If there is any man who is deeply passionate about the allure and potentialities of cultural heritage and tourism development in Delta State, that person must be Prince Huxley Adiniebo Unumadu, who is a tourism expert and the organiser of the annual Miss Tourism Delta Pageant and a Tourism advocate and consultant.In this interview with OLA JAMES, the Izomo of Umuebu Kingdom in Ukwani Local Government Area of Delta State, who is also the Ambassador of International Community of African’s in Diaspora (ICAD), talks about tourism in Delta and other sundry issues..
What is the state of tourism in Delta State at the moment?
I have always complained about the lack of government interest in tourism and culture development. I believe the reason is because government does not seem to be committed in promoting tourism in order to yield revenue. But it is unfortunate because if you put nothing into business, you get nothing. That is the rule of the game.
However, I can see that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration is working hard to reposition the sector with the appointment of a new commissioner in the ministry. The young man is enthusiastic about the potentials of tourism to contribute to the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to the state. He is committed to the ideals of the sector and I am confident that before the end of the first tenure of Dr. Okowa’s administration, the new commissioner (Hon. Emmanuel Bazim Chinye) will make his mark in the ministry. I believe he is receptive to new ideals and with time, things will begin to happen.
Equally, I led two visiting clergymen to pay him a courtesy call in his office recently. They were from the United States and from the Middleton Family Ministry. Very soon, we may be privilege to visit the governor.
The essence of it is centred on how we can reawaken religious tourism in our dear state. We are looking into the activities of the first foreign missionaries to Nigeria and by extension, the advent of Christianity in Nigeria, via Delta State. We also have the Araya Bible cite, where a bible fell from heaven and the significance of the entire episode to the mysteries and powers of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
In fact, we are looking into how the state government can partner with us (the private sector) to see how the Ariya Bible cite could be developed and properly repositioned, with the construction of a guest house, a chapel, conference centre and a Christian resources centre and so on. In fact, that cite should serve as a Christian prayer mountain to pastors, church workers and individuals Christians all over the world where people can come to seek the face of the Almighty God. That is what my organisation, my NGO, is anxious to achieve now. Yes, we need a remarkable prayer mountain in Delta State. It will boost religious tourism in the State.
You spent some years in promoting tourism and cultural heritage. What is the motivation behind this?
First it is passion. I am very passionate about the vocation naturally; I am always interested in things or places that are outstanding. Things or places that have historical value. That have remarkable history, I love the culture and cultural value of my own heritage and those of other communities or countries. The most intriguing moment of my life is found when I travel to foreign lands, see foreign foods, foreign dresses or fashion, foreign art and even languages; when I visit monuments both in Nigeria and foreign countries.
For instance, whenever I go to the source of River Ethiope at Umuaja, in Ukwuani Local Government Area, I am always intrigued and full of wonders at the wonderful power of God Almighty in creation.
Equally, culture and tourism is my major economic power, my business. I have met many visiting foreign tourists, especially from Europe and America, and made some money in the process. I also organise tourism and cultural events like my annual Miss Tourism Delta Beauty Pageant and my annual Izomo Festival, a cultural event which involves traditional wrestling and display of other cultural ideals of my people of which I usually seek for sponsors to package the events.
I am also currently working on a proposal to promote Dr Okowa’s second term bid come 2019.
What is your take on Okowa’s re-election bid?
I want Governor Okowa’s second term for several reasons and the most important of all is that we in Delta North cannot concede our chance in the on-going rotational principles to complete our second term of eight years. That is my principal take on the 2019 election. It’s necessary for peace to reign. It’s necessary for social justice, equity and fairness in Delta political life to be established. It’s a model that other states in Nigeria would emulate if we, in Delta allow it to succeed. After Delta North power returns to Delta Central for eight years, then it goes to Delta South for eight before it’s the turn of Delta North again.
Finally, Okowa’s second term is highly desirable to enable him to consolidate on the achievement of his ‘Smart Agenda’ which has taken off, but needs to be properly concluded. I believe that Senator Okowa has the competence and experience to achieve.
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