Ooni promises Olojo celebration with a difference, unveils festival sponsors

One of the pristine rallying points for all Yoruba in Nigeria and the diaspora, Olojo cultural festival, will this year come with unique features and upscale celebration, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II in Ife, has said.

The Ooni who disclosed this before going into seclusion in preparation for the 2019 Olojo Festival, said the festival is taking a new leap through innovative means to make the celebration a globally-driven event that will attract both domestic and diaspora patronage.

The Ooni said, “We are exploring all trendy avenues to make the Olojo Festival a strong international brand that will not only project the cultural ingenuity of the Yoruba people, but also institutionalise the celebration as a point of convergence for the Yorubas as one people with our festival and one source.”

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Oba Ogunwusi, acknowledged the presence of some of the corporate sponsors whom he described as faithful brand supporters who have been identifying with the Yoruba cultural pride.

He said: “I thank all of our sponsors who have been supporting and still making sure that the Olojo Festival is still classic and people-driven.

“I assure you that this year’s edition will be coming with more innovations as we are working round the clock, with our consultants and festival committees, to pep up the outing of the event.

“We have announced some of our brand sponsors (Nigerian Breweries and Cways) today but there are other brand sponsors that we will be unveiling soon as some of them are still fine-tuning their corporate social responsibility support with us.”

Speaking at the seminar, the guest speaker, Mr Dare Babarinsa, whose paper focused on developing Nigeria’s cultural heritage for sustainable domestic and international tourism patronage, said considering the avalanche of benefits that could be derived from the Nigerian cultural heritage, there is need to consciously develop and sustain for domestic and foreign tourism patronage.

“Africans all over the world, especially in the Americas, will know that this land of Oduduwa and Orunmila is their home. They will come here, not just as tourists, but as natives returning to the land of their ancestors.

“No date could be better suited to start this new Back to Africa Movement than the period of Olojo Festival; a festival established by our forefathers to commemorate the First Dawn when Olodumare created the heavens and the earth. That we have a festival to celebrate and a date to commemorate shows that the ancestors did their duty. Now, let us do our duty for we are the ancestors of the future,” Babarinsa said.

The moderator of the seminar, Professor Wale Omole, in his submissions said there is a lot of neglect going on which has dramatically made Nigeria a back bencher in most of the things that would have made it a super power in the comity of nations, adding that to make a headway, Yoruba and Nigeria must take the lead in harnessing the untapped rich potential in Nigeria.

“The natural heritage in Ife is God’s gifts for us to preserve and promote for the betterment of the people through practical development and management. We must start with the clarion call of the Olojo festival, given relevance by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi, ”Professor Omole added.

Also, one of the discussants, Mrs Ayo Jaiyesinmi, who noted that culture is the people and the people is culture.

According to her, anyone who has lost connection with his or her culture has no identity.

Jaiyesinmi commended the spirituality and passion the Ooni attaches to the cultural heritage of the people, saying that the Ooni had invested his time to make it to this stage “and it is important for us to join force with him to carry on the advocacy.”

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