The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has reiterated his commitment to develop the tourism potential for the State.
The Governor said this in a meeting with journalists on the side-lines of the recently concluded National Festival of Arts and Culture held in Port Harcourt.
He said there is need to constantly showcase the cultural heritage of Rivers and to manage its tourism potential in such a way as to enhance its economic growth.
Rivers State has a rich cultural heritage and the potential to emerge as a first class tourist destination.
I have said that every year we must host a major cultural activity in the State. In doing this, we hope to showcase the cultural and tourism potential of the State to the rest of the world.
According to him, Everything must not always be about politics. I believe that culture and tourism are also very important. Politics has failed this country, in terms of unification of the people. The only unifying factors today are culture, tourism and sport.
We have built the Jim Rex-Lawson Cultural Centre in Port Harcourt, for example, for the purpose of developing the tourism potential of this State. I dare say that there is no other facility of its kind in any part of the country.
The State government had entered a deal with some of the major artistes in the country, which required them to occasionally visit the State and showcase their talents.
If you visit the Pleasure Park, you will understand why we are keen on tourism development. If I have a potential and I don't let the world know about it, then I have a problem. I have to do anything necessary to promote culture and tourism in Rivers State and that is what I will continue to do,Wike said.
The Governor also said that the only obstacle standing between the Rivers State Government and its plan to transform Port Harcourt into the 'Dubai of Nigeria' was the Nigerian government.
We have a solid plan to develop tourism in Rivers State and we believe it should grow, but we also have a limitation in a sense that this plan is dependent on the government in power at the centre.
Culture and development
Speaking on the need to introduce culture to the school curriculum in Nigeria, Wike said that no meaningful progress could be achieved without placing emphasis on the teaching of culture and history in schools.
I think that culture should be embedded in the educational curriculum. How can I have a child who doesn't know the culture of his people? Culture is part of development and growth. So, it is important and quite necessary to let our children learn about the cultures of the various ethnic groups in Nigeria Wike added.
Source: Voice of Nigeria