By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
The Lagos State Government, in collaboration with Asa Day Worldwide Inc, will on November 21 showcase Yoruba art and culture as part of efforts to increase the state’s Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) through tourism.
The event tagged Lagos 2021 Asa Day, according to the Founder and President of Asa Day Worldwide Inc, Mr Olaniyi Oyatoye, is an avenue to drive socio-economic growth of the state and the country through culture and tourism.
Speaking at a press conference to herald the forthcoming Lagos 2021 Asa Day celebration, with the theme, ‘Let’s use our cultural heritage to revive our economy ‘ Oyatoye disclosed that the event which will be held at the Blueroof of LTV 8, Agidingbi, would be a three in one event including empowerment of youths and restoration of cultural items.
The Yoruba art and culture promoter said Nigeria stands a great chance of surviving the current economic lapse if it could focus more on cultural tourism.
He advised the government to harness the vast potential in its arts, culture and tourism heritage to create employment and boost its economy.
‘If collaboration and partnership are cultivated between performing artists, museums and states that are blessed with natural and cultural endowments, the resultant cultural tourism synergy will be presented as exciting performances at vital tourist destinations across the country. As a significant tourist destination, museums are the cultural centre and memory bank of any nation, including Nigeria,” he said.
Oyatoye advocated the development of a cultural tourism calendar of events across the country to guide both local and international tourists.
Popularly known as Baba Asa in Canada where he is based, Oyatoye who said Asa Day, which has been observed in Canada in the past five years, was aimed at promoting Nigerian culture especially the Yoruba language and culture from going into extinction.
Appalled by the decline in the use of mother tongues among Nigerians living within the country, Mr Oyatoye called on parents to speak native languages to their children because it embodies culture, noting that if the languages die, the culture will also die a natural death.
‘We are trying to encourage every Nigerian, not just Yoruba alone, to go back to the roots, the English language is just a means of communication, it is not our identity, our culture and traditional must not die and whatever we need to do to ensure this, we must do it,’ Oyatoye emphasised.
In his remarks, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr Solomon Bonu, who commended Mr Olaniyi Oyatoye for promoting his culture and heritage pointed out that the concept of Asa Day was in line with the present administration’s objective to use art and culture to boost the state’s economy.
Mr Bonus called on other Nigerian youths, both within and outside the country to key into the creative industry for employment
‘I will urge all our youths to key into the creative industry and bring out something unique, and just like Lagos State is supporting Mr Oyatoye, we will also support you,’ he said.
The project manager of Asa Day, Ololade Babade, who also emphasised the benefits Nigeria can derive from the event said, ’As far back as 2015, according to Wikipedia (Free Encyclopedia), countries that made so much money from tourism in that year include: the USA, $177.20 billion; Spain, $65.20 billion; China, $ 56.90 billion; France, $55.40 billion; Macau, $50.80 billion; Italy, $45.50 billion; the United Kingdom, $45.30 billion; Germany, $43.30 billion; Australia $42.20 billion; Hong Kong $41.30 billion and Thailand $38.40 billion.
‘In Africa, South Africa grossed $35.00 billion; Morocco $34.00 billion; Namibia $33.80 billion; Kenya $32.00 billion; Tunisia $31.80 billion while Nigeria trailed with a depressing $2.79 million earning! Indeed, Nigeria ranks 131 out of 141 countries with a tourism competitiveness index in 2015. We are still miles away from the countries that make the money from tourism development in terms of naira and dollars from 2015 to the present.’