I was privy by virtue of work to be at the Convocation Square of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi Nigeria. The list of attendees was impressive, with so much support from Co – Heads of Educational Institutions, Research and Agencies, Traditional Leaders, Politicians and a number of well wishers amidst the gradaunds and the families. The Chairman, Committee of Vice-Chancellors, Prof. A. Daramola of FUT Akure, must be a fulfilled man, that V.C.’s are having convocations by the numbers during his tenure.
The Governor’s speech in relations to the university, at least will give the University the needed road leading to the permanent site, it is my sincere wish that it will not only be to the school, but will be made to pass through the villages near the university, so that the villagers will start reaping the dividends of their allowing the university to be domiciled in their locale. For land/estate speculators, this is the very best time to start buying and developing buildings in the villages near the University. If Samara Zaria, my town, is any testimony to go by, the Airport / University axis might grow to be the most cosmopolitan area of Bauchi.
The contributions of the Executive Secretary, was of a very mindful father and Academic Leader, advising the University to stick to the mandate of Technological advancement and beautiful was the suggestion of securing the University area, for the safety of the students and staff. A father indeed. TETFUNDs announcement of the approval for the fencing work, showed the Governments readiness to advance any good course that will be beneficial to the academic community. I have in the few months of this Vice Chancellor seen a lot of projects springing up from the University, some of the projects show the University taking the lead as it should in the development of the immediate community. A mention must be done of the new Leadership of ATIL – the Consultancy/Investment outfit of the university, they need to be commended.
The Visitor’s Speech as delivered by the Executive Secretary of the National University Commission, who seems to be the Presidents Special Ambassador for Education, made my day. He referenced the State with the Yankari Game Reserve as a leading Natural Tourism Trap, comparable with any in the Continent. He made the university to think towards the proactive looking at synergies with the State Government and other stake holders to make Yankari take it’s place on the map of reserves and am sure a lead Revenue Generator for the State and the Nation, with the resultant creation of jobs for the citizenry.
The Federal Polytechnic, has done well developing resources for the Hospitality and Tourism Industry in Bauchi and the environs, so also NIHOTOUR the Government agency for the development of resource for the Industry. The Governor in his love for education, mentioned the link of the State Polytechnic to the University, so that they can start offering Degree programs, good news. I will suggest, so humbly, that now is a right time for the Government, Universities (Federal/State), Federal/State Polytechnics/NIHOTOUR to look at ways for jump starting various modern Hospitality/Tourism resource development programmes. This is the time to follow the lines of Ahmadu Bello University and start First/Post Graduate Degree programmes in Hospitality and Tourism. National University Commission will definitely accredit such programmes as the Executive Secretary was the Emissary of the President and Visitor to the University.
On an immediate front, what can we as Hospitality / Tourism concerns do to encourage the Government and Academia to jump start this? I will think it is time for stakeholders to drop all their differences and form linkages at Owners, Managers and Workers levels for the betterment of the state and region as one. The more we are together, the happier we’ll be. And if I have a listening ear, the Government at National and State Levels, should seek to encourage the sector, unifying taxes (reducing multiple taxations), assisting with Power (PHCN) stability and creating patronage by bringing and hosting big events in the state.
In closing, respectfully, my domicile in Bauchi is opening my eyes to a sleeping giant, waiting to wake up from it’s slumber. Bauchi is the place for Sport’s Tourism, Eco-Tourism, Mountaineering, Safari / Wild life, Religious Tourism, Educational / Historical, Culinary Tourism (Kilishi, Dambun nama & Masa), Medical and leisure Tourism. All these with global appeals, the time to wake up is more now, I am looking again, more hopefully, for Yankari Games Reserve to be the Camp David of Nigeria (Buhari / Osibajo, need to be given a Natural place to get refreshed). I long to see the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Guest House in Bayara, be made a sacred reserved place for Leadership/Historical Research in sync with the Tomb. Whatever is the reason for the neglect of the Museum near Zaranda Hotel, need a rethinking.
I feel elated now, I can say the near absence of Tourism in the Ministries and earlier talks of the Government, was not an un-mindfulness. Responsible Tourism has a good consideration in this government. God bless Nigerians and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Fariah Suites Bauchi Nigeria.