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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Oduduwa Festival 2015: Ooni lauds Gani Adams

Oduduwa Festival 2015: Ooni lauds Gani Adams
 28.Jan.2015  Wale Ojo Lanre
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The Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade  Sijuwade Olubuse 11 has described the national leader of Oodua Peoples Congress, (OPC) and the promoter of Olokun Festival Foundation , Otunba Gani Adams as an enigmatic scion of the great Oduduwa who has carved a conspicuous chapter for himself in the contemporary history of the Yoruba race .
The Ooni  gave this affirmation last Thursday, January 22, 2015 when Otunba  Adams led the representatives of Oodua Progressive Unions, (OPU), from 52 countries who came to Ile-Ife to  participate in this year’s  Oduduwa Festival on a homage to Ooni at the palace  in Ile–Ife, Osun State.
Otunba Adams who informed the Ooni of the activities and the programme of the 2015 Oduduwa Festival which kicked off in Ile – Ife the previous day with a Miss Oduduwa Festival beauty pageant. “Kabiyesi, apart from paying the yearly obeisance and homage which comes before the commencement of the grand  finale today at the Palace Square, I am here with the representatives of OPU from 52 countries led by Akogun Banji Ojo, the European coordinator. They are here first to participate in Oduduwa Festival and also to hold its first ever congress billed for Monday in Lagos.”
The European coordinator, OPU, Akogun Ojo who commended Otunba Adams  ”for going all over Europe ringing the bell of Yoruba cultural revival and telling us the need to embrace Yoruba culture to showcase same and plant same in our family “informed Ooni of Ife that OPU would be establishing Oodua Cultural Village at Ile – Ife.
He revealed  “We are going to establish and build Oodua Cultural Village in Ile Ife. We are going to turn the village to the cultural pilgrimage centre for all over 30 million Yoruba in Diaspora. We will from next year be holding our congress in Ife with pomp and ceremony.”
The Ooni who spoke through the Lowa of Ife, Chief Joseph Ijaodola pointed out that Otunba Adams has distinguished himself as another enigmatic personality of the race who has  risen stoutly not only to defend the cultural integrity of Yoruba race, but has been shouldering the promotion and rejuvenation of the pristine Yoruba cultural value  not only in Nigeria, but outside the shores of Nigeria.
“Otunba Adams, you are not only a pride of the Yoruba, but a worthy scion of Oduduwa  whose contribution to the rejuvenation, resuscitation and reference of Yoruba culture and the veneration of our ascendancy’s  pride and icons cannot  be quantified  in solid gold and value. I assure you that all the spirit of our progenitors, all the elemental forces that guide the four corners of the world, all the 400 deities and supreme commanders of the House of Oduduwa bless and support your aspiration and intention over the race,” the Ooni said.
Oba Sijuwade commended Adams for inaugurating the OPU in 52 countries of the world. “I must commend you for this rare feat of inauguration of OPU. This is marvellous, commendable and great. I also assure you that the source and the entire Yoruba race are happy with you on this and other activities of yours and we shall  continue to associate with you, your intention, your move and you shall successfully prosecute all your programmes and activities with the blessing of our fathers.”
The Ooni who praised the European  OPU coordinator, Akogun Ojo for his thoughtfulness towards building Oodua Cultural Village in Ile Ife  said “Your intention is good and welcome. The land for the project will be allocated to you when you are ready. Ile-Ife is grateful for this.”
The Ooni who blessed the visitors prayed for the success of the grand finale of the 2015 Oduduwa Festival  and Otunba Adams led the visitors to the Ooni’s Palace Square which was filled to the brim where the grand finale was held.
The 2015 grand finale of Oduduwa Festival kicked off glowingly with a religious unity note as members of the three dominant religions, Christianity, Islam and African traditional adherents offered special prayers.
The festival packaged by Olokun Festival Foundation was basically organised to celebrate the cultural heritage of the tribe and also showcase the tradition of the Yoruba race to the outside world led to the usage of the Yoruba Language in the music panegyrics, cognomen and traditional dance featured prominently during the festival..
Espousing the necessity of the festival,  Otunba Adams  said it was “ Olokun Festival  Foundation’s modest contribution  at creating awareness on the economic potentials in the development of tourism as a renewable and deplete less alternative revenue spinners for all.”
In his speech,  Otunba Adams  revealed “It is organised to perpetuate the memory of Oduduwa, the progenitor of a race that is widely dispersed and whose peoples industry and culture remains alluring and continuous source of pride to all humans globally.
 “In no distance future, we hope to use our various festivals to further create awareness of the traditional value and generate pride and respect for the continent’s heritage and promote the role African indigenous can play in the quest for science and technology-driven development. We hope to use this festival to foster unity among diverse ethnic groups in Nigeria and Africa by inviting their participation and encouraging cultural interaction and at the same time make people aware of the contemporary relevance of their tradition and cultural heritage.”
