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    Glamour as Ooni of Ife, other monarchs attend Olokun Festival in Lagos

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    The Olokun Festival is the name of annual cultural festivals in Nigeria celebrated throughout Yorubaland by various Yoruba people groups, and also by the Edo. In the Yoruba Language, Okun means Sea, while Osa means Lagoon (enclosed sea). Olokun is the goddess/god of the sea, while Olosa also known as Osara is the Goddess of the lagoon and estuaries. Both are celebrated and venerated in different festivals.

    In Yoruba tradition, the chief Olokun shrine is located in the Ilode quarter of Ile Ife. According to the Walode of Ile-Ife Chief Kolawole Omotayo, who is the Abore (Chief Priest) of Olokun of the Source explained: “Olokun is the goddess who gathered all the water of the earth together, at creation, and moved it to its current location – the sea. At the beginning of life, the earth was formless and filled with water. Olodumare through Obatala, the chief Orisha, went to the world to commence the process of filling it with life. Thus Obatala, armed with igba iwa, descended from heaven through a chain. “Right from Ilode, where we stand now, the great goddess Olokun began of drawing all the water together. After this she moved everything through Ilare to a very remote part of the earth then which is now the sea of today.

    Among the Ilaje who live along the coastline of Ondo etate, the Olokun deity is believed to be the goddess of the sea, who has the power to give children to barren women. She is also believed to be in control of ocean waves, and she can sink sea vessels of evildoers. Olokun is also a goddess of riches and has the power to enrich her devotees. The worshipers of Olokun are generally dressed in immaculate white attires with their faces coasted with white chalk ‘efun’. As a festival of note among the Ilajes, Olokun Festival is held in high esteem, as the people believe it has a moderating influence on their lives.

    The Edos celebrate theirs in late February (1st ‘moon’ after the 12th moon) that takes place in Usonigbe, the site of Olokun’s shrine, in Edo State. Another, more modern festival is held in Lagos State in November.

    The 2002 edition of the festival was organized by the Olokun Festival Foundation and has become an important tourist and local attraction. It is led by Otunba Gani Adams, who also leads the Oodua People’s Congress.

    The latter festival, which was held in Lagos on Friday, August 26, 2022, by Ambassador Queen Yeye Lara Fashola and co-sponsored by Lagos State government.

    The royal father of the day was His Imperial Majesty, Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ile Ife.

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    Festivals

    NIHOTOUR To Spice IPADA Carnival 2024 With First World Polo, Beach Durbar Fiesta

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    NIHOTOUR To Spice IPADA Carnival 2024 With First World Polo, Beach Durbar Fiesta

    As preparations for the debut edition of IPADA Carnival 2024 and IPADA Initiative gather speed, organisers of the cultural tourism and economic project have continued to welcome more support and endorsements from across the board, with the latest coming from the management of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism.

    Before this time, the project, which is an initiative of the Founder and President of La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, has received endorsements from Lagos State government, which is the host state, Ekiti State government and the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Minister of Tourism, Mrs Lola Ade-John, which noted that the project is a significant move in the development and promotion of Nigerian tourism.

    IPADA Carnival 2024 and IPADA Initiative, which is part of Motherland Beckons’ activations, is according to Akinboboye, geared at inspiring the mass movement of people from the Diaspora to Lagos, Nigeria and then Africa, which is the motherland of the Diasporas.

    With over a million people expected during this mass movement, Akinboboye disclosed that it would not only be a boost for Nigerian tourism but also a flip for the economy as a number of the people will be exposed to business opportunities for investment within the ecosystem.

    The partnership of NIHOTOUR is a welcome development as the training institute is bringing on board two unique products; First World Polo and Beach Durbar Fiesta, to add flair and colours to the event, which is slated to hold between November 29 and December 8, 2024, at La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort in Ikegun Village, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos.

    In a letter of endorsement of the project to Akinboboye, signed by the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of NIHOTOUR, Alhaji Nura Sani Kangiwa, it disclosed: ‘‘We look forward to working together towards a successful partnership and contributing to the success of the IPADA Carnival by adding Polo and Durbar to the bouquet of events that would add glitter to the 2024 edition.”

    Explaining, Kangiwa revealed: “We are not just going to have a Polo And Durbar Beach Fiesta, what we are going to have in November and December at IPADA Carnival will be the First Ever World’s Polo And Durbar Beach Fiesta.’’

    This global fiesta, he noted will feature among others; the African Beach Polo (Chovken) Championship; Colourful Royal Durbar (Horse) Procession; a Display of Hausa Traditional Sports and Various Folk Arts including Wrestling, Crocodiles performances, ‘Yantauri’ (knives artists) and other uncommon entertainment; and Training of La Campagne Tropicana host community youths and women on tour guide operations.

    According to him, confirmation has been received from a number of the participating countries and teams for the event.

    “Already, we have got confirmation of participation for this World’s First Ever Polo And Durbar Beach Fiesta, from Morocco, Ghana, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Kuwait and Hong Kong,’’ disclosed Kangiwa.

