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September 21, 2019
News Opinion

Expert on Okorocha’s contribution to tourism

The appointment of the immediate past governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, as the Senate Committee Chairman on Tourism is eliciting mixed reactions. While many believe he is the right person for the position, others have a contrary position.

Some believe that the infrastructural decay Okorocha left behind is a disservice to tourism, since the sector could only thrive, if the infrastructure to get to these sites are in good shape.

According to those supporting his appointment, Okorocha developed the state capital through building monuments and leisure facilities that promote tourism in the state.

Ikechi Uko, a tourism expert and organizer of the West Africa tourism fair, Akwaaba West African Travel Market, Lagos, said: “I was invited in 2017 by a governorship candidate to write a tourism plan for his campaign.

“I was taken round Owerri for a survey of facilities on the ground. I counted 175 hotels, four new conference centres enough to hold more events than any city in the South East. There was an attempt to start an airline using the airport as a hub; an attempt to start a carnival similar to Carnival Calabar.

“He built statues which are supposed to help the whole tourism attempt. I saw a good plan that was badly executed. I told the candidate that the plan was good but the job was bungled.

“Now, as an outsider, I judged based on what I saw. No sentiment attached. I was invited to assess what was on ground and I did my report. Imo State has the best hotels today outside Enugu in the whole of South East. Because the growth happened under his watch as governor, if we credit him with the bad, we should also credit him with the good.”

Okorocha, as Imo State governor, was credited with building and developing leisure facilities that promote tourism in Imo State, especially the state capital, Owerri.

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