From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, has commended Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, for reviving cultural festival in the state, as he warned traditional, religious and political leaders, as well as strategic stakeholders in Yorubaland that it is dangerous for the future of Yoruba race if they do not start working on the promotion of culture and tradition of the ethnic tribe towards turning them to money spinning tourism potentials.
He gave the advice at the grand finale of Omituntun Pacesetter Festival of Arts and Culture, tagged: ‘Asa Wa…Ipile Wa’ held at Cultural Centre, Mokola, Ibadan, which was organised by the Oyo State Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
Adams in an interview with journalists on the sideline of the festival, noted that culture has to do with the clothes that people of a particular tribe wear, the language they speak, and so many things that are peculiar to a particular ethnic tribe, including the food they eat.
According to him, “Our culture is how we are. What the Oyo State government is doing today is very unique, very significant to the progress, peace and tranquility of the state. One of our problems in our society is that we neglect our culture and tradition. By the time you neglect your culture and tradition, there may be problems in that society. You will lose orderliness and cohesion.
“Promotion of culture is about projecting ecotourism, and cultural tourism. And by projecting eco and cultural tourism, you are projecting commerce and you are projecting visibility of the structure of that place that you are projecting its culture. You are projecting the visibility of Ibadan, and visibility of Oyo State.
“At the same time, you are giving the people of that place a pride that this my culture and this is my identity. We are fast losing touch with our identity. For our children, it is becoming difficult for them to speak Yoruba Language. It is becoming difficult to identify with our culture. Instead of them to identify with our culture, they are following the Western culture. So, it is very dangerous if we don’t start working on the promotion of culture and turn it to tourism potentials, and upgrade our destination so that the generation that is coming can be proud of how God Almighty created them.”
Adams also reiterated his call to the six governors in the South West geo-political zone of Nigeria to make obtaining at least pass in Yoruba Language at senior secondary school certificate examinations, compulsory for admission into tertiary institutions owned by the states in a bid to ensure that the Yoruba culture does not go into extinction.
He stated that he established Olokun Festival Foundation that has been promoting cultural and arts festival across Yorubaland with a view to ensuring that the culture and tradition of the Yoruba do not go into extinction.
Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism in the state, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun, noted that the last time cultural festival was celebrated in the state was 11 years ago and it was a mild one, unlike the elaborate one that the administration of Governor Seyi Makinde introduced in 2021. He added that Makinde has been taking pragmatic steps to promote the culture and tradition of the state, saying the first year that Makinde came into power, the state participated in a national competition for culture and arts. The state, he said, came fourth in the competition, adding that the last time the state participated in such event was eight years before Makinde came into power.
Dignitaries at the programme included a representative of the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Vincent Hiribarren, who is the Director, French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA); Commissioner for Local Government, Bayo Lawal; Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Development, Seun Ashamu; former Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu; the Chief Executive Officer of Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort, Dotun Sanusi; and Major Gen Abdullahi Muraina (retd).