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Let me start my short remarks by thanking the organizers of the Lagos – Kano Economic Summit, in general, and this workshop in particular for the invitation extended to me to serve as a discussant on the topic captioned “Unlocking The Potentials of Tourism in the States”.

The initiative towards organizing the Lagos – Kano Economic Summit is a great blessing which is coming at the right time. The effort to promote the economic development of Nigeria on the basis of such cooperation between the various states, in general, as well as between the key urban centres in the country is the best way not only to look inwards but to also build on the strong foundations of our vital economic formations as well as the essentially integrative relations and processes critical to our collective, as well as self-reliant, development at all levels.

Furthermore, the operations of the Tourism sector, which is increasingly becoming identified as a very critical economic sector in its own right, brings to the mix the extremely important factor that is most significant for social development as a whole – the promotion of mutual appreciation, interaction, admiration and respect as members of the human family, on the one-hand, as well as citizens of a common country on the other. This is a very important requirement towards laying the foundations for the promotion of peaceful coexistence and prosperity for the wellbeing of our communities.




*Prof. Sule Bello is a Professor of History at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and also Chairman of Africa Research And Development Agency (ARADA) Located at Plot 269 Maiduguri Road, Daurawa, Kano


Importance of Inter-State Relations in Nigeria’s Development

The Lagos – Kano Economic Summit need to be commended as an initiative that is full of promise for the peaceful, prosperous and self-reliant development of the country. In the first place it brings together two of the major urban centres with tremendous leverages, and linkages, not only in the economy of Nigeria but also the economic relations of the whole of West Africa. Secondly the gesture provides an important example for the various associated states, and urban centres, in Nigeria to emulate and key into. Such levels of cooperation will greatly help to move Nigeria’s economy in some very important ways. It is important to note that such inter-state cooperation will help to further support and promote both the existing Nigeria national and west Africa’s regional economic development policies, as well as programmes, by way of ensuring their coordinated achievement as important tools for the realization of our common economic goals. For example the improvement of communication and transportation networks, as well as the expansion of supportive financial and business services within, and between, the states will be part of the desirable outcomes. There is no gainsaying the fact that generating organized economic relations between these urban centres will have very significant ripple effects not only on their immediate hinterlands and the other states in Nigeria but also on the wider business activities in the subregion, of which they are very important centres.

In short organized relations between the states will help to generate the viable, and durable, expansion of transportation and communication networks as well as expansion of supportive small scale, and medium, enterprises in the country and the West African subregion as a whole.

It is important to note that under the governorship of Late Audu Bako, sometimes between 1966 and 1975, Kano entered into some form of economic cooperation with the then Bendel state. It will be important to also look back on this association in order to learn one or two things that might make the present efforts more successful and durable.



Development Of Tourism And Its Potentials For The Socio-Economic Development Of Nigeria

Although Nigeria’s major tourism product is centred around its various socio-historical and cultural expressions, of which the two states are greatly endowed, it is important to note that the two states are also equally endowed with various other important assets supportive of tourism development in general. One of these is their distinctly varied natural environments and the facilities available for the promotion of eco-tourism.

From the cultural point of view Lagos and Kano reflect some very important historical achievements of the country, and the region, respectively. These   deserve to be preserved and developed as key tourist attractions, as well as national achievements from our past.

Both cities, due to their economic importance, are also currently very creative and productive centres from a cultural point of view due to the variety of art heritages, societies, patrons and practitioners they either accommodate or host regularly. They are not only centres which serve as tourist attractions on the basis of their past heritages alone, but also on the basis of their modern attributes as well. Given the various modern institutions, and facilities, available in these urban centres they could also be made to serve the needs of other types of tourism activities such as commercial, educational and health tourism. The two urban centres also greatly signify, in their diverse ways, the problems and achievements of the past, as well as the present and future aspirations, of modern Africa. Lagos as a former slave port, and a modern sea-port, is also an industrial centre in the region. It also hosted the Pan-African Festival of Arts and Culture – Festac 77. Kano, on the other hand, signifies a millennium old urban centre which was not only the major West African hub of the great Trans-Saharan Trading Network but also the most important landport in West Africa responsible for large scale commercial activities as well as industrial and agricultural production. In addition it also serves as the largest food market in the subregion. Given all these important attributes of the two states, and a lot more, it is essential that they are seen and promoted as major components, and actors, in the projection of Nigeria’s and Africa’s futures as well.


It is important to focus on the unique ways in which tourism stands to impact on the fortunes of Nigeria and the subregion especially by way of fostering investments into the local arts, cultures and environments. It is also important not to lose sight of the fact that the over-all performance of the sector is itself largely dependent on the integrated development of the economy as a whole, particularly in the performance of its productive and distributive functions. In this respect the two states need to pay special attention to the overall diversification, and industrialization, of the Nigerian economy as an important factor for the revitalization and promotion of the various other sectors and activities.

