Kano tourism: Tasks before new helmsman
By Umoru Ibrahim and Salisu Baso
The tourism sector in Kano State has over time, repeatedly cried for attention.
This has been the case not because the state government has neglected this very important sector of the nation’s economy as the government has, through budgetary allocations demonstrated.
The historical neglect to which the sector has been subjected is due largely to inadequate attention given by those assigned by the state government to take care of the sector.
This state of affairs was prevalent when leaders of the sector in the state refused, for whatever reason, to devote sufficient attention to the promotion of tourism.
The leadership in this sector in the last couple of years was pre-occupied with other activities to the extent that the tourism which should be its primary responsibility was left to suffer major setback.
This was unfortunate because Kano, having maintained leadership position in the scheme of things in tourism in the country, deserves more than what it got from those charged with the responsibilities of propelling tourism to the ‘Promised Land.
’ It is against this backdrop that the recent appointment of a member of Kano State House of Assembly, Hon. Yusuf Ibrahim Lajawa as the new Managing Director of Kano State Tourism Management Board was applauded by members of the tourism community in the state.
Those who know the new MD commend the Governor for placing a round peg in a round hole. This is because according to them, with the coming of Lajawa, the journey to regain the lost glory has commenced in the Kano State Tourism Board.
On the basis of this, the new MD must be aware of the high expectations members of the community have in his ability to transform the Board.
Of course, it may not be easy to attain a desired objective, taking into consideration the decayed tourism infrastructure and low morale that characterized the Board before his appointment.
Nevertheless, expectations are that very soon the crisis in Kano State Tourism Board will be a thing of the past. These rising expectations will become a reality if the new MD has listening ears as well as doing the needful in bringing the Board to an enviable platform.
This can easily be achieved if issues hitherto neglected are given the seriousness they deserve. To start with, the new MD should carry everybody along if he must succeed in this endeavour. He must be bold in tackling the following issues without fear or favour.
To start with, the proliferation of hotels, guest houses and event centres in Kano metropolis must be monitored adequately to be sure their activities are not counterproductive to the sociocultural and religious values of Kano people.
Granted, a metropolitan city like Kano deserves many hotels to meet the demands of thousands of visitors visiting the state on a daily basis. But taking into consideration the immoral activities in some of these hotels, strong appeal to the regulatory authority to beam its search lights on them becomes an absolute necessity.
Doing this will also help in checking certain excesses associated with some of them being used as hideouts for immoral and criminal activities. The new management should also intensify its efforts in reviving the moribund tourist centres in the state.
For instance, most tourism lovers will be interested in knowing what is currently happening to Falgore Game Reserve, Rurum Tourism Centre, Dala Hill, Kofar Mata Dye Pits etc. The new management should not only introduce modern facilities in these centres, but should also improve upon the durbars which periodically create undeniable international attractions to Kano State.
Our investigation shows that the morale of the staff of the Board is currently very low.
This is because most of the professionals are said to be underutilized, while the former management did nothing to improve the situation.
The new management should therefore be sure of a paradigm shift by not only making use of the professionals in the Board, but also to be sure of regular training of the entire staff of the Board to enhance their performances.
The new management will also have its name written in gold in future if it succeeds in sensitizing the larger Kano Community about the significance of tourism in socio-economic development of not just the state, but the nation as a whole.
This is because as things stand now a significant number of the people in the state have tendencies of disregarding tourism as sector worthy of attention.
Attracting private sector participation in funding tourism in the state will help a great deal in bringing the required development in the sector.
Taking into consideration the prevailing situation in the sector right now, the responsibility in funding rests solely on the shoulders of the state government. This must be discouraged.