THE National Coordinator of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) and Chief Promoter of Olokun Festival Foundation, Otunba Gani Adams, has called on the Federal Government, through the Minister of Information and Culture, Ahaji Lai Muhammed, to take the advantage of Osun Osogbo festival to showcase Nigeria to the entire world.
Just as he described continuous absence of the Minister and Director Generals of agencies saddled with the responsibilities of promoting of culture and tourism at cultural events as a bad development, which according to him, will not help the growth and promotion of tourism and culture in the country.
Otunba Adams posited that the presence of minister or other agencies included NTDC, CBAAC, NCAC and others in charge of culture and tourism will give them an insight into what is happening on the field, assist them in policy formulations and how they can make meaningful contributions to the development of culture and tourism in the country.
“They have to be active participants, if they are really serious about promoting tourism. They cannot achieve anything sitting down in their offices and playing lip service to tourism and culture promotion,” he resorted.
Otunba Adams while speaking with journalists at the Olokun Festival Foundation stand at Osun Osogbo Festival, held at Laaro Primary School, Asubiaro, Isale Osun in Osogbo on Saturday also maintained that “Apart from having direct observation of the festival procession, their presence will also attract more local and foreign tourists and other stakeholders to the events.
“It is not a festival of such magnitude like Osun Osogbo that will not have the presence of the Minister and Director General of other agencies in charge of tourism or their representatives or a powerful delegations to the event. It is not good.”
He however, reiterated the commitment of Olokun Festival Foundation to the promotion of cultural events, both at home and in the Diaspora, saying, “presently we have about 36 cultural events under the foundation and they are celebrated annually. To us, it is a way of contributing to the growth of tourism and promotion of our cultural heritage and at the same time, boosting the economic development of the nation, especially in a community where such events is being held.”
While speaking on Osun Osogbo festival, the newly installed Agbaakin of Osogbo maintained that the annual event is not just an ordinary festival, but one that has evolved over the time to become a reference point, explaining that, “it has become a compass to show cultural direction and re-establish that we are no charlatans, but with pedigree and culture that the entire world can identify with and embrace.
“The festival has the potential to grow beyond where it is at the moment. It has the capacity to attract the largest gathering of human beings around the world if we play our parts very well.
“It won’t be out of place to say that we can surpass the achievements of the well-known festivals like the Rio Festival in Brazil, Oktobefest, Munich, Germany, and the Chinese new year festival in China, among others if we work hard”.
In a similar development, the Europe Coordinator of Oodua Progressive Union (OPU), Akogun Victor Adewale, in his brief remark charged members of the sister organizations of OPC under the leadership of Otunba Gani Adams to promote culture and tourism events in the country and urged them not to relent in their efforts to use cultural events and festivals to develop the Yorubaland.
Several traditional dancers and musicians entertained the guests while dignitaries, including local and foreign tourists graced the occasion.
In the same vein, a veteran journalist cum socialite, Chief Femi Davies, also urged members of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) to give all the necessary financial support to the organization, explaining that, “no organization triumphs without financial backing.”
Others personalities at the occasion were: HRM Oba Abdul Yusuf Olasunkanmi, Olupasa of Ipasa, Oyo State; a popular Nollywood Actor, Ambassador Yomi Fash-Lanso; Akogun Gani Kayode Balogun, The Publisher of GKB News Digest; Chief (Mrs) Fafunke Olagbaju, Yeye Osun of Lagos; Prince Lookmon Ayodeji, Sango of Africa, National Coordinating Council members of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC).