Exploring Potentials Of Obangogo Hill As Revenue Spinner In Kogi State by Emmanuel Balogun

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Tourism, one of the earliest industries known to man, essentially involves travelling from one place of interest to another, either for sight-seeing, leisure, adventure, picnic, relaxation/recreation, holidays, business or just for peace and quietness. A vacation or ‘gateway’ from life’s stress, pressures and busy schedules to a tourist destination is, for many an exciting opportunity to unwind, for some, a status symbol and for others a sign of an improved standard of living.

While tourism in Kogi State is still at an embryonic stage, it is a major, soaring industry in some parts of the country and most developed countries, where it has contributed tremendously to their economies.

This article highlights the significance, historic facts and socio-economic impact of Obangogo hill; Obangogo hill is located in Kabba, Kabba/Bunu local government area of Kogi state, this unique and historic mountain served as abode for refuge during invasion to the host and neigbouring communities some 100 years ago.

The historic facts on the hill include the story of Elegha, the Ako kereje, Kereje. It is also characterised with some uncommon features like; Boulders, Stone-talking drum, Cave, The coffin that turned to stone, Stone- plates, There is a notable spring of water on the hill that never dries the year round. It served as the main source of water for the people during the invasion of Nupe warriors many years ago. There is also the mystical lake called ‘ako’. There are five(5) of them and they never run dry despite its stagnation.

Obangogo hill is about 4.8km from Kabba-Okene highway bounded with permanent site of Kogi state college of education (technical), Kabba to the North and Ogidi arin(ijumu LGA), to the south with an average height of 600ft  making it the second highest mountain in Kogi state after the Oke-Aimo both in Kabba and 200 meters higher than the mount patti hill of Lokoja.

That tourist centers in Kogi State has not reached the expected height when compared with the  Erin–Ijesha Water Falls in Osun State, Bauchi (Yankari Games Reserves), Cross River (Obudu Cattle Ranch, Ranch Resort, TINAPA, Oban Hills), Ogun (Olumo Rock), Ondo (Idanre Hills) Ekiti (Ikogosi warm and cold spring) just to mention a few examples; and this could be attributed to the following factors:

(1) Inadequate Infrastructural Bases:
It sounds funny that up till date, Kogi is battling with such social infrastructure like good motorable roads, constant electricity, pipe and portable water, constant communications supplies, good health facilities and other social forces that are prerequisites for better tourism.

(2) Financial Problems:
Tourism is a luxury and a voluntary activity which many poor Kogites can ill-afford. Until recently, participation was restricted to the select few who could afford both the time and money to travel for pleasure and leisure. There are still many Kogites who may wish to go into tourism for its social benefits but could not afford such due to poverty while most of the same Kogites who are financially balanced to do so, either because of ignorance of the benefits of tourism or fear of the unknown (like kidnapping, armed robbery attacks, and other social vices) followed by “time constraints” in pursuit of more money, do not do so. As such, many tourist centers are ill- patronized and lack the fund for further promotion and development.

(3) Lack of awareness among the Local Communities.
Some of the local communities in Kogi where tourist attractions are located are still ignorant of the importance of tourism and its benefits to them, the government and the tourists (existing and potential). To them, they are the ‘things’ created by God and nothing more and as such, could do little or nothing to develop and promote them for their own benefits or partner with those investors who may be willing to do so. To some of the communities, such “natural centers” are forbidden to be touched or seen by outsiders or females as they are regarded as spirits, shrines, sacred places and events and should only be respected. Tradition and cultural ideologies or beliefs are, therefore, anti- development to tourism in our clime.

Kogi state has so far recorded little or no revenue from tourism as a result of lack of awareness of the benefits of the  sector, despite the high level of material and immaterial cultural abundance which could have helped to strengthen it. There are also problems related to lack of legal regulatory framework, low disposable income to pursue tourism activities, insecurity, non-professionalization of the industry and lack of political will to pursue a tourism development master plan.

Kogi is blessed with different types of tourism attractions like ecotourism, cultural tourism and man-made or artificial tourism, it is advocated here that proper attention should be paid to this sector as it has high potentials, prospects and brighter futures to assist Kogi as a state in its socio-economic development of today and tomorrow.

What is required now is for all parties in tourism business and promotion to play their significant roles, the constraints not withstanding, so that tourism will soon overtake oil and gas as a major source of the country’s sustainable development, employment and foreign exchange and GDP.

Obangogo Hill Kabba Obangogo Festival

– Balogun Emmanuel Funsho writes from Ilorin.

He can be reached on irule9ja@gmail.com or 07034444976


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