The grand finale of Osun Osogbo international festival is underway with convergence of thousands of devotees and tourists.
Osogbo, which is in South west Nigeria, has been has been besieged with tourists, visitors as well as traders who want to make brisk business.
The 12-day long event, began with a symbolic ritual for the cleansing of the town “Iwopopo” on Monday, August 8. The was followed by lighting of the 16 traditional lamps last Friday.
The Osun state Commissioner of Police, Femi Oyeleye says adequate security arrangement have been made.
At the event, the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun called for peace, and the usual accommodation of tourists and visitors to the ancient city during the 600 years old festival.
Speaking after receiving the Arugba Osun (the Virgin Calabash Carrier) at the sacred groves and the stream of blessing, the monarch poured royal blessings on citizens, tourists and corporate organisations that made the event a reality, describing them as ‘true partners in progress’.
Oba Olanipekun expressed gratitude to God for his victory at the Appeal Court on July 22.
“I am extremely happy for this day. This is my first major outing after my victory at the Appeal Court in Akure on July 22, the victory has made this year Osun festival remarkable in all ways.”
The Osun Osogbo festival consultant, Mr Ayo Olumoko noted that the 2016 festival was unique, saying the main thrust of the festival was to celebrate the rich African culture and display its distinct values to the people of the world.
The Assistant Chief Museum Officer in Osogbo, Osun State, Yinka Adesiyan said, in addition to boosting the economy of the ancient town, the over 600 years old festival serves to preserve nature and showcase African culture.
“The uniqueness of the festival that has since 2005 assumed the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site, is in the shrine, the stream of blessing, the sacred groves with its conservation of plants, animals.”
One of the participants who was holding a fowl, Olufunke Osunkeye said she was at the stream to pay homage to Yeye Osun (Mermaid of Osun) for fulfilling all her prayers, last year.