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LEGISLATIVE DIGEST: Erin-Ijesha calls on the Federal Government


NEED FOR URGENT INTERVENTION BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA IN DEVELOPING THE OLUMIRIN WATER FALLS, IN ERIN-IJESHA, ORIADE LOCAL GOVERNMENT, OSUN STATE INTO A WORLD CLASS TOURIST DESTINATION AND INTO A HYDRO POWER GENERATION SITE.


LEGISLATIVE DIGEST
Need for Urgent Intervention by the Federal Government of Nigeria in Developing the Olumirin Water Falls, in Erin-Ijesha, Oriade Local Government, Osun State into a World Class Tourist Destination and into a Hydro Power Generation Site.

BACKGROUND
One of the most amazing and breath-taking water – falls in Nigeria, is the Olumirin Water Fall, located in Erin-Ijesha, Oriade local government, Osun state, within the Erin-Oke, Erin-Ijesha, and Olumirin Towns.
In Yoruba folklore, it is believed that the water fall was discovered in 1140 AD by Akinla, a granddaughter of Oduduwa, when the people of Ife were migrating to Erin-Ijesha. Akinla was also known to have founded the Erin-Ijesha town;
The water flows from the top of the mountain and has seven falls, each one providing a new and different perspective. The waterfall forms a large pool of water on the ground, surrounded by vegetation. That one of the seven mountains from which the water falls is as high as 40 meters, which raise the potential for hydro power generation;
True to its breath taking nature, Olumirin Water Fall attracts over 50, 000 visitors annually, especially during the celebration of the Osun Osogbo festival and has the potential of attracting 1, 000, 000 local and foreign tourists annually; 
The water current from the Olumirin Water Fall if appropriated is capable of generating 1500 megawatts of electricity for the National Grid and for the benefit of Nigerians.

KEY ISSUE ARISING 
Key concerns arising from the above:

Underperformance of the Tourism Sector in Nigeria 
As at 2016, direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP was NGN1, 861.4bn (1.7% of GDP), the figures did not change in 2017 and has retained the same trend even in the first quarter of 2018. The figures has over the last decade being very mobile, albeit, negative mobility. The contribution of tourism to GDP declined from 2.34% in 2010 to 1.77% in 2011, and then 1.22% in 2012. The best performance of tourism in Nigeria was in 2018, when it contributed 2.4% to the GDP.

In a recent report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Nigeria has been ranked the 8th least competitive country to visit. Nigeria featured prominently in the list of top 10 lest competitive countries to visit, which comprised the following countries:
Yemen.
Chad.
Burundi.
Congo, Democratic Rep.
Mauritania.
Sierra Leone.
Mali.
Nigeria.
Lesotho.
Benin.

The key indicators on Nigeria, reveals the following statistics:
International tourist arrivals – 1,255,000
International tourism inbound receipts – US $403.9 million
Average receipts per arrival – US $321.8
T&T industry GDP – US $8,282.8 million (% of total – 1.7%)
T&T industry employment – 650,836 jobs (% of total – 1.6%)

This is in contrast to South Africa which receives an average minimum of 3.5 million tourist per year. In fact, tourism created about 1.5 million jobs in South Africa in 2017, representing 9.5% of total employment in the country. It is estimated that tourism will contribute about R424.5bn to the overall SA economy in 2018, representing about 3% more than in 2017.

In other to turn around the downward trend in Nigeria and the low performance of tourism, one quick win and low hanging fruit is for the Federal Government of Nigeria to develop the Olumirin Water Fall, which currently attracts over 50, 000 visitors annually, despite the fact that it has not received the needed level of support. The potential of the Water Fall is likely to be fulfilled if the needed investment in put in by the Federal Government.

The Olumirin Water Fall is among the few Water Fall in Nigeria recognized in international tourists’ forum and group. This is the right time to develop this water fall and tap the full benefits for the nation.
Based on tourists’ experts, it is expected that in addition to the national benefits of developing the tourist’s site, the following benefits will accrue directly to the local community in Erin – Ijesha –
Industrial development which is accompanied by good roads, supply of electricity, regular water supply, availability of good houses, hotels etc;

Employment opportunity which encompasses local industry, farming, education and employment for medical purposes.

Revenue generation which involves tax.

International, national and regional relations.

Improved living standard encompassing improved living, higher income, improved caloric intake, improved overall social well being

Regional development
Contribution to Power Generation
Water power or hydropower, furnishes about 7% of the world’s commercial energy. Where water flows from a high place to a lower one, the gravitational energy of the falling water can be captured and used to produce other forms of energy. Most waterpower is used to generate electric power. Waterpower supplies energy without pollution and without using up the water in the process.

Developing the hydro power potential of Olumirin Water Fall will have significant impact on the nation and on the people of the community. Some of the positives of the site as detailed below:
The length of rainy season at the Olumirin Water Fall is extended throughout the year; giving near continuous flows and steady power generation;

Besides generating abundant power that would complement the current power shortage in the country, transmission to demand areas would be readily carried out because of existing power lines not too far from Erin Ijesha;

Large to medium scale industries would spring up particularly downstream of the sites as cheap and steady power would be available all the year;

The development of the project would be of immense strategic importance to the country in the event of either disruptions or exhaustion in fossil fuels supplies in future;

There is scope for increased tourism, as the series of cascading Water Fall would offer beautiful sceneries, recreations, moderate the micro -climate and attract visitors within and outside Nigeria;

By taking advantage of large volume of water available, there would be increased fish production, irrigated agriculture and the development of agro-allied industries besides water supply.

CONCLUSION
In the light of the above, I urge the House to consider the substance of this Motion and the benefits that will accrue to our nation and our people if its ultimate objective is achieved.

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