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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

OAU don, Prof Akin Alao tasks Yoruba traditional rulers on cultural –tourism @ Oodua Festival Ile - Ife Written by Wale Ojo lanre

OAU don,  Prof Akin Alao tasks  Yoruba traditional rulers on cultural –tourism @ Oodua Festival Ile - Ife 

Written by Wale Ojo lanre 

Nigerian Tribune  , February 3, 2016

•We should turn Ife to tourism haven —Gani Adams •Yoruba cultural tourism revolution has started —Ooni Ojaja !!
Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi. Ojaja 11 and Otunba Gani Adams. INSET: Traditional rulers at the event.
The 2016 Oodua Festival held in Ile–ife, on Thursday January 21, 2016, was not just for celebrating and showcasing the cultural heritage and values of the Yoruba race as being done every year by the Olokun Festival Foundation, but one specially packaged in synchronisation   with the template chord of unity and songs of brotherhood being waxed by the new Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi. Ojaja 11.

And in line with the vision of Ooni Ojaja 11, which sees cultural – tourism as a potent instrument of lubricating the chord of  Yoruba unity , peace and harmony  the Oodua Festival 2016 was laced with programmes which accentuate  the Yoruba culture , traditional rulers and  heritage as the corner stone for economic emancipation and cultural longevity of the race.

Apart from the spectacular cultural performances by many groups, dramatic exhibition of the origin of the race , the Obesere Fuji special show ,  the mammoth crowd  was exposed to intellectual insight of why the Yoruba are who they are and why traditional rulers are the engine of unity and togetherness.

The Oodua Festival also served as the venue of clarion call on the Yoruba race on the need for embarking on cultural–tourism revolution not for entertainment sake, but for economic growth and advancement.

A Professor of  Legal History, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile- Ife, Professor Akinkunmi Alao  kicked  the ball rolling when he  called on traditional rulers in Yoruba land to commence a rigorous resuscitation of  the cultural heritage, traditional  value system and tourism assets in their domains for empowerment, employment, wealth stimulation, peace building and development.

Professor Alao who was the guest lecturer at the Oodua  Festival 2016 organised by Olokun Festival Foundation being promoted by Otunba Gani Adams  on Thursday, 21 January, 2016 at Enuwa, Ile–Ife said that God has propelled nature in depositing both tangible and intangible wonderful cultural tourism assets in Yoruba land only waiting to be  harnessed by the people.

“As the custodian of our cultural heritage, as the protectors and preservers of the value, culture, mores, norms and ethics, the onus of harnessing the values, the culture, the heritage, historical monuments and artefacts  for the benefits of the people and growth of the race falls squarely on you our traditional rulers.”

Professor Alao whose paper “Cultural and Socio Political Imperatives of Yoruba unity: The Pivotal role of Yoruba Monarchs “where he extensively traced the role and exposed the import of the monarchical system of the Yoruba race from the primordial time to the present day stimulated several applauses and public commendation from the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Ogunwusi, Ojaja 11.

In spite of the external and internal pressures and institutional dynamism, Obaship as an endured and remained eternally relevant and sought after as a necessary machinery of government among the Yoruba . The modernisation and sophistication of government especially in the period since 1960 could not displace the role traditional institution play in the ordering of society, definition of cultural values and in power relations.”

The OAU Don,  who spoke extensively on culture, Monarch and State in Nigeria, colonial manipulations, decolonisation and the chieftaincy institution, party politics and Chieftaincy institution, the military and the Chieftaincy Institution, Obaship in representative democracy, Obaship and the future called on the Yoruba monarchs to “be the champion of their people’s rights and privileges, in the management of relations within the Nigerian state, in resource allocation and in power relations, injury to one in Yoruba land must be considered and taken as injury to all.”

Professor Alao lauded the Ooni of Ife, for establishing and planting a major milestone in fostering unity in Yoruba land by his singular historical visit to the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 11 in Oyo on Sunday 17 January 2016. Where “the two potentates and imperial Majesties made speeches that ordinarily signposted the dawn of a new era of love, peace, and unity in Yoruba land.”

Prof Alao charged all products of Yoruba race to “Let us all Yoruba open our hands, to change which is an inevitable companion of culture, but we should not let go of our values as a people and a race. Herein lies our survival and hope for a better tomorrow for ours and generation after.”

The 2016 Oodua Festival was specially organised and packaged being the first of the new Ooni of Ife Oba Ogunwusi who hosted the mammoth crowd and over 50 traditional rulers from Yoruba land and distinguished Nigerians.

Otunba Adams, the major promoter of Olokun Festival Foundation, commended Professor Alao for a “thoroughly researched and rich history of the import, importance and essence of our monarchs in cultural stability of the Yoruba race. I am delighted that cultural consciousness  of the race is being re awakened in all the sector of the society and once again thank the erudite scholar for this wonderful, highly illuminating and educative   paper.”

He described the emergence of Ooni Ojaja as a dawn of new era in Yoruba race “We are happy that our God raises nations to be. Our Lord who destroys nations and prospers races has raised for us an Oba who will take Nigeria to the promised land.” Oba Ogunwusi, Ojaja 11, Ooni of Ife, has done what is unimaginable by visiting the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, 111, the Iku baba yeye in Oyo . This is a sign of good thing for the race.”

Otunba Adams called on Ooni Ojaja to as a matter of urgency “commence efforts at turning Ile–Ife into tourism haven.”

He pointed out “today our people spend huge sums of money to travel to Israel, Mecca, Rome and other cities across the world to visit heritage sites in those places. Meanwhile we have several sites in Ile-Ife all along dating back to the creation of the world. I beg kabiyesi to ensure sites  like the Oduduwa grove, Opa Oranmiyan, Moremi Ajasoro, Oke Itase, and several others sites are turned into tourists’ delight that will make Ife a global tourist destination.”

The Ooni Ojaja, Oba Ogunwusi who expressed delight at the packaging of the First Oodua Festival in the first year of his tenure commended Olokun Festival Foundation and Otunba Adams for rising to the challenge of preventing the colossal demise and death of Yoruba cultural festivals.

“I have to commend the spirit and giant strides of Otunba Adams in protecting, showcasing and revitalising Yoruba cultural festivals. This I will not only support but go many miles further at sourcing corporate sponsors for him. What Olokun Foundation is doing is for the Yoruba race and we have to see it blossoming. Adams is playing a historical cultural role in the annals of Yoruba race and we should not let him down. We should and will support him.”

The Ooni who spoke in fluent Yoruba enlisted Prof Alao as interpreter in English charged all Yoruba Obas to look inward and take an inventory of the cultural heritage and festivals in their towns for the era of polishing them for economic activity and brotherhood conviviality has come.

“I am happy to have witnessed this year’s O0dua Festival. I am glad at seeing the multitude of crowd, the several obas and traditional rulers, the wonderful cultural display, the members of Oodua Peoples Congress, who are in Ile-Ife in their thousands and the members of the Oodua Progressive Union, who flew in from different countries of the world to witness this festival of our progenitor in Ile-Ife. I am overwhelmed and it shows the beauty in our culture and festivals. I therefore call on Obas in Yoruba land to take an inventory of the cultural festivals in their domains and polish them for the glory of the race and benefits of the people. The Cultural Revolution has started. Aseyi samodun o.”