From LAYI OLANREWAJU, Ilorin
Federal and state governments have been urged to establish a virile institutional framework to rejuvenate the nation’s diverse cultural values.
Speaking at the ninth edition of Ijakadi festival in the ancient town of Offa Offa local government area of Kwara state on Thursday, Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Esuwoye II, and his chiefs said that cultural production is an important area for investment and a means of boosting cultural identity.
“More strategically, it aids the diversification of national and global economies. In most parts of the world, the cultural industry sector makes significant contributions to GDP. I believe that the many advantages derivable from cultural awareness, tapping and development should not be lost on government at both the state and the federal level”, he said.
Also speaking, the Asiwaju of Offa, Chief Tajudeen Owoyemi, said that the annual Ijakadi Festival, is a depiction of everything that Offa means, adding that, “it is those unique aspects that we thought we must preserve for generations yet unborn. It is the essence of our yearly Ijakadi Festival”.
In his speech, president of the Offa Descendants’ Union (ODU), Alhaji Muideen Olaniyi Salako, appealed to the Kwara state government to
incorporate the annual ljakadi Festival as part of the state Ministry of Art, Culture and Tourism annual work plan and activities.
“If incorporated by the Kwara state government, it has a high potential
of boosting the economy of Offa LGA and the state at large. This will also ensure sustainability and continuity of the ljakadi festival.
Furthermore, the venue of the grand finale of ljakadi has been Offa Stadium in the last few years
and unfortunately, the proud stadium has been in deplorable state. Your excellency has shown
interest to upgrade the stadium and the entire Offa people, are looking forward to the actualization of this upgrade soonest.
“We are seizing this opportunity to thank His Excellency for all your good work, programmes and
unmatched developmental projects and progress in the state. Offa people are greatly indebted to
you for your consideration and love for our dear town Offa”.
Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara state, who was represented by commissioner for Energy, Alhaji AbdulWahab Femi Agbaje, described Ijakadi festival as a celebration of culture and rich heritage of a unique community of valiant people, saying that his administration would continue to identify with and promote rich cultures in the state as a strategy to keep the legacies of forebears evergreen.
“Offa people are hard working, brave, and self-reliant. Offa people are self-driven. These are the great qualities that continue to define you and your place in not just Kwara State but Nigeria as a whole.
“Our administration identifies with the rich culture of our peoples — from the Durbar in Ilorin, Awon in Shao, Ganni in Batonu speaking areas of Kwara North, Regatta in Nupe speaking axis, and Ijakadi Festival here in Offa, among many others. These are rich traditions which speak to the histories and aspirations of our peoples”.