Looking at an old picture of Nigeria it’s quite interesting to see how beautiful Nigeria was in the 70s and 80s. The serene, clean site of the marina in Lagos, beautiful Kano roundabout,  though she always had her brown roofs but then the clean streets of Ibadan are picturesque and everywhere literarily lit up at night when the street lights came on. However, when you place a picture of the 80s and that of the present times beside each other one begins to question history for omitting “the big bang” period from chronicles of Nigeria. In retrospect there was none! That only happened to the dinosaurs for in Nigeria, we still have the same people in positions of leadership though we now live in a different environment.

It is quite baffling to understand the average Nigerian when you compare what we say and do with the way our surroundings look like, the average Nigerian is well educated and we are now seen as the fashion hub,  movie hub in fact almost the hub of every trend (including terrorism in recent times). One would expect with the outcry of environmentalists across the globe and the huge attention given to climate change, environmental protection and development that these kinds of social waves should also be visible on our streets and surrounding but that I think is a concept too hard to implement or understand by the government and the people.

Small wonder in the past years tourism has fallen drastically in Nigeria where in South Africa tourism is regarded as a modern-day engine of growth supporting one in every 12 jobs. Income from tourism Ireland in 2006 is 4.7 billion pounds and it contributes 12% of employments, while Nigeria is finding it hard to get into tune with the sound of the market.

Protecting Our Assets

Annual visitor surveys repeatedly confirm that Ireland is prized by overseas visitors for its clean, green image.  In 2006:80% of visitors rated Ireland’s scenery as an important reason for visiting ireland; 74% said they were attracted by the natural un-spoilt environment; and 58% mentioned ireland’s attractive cities and towns. (Fáilte Ireland’s Environmental Action Plan. 2007-2009)

We must begin to see our environment as she is as an asset and treat her as such. we must see her, as our environment tourism asset that must be protected though some states like Lagos state has taken the initiative of cleaning some major part of the state but the questions are “what happens to other part of the states, what happens to host communities where the tour sites are situated?, how does the road that leads to other part of the city look like?, how clean and organized is the state itself? I mean, why should I travel 12hours just to get held up in a stuffy unorganized and rowdy airport and a street all littered with pet bottles, pure water sachets and dust (not to mention insecurity).

The government needs to do more, it would suffice to say the government needs to do less (in terms of the huge amounts spent) but be more strategic and specific with her policy as it concerns the environment.

There is a saying that “a disorganized table is a reflection of the mind”.  Then it’s also sufficient to say a disorganized environment is a reflection of the government and people in general thus, a need to have a more robust environmental protection policy.

This protection is to be targeted at keeping a sustainable cleaning strategy. Not awarding beautification contracts or ceremonious programs. States like Lagos and Kano have taken a step further in employing people to clean some major roads but its obvious that the strategy deployed is not matching up to the level of waste churned out by the population. Thus, the government needs to collaborate with other environmental protection and regulatory  agency like federal ministry of environment (FMENV), national environmental standards and regulation, enforcement agency (NESREA), State environmental protection agencies e.g. LASEPA, LAWMA and private organizations to save, protect and bring up a more focused sustainable and far-reaching plan that would not only clean major streets but also canals, gutters, and get to every corner of the society .for people to have a sense of involvement from the society, the local governments need to be involved as it is part of their responsibility as outlined in the fourth schedule of the 1999 constitution.

In recent times various reforms had been introduced but failed to improve tourism in Nigeria.  This is majorly because most of these reforms and policies pay no or little attention to the local government. Though the local government has no statutory responsibility or jurisdiction as regards tourism they are the closest government to the people and the host authority to the tour sites. The inclusion of the local government invariably means the inclusion of the host community which gives the people a sense of responsibility in making sure the policy or reform succeeds. Aside from the local government ability to provide sustainability, it also possesses available and cheap needed man power. It can also serve as a reliable channel in educating the people on the need to clean and protect our vulnerable common asset – the environment

One of the pervasive deficits of the various waste management and reforms is the lack of waste bins in and around the streets and public places to keep the streets clean. to keep the streets of Nigeria clean and tidy the government need to more than just putting up bill board and slogans saying keep Nigeria clean and put waste bins on the streets! I wonder what happens after we clean up the streets, after I finish my pure water, what should I do with the sachet or bottle of water, or after eating biscuits i need somewhere to throw the rubbish. It’s the absence of this that clogs up the gutters and canals.