 Otunba Adams who noted the implication of promotion of culture and tradition on tourism development said,  “Oduduwa Festival represents a call to break away from continued reliance on petroleum resources  whose prices  continue to fall at the global market, “Tourism development I must say own the future to our people’s economic prosperity in the nearest future if well developed and we hope to contribute  to the makings of Nigeria as a  preferred tourism destination through various festivals we organise annually and effort of others.”
 Earlier in his address, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the governor of  the State of Osun said  the state government will continue to identify with the Olokun Festival in his bid to promote the culture and tradition of Yoruba race “if all the concerned institutions are making frantic effort in promoting the culture and tradition of Yoruba culture  like  Gani Adams and his group is doing, there will be less work for the government to do, but as a matter of fact we still have a long way to go in encouraging private individuals to contribute to the growth of our culture.”
 Ogbeni Aregbesola who was represented by the Commissioner for Home Affairs and Tourism  Mr Sikiru  Adetona Ayedun said  “the government of the State of Osun has also not relented  in promoting culture and tradition of Yoruba through rehabilitation of historical sites and initiation of policies and programmes that enhance development of culture  and tourism in the state  having realised that we can develop our economy through our cultural heritage.”
 He maintained  “though we have challenges of funds and security, but we are also making effort to raise the bar beyond what it is now, we have a focus  and we will not allow the challenges to overwhelm us in the execution of our plans and programmes.”
 The Director General of the Nigeria Tourism Development (NTDC), Mrs Sally Mbanefo  said “Oduduwa Festival is a carnival of unity which has brought  the entire tribe from different regions together as one entity with one voice lauded the Adams-led OPC for being an agent of unity in Nigeria. “The impression about OPC being a visionless and violent militant group has actually been  eroded with these initiatives, if OPC can champion the course of cultural  originality  and promotion,  then they can be an agent  of national peace and unity.”
The NTDC boss who was represented by a director in the commission, Mr Anthony Anumba said  “NTDC will continue to identify with the Olokun Festival Foundation in this programme  and other programmes organised by group of individuals aimed at promoting the culture and tradition of Nigeria languages, culture and tradition and enhancing domestic tourism in the state.”
The  Director General for Centre for Black African Arts and  Civilisation, (CBAAC),  Sir Ferdinand Anikwe who was represented by Mr Lekan Oyinlola head of Ife Outreach Station commended  the foundation for the initiatives and pledged continuous support for the programme “ CBAAC appreciates and  will continue to identify with Olokun Festival Foundation and Gani Adams for the role he is playing  in promotion of African Arts and Culture.” 
Abass Akande Obesere the Fuji music  proponent who was on the bandstand to entertain  the audience and guests   said “ I do appreciate cultural programmes like this, as a Yoruba man, I am concerned about the dwindling trend of our culture and tradition and  anytime  I see people like Otunba Adams having events that will lift  our culture,  I am always happy. I support in my own little way, our culture and tradition must not die, I am not a visitor to Olokun Festival. I have  been part of it and  will always be part of those championing the cause of our race.”
Mr Toyin William Adetoro one of the coordinators of OPU in Europe expressed  his excitement. “ this is a very brilliant event. I love it , the music, lecture,  dance even the costumes are all fascinating,  it gives one the hope that Yoruba culture is not dead  and will never die. I am glad I am here in the ancestral home of the Yoruba people, I can really feel part of what we read in books and through the lecture  and speeches I have learnt some things which has also improved on my knowledge.”
Mallam Nurudeen Ibrahim Sokoto popularly known as MC kirirkiri in his words described Otunba Adams as agent of unity and change “ what we are doing here today is not only enhancing the unity of Yoruba race, but preparing them against any further damages to the culture and tradition because these brilliant performances from local musicians  and other traditional dancers gave an everlasting memory that cannot be wiped away.”
The Fatunmise Awosogbon led Onile choral group through his music preached Yoruba unity and prevention of division  among the Yoruba race while the Osun group displayed Yemoja dances and blessing  on the people which fascinated so many participants particularly members of OPU Europe who were seeing such a display for the first time. 
 The programme also featured lectures, beauty pageant, carnival floats, quiz competition, traditional homage paying to Ooni of Ife and presentation of a car to Miss Oodua and consolation prizes to other contestants.  
 Dignitaries at the event were,  Mr Ayo Olumoko, Director General of Infogem Communication and Marketing Company, Oba Kolawole Sowemimo, the Olu Owode of Egba,  Oba Adeogun Ogunbona, Olu of Igbore, Prince Owolabi Oduyebo Baale Atere Agbowa Ikosi Dr Tayo Subair, Chief Jimoh Olawale among others.