Economy, Bad Roads Cripple Multibillion Naira Amusement Park Projects In Lagos | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Economy, Bad Roads Cripple Multibillion Naira Amusement Park Projects In Lagos

Amusement park
Posted: Sep 17, 2016 at 5:40 am   /   by   /   comments (0)
By Oyeniran Apata.
LAGOS – Recreational Amusement parks or what many also call recreation are a sort of entertainment centres for the masses and social places where public could view man to machine interactions, acrobatics, juggling and take part in competition or walk through menageries.
It is a fixed out of home enclosure where people young and old could converge to seek for fun, interact with machines, take rides in attractions that caters to categories of people within certain ages especially.
However, the lure of amusement parks that was the highpoints of observation of public holidays by the youths and young-at-heart in the early 80s in many major city centres in the country is fast going into oblivion.
For instance, for many children growing up in Lagos up till the 1980s, the Apapa Amuse­ment Park was most likely to feature rather prominently in any story of fun that such people would render at any point in time.
Also, the cinema halls that dotted every part of the state have been largely converted to places of worship and business centres while others are in a state of abandonment.
Such was the case with the major amusement park called Apapa Amusement Park, the ideal place for many Lagosians, that went underground as the facilities available at the centre suffered serious neglect and decadence.
Consequently, amusement park had no mention in family funfair in the 90s as the centre ground to a halt and taken over by all classes of artisans; mechanics, food sellers as well a few business concerns thus putting an end to seeking amusements and gaming in amusement parks at least in Lagos.
That was until a few years ago, specifically in 2013, when the erstwhile administration of Babatunde Raji Fashola decided to do some­thing proactive about reviving the popular fun arena.
According to the immediate past administration in Lagos, it was in fulfillment of the desire to promote private sector participation in the establishment and management of recreational facilities in the state.
The Lagos State Government entered into a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with a consortium to upgrade the Park on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis and today, it is a thing of joy and gives a sense of fulfillment for all concerned with the one-stop centre of tourism, hospitality, entertainment and leisure back in place at the centre in Apapa once called The Lunar Pack.
Now that the centre has come alive with rides, adult games, junior games, children’s games, cart racing among others, any visitor feels a great sense of welcome walking into the fairy tale arena with the Arabian style architecture.
Also in the packs of amusement and fun villages that have sprung up in Lagos are: Freedom Park, Lagos Island, Fun Factory, Lekki, Playbarn, Lekki, Rosellas Amusement Park, Igando, Funtopia Leisure Resort and the latest addition, Hi-Impact Planet Amusement Park, along the Lagos Ibadan Express road.
Though back to thrill children of today, the greatest challenge facing the new look Apapa Amusement Park under the management of Crystal Cubes Construction Limited is the poor road infrastructure in and out of the location.
Speaking with Independent, Mohammad Zubair, the Park Manager, lamented that the two entry points leading into Apapa was making a mess of investments in the revitalised park.
Business here is not what it’s supposed; people are scared of coming near Apapa because of the bad road, poor access and prevalence of articulated vehicles on the roads.
Apart from the facilities in place to make your visit to the park pleasurable, elements of a world class arena like First Aid, Parking Area for 300 vehicles and conveniences are available to make it a truly satisfying visit.
This, he stated, may rub Lagosians an opportunity for the regeneration of family leisure and bonding, just as he appealed to the Lagos State government to put the roads right considering the volume of investment by both partners and the social and economic values that the park serves to the state.
According to an official of the park, before the intervention, the place was virtually non-existent as the ground had been turned into a place for miscreants and mechanic work yard.
Dismissing the economic crunch as a factor in the low patronage of the centre, Zubair said: “If Nigerians still seek fun around the beaches in Lagos and other open grounds, if access is improved in Apapa area people will also come here in thousands to enjoy the state of the art facilities available.
“Also, electricity generation is not an issue because it is getting better now, but anytime we a sizeable number of people the machines are driven principally on generators in order to avoid disruptions and accidents in motorized facilities.”
He commended Lagosians and corporate organisations that have continued to patronise the centre against all odds, saying that the indoor football field, basket ball and facilities for outdoor games are still under-utilised as a result of constraints experienced by fun seekers.
Speaking of the difference between seeking fun and family outing on the beach and amusement parks, Zubair stated that the latter provides unlimited fun, lodging, food, and games of different types than the beach.
At the Hi-Impact Planet on the outskirt of Lagos, accessibility to the park could also be an impediment on weekends and during festivities as the busy road is the only major inlet and outlet out of Lagos state, the economic capital of the country.
To the average users of the road and residents of the surrounding villages, heavy vehicular traffic occasioned by social engagements, festive and religious activities have been the challenge of smooth drive on the roads.
In addition to these bottlenecks, a visitor to the park observed that the unending road rehabilitation, is also an inhibition to the expected patronage of the fun and entertainment centre.
In spite of its out of this world facilities, comparing with those available at the Disney World in Orlando, Florida (USA), but driving out of the place for a return journey to Lagos is also an issue.
To return to Lagos you have to drive about 6 kilometers up to NASFAT before making a u-turn enroute Lagos. This is not good enough and could put fun seekers off. I was almost put off as well but for the insistence of my children and their resolve to take them out to seek for fun I had to comply. Otherwise it is not worth the trouble.
Though officials of the centre were not available to speak with Independent, a fun seeker complained that the charges were on the high side.