The Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Dr. Wale Babalakin has urged individuals and corporate bodies to invest in tourism to boost the Nigeria’s economic growth.
He gave adviceat a newly constructed 4000-seater Bola Babalakin Auditorioum Gbongan, Osun State where the 2018 Joint Admission and Matriculation Board Policy meeting of Tertiary Institutions was held.
The Pro-Chancellor stated that his decision to put up the resort auditorium was motivated by a desire to provide an environment conducive to serious intellectual work.
“It is our fervent believe that Nigeria will only achieve its full potential when the aggregate of our intellectual capacity is developed and harnessed appropriately.
“We cannot achieve our full potential if we do not reward competence and hard work and simultaneously punish bad behaviour,”he said.
Dr Babalakin urged well-meaning Nigerians to invest in rural communities, just as he encouraged notable institutions to take advantage of the initiative described as one of the most elaborate and comfortable auditorium, suitable for a large scale intellectual gathering.
For those who asked why such an edifice was not constructed in major known cities or state capitals, the Pro-Chancellor said;
“I can imagine the barrage of questions that Nigerians must have posed to JAMB officials when it informed them that its Annual Summit was going to hold in Gbongan. I heard that some participants exclaimed saying Gbo what? But by the end of the program, all and sundry would have found out that hosting this summit in Gbongan was the most appropriate decision.
“For the past three days, the top executives of JAMB have been residing in the residential wing of this development which was situated across the natural canal that separates this Auditorium from the residential quarters. They have been harassing me to make a statement about the project. I refused to say a word.”
Dr Babalakin said he gave out the hall to JAMB free of charge and no one ever visited the resort without making positive confessions.
He stressed that the best way to develop infrastructures in Nigeria was to support and enhance those who have the vision and imagination to create projects and see them through to complete them.
Commenting on the cancelation of Lagos-Ibadan express road project by the last government, he said supporting individuals to create or develop projects was a far cheaper and reliable way to achieve results rather than spending scarce government resources on projects.
“Government has no business in doing business but to create enabling environment for citizens with great visions and impetus to boost the economy.
“If the ill-advised move that led the President Jonathan led government to interfere with the Lagos–Ibadan road project had not happened, the road would have been completed on or before 2014. It would have been an 8 lane highway with seven overhead bridges and thought-out facilities at a cost not exceeding 112 billion naira.
“Today we are faced with an unending project with indeterminable costs and maximum inconvenience to road uses. We must collectively put an end to this way of doing business,” he explained.
Improve education sector
Dr Babalakin lauded the effort of the state Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola who, despite the government meager resources, embarked on many meaningful projects that impacts on the lives of citizens, particularly, the Trumpet (Chief Bisi Akande) Bridge that coincidentally landed at the entrance of the auditorium.
He also thanked the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and the JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, describing the determination to improve the education sector of Nigeria as remarkable and refreshing.
He extended his appreciation to the Gbongan Community for maintaining peace and serene environment, particularly the monarch, the Olufi of Gbongan for his keen interest in ensuring the project became a reality.