By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
Abuja – Amusement Parks in the Federal Capital Territory on Monday recorded low patronage during the 2018 Independence Day Anniversary, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
NAN reports that at the Magicland Amusement Park, near the City Gate, few fun seekers were in the park but most of the facilities were not in use due to lack of patronage.
A fun seeker, Mr Emeka Egwu, a business man at Madala Market, Niger State, said the scanty number of fun seekers in the park could be linked to the current harsh economic reality facing most Nigerians.
“You know the economy is still bad and people are suffering; some who have little money would prefer to feed their family with it than to come here and spend it.
“Even the ones that come here, you can see that most of them could not afford to pay to enjoy the facilities in the park.
“I think the government needs to improve the economy to make Nigerians happy and come out to enjoy themselves; if the economy is okay, it will reflect in activities within the park,’’ Egwu said.
Mrs SerahAkume, a primary school teacher in Lugbe corroborated Egwu’s position.
Akume added that some workers had not been paid salaries stressing that those that receive minimum wage of N18,000 could not even dream of bringing their children at the recreation ground.
“It is not easy, everybody is managing; what can N18,000 afford for a family of four, not to talk of those who have more children.
“And again, school just resumed; most parents might have spent a lot in the payment of school fees and other financial obligations; so how much will be left that they will want to risk it here,’’ Akume asked.
A ticket attendant in the park who spoke to NAN under the condition of anonymity said patronage was actually low compared to other celebrations in the early part of the year.
According to him, during those celebrations such as Easter, Ramadan and others in the early part of 2018, large crowd besieged the park to have fun.
“But today only few fun seekers are here to catch their fun; this means that something is not right.
“A `mudu’ (measure) of foreign rice is N650, Beans is between N500 and N550; but those people in government do not even know about this; it is only the masses that are suffering, so how can they come here.
“We pray that government will use this independence celebration to do something better for all Nigerians,’’ the attendant said.
NAN also reports that the situation was not much different at the popular Millennium Park near the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Maitama.
Few fun seekers were seen seated on mats in small groups and enjoying themselves.
Although the turnout was low, some of the fun seekers attributed the reason to the strike action called by the organized labour.
Mrs Evely Ochegbo, a resident said that the strike action gave some people the opportunity to travel out of the Federal Capital.
“Others feel that tomorrow is school and therefore spending money on coming here and spending again for the rest of week on their children’s school is not proper.
“So they will prefer to sit at home and organise themselves against tomorrow; same is also applicable to some workers; because the strike is suspended, so work starts tomorrow,’’ Ochegbo said.
Mrs Titilayo Kayode, a dealer in soft drinks and confectioneries at the park, said patronage was low.
According to her, the low turnout to the park is slowing down the business because she used to make a lot of sales before 3pm each day.
“Look at the time now, I have not sold half of what I used to during Easter and Sallah, this independence day market is not encouraging.
“However, I have hope that it will get better as the time goes on,’’ she said.
NAN also reports that some commercial photographers converged on a particular spot in the park discussing about patronage.
Mr Nick Komolafe, a photographer, told NAN that patronage was low.
“Look at how we gathered here, anybody you want to take a photograph of will say he/she is not interested. It is only few customers that patronise us.
“It was not like this in the previous celebrations, but we pray that before the sun goes down, there will be improvement in patronage,’’ he said.