Tinapa Business and Tourist resort, situate in Calabar - Cross River State of Nigeria, is already known worldwide. The location is serene. The environment is full of natural green vegetation that the white people in Europe, America and Tourists generally adore. Already, Tinapa is by the Cross River with a lake separating it with another world class Convention Centre added by the Sen. Gov. Liyel Imoke government.
Tinapa itself was one of the key projects of Donald Duke government. That was Phase I of TINAPA. Prof Ayade can now take up the Phase II and add the needed expansion of the initial scope through the proper engagement of the Private Entrepreneurs.
During the era of Donald Duke and a little into Imoke Government, Tinapa was a booming business and leisure hub. While Imoke tried to stabilize the progress of Tinapa at the time, the Federal Agencies like the Customs made things difficult for business to grow in Tinapa. The free trade aspect of Tinapa business was down-played and importers paid dearly for it. This made entrepreneurs to start leaving the place. They had to relocate to Lagos. This has made Lagos to become more and more congested. Port Harcourt route, which was being in use, was forcefully killed by the Federal Government!
Another problem bedevilling Tinapa today is that of Power Supply. The hope for power supply from Odukpani NIPP project was suddenly dashed, as nobody knows the fate of the Federal project anymore. Imoke had thought of an independent Paradise Power Project by and for Tinapa, but he could not construct, leaving the burden for Sen. Gov. Prof Ben Ayade. The design of the project is complete and construction started a little before being suspended, waiting for funds. The Prayer was that Ayade should win the gubernatorial election. The feat has now been achieved. It is believed that Ayade will complete the Paradise power project urgently to revamp and revitalize Tinapa.
Ayade should check that the Federal Government will no longer be a hitch to the smooth running of TINAPA as a Free Trade Zone. This will greatly motivate investors to a large extent. All bottlenecks at the Port and transport of goods to TINAPA should be hitch-free. All documentations with the Federal Government should be sought for and obtained. Every other processes should be facilitated permanently.
Prof. Ayade may go into several Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements to execute other phases of Tinapa, including getting large tourist boats or barges for water tourism as outlined below. The next phase of Tinapa should be aimed at general low-income Tourists, who are very many in number. That is tourism! This will profit everybody, including Students and low income groups who are in large population, everywhere. To this end, cheap hospitality outfits like hotels, enjoyment Joints and sit-out must be made available adequately. Security only needs to be upgraded. The private sector can be given spaces to construct approved decent facilities, while government takes care of basic infrastructure like roads, water supply, power supply, parks and gardens with ornamental trees.
A 100 meter bridge linking Tinapa and the International Convention Centre will be a plus. This will make access between the two International monuments to be available for them to function in tandem. Again, and most of all, TINAPA will become directly accessible from the Murtala Muhammed Highway. This is a great expectation of Tourists, generally; and the access will greatly boost tourism in Tinapa.
The Federal Government should also be invited to complete the road between Adiabor and Akpap Okoyong River. It is of note that Adiabor is the current home of the Edidem of Calabar. Adiabor is also a home of hospitality.
Tinapa, sitting with Adiabor, is surrounded by several reliefs, ranging from mild to sharp slopes and flat lands bordering the river and lake. The existence of the river with beach makes water tourism from Tinapa a sensual experience, where a Tourist feels the existence of the Paradise of Adam and Eve. Adiabor beach continues to invite Tourists to enjoy peace of mind and sweet scenery.
The Scope of water tourism from Tinapa is limitless! Imagine the Cross River, which borders Tinapa, runs from Oron in Akwa Ibom State to the northern part of Cross River State. Several uses can be made of that, as of old during the colonial era.
Towards the South, the River tourism from TINAPA takes you to Calabar Port with NEPZA, then to Calcemco before landing you at Marina Resort. This resort is an enjoyment center. When you drop here, you can enjoy your time scrutinizing the Slaves Musuem. This Musuem will portray the reality of the erstwhile Slave Trade. You will be highly mesmerized at several slave trade accounts that jump at you from different photos and carvings. You may decide to snap some photos to take home. When you are done with the Slaves Musuem, you can make your choice on how to enjoy yourself from the many joints smiling at you and family with children-playing facilities. Marina Resort is by the Riverside with - Pool bars, Slave museum, music dancing centers, fish and chicken joints, generous motor parking space - you name it. You can enjoy while you watch happenings along the quiet river and meditate on the wonders of the Almighty God.
Across the River, you may zoom to the ancient city of Creek Town - the country of Mary Slessor which still has the ancient automated bell that rings on its own. There is already a jetty there for landing of boats. As you get to Creek Town, all manner of fresh fish, roasted fish, dry fish and fish peppered soup will welcome you in a Paradise-like Haven. The environment is natural, cool and serene for relaxation.
After leaving Creek Town, you can continue Southwards to Akpap-Okoyong, where you continue enjoying the hospitality unbelievable. From here, you can continue to Oron beach in Akwa Ibom State.
Taking the Water tourism North of Tinapa, you would land at Itu bridge before getting to Eniong Abatim - the home of Ecotourism, having completely natural water, vegetation and relief scenery. You enjoy natural swimming pool, fresh fish and the natural love and hospitality that is particular of the Efiks and most parts of Cross River State in general.
Eniong Abatim is a Tourist delight that boasts of 6 lovely villages on 6 beautiful islands welded together by peaceful flowing water. The Islands include: Ito, Ukwa, Obio Usiere, Assang, Atang Onoyom and Eki.
The joy of water tourism is that you can drop anywhere you like. You can also join the water tour at any of the Stations. The water tourism transport fare should be mild, and not harsh to users.
Tinapa means many things to many people. To the Private Companies, it means investments, business and wealth generation. To individuals, it means employment and a means of livelihood for the family. To the visitors, tourists and enjoyment young minds, it means swimming in the realm of peace of mind and happiness that begets long life with vitality. To the government, it means revenue generation and promotion of a higher quality of life for all and sundry. To the society at large, it means security, peace of mind, prosperity and happiness. Everyone has a dynamic story to tell, after a visit to Tinapa/ Adiabor/ International Convention Centre, complemented with an unbelievable experience and relaxation during water tourism!
During the Water Tourism, explanatory talks could be given tourists by an expert engaged for that purpose. The talk could be on the history and people of Cross River State. It could be on the history of Calabar and the Efiks with their twelve Clans which include: Iboku, Obutong, Adiabor, Mbiabor, Enwang, Abayen, Usukakpa, Eniong, Itu, Ito, Ukwa and Eki.
* Engr. Odo J. Ukpata CRUTECH, Calabar