Group hails Tinubu for appointing Lola Ade-John as Tourism Minister
Prince Timmy Abiri, executive director, Face of Osun Initiative

By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo

The Face of Osun Initiative, a non-governmental organization, has lauded President Bola Tinubu on the choice of Lola Ade-John as the minister of Toursim and Culture, just as it implored governments at all levels to engage youths in its bid to develop culture and tourism in the country.

The executive director of the group, Prince Timmy Abiri stated this during a press conference organised to herald the eleventh edition of the Face of Osun Beauty pegeant held at NUJ Press Centre, Osogbo on Wednesday.

He noted that the tourism industry contributes about 10 percent to the global GDP.

According to Statistia Research, in 2021, there were more than 2.4 million jobs in the travel and tourism sector in Nigeria.

The sector is expected to scale up GDP and create an average of 2.6 million employment opportunities yearly for the next decade.

To drive this dream to reality, Abiri said, face of Osun Initiative has empowered over 300 youths in Osun state in the past 10 years.

Abiri while unveiling Face of Osun Pageant 2023, Season Eleven, Light Edition described the initiative as a way to empower youth on culture, tourism and entrepreneurship development.

He stressed the need for the government to collaborate with stakeholders to provide job opportunities for youth through culture and tourism.

The tourist expert expressed optimism that the new minister of tourism, Lola Ade-John will make significant improvements in the ministry by propelling it to a revenue generating port for the government.

Abiri noted that “It is time for Nigeria government to identify the potential of culture and tourism as a means of revenue generation. Fortunately we are blessed with rich and incredible cultural artifacts and cultural heritage that can attract tourists from all over the world.

“It’s only left for the government to tap into this opportunity and use that to boost the economy of the country.

“Government must also collaborate with stakeholders like this face of Osun initiatives to empower the youth and make them self-sufficient.

“About ten queens have emerged from this beauty pageant and all of them are doing well in the various fields of specialization.

“This is the eleven edition and we’re working to present a grand prize of a car to the winner. This is added to the training and orientation that they will undergo during the audition, camping and grand finale.”

He added that registration is open to all residents of Osun state.

Abiri lamented that since they started the Face of Osun Pageant, previous administrations have never deemed it necessary to support them, urging the present administration in Osun state under the leadership of Governor Ademola Adeleke to come to their aid by giving them necessary support.

“Since the beginning of this project ten years ago, I can say we have never realized up to 1million from the state government. That means, we got not up to 100 thousand annually from the state government for a multi million naira project.

“But , we have hope that the present Governor, Senator Ademola Nurudeen Jackson Adeleke will like to support this project because is a governor who is so passionate about the development of youths in the state.”

He however, asked the interested participants to message or call +234 816 673 5096 for further information.

Also speaking during the press conference, the state commissioner of information and public enlightenment, Hon Kolapo Alimi lauded the face of Osun initiative stressing that the government is ready to partner with any collaborator on culture, tourism and youth development.

Co-sponsor and partner of the initiative, Mr Surajudeen Ajilesoro said the program apart from its potential to promote culture and tourism will boost the economy of the state.

He appealed for the support of the state government to ensure the success of the initiative.

Other dignitaries at the press conference were the special adviser to the state governor on tourism and culture, Hon Temitope Omitogun, Mr Aderemi Oladosu among others who commended the organisers for the good initiatives.

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