Oyetola vows to support development, promotion of Osun Osogbo festival
By: Femi Mustapha
Governor Gboyega Oyetola, of Osun state South West Nigeria,
has said his administration will support the development and promotion of Osun Osogbo festival to enhance its tourism potentials and sustainability.
Oyetola made this known during the grand finale of the annual festival, held in Osogbo, with traditional chiefs, worshippers, sons and daughters of Osogbo paying homage to the custodian of the festival, the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun at the Osun-Osogbo groove.
The Governor who was Represented by the Supervisor of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Dr Babawale Adebisi, said the festival was important to his government and his administration intends to transform the annual event to a foreign exchange earner for the state.
Oyetola futher added that the state was equally seeking partnership with the Federal Government to optimally tap into the tourism benefits the festival provides.
The governor who said he was honoured to attend the festival for the first time, disclosed that his administration would continue to support the festival for it’s sustainability and growth.
“The Osun-Osogbo festival is important to the government and people of Osun as it is a common cultural heritage and our window and voice to the world.
“We are aware of the power of tourism to market our culture to the world, foster cultural communication and harmony and engender national and international peace and cooperation.”
” It is our intention to develop, promote and project the Osun-Osogbo festival to global prominence to compete with other world renowned cultural festivals.
” We shall transform the festival to a foreign exchange earner and a major driver of our economy through tourism,” he said.
In his remark, Oba Olaonipekun dispelled the rumour that he had sold the Osun-Osogbo deity, attributing the ugly trend to mischief being orchestrated by his enemies.
He thanked all the partners and sponsors, who made the festival a success as well as dignitaries, royal fathers and people, both from Nigeria and abroad, who graced the occasion.
This year’s festival had in attendance foreign tourists from Brazil, Japan, Europe, Osun goddess devotees, masquerades, traditional religion heads, traditionalists and royal fathers, all paying homage to the Ataoja.