Some stakeholders in Bayelsa have applauded plans to hold the maiden edition of Nigeria Oil Well Festival in Oloibiri from Dec. 28 to Jan. 14, 2018.
According to the stakeholders, the festival will be a significant event to re-awaken the consciousness of the people to the potential of the area.
The first oil and gas field in Nigeria was found in January 15, 1956 in Oloibiri, a small creek community in Ogbia Local Government area of Bayelsa.
The stakeholders, who spoke to NAN in Yenagoa on Tuesday after a meeting to plan ahead of the festival, said the initiative was a welcome development.
Mr Noble Akenga, the Chairman of the meeting, said that the festival would not only boost tourism, but also re-awaken the consciousness of the people to the potential of the area which could be tapped for their betterment.
“Yes, it is going to be a significant event in the history of Oloibiri, the genesis of oil in West Africa, Bayelsa, Niger-Delta and Nigeria at large.
“The idea is to re-awaken the people and Nigerians to know what they have in the land and to set a road map for tourism development in the area instead of abandoning the place,” he said.
Mrs Faith Wilkinson, the President of Oloibiri Oil and Gas Entrepreneurship Development Initiative, said the festival was necessary to bring the nation’s historic oil community back to live.
Wilkinson, also Coordinator, Planning Committee of the event, expressed optimism that the programme would promote the rich culture of the people.
“Oloibiri, as epicenter of modern Nigeria, has touched many lives; this community deserves to be celebrated and revived through the oil and gas festival.
“The importance of the festival is to display the cultural value of the people; we want to attract international and national interests through this unique festival which will serve as a cultural tourism event in West Africa,” she said.
Mr Nengi James, the Chairman of Civil Liberty Organisation (CLO) in the state, called for togetherness among the people.
“There is the need to keep Oloibiri land alive because this is the land that built Nigeria, let us make the land a tourist destination for the nation and Africa.
“I believe you cannot talk about the history of oil and gas in this country without mentioning Oloibiri community in Ogbia,” James said.
Other stakeholders at the meeting were the Environmental Right Action (ERA), Bayelsa Chamber of Commerce, some small and medium-scale businesses and farmers.