Also there is a need to kick start or increase a public campaign on recycling. We need to start separating what is reusable from what is disposable; we need to impress the practice on our children and in the long term it saves the country cost and provides employment.

It is imperative to note that there are other factors to be considered in development of tourism e.g airfare and policy, organized and constant date of events, government sincerity, including Tour operators in planning of events just to mention a few but for now I just want to look at the host which is the environment.

Thus we need to understand that our vulnerable, beautiful common tourism asset needs to be protected, nurtured and beautified. Its optimal function doesn’t only benefit tourism but also our health, businesses, children and future as they say: cleanliness is next to godliness.

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1. Have I made certain that those I love feel loved?

2. Have I done something today that improved the world?

3. Have I conditioned my body to be more strong flexible and resilient?

4. Have I reviewed and honed my plans for the future?

5. Have I acted in private with the same integrity I exhibit in public?

6. Have I avoided unkind words and deeds?

7. Have I accomplished something worthwhile?

8. Have I helped someone less fortunate?

9. Have I collected some wonderful memories?

10. Have I felt grateful for the incredible gift of being alive?

By : Gofrey James

Geoffrey James is an award-winning journalist who has written hundreds of articles.

ASAYA

Posted: August 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

ASAYA Today I traveled into the cloud and slept on the moon Across the dark nations into the milky way of stars All gathered together from different galaxies In white they all shined With the understanding of their differences they All swore To serve, to protect and to understand the uniqueness of each other With joy they pledged for change. In unison they toiled together for a course that is greater than their own personal desires. Today I slept among the greatest and the weakest of all Today I slept with the future of a great nation. Today I slept in ASAYA Camp.

Twisted Vision!!!

Posted: April 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

While I was growing up I had a Vague understanding about education I thought that when you are educated you become a new light that shines in darkness, you become a better person, you become some one who has a logical way of thinking and tries to correct the wrong in the society this ideas where largely propelled by the documentary of our past heroes and the sops that where aired on national television then. Soap operas like the village headmaster: where the head master is always well comported and displays a sequentially logical and intellectual way of solving problem and answering questions (even when he was wrong). Back then it was always interesting to watch the news as issues are being discussed and presenters are well dressed in a beautiful studio(cant compare with the current standard now though).back then when you see a graduate, you know automatically as if they all have indicators on them that says “Am A Graduate” they are organized both “indoors” and “outdoors” back then our leaders where slim and handsome young men with life, and I remember my uncle teaching me how to speak good English as he called it then.
Now I have grown and I guess I have a better sight now, what do I see? I see a society of very educated but docile individuals where a professor of Engineering takes his car to the road side Mechanic (an illiterate) as he will call, where my nephew a 6yrs old now tells a graduate that it is “Shut the door not close” and the so called graduate was just dumbfounded as if that wasn’t enough when my nephew went back to ask what is the different between the two he just laughed it off. I now see our educated, well read, perturbed and aged leaders lie with no remorse give an explanations of policies that confuse even they that are trying to implement it. I see people I.e. banker Doctors, etc. beat traffic rules and would tell you “You have to be smart”. I see people in traffic jams queuing patiently and when a “Danfo” driver takes a one way drive to beat the traffic our teeming educated populace follow suit’ (and people wonder why with the level of educated populace we are led by the kind of leaders). I See a professor (Gbagbo) wanting to turn a democratic government to family inheritance betraying the trust given to them by the people, and on the local stations? I see nothing to watch on our local station Empty! Empty!! Empty!!! Nothing impressive though they now show how corrupt leader rig election and stay in power how you embezzle national fund and be celebrated for it, how you can be slothful while the whole world’s watching and nobody seems to question your actions, I see children and youths exchanging their role models for rogue models in governance. But come to think of it, isn’t it funny the way our leaders I mean African leaders now walk around with shoulders high claiming to be leaders, as in when they attend meetings with their fellow counterpart I find it hard to understand how they could sit in those seats without guilt or shame knowing very well that things are working in other countries and in the states where they lead things are failing. I don’t seem to understand, in fact  am confused is it that I have a skewed understand when I was young? Or is that my reasoning is distorted as I grow old? Or is that the Nigerian state has been hit by old age? Or is my vision about education and the society now clearer? Or is that I have a negative way of seeing things? Because I need to know what my son will see when he is growing!!!

