The Nigerian Army said it would invest in the Obudu Ranch Resort and turn it into a profitable world-class facility.
The managing director of the Nigerian Army Properties Limited, Umaru Mohammed (rtd), said this in Calabar, Cross River State, on Tuesday.
Mr. Mohammed, who spoke shortly after he met with the state governor, Ben Ayade, said the investment would involve the creation of both land and air access to the tourist haven as well as excellent communication facilities.
With such investment, he said the resort would boost the economy of the state and the nation given the increased patronage it would attract within and outside the country.
“The Nigerian Army, just like their counterparts in the civilized societies globally is repositioning and now has a company that is exploring and fully harnessing business opportunities that abound in the country with the support of experts to participate in them,” he said.
He stated that the establishment of the company has created opportunities for professionals in the military to help in generating revenue that would improve the status of the Army and make life more meaningful for its personnel.
Mr. Mohammed said, “The essence of the business is to add value to the army and to this end, we are recruiting credible Nigerians as partners to actualize this project with the sole aim of developing capacity which will in turn develop the system and society at large”.
Also speaking, Mr. Ayade said he was excited about the new thinking by the army and described the move as “a welcome development”.
His said the partnership, when consummated, would open new vista of opportunities for the state and the people.
“We are expectant that Cross River State will now be a new corridor of business explosion that will show we can move Nigeria from its third world status to first world in four years,” Mr. Ayade said.
“So this partnership should develop into a big wild fire that will ignite a new challenge in business horizon of Nigeria.
“Shortly after winning the election, I took my time to understudy the Disney World in Orlando and my strong conviction is that the least we can do here is to put a Disney.
“So you already have a minimum standard to meet if you cannot beat it. We should be in haste to get Disney started at the Ranch with a rain forest restaurant to complement,” he said.
On the move by the Army to upgrade the resort, the governor said, “Nigerians have an appetite for exotic lifestyle because they work so hard.
“All they need is security, access and there is good life style. It will be flooded. We are 170 million people with a GDP of about $565 billion.
“We have a purchasing capacity that is strong. It may just be 10 percent that we will capture but that can translate into a large number in relative terms, and so everything is set for us to transform the Obudu Ranch Resort.”
To further open up the state for investment, he said his administration was building a 260 km superhighway from Calabar seaport to Obudu and evacuating into northern Nigeria.
He, therefore, urged the Army and investors within and outside the country to consider investing in the super highway, which he said was being constricted through Public Private Partnership, PPP.
When fully operational and equipped with world-class funriture, he said travel time to the Ranch would be reduced from seven hours to one hour thirty minutes thereby making the journey a luxury.