By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, has said the peace and tranquillity enjoyed in Badagry and its environs is as a result of the spiritual support from the Olokun deity, adding that this year’s edition of the Olokun Festival has the potential to boost the economy of Lagos and enhance the eco-tourism in the host community.
Speaking on Monday in Lagos at a briefing to unveil the programmes for this year edition of the Olokun Festival, Adams, who is also the chief promoter of Olokun Festival Foundation (OFF), said that the annual fiesta has made a significant impact on the economy of Badagry and Lagos as a whole.
‘This year’s festival is unique because it will open up the tourism space of the historic town. About 100,000 people, including tourists and traditional rulers will grace the grand finale, and you know what that means in terms of business opportunities. We are ready to beef up the security and the atmosphere will be conducive for visitors that are coming from every part of the world,’ Adams said.
‘It will be a long week of activities, and, part of the activities lined up for this year edition of Olokun Festival include prayer to almighty God, quiz competition for selected primary schools in the state, arts exhibitions and a beauty pageant,
‘Other programmes include beach soccer, festival float, boat regatta and Olosa gala, with the grand finale coming up on Wednesday, October 27.
Iba Adams spoke on the need to use the festival as tools to project the culture and tradition of the Yoruba people, adding that the grand finale is a reflection of the sanctity of the Olokun deity.
‘This year, we want to showcase the spiritual prowess of the Olokun by showcasing the Arugba Aje Olokun as the spiritual symbol of the grand finale. The Olokun Festival Foundation (OFF) would explore the beauty of the grand finale to the fullest”,
‘In fact, the Arugba Aje Olokun is not an ordinary creation of human thinking,I t is the originating symbol of the Olokun spirit that showcases the peace and tranquillity that Badagry and its environs are enjoying till date.’
The Yoruba leader stated further that the Olokun deity has a special blessing for Lagos.
The Chairman of the Olokun Festival Planning Committee, Ambassador Muyiwa Osinaike, in his remarks said: ‘A window of opportunities will be provided for traders to do their businesses and visitors will also know more about the Badagry ancestry, culture as well as the tradition of the people.
‘The event is basically, to explore the potentials of nature and revive the tradition of the people of the ancient town, and I think with the programme coming up as planned, we are going to make the best use of our time.’
Osinaike expressed his appreciation to Adams, as the chief promoter of the Olokun Festival Foundation, for the support.
‘It has been two decades of cultural transformation. It is, indeed, a wonderful experience being the chairman of the Olokun Festival committee.
‘It involves a lot of sacrifice and commitment because for a non-governmental and non-profit organisation to have sustained this kind of cultural project for 20 years without any support from either the state or federal government is awesome. Therefore, we need to commend all members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and the entire members of the planning committee for going this far and for bringing to the for the best of Yoruba culture and tradition,’ Osinaike noted.