By Damiete Braide
Nigeria has all it takes to become the major tourism destination in the world if government at all levels can harness the tourism potentials that abound in the country.
Chief promoter of Olokun Festival Foundation (OFF), Otunba Gani Adams, made this known during the Obatala Festival which held at Baptist Primary School, Igangan, Oyo State, at the weekend.
Gani Adams, who is also the National Coordinator, Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), told the gathering; “ this is a cogent call at a time like this when tourism is a huge business across the world even as oil reputation is declining all over the world. “
Talking about the essence of Obatala Festival, Gani Adams said: “Obatala is the African god of purity, who is mostly venerated all over the world. Some of his names include Olufon, Orisa la, Orisha-Popo and Orisha Nla otherwise referred to as the maker or creator of the earth and sculpture. Obatala, is the owner of all things that are white. He is calm, wise, understanding and loves peace and harmony.”
“The Oosanla, is the supreme deity that was sent by Olodumare from heaven to earth in the beginning of time when the entire world was nothing but water. He created the land over the water beneath the sky and founded the earth.”
Gani Adams recalled that his foundation had remained committed to their ideals over the years: We have demonstrated, and proved beyond doubts, our resolve and determination in breaking new grounds in our quest to project Yoruba cultural heritage to the world. All these are the rewards for our courage and purposefulness in the pursuit of our dreams as an organisation.”
Being modest, Gani Adams re-echoed that OFF was blazing the trail in the promotion of Yoruba cultural heritage and tradition. “Looking back at the journey so far, OFF has made tremendous progress in all affairs of human endeavour. Glory and adoration goes to God for making it possible for the foundation to champion this course,” he said.
He urged Nigerians, irrespective of their religious beliefs or associations, to support a genuine cause to promote our cultural identity and heritage: “There is hope for more achievement; hope for a better tomorrow for the Yoruba race; hope for brighter days for the youth: hope for a more promising, glittering future for Nigerians across the globe.
“We are here to wake you all from slumber. People should know that, no matter the situation, we should try as much as we can to remain steadfast and committed to our goals. Our goals and motivation are not for pecuniary motives but we are truly committed to the ideals of a genuine socio-cultural organisation.”
Gani Adams commended the efforts of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye, and the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, for championing the promotion of Yoruba cultural heritage and values. Others, he said, were the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu, for his role in promoting Olumo and Lisabi festivals; the Awujale of Ijebu-land, Oba Sikiru Adetona, for his consistency in ensuring that Ojude Oba Festival holds annually; the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun, for the promotion of Osun Osogbo Festival; and the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo, for his unrelenting efforts in promoting Udi-Iroko Festival.
Lending his voice, Oba Lasisi Adeoye, Asigangan of Igangan, commended Otunba Gani Adams for his unrelenting efforts in the promotion of culture and tourism. “It’s not easy to be promoting culture like the manner which Gani Adams promotes it without any financial support from the government or corporate organisations,” he said.
In the same manner, Chief Ayo Adewuyi, Jagun of Oyo, who represented Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, Alaafin of Oyo, said: “Gani Adams has done a lot in the promotion and preservation of Yoruba culture. He has established Oodua Progressive Union (OPU) in more than 80 countries in the world, which is worthy of emulation.”
Dignitaries, who graced the occasion, included Oba Okeniyi Ewuola, Ashawo of Ayete; Oba Samuel Adewuyi Onidofin of Idofin, Oba Fasasi Adekunle Onisangaun of Saganun, Chief Adedokun Jacob, Regent of Elenpe Tapa; Chief Raheem Adelodu Bashorun of Iseyin Land.