Delta State chapter of Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) has commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa over his deal with Abuja Boat Club to upgrade and revitalise the Lander Brothers Anchorage, being a historical monument, which flanks the bank of River Niger in Asaba, Delta State.
Reacting to a recent Delta State Executive Council decision on anchorage, Delta State Coordinator of FTAN, Mrs Evelyn Gbesoko, described the governor’s move to upgrade the historic tourist site to an international tourism and relaxation centre as a step in the right direction, noting that the move will go a long way to boost the governor’s job creation drive, just as it will increase tourists’ traffic to Delta State in the long run.
Accordjng the state FTAN boss, the multi-million naira anchorage standardisation and revitalisation project, would increase the state’s internally generated revenue from the marine tourism sector, with sufficient support from the public and private sectors to make it a viable and sustainable project.
However, she lamented that though Delta State boasts of wonderful marine and coastal tourism potentials, at present, the development of marine tourism seems to lack such strong driving force from the public sector, reiterating that: “This 13 years lease of Lander Brothers Anchorage to the reputable Abuja Boat Club, worth N524 million, is indeed a landmark deal on marine tourism development in Delta State.”
The state Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, recently told journalists in Government House, Asaba that state Executive Council approved the deal with the Abuja Boat Club because of its reputation in international tourism business sector.
Mrs Evelyn Gbesoko said the lack of marine tourism activities in the state has deprived the state from promoting the sector, stating that lack of proper knowledge and awareness of the economic impact of the sector on the locals and in most cases the absence of political will on the part of political leaders has been a major setback in developing tourism.
“In the development of marine tourism resources, if the products lack innovation and optimization, it will be impossible to create marine tourism products to meet the needs of tourism consumers.
“Even if more tourism resources are developed, they will leave along with consumers’ gradually losing freshness”, she maintained.
It will be recalled that the six members of the Lander expedition trip made their way from Bussa to Asaba just like their forebearer. The boat used for the trip was called Goo-will. The team decided to donate the boat to the people of Asaba.
The original boat and other artifacts that have to do with the expedition and Europeans’ contacts with the people of Asaba are the artifacts one sees, while visiting the Richard Lander Museum.
It was built in memory of the Lander Brothers – Richard and John – who anchored at about that spot of the River Niger during the expedition that they took over from Mungo Park. The erected anchorage is, however, not the original one but a replica; the original one is at Aboh. The Lander Brothers are credited with the discovery of the mouth of the River Niger.
This led to the opening of the West African trade which eventually replaced slave trade. The anchorage has an information centre and a restaurant.