By Abiodun Taiwo, Abeokuta.
Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun state has opened a Wild Life Park at its site along Presidential boulevard with the aim of having a positive impact on the economy of the state, at a time that the Federal Government is trying to reduce its over dependence on oil.
The State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Bashorun Muyiwa Oladipo who while commissioning the park in Abeokuta said the innovation was a worthy idea, which would further add to the tourism potentials of the State and the country.
His words, “This is a Wildlife Park, a Zoo, where you have animals in their natural state, as many animals as possible are all here for people to see, visit and appreciate, it is something that is worthy of note, it has added to the tourism potentials that we have in Ogun State,” He said.
Oladipo however noted that the opening of the park would increase the influx of people and tourists into the State capital, adding that job opportunities would be made available, as well as a positive impact on the economy of the state.
“No doubt about it, it is an added value to the State and the complex itself, because people will come, pay a token to go into the Zoo, go round, come out, see things to buy, so it is going to have spiral effect, of cause, people will be employed, cleaners, curators and the likes,” he said.
The Managing Director, OOPL Ventures, Mr Vitalis Ortese, on his part noted that he hoped that the Wildlife Park at OOPL would make a huge contribution not only to Ogun State, but everyone that comes to the Library, noting that the Wildlife Park would be better than others, especially as it was located in a resort, with an Archeological site
An Associate Professor from the department of zoology, University of Ibadan and the President, Nigerian Association of Zoological Gardens and Wild Life Parks (NAZAP), Dr Olajumoke Morenikeji described the promoter of the Library, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as a great man who does not only take good care of people, but also animals and the environment as well.
“Today is a very beautiful day, it is a day we are very excited and happy about because OOPL has included a very important thing into the foundation, and that is the Wildlife Park, president Obasanjo has shown that he is a very great man, because anybody that cares for people and remembers to care for animals and the environment is a great man,” She said.
She called on the Federal Government to shift it’s attention to Wildlife Tourism and start to reduce its over dependence on oil, adding that Tourism and Wildlife Tourism could be used to bring a lot of resources into the country.
“Nigeria is over dependent on oil and I keep on saying it all the time, there is a way we can actually use tourism and wildlife tourism to bring a lot of resources into the country, we are not using this in Nigeria, and it’s is very sad. If you look at countries like Kenya, what do they depend on, they depend on Wildlife Tourism, if I go to Kenya today, basically, I must visit their parks, zoos and facilities, this is an aspect we should focus on,” She said.
Dr Olajumoke Morenikeji President National Association Zoology Practitioners however called on the Federal Government to intensify efforts at rescuing the General Secretary, National Association of the Zoological Gardens and Wildlife Parks, Mr Andy Ehanire who was kidnapped at Ogba Zoo, Benin, Edo state recently, describing Mr Andy Ehanire as a defender of wildlife .
Morenikeji also lamented the illegal hunting of animals and wildlife animals in government reserve settlement, which is gradually kill our eco system.
While calling on federal government, state government and local government to intensify efforts to implement laws that we protect the safety of lives for animals in all our forestry particularly government reserved forestry.
Part of the activities at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library wildlife park are, official commissioning of the park, the naming of animals, adoption of the animals and visit round the Zoo park.
While former President Olusegun Obasanjo adopted a baby Lion for one million naira named AREMU, Prof Afolabi adopted a Lion for one million naira named ADE, Oba Olufemi Ogunleye, Towulade of Akinale, adopted a spotted Heyna named Adewunmi and The Bells school Sango Otta adopted a baby horse named BELLS respectively.
In addition,a baby horse was named Amanda by pupils of Glorious king Academy, Abeokuta, and Striped Heyna named SPY by the pupils of Golden Grace International School.
Animals and birds in the park are African Tortoises, African crested porcupine, African Rock Python, Dwarf crocodiles, African Caracals, Deserted Lynx, Common Jackal, Sported Heyna, striped Heyna, Palm Civet, Guinea Pic, camel, Donkeys, Olive Babon, speckled Pigeon, Lion, and others.