Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau on Tuesday in Abuja said the state government would develop golf to attract more tourists to the state.
Lalong made the assertion when he received Plateau-born Rachel Danjuma, the winner of the 19th IBB Golf and Country Club Open amateur ladies tournament that ended on Sunday.
The governor said that golf and tourism go hand-in-hand, noting that he would ensure the game was well developed to attract other sporting activities.
“For those who know tourism, it is difficult to take tourism to its peak without golf.
“No tourist will come if you don’t have a good golf course, even if they come, they will not stay long.
“But if you have a good course, even if they don’t have anything doing, they will stay for a long time playing golf,’’ he said.
Lalong said that Plateau was the only state in the country that was blessed with a clement weather that every foreigner in Nigeria would want to experience.
According to him, some persons are accusing government giving more attention to golf when compared with other sports.
The governor explained that golf was not just a sport, adding that government was promoting tourism and golf because of their potential to attract both tourists and investors.
Lalong assured the people that he would do everything to ensure that Rayfield Golf Club 1913, the oldest golf course in Nigeria became the envy of golfers.
He added that it was also a way of preserving the history of where golf started in the country.
“When I rushed to be part of the tournament as a guest, little did I know that the winner was going to come from Plateau.
“I am happy and I want to encourage you to keep growing in the game.
“I am also happy that we have three professional golfers from the state, whom, apart from playing at a higher level were helping to nurture golfers at the IBB Golf Club,’’ he added.
The governor said the state needed more professional golfers, particularly females to help in the development of the game.
Danjuma, who commended Lalong for sparing time to receive her, stating that the gesture had spurred her to do more.
The winner appreciated Lalong for the restoration of peace in the state, saying that with peace, every Plateau person would freely go about their businesses.
Chris Shaiyen, a member of IBB Golf Club, who presented the winner to the governor, thanked the governor for his continuous support to the game.
Shaiyen applauded the governor’s plans to establish a golf academy in Plateau.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the winner of the tournament is an Inspector Police serving in the FCT.