Ita Osun festival: Ooni wants Nigeria to priortise cultural tourism


Arole Oodua and Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II has insisted on the need for the government to put cultural tourism into priority as a veritable tool for economic growth of the states in Yorubaland, saying tradition is the root of Yoruba’s heritage.
Ooni Ogunwusi said this on Saturday while making his speech during this year’s edition of the  annual Osun festival tagged “Ita Osun 2018” held at the Osun shrine, Ita Osun in Ile-Ife which served as the first settlement of Osun goddess from where she moved around the world.
“Tradition is the root of Yoruba’s heritage, Nigerian government and all the states in Yorubaland must invest in cultural tourism to productively drive economic growth as this is the case in Isreal,  Saudi-Arabia, Brazil and other tourist destinations in the world using pilgrimages as lucratice economic tourism.” Ooni said
The Co-Chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria also used the occasion to preach peacefuil coexistence among Nigerians saying   Nigeria will survive at the time of challenges only if  the people maintain peace with one another irrespective of religion  and ethnicity.
As the Custodian of the sacred throne of Oduduwa, the progenitor of Yoruba people worldwide, Ooni explained that Osun is one of the 401 deities sent by the Almighty God to form the world from Ile-Ife then known as Ife-Oodaye.
He said while Oduduwa, Ogun and Kori were in charge of Prayer, Iron and children respectively, Osun was made a deity that has to do with water who should always be celebrated as no one can function without water.
The African foremost monarch concluded his speech by insisting that Nigerians must uphold their cultural heritage and traditions by showcasing deities like Osun saying water is an essential commodity that is necessary and compulsory for humanity.
“No one can be enemy to water, we should therefore celebrate and always remember this deity that has to do with productivity and multiplication”.
“We are not Idol worshippers as people think of, but we are promoting our cultural heritage as being done all over the world because any stream that forgets the source will surely dry”.
Am pleading with our governments at all levels especially in Yorubaland to support prioritizing tradition and culture of Yoruba for exonomic gains because tradition is the root of our heritage.
Also, Rt Hon Muyiwa Oladipo, the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Ogun State, commended Ooni Ogunwusi for prioritising tradition and culture of the Yorubas.
“We are celebrating Osun festival by reviving and sustaining our culture, adding that festival is a good thing to value and embrace, because our culture and tradition are dying.
“We need to proudly acknowledge our own  Ooni of Ife, who is trying his best to ensure the stability of our cultural heritage. This is why our tourism-promoting governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has always taken part in all the Cultural events organized by the Arole Oodua represented by me as his Commisioner for Culture and Tourism.” Rt.Hon Oladipo said