A call has been made for the establishment of compatible activities centre at the Osun Osogbo grove to create employment and promote tourism.
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture made the call at the grand finale of this year Osun Osogbo International festival on Friday.
He said the creation of such centres would assist in poverty alleviation as contained in the Millennium and Sustainable Development Goals.
“There is need to establish compatible activities at the buffer zone of the Osun grove where tie and dye, bead making, blacksmith, sales of cuisine and others that Osogbo is known for can be carried out. These activities will be geared towards poverty alleviation and it would also be in line with the Government’s commitment in diversifying the economy.
“This in turn will generate employment for the teeming youths in the area of tourism promotion and for sustainable heritage management,” he explained.
The minister who was represented by the Director General, National Commission for Museum and Monuments, Dr Usman Abdallah pledged government’s committed to preservation and sustenance of the Osun Osogbo cultural heritage.
Call for cooperation
He therefore, called for cooperation of all stakeholders, including the UNESCO in the development and growth of the Osun grove.
The state Governor, Rauf Aregbesola urged citizens of the state to return to the craft of tie and dye fabrics business the state is renowned for.
He said the people must strive to add their quota to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
The Governor enjoined the youths to develop interest in art and craft businesses where they have comparative advantage, as it will preserve their heritage and boost the state economy.
The host monarch, Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun who was full of gratitude for government support, prayed for God’s intervention in equipping President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration with requisite skills to revive and develop the nation’s economy.
The chairman of the occasion, Sir Micheal Omotoso who is also the king of the Yorubas in Ghana urged Africans to be proud of their rich heritage and be proud enough to showcase their culture wherever they find themselves.
‘It is high time African developed their tourism potentials to diversify and grow their economy,” he added.
About Osun -Osogbo festival
The Osun-Osogbo festival is celebrated every year in the month of August at the grove.
The festival attracts thousands of Osun worshippers, spectators and tourists from all walks of life.
For the people of Osogbo Land, August is a month of celebration, traditional cleansing of the city and cultural reunion of the people with their ancestors and founders of the Osogbo Kingdom.
It is a two-week-long programme. It starts with the traditional cleansing of the town called ‘Iwopopo’, which is followed in three days by the lighting of the 500-year-old sixteen-point lamp called ‘Ina Olojumerindinlogun’.
Ina Olojumerindinlogun, the sacred lamp lit at the beginning of the annual Osun-Osogbo festival
Then comes the ‘Ibroriade’, an assemblage of the crowns of the past ruler, Ataojas of Osogbo, for blessings.
This event is led by the sitting Ataoja of Osogbo and the Arugba, Yeye Osun and a committee of priestesses.