DIRECTOR General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs Sally Mbanefo, has described the Nigerian Drums Festival as a good boost for tourism in Ogun State and Nigeria as a whole.
Sally Mbanefo said this during the Drums Festival 2016, powered by the Ogun State Government, and held recently at M.K.O. Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta, adding that Yoruba has a lot to showcase in terms of cultural heritage and tourist destination, both natural and man-made.
Her words: “Africa has come to stanstill today because of Ogun State. The state is the centre of action with this well-packaged event. The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Eniitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, came with many African Ambassadors to this event. That shows the importance of Yoruba heritage and culture in Nigeria.
“Most of the African Ambassadors are here today because of tourism. All the Ambassadors have closed their offices to support the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the people of Ogun amd the Egbaland in particular. We want to unify from within: the Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba. And also, African countries at large.
“The success of the Drums Festival 2016 is a clear indication that if cultural tourism is well-developed and promoted in Nigeria, we will have labirinth of tourists footfalls, which will greatly boost the nation’s economy, create huge employment and empowerment in the communities where the tourist sites and cultural festivals are located. It will interest you that the crowd-pulling carnivals in Nigeria are so much that you cant finish writing about them.
The NTDC boss decried the adverse effects of civilisation on the culture and heritage of the Nigeria people, saying “civilisation has made us forget our culture and heritage. We must know that a country that forget its culture and heritage has lost its essence. Thus, we need to appreciate and be proud of our culture and heritage, and give a good attention to the promotion of our cultural heritage.
“I made the traditional rulers my first point of call wherever I go because they are the rightfull custodian of our culture and heritage. To practically promote our cultural heritage, we must work together with the traditional rulers.”
Describing the importance of drums, Mrs Mbanefo said druming is a good form of communication and a fantastic means of entertainment.
“We are happy to be here today. We are here to celebrate the unity of the Nigerian people,” Mbanefo said.
Earlier in his speech, the Ogun State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Rt. Hon. Muyiwa Oladipo, said culture and tourism make an invaluable contribution to the economic, social and environmental well-being of a society and its people, adding that in Nigeria, this sector is unique in its commercial and cultural significance and has the potential to contribute to every state’s economy while enabling Nigerians to explore their heritage, and celebrate their cultural diversity.
According to Rt. Hon. Oladipo: “It is with this in mind that the Ogun State Ministry of Culture and Tourism has resolved to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the strengths and opportunities the tourism industry in every nook and cranny of the state is fully exploited. These prospects abound – whether providing breathtaking experiences in natural and pristine environments; highlighting our broad and multicultural diversity in our festivals, or developing quality products and experiences, Ogun State has the opportunity to showcase that it is a world class destination.
“This vision has birthed the Nigerian Drums Festival, a national platform of cultural engagement and exchange, where Nigerians will come together as a people to display our cultural artifacts – drums in performance, drama and dance exhibitions, a series of exhilarating displays capable of uplifting the nation and reviving the age-long stories of our peoples, cultures, traditions and heritage.”
The Nigerian Drums Festival, the Commissioner said, is the avenue for different states of the federation that will be represented at the event to co-operate and compete, RUB minds and reflect, promote and preserve our rich cultural heritage, ultimately for posterity and education purposes, adding that “The festival’s focus – the drums, is an instruments that has been an integral part of most communities across the length and breadth of the country.”
The Chairman of La’Campaign Resort, Mr Wanle Akinboboye in his speech said that Ogun State has seen the beginning of something that they cannot see the end.
“You have began what has not been tapped into, what we have left untouched for so long,” Akinboboye said.
He who added that Ogun State is taking the lead in the Nigerian tourism industry, appealed to the state’s government to pay more attention to tourism industry in the state.
The climax of the was the unveiling of the “World’s Tallest Traditional Drum” by the state’s governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, in the company of other high-profile dignitaries and some royal highness present at the event.