the Ebira community and the rest of the world to support community development initiatives in Africa as the Trans Atlantic Centre project.
Muhammad Bougie Attah, the project’s initiator, said there was no turning back on the project. In his own words, “This project is not only about tourism, but also about research, recreation, and community development which is what I see is missing in Kogi state of Nigeria and not so common in Nigeria. Having so many experiences in travel around the world and seeing so many developed sorts of this nature, I decided to bring it home for development.”
The Trans Atlantic Center’s 10-year project, which has a chain of exploration for businesses to explore and foreign investors to take advantage of, is rooted in the concept of “idea and commitment”, according to Mr Muhammad, who is also a chartered procurer responsible for coordinating the anti-corruption group in Nigeria and the Africa Regional Coordinator of NGOs with headquarters in the United States. While soliciting ideas to improve the centre’s delivery, he stated that value-adding projects will always be a ground for the celebration of the African continent and make it a better place for the world to reckon with.
Mr Muhammad noted that young people are not left out of the project, as many have graduated from the Center’s mentorship program, and there are facilities in the centre to manage education and research.
The Administrative Block was named after Chief J.O Omuya, the Children Amusement Park after Alhaji Abu Imam, and the Conference Hall and Botanical Garden after Late Alhaji Ahmad Badamasuiy and Dr Abdulrahman Musa Adeiza, respectively.