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Until now, no emphasis, awareness on culture, tourism – Ezenwaka

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Tony Ezenwaka is the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Indigenous Artwork, Diaspora Affairs, Culture and Tourism

WHAT was the situation in the sector in 1991?

  1991 was the year Anambra State was created out of the old Anambra. By then, there wasn’t much emphasis and awareness on culture and tourism; there was no Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

The difference is very clear presently because since the creation of the state, under the present administration that saw to the creation of the ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Culture and Tourism, that shows you the emphasis have changed, the focus has changed.

The reason for the change is the realisation that revenue from petroleum is unreliable and the resources are drying up; so government has to rethink and refocus on generating revenue from non-oil sources; so culture and tourism was identified. Since the creation of this ministry, many activities are going on both national and international to attract visitors and investors into the tourism potential of Anambra State.

How is it today in Anambra State?

It is wonderful, marvelous and amazing. The transformation is on daily basis. See the number of hotels in Awka alone, not to talk of the whole state. Funds are being pumped into the development of our tourist centres like Ogbaukwu Cave, Waterfall at Owerri Ezukala and Ogbunike Cave by the Obiano administration. If you go to Ojukwu Bunker at Amorka, in Ihiala, work is in progress.

The same thing is applicable to Trinity Tree at Aguleri, even at Amichi, where we have the Peace and Conflict House, where the Nigerian Civil war finally settled. These places are being developed along with what individuals are doing to transform culture and tourism in Anambra State.

You can also see the good network of roads. Culture and tourism does not develop on its own alone, Governor Obiano realised the need of passable roads in every community and then light up Anambra State in order to improve night life along with what individuals are doing to transform culture and tourism in Anambra State.

Why is it as it is today?

Simple, if you know that something will give you revenue, you have to put in everything. Tourism gives a lot of money. Last December, tourists came in and are still coming.

We created the ministry to attract our brothers and sisters and even their friends and investors outside to come and witness the revolution going on. They come in various ways, as medical mission, education investors. They come as musicians as well.  Every community is developing one form of culture or the order that is peculiar to them. They submit the CD so we put them together and market them to international standard.

How will it be tomorrow?

Tomorrow will surely be better than today because we have not reached the destination. Before the end of this year, you will see a lot of transformation. Right now, we are standardising the hotels we have in Anambra State. We are uploading the facilities of the hotels in internet to enable tourists anywhere in the world to click the bottom and see what we have in Anambra State. We are doing this to make our people happy.

How do you want it to be tomorrow?

I want Anambra State to reach final destination. I want this state to be a tourist center. Due to its historical monuments; within a short time, it will be final destination of all tourists in the world.

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