…Say the Festival is Rich to Earn the Country Foreign Exchange…
Some foreign tourists that witnessed this year’s Olojo festival in Ile Ife, have called on federal and state government to collaborate so as to realize their due revenues from the state.
They said the time has come for both federal and state government to embark on well planned efforts that will bring into global consciousness the richness of the festival.
The vital part of Olojo festival held at the weekend with Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, adorning mystic “Are crown” for the first time since his ascension on the throne.
Olojo Festival which holds annually is a major cultural celebration in Ile Ife, to mark creation of the universe and “Are crown” a special crown made of 151 items, worn only during the celebration of the festival is adorned by Ooni.
The tourists, led by Dr. Cloutier Charles, who spoke with newsmen during the symbolic procession embarked on by Ooni from his palace to Oke Mogun shrine, described as “unmatched” the richness of the festival, saying if better packaged, Olojo was rich enough to earn the country foreign exchange.
“It was our first time of witnessing such a massive festival. We flew in from Ghana to be part of it. Before Ooni came out from the palace, you could see apprehension, fear, in the eyes of his subjects.
“But immediately he emerged with that “Are crown” which, according to what I was told, was first used by Oduduwa, the progenitor of Yoruba race, the fear got replaced with excitement and people began to pray.
“Procession to Oke Mogun shrine, where rituals and prayers were said was very impressive. From what I observed, the procession would have more than 250 thousand people participating. There were lot of drumming, dancing and display of rich Yoruba culture and tradition.
“Are crown that Ooni adorned during the festival, we are told weighs 100 kg. How did he do it carrying such a weight? From Ooni’s movement, it was obvious, he was carrying something weighty. The white dove in his hand during the procession are some of the other mysteries I have observed here. People outside Africa will appreciate better all these things,” he explained.
He then called for collaborations among key stakeholders to repackage Olojo festival and further endear it to many cultural enthusiasts across the globe.
Describing Olojo festival as blessing to Osun state, the Chairman, Osun State House of Assembly Committee on Information and Strategy, Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, congratulated Ooni Ogunwusi and people of Ife land on the celebration.
Oyintiloye who represented the Speaker, Osun State House of Assembly extolled Ile-Ife as a tourism centre,
“There are several hidden treasure in the cultural heritage of the people of Nigeria, especially in Yorubaland, that have been left untapped and under-developed.
“In Osun for example, we are blessed with cultural heritage such as Olojo festival. Olojo has potential of evoking a pilgrimage potential especially for the black in diasporia
“Other land marks such as Oranmiyan staff and Oduduwa Shrine among others in Ile-Ife; Osun Osogbo festival and grove in Osogbo; Olumirin waterfall in Erin-Ijesa; Kiriji memorial war site in Imesi-Ile and many more all over the state are notable and worthy of attention”, he added.
He subsequently urged the stakeholders to support the monarch and the government towards making the festival more attractive.
Among the dignitaries present at the ceremony are Deputy Head of Mission of Embassy of the Republic of Cuba, Ms. Miriam Palmero; Nigeria former Ambassador to China, Gunju Adesakin; United Sutate of America Senator for 21st District, Kevin Parker; Osun State Chief of Staff, Alhaji Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola.
Others are Chief John Agboola; chief Alex Duduyem; Erelu Abiola Dosumu; Hon. Olatunbosun Oyintiloye; former Minister of State on Water Resources, Chief Ishola Bashir; Prof. Kayode Makinde; Sunday Akere, Dr. Isiaka Ayo.
The historic Olojo 2016, which started on Monday had witnessed many events among which are Gbajure Cultural Carnival; Ooni’s Football Challenge; inter-school debate; quiz competition.
Others are Ayo Olopon traditional game, yoruba cultura entertainment night, music concert, omodon (Sisi) Olojo Cultural pageant, and fashion show. It be climaxed on Monday (today) with the grand finale royal outing when the Ooni is expected to move round the town visiting some specific places especially his ancestral Giesi compound at Agbedegbe.