World Sango Festival: Oyo Governor Promotes Religious Harmony

Olubunmi Osoteku

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The Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has reaffirmed his dedication to fostering an environment of religious harmony in the state. He has pledged to implement comprehensive plans and maintain unwavering support to globally promote the World Sango Oyo Festival.
Makinde, speaking through his Deputy, Bayo Lawal, during the inauguration of the Local Organising Committee for the annual World Sango Oyo Festival in the Conference Room at the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Ibadan, emphasized that his administration will support all religions.
He assured the committee of full support and active engagement, aiming to make the festival more appealing to both local and international audiences, and highlighted that the event will boost the state’s tourism potential.

He stated that, as a gesture of respect for traditional worshippers, his administration and others in the Southwest of Nigeria have declared August 20 each year a public holiday to celebrate Isese Day.

According to him, the Sango Festival will provide the state with a significant opportunity to showcase its heritage to the international community and, in turn, boost the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). He affirmed that

“I thank all of you for working earnestly to achieve a common goal. The foundation of our living is our culture, our tradition. Even if you have been to Vatican City where the Pope lives several times, if you are black, you are still black. It does not change you from who you are,” he said.

“It is so gladdening that we have devotees of Sango here. We have Ogun worshippers. We have Yemoja worshippers. There are Laalu and Oya worshippers too. Osun worshippers too are here. I welcome all of you. This government is for everybody. So, the government will cater and look after everybody and religion,” Makinde declared.

In his opening remarks, the state Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun, said the World Sango Oyo Festival will commence on August 8, 2024, while the grand finale will be held on August 17, 2024, at the Alaafin Palace, Oyo Town.
Olatunbosun noted that part of the activities earmarked for the festival is to propagate some of the works of the late Duro Ladipo, who was the founder of Sango promotion, with a symposium to be held in Ibadan.

He disclosed that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has enlisted the Sango Oyo Festival in the lists of World Heritage, which has ranked Oyo State as a giant in the tourism and culture industry.

Speaking, the Desk Officer, International Cultural Relations Department, Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Mr Niyi Emmanuel, thanked Governor Makinde for the opportunity to promote Sango Festival and other cultural heritage in the state, pledging maximum support to the success of the programme.

The co-Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, who is also the Cultural Ambassador to Alaafin of Oyo, Dr Paula Gomez, said Sango Festival has become a world heritage which is celebrated in 42 countries of the world, noting that the festival is a good potential for tourism, to increase revenue for the state.

While appreciating the state government for promoting culture, she explained that different countries of the world are interested in coming to Oyo Town to participate in the festival as scheduled, noting that the event is not just for Sango but to showcase the rich history of Nigeria’s cultural diversity and the importance of cultural element to the world.

 

 

 

Oluchi Okwuego

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