Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday unveiled plans by his administration to transform some landmark areas in the Marina and Onikan axis of the State into a world class one-stop recreation and tourism centre.
The Governor, who spoke at the Eko Hotels and Suites at the presentation of Museum Possibilities as well as the unveiling of the design for a new world class Museum, also disclosed that the State Government will soon commence the construction of a brand new contemporary Museum in the State as an integral part of its overall strategy to become self-sufficient and secure the future prosperity of the State.
He lamented that despite the fact that Nigeria is blessed with very rich culture and heritage, the culture and traditions upon which the social institutions and interactions are built have been neglected, saying youths do not have a strong appreciation of the nation’s history over the years.
He said his administration decided to lead the process that would deliver a new world class Museum that would showcase the priceless treasures of Nigeria, adding that the project will be funded by the State Government and other well-meaning donors, interested organisations and individuals.
“Every society must cherish its historical antecedents because they serve as source of inspiration for succeeding generations to discover, appreciate and take pride in their identity. It has become very imperative that we take a step back and revisit our history. It has become important that we renew efforts to preserve and protect our history and historical artefacts.
“This project will serve generations of Nigerians now and in the future. Our plan is to harness the potentials in our rich cultural heritage to drive tourism in Lagos State,” Governor Ambode said.
He said aside the plans for the new museum, the State Government had already taken the project to revive the Museum in Onikan, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture especially the Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Explaining the plans to transform the Onikan and Marina axis to a world class tourism and entertainment hub, Governor Ambode said that the Presidential Lodge, Marina which was recently handed over to the State by President Muhammadu Buhari, would be redeveloped into the Lagos Heritage Centre for Leadership.
“In addition, the Lagos House also in Marina will be transformed into the Lagos Historical Centre. The JK Randle Arcade will be remodeled into a world class recreation/tourism centre. The New Museum will complement and be an important part of the structures being planned for this axis. We intend to regenerate this axis and the museum into an iconic structure that will invoke deep sense of pride in all Nigerians.
“This is the new possibility that is being presented to all stakeholders in the tourism sector and all Nigerians. On our part, our commitment is unshaken and we are eager to make this dream a reality within the shortest possible time. Given the mega city status of our State, we believe this is the right way to go in order to optimally harness the State’s tourism potentials for wealth creation and sustainable growth,” the Governor said.
Governor Ambode, while also thanking President Buhari for the fatherly role he has played on behalf of the nation in the partnership, expressed confidence that through the effort, the Government would realise the huge possibilities that flow from the preservation and showcasing the nation’s cultural heritage to the world.
Also speaking, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed commended the State Government’s effort to create an enabling environment for tourism and the creative industry to thrive especially in the areas of security, light infrastructure and transportation.
He said the Federal Government has also set up a Presidential Special Committee of E-Business to improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria, especially in the area of visa issuance, so as to encourage investors, tourists and visitors coming into the country.
Among those who graced the occasion include the Oba of Lagos, HRM Rilwan Akiolu I; Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe; Senator Ben Murray Bruce; Mr. Guy Bruce; veteran art aficionado, Mr. Bruce Onobrakpeya; art collector extraordinaire, Omoba Yemisi Shyllon; stakeholders in the creative industry, members of the diplomatic corp among others.