Action and not theories

Posted: March 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

The issue of development in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) especially in the African continent has surpassed mere theorization and has come to the point where we must move to the next stage of action or better still its time for the application of those much talked about theories which will bring positive change and yield to the yearnings and aspiration of the average populace thus improving their living standard and braking or bringing them out of the vicious cycle of poverty, Unemployment and disease.

The Unhealthy Path to Development
Looking at the current trend of development in the world over, for the least developed countries (LDCs) to catch up with the world developed countries, there is a need for a total change in the course of governance, peoples believes and vision and also ideology (both government and the governed).
In the quest for development, the government of the LDCs must acknowledge that their agitation for aids and debt relief has never and will never improve the socio-economic conditions of the countries but trade and trade liberalization should be seen as a measure of revitalizing the socio-economic condition of the people. Relatively more effort should be into the promotion of respect, understanding, and tolerance between different faiths and cultures among the rich and divergent indigenous cultures of most LDCs especially in Africa.
And also democratic practices should be upheld and pursued with all sincerity and seriousness both in terms of the citizens having a vote and also making sure that the vote in turn is worth having when it is entrusted to the institutions, Laws and people who can actually deliver good governance.
Likewise there should be a recreation in the perception of the people in relation to the way the people see there self and environment and also gender related issues should be handled with equity and fairness.

Trade the true Aid
In the late 1980s and early 90s most LDCs have depended on aids from developed countries for development (using colonial era as a basis for these dependency)
But this has proven to be of no use. In retrospect the LDCs can only witness improvement in their condition or in the standard of living if they encourage and improve trade and trade liberalization.
An increase through trade (foreign) will not only contribute to poverty reduction but will also help the LDCs to achieve the millennium development goals especially in Africa.
However for the LDCs to achieve this there must be a level playing ground for trading activities in the international market- there should be a universal rule based open, non discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system as well as meaningful trade liberalization which will substantially stimulate development world wide benefiting countries at all level of development, also there should be an improved market access and elimination of trade distorting subsidies which will yield great benefit to the LDCs. Relatively there is a need for a reform in the international market in reference to agricultural product as this sector is the most important source of export, revenue, income and livelihood for large number of LDCs (90% in Africa). Thus bias tariff and non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and other market barriers which are detrimental to the LDCs should be eliminated. Take Mozambique for instance, the countries main export commodity is sugar but the her industry is producing like half- capacity because the export subsidies which the EU gives to its own sugar industries coupled with the barrier its raises to non EU sugar means that it simply cant compete or survive.

The Right Path
It’s better to show a man how to fish than to give him the fish; these expression has been perceived as a platitude but unfortunately this cliché is a fact which has proven over time to work and has been the base for most developed countries.
The millions which these countries (in the same predicament as Mozambique) receive
is nothing compared to what they would have made from an increase in trade as these will have a multiplier effect an the socio-economic life the people as these will mean an expansion in industries more employment opportunity and inversely more revenue for government as a result of increase in the tax base of the country.
It is important to state here that one percent increase in trade is 4times what is generated from aids and grant.
How ever its note worthy to state here that trade and trade liberalization is not automatic. Experience has shown that design, pacing, and sequencing of trade liberalization matters to developing countries and also the indigenous government need be more proactive and innovative that is without decent road efficient port and the technical capability to produce and distribute goods of sufficient quality, new trading and development opportunity are meaningless for the poorest countries.
Thus the government must be sincerely interested towards there policy in achieving this.
However in the quest to development it is imperative to acknowledge the 3Es, which are the pillar of any development -that is Economic growth, Environmental sustainability, Electrical security.
The 3Es work inter-connectively to sustain and maintain development at all stages, thus when there is a deficiency of one, development will only be a mirage- what this implies is that the government in making economic reforms must engage in infrastructural development –it has to invest in the construction of good road net work so as to enable easy transit of goods and services efficiently.
The government must also recognize the fact that for sustainable development the environment has to be protected in terms of sanitations protection and preservation of heritage sites and edifice and also promulgating laws to protect it.
More so there should be an efficient power supply as most industries and firms (either small or large scale) need power to survive.
And finally the government should invest in human capital development that is, building of standard schools developing an educational module that will not only concentrate on reading and writing but seeks to research and find solution to the present circumstance and environment. Thus not just training graduate but the present and future solutions to their countries. The important of human capital development cannot be over emphasized as they are the core transmitter that will sustain and transfer development to the future genaration it is in these view that kuan chin tsu said” if you want to plan for a year plant a seed if 10years a tree but if for a life time train a human”.
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