Governor Dapo Abiodun on Friday in Ijebu-Ode said the state government was going to explore having a state-wide festival that would help enhance the state’s overall growth.
Abiodun, while speaking at the 2023 Ojude Oba festival, said the annual festival had been a beautiful experience and a historic event of global reckoning.
”This is why we are going to look at having a state-owned festival like this which will bring overall growth to the state,” he said.
The governor stated that the Ojude Oba festival had helped to enhance the cultural values of Ijebu people, saying it was a unifying factor in the entire Ijebuland.
“It is an opportunity to display our hospitality to the world. It promotes our tourism sector.”
Abiodun went on to promise to continue to ensure that dividends of democracy get to all the nooks and crannies of the state.
He also called on the people of the state to give maximum support to President Bola Tinubu, saying he had started on a good note with the programmes initiated so far.
In his speech, the festival’s Special Guest of Honour, Dr. Clement Okeowo, the Chairman, Gibraltar Construction Company, noted that Ijebu people were known for promoting culture and also being industrious.
He used the occasion to call on the Federal government to fix the remaining portion of the Sagamu-Benin expressway, and particularly the Sagamu-Ijebu Ode axis.
Speaking also, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe , the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), noted that the Ojude Oba festival remained a boost to tourism development in Nigeria.
He explained that the festival has remained a brand for the Ijebu people both home and abroad, saying that it has continued to bring development and growth to the Ijebu community.
The director-general noted that the festival had impacted positively on the state’s socio-economic growth, adding that the festival had contributed immensely to development of culture and tourism in the country.
“Today marks a new brand for the entire Ijebu people, both at home and in diaspora. Ojude Oba has become a brand of developing culture and tourism in Nigeria.
“Yesterday, I was so happy that at the airport over 3,500 Nigerians came back home because of Ojude Oba festival. This has continued to make the festival a global one,” he said.
Runsewe, described the Ojude Oba festival as the new brand of culture, experience and tourism of peace in Nigeria.
He applauded the state authorities for having a museum inside the palace of Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, describing the traditional ruler as a great man of courage and capacity
“Other states should take a queue from Ogun that has a museum right inside the palace. It’s a unique thing that has happened to the state.
“The museum is of international standard,” Runsewe said.
He commended Gov. Abiodun for attracting investors to the state, adding that the state remained one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria and helping to enhance culture and tourism.
In his message, the Awujale explained that the atmosphere of peace being enjoyed across the Ijebu community and Nigeria was a commendable feat, especially in the face of current challenges.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of this year’s celebration was “Ojude Oba, a Lesson in Religious Harmony”.
The festival featured cultural displays by different age grades, known as “Regberegbe”, and horse rides by different Balogun families.
The high point of the event was the announcement of notable Fuji musician, Wasiu Ayinde Marshall, as the new “Olori Omooba of Akile Ijebuland” by the Awujale.
The title was formerly held by the late Chief Subomi Balogun, the founder of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) who died some weeks ago.
Dignitaries at the event included a former Ogun governor, Chief Segun Osoba, Ogun Central Senator, Sen. Shuaib Salisu, a former state deputy governor, Sen. Gbenga Kaka, traditional rulers, clerics and politicians.