Creating And Managing Key Tourism Products

Like in all other spheres of economic transactions where real values, or products, need to be exchanged for income or revenues tourism also needs to create its own products, advertise them and also facilitate the required environment for their patronization. The most successful tourist destinations in the world are those that have been able to invest and develop, as well as advertise, their major products.

In the broadest of terms the tourism products under consideration could be grouped into three. The first consist of historical and cultural assets or expressions, available as the distinct attributes of any given nation-state or society in the form of professionally packaged, preserved and exhibited artistic heritages. These could include performances, monuments, museums, art galleries, eateries as well as various other types of products, such as souvenirs and memorabilia, associated with the patronage of such a galaxy of cultural expressions. The second form of tourism product consist of natural, ecological and geographic expressions that are specifically packaged and managed for the enjoyment and patronage of eco-tourists. Finally we can add a third form of tourist attraction which is usually modern in its form, functions and outlooks, which serves the purposes of those visitors who might need to visit any country in order to conduct specific businesses in the form of educational, religious, commercial or health obligations. Usually such other additional tourism products are developed to further support, or compliment, cultural and natural tourist attractions in any given country. For example China, India, Brazil, France, USA, Russia, France, South Africa and Indeed all other major tourist destinations of the world usually promote a mixture of all the three in a manner most advantageous and convenient to them.

In much the same way that the overall integrated, as well as diversified, development of the economy has significant impact on the tourism sector  it is also worthwhile to note that the proper management of the tourism sector has very significant and indispensable influences on the overall character of the economy, in particular, and the society in general. This is because promoting and managing the tourism sector effectively also means the mobilization of its primary cultural and creative resources in addition to their purposive preservation and productive deployment. Furthermore their constructive application towards the achievement of the peaceful, friendly, appreciative and integrative association of humanity across, as well as within, different societies is also a crucial factor for the stability and development of human social orders. In short the tourism industry promotes both the preservation and production of the best that humanity has thought and achieved under the most hospitable conditions which in turn promote mutual appreciation, peace and friendship within, as well as between, human societies.


On the whole the successful integration of the economies, and peoples, of our nation will greatly depend on the extent to which our various states, and in particular the urban centres, are able to pool their resources and activities together in order to generate an economy that is self-reliant as well as promotional of peace and prosperity for our teeming, restless and anxious population.

For Kano state to develop an enduring tourism industry it needs to invest in the preservation of its millennium old historical sites and monuments as well as the promotion and empowerment of its various agro-industrial as well as commercial, arts and crafts sectors which constitute the bases of a majority of its small and medium economic enterprises. Given the scale of destruction which many of the monuments have already undergone the state need to invest in the establishment of a modern museum which does not only showcase the role of the metropolis in the Trans-Saharan Trading Network but also its role in the historical development of intra-west African trade. This will also greatly facilitate the rehabilitation, and empowerment, of many small and medium enterprises associated with such ventures.

The operations of the museum should also highlight the historical and cultural connections between Kano and the neighboring states of Jigawa, Katsina, Kaduna etc. Indeed the overall tourism plans of Kano ought to include day, or overnight, visits to such states – particularly Jigawa due to its eco-tourism advantages in the form of Baturiya Birds Sanctuary.

The activities of the museum will also greatly support, justify and facilitate the realisation of the visions of inter-state relations within the country, as well as the activities of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) in the subregion.

In short properly planned and packaged tourism activities, domestic as well as international, will greatly contribute to the unlocking and deployment of significant local as well as creative energies, productive factors and strategic assets critical to the overall development of our economies.


25th February, 2018


















Select References


Bello, S. (2006)                      “Handcrafts Production in Africa and Opportunities for Tourism Development”. Being a paper submitted to UNWTO Regional Conference on Tourism and Handcrafts at Ouagadougou, B/ Fasso,

Bello, S. (2008)                      “Tourism and Handcrafts as Strategic Factors for Reduction of Poverty and Economic Development in Africa”. Being a paper submitted to UNWTO Regional Conference on Tourism and Handcrafts, Accra Ghana.

Bello, S. et. Al, (2006)            “Final Report on Baseline Study of Small and Medium Enterprises in Kano State”. Being a research work conducted for SPC/UNDP by Nigeria Crafts Council.

Bello, S. (2005)                       “Problems and Challenges of Socio-Economic Development: Towards on Agenda for Kano State” Sule Bello, et al in Perspectives on the Study of Contemporary Kano A. B. U Press, Zaria

Huanxing, Qiu (1993)            A Cultural Tour Across China New World Press, Beijing

Uba Adamu (1999)                Confluences and Influences: The Emergence of Kano as a City-State, Munawwar Books Foundation (MBF), Kano

UNWTO 2006                        “Final Report on Regional Conference on Tourism and Handcrafts: Opportunities for Development” (In Mimeograph Form)

WTO 2004                             Tourism and Poverty Alleviation: Recommendations for Action. Madrid

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