123 cultural groups, traditional worshippers parade at Omituntun Cultural-Tourism Festival

Oyo

By Stephen Gbadamosi, Ibadan

The first Omituntun Cultural-Tourism Festival, held at the Cultural Center, Ibadan on Monday witnessed a large turnout of culture lovers from Oyo State and beyond.

The colorful event included competitions on dancing, chanting of traditional Yoruba folklore among local government and local council development areas in Oyo State.

In his opening remark, the state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun, said the occasion was conceived to promote the “uncommon cultural potentials inherent in the Yoruba tradition.”

He added that with the array of cultural potentials that were showcased at the event, witnessed by local and foreign audiences, Oyo State was poised to reap immensely from the culture concept as it would be a major contribution to the state’s revenue base.

“It is very clear, even to those that have been doubting that Oyo State possesses the best of cultural potentials; the current administration will make good use of this opportunity and transform it into a revenue-generating machine.

“We assure you that the administration, under the able leadership of Governor Seyi Makinde, will continue to promote our culture and tourism and as well use the avenue to generate, not only money, but also employment opportunities.”

In his speech, chairman of the occasion, Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, called on Oyo State government to give more support to cultural promotion.

He encouraged parents and guardians to make it a matter of duty to encourage their children and wards to speak Yoruba language at home and also greet elders in the known ways Yoruba people do, “which is to kneel and prostrate.”

“This event is not just about Oyo State, but other states in the Yoruba kingdom that now give less value to tradition and customs. We must keep this pace up and fortunately, those that are in the saddle of governance have recognised the efforts of the stakeholders in culture and tourism sectors in the state; all that is needed is to add more support.

“I believe next year’s edition of this festival will be more profound and colorful. I use this occasion to appreciate the governor once more,” he said.

Dignitaries that attended the event include the Director, French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA), Dr. Vincent Hiribarren; the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Bayo Lawal; Commissioner for Energy, Barrister Seun Asamu; Senator Monsurat Sunmonu; and Engr. Dotun Sanusi.

Also present were the Special Adviser to Governor Makinde on Labour, Comrade Bayo Titilola-Sodo; Major General A. I. Muraina (rtd), Col. Adenike Akerele (rtd.), chairman, Board of Culture and Tourism, Elder Debo Adejumobi; chairman, House of Assembly Committee on Culture and Tourism, Hon. Isiaka; and governor of Association of Nigerian Theater Practitioners, Oyo State branch, Yeye Rose Odika.

Others include the Babaloja General of Oyo State, Alhaji Yekeen Abass; Babaloja of Bodija market, Alhaji Sunmola Aderemi; and the Iyaloja of Oyo State, Chief (Mrs) Tina Ogundoyin.

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