    Adding: ‘‘Though Kuwait and Hong Kong are not Africa, they have asked for participation, of which we have gladly accepted, as friends and lovers of Africa, who will be part of the celebration during IPADA Carnival.

    “We are expecting other confirmations from China, Japan and other African countries.” Kangiwa is also the President of the Nigeria Polo Federation (NPF) and heads the African Regional Group on the Governing Board of the International Chovken Federation (ICF).

    The DG further stated: “We are pleased to inform you that the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Studies (NIHOTOUR) is excited to participate in this strategic partnership.

    “We recognise the significance of the IPADA Carnival and its mission to promote cultural vibrancy and pride, as well as facilitate travel and experiences across the African continent.

    ‘‘We believe that collaborating with IPADA will not only benefit our institute but also contribute to the broader goals of promoting tourism, hospitality, and cultural exchange in Nigeria and beyond.’’

    Akinboboye in his response, expressed appreciation to the DG and his team for the strategic partnership and the initiative that he is bringing on board, which he described as the result of the power of ideas. This is as he stated: “It is the result of our focus on developing, inspirational ideas to empower older and younger entrepreneurs in the tourism industry for the benefit of our dear nation Nigeria, and the entire continent of Africa.

    ‘‘As you can see, we have in the last few months been developing concepts and various tourism products to boost the vibrancy of the tourism industry. It is from such energy that a synergy between the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR) and IPADA Initiatives and IPADA Carnival has been conceived.”

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    Festivals

    2024 Egungun/Fuji/Amala Festival: Government targets economy prosperity

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    2024 Egungun/Fuji/Amala Festival: Government targets economy prosperity

    The Oyo State Government has said that its maiden edition of the 2024 World Egungun/Fuji/Amala Festival, tagged “Our Culture , Our Heritage” will target the expansion of the state’s economy through cultural tourism.

    Commissioner for Tourism and Culture, Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun, gave this indication on Tuesday in Ibadan.

    Olatunbosun spoke when the festival’s committee hosted a pre-event press conference at the Briefing Room of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.

    He stated that the festival will be a rich package of the cultural potential and heritage of the state and is intended to attract both local and foreign tourists for investment opportunities in line with the vision of the state Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde.

    The commissioner also maintained that the festival, which is first of its kind in the South-West, will equally create a platform to showcase and promote talented upcoming cultural artists in the Fuji and Apala music genres.

    According to him, masquerades hold deep historical significance, embodying the spirit of resilience and unity, which defines the state’s identity and is a testament to the enduring legacy of Oyo’s traditions, while the state also produced Fuji greats, including the late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, Iyanda Sawaba, Rasheed Ayinde Merenge, Abass Akande Obesere, Saheed Osupa and Taye Currency, to mention a few.

    He added that the Egungun/Fuji/Amala Festival aligned with Governor Makinde’s Omituntun 2.0 agenda, which has incorporated tourism for the expansion of Oyo State’s economy.

    Dr. Olatubosun, who noted that the cultural event will hold on Thursday, July 11, 2024 at the Race Course, Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan, said it also will feature major masquerades offering a dynamic showcase of culture and dance, as well as music, and a savoury flavour of Amala with gbegiri, Eko and moinmoin cuisines.

    The commissioner also stated that the Makinde-led administration, through the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, has been working towards ensuring that the festival is enlisted by UNESCO just like the World Sango Festival, as it has been packaged with good contents through rich cultural heritage and preservation of tradition for coming generations.

    He said: “The maiden edition of the World Egungun Festival will be held on Thursday at the Race Course, Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Ibadan.

    “The festival will be the first of its kind in Oyo State, South-West and probably Nigeria and it is also going to be an annual event.

    “We are going to make sure that we improve on whatever we do this year. “Our target is to get it enlisted by UNESCO just like we did for Sango Festival and one of the criteria is for us to do the programme seamlessly for a minimum of five years.

    “I believe strongly that we have laid a very strong foundation and we are helping the Engineer of Modern Oyo State, the governor himself, to also make another first in this regard.

    “We are going to have Egungun, Fuji and also Amala on parade. We believe that the state should start doing something to recognise what Baba Barrister did in the area of Fuji creation. So, we are giving him a posthumous award. We also adopted all his songs as our official songs for the event.

    “Also, we believe that we should also create a platform where we can promote upcoming artistes who are looking for such platforms to perform. So, we decided to use the day to accommodate them so that they can have the opportunity to showcase their talents.

    “We have discussed with the food vendors and the official foods that will be served include Amala and Abula soup, Moinmoin and eko and akara.

    “We want to package all these to the extent that the entire world would see us and appreciate Oyo State. Our slogan will be ‘our culture, our heritage.’ And that will form the basis for our mode of dressing, which will be traditional outfits. We want you to look native. We want to show the world that Oyo State owns tradition.

    “We have already involved many associations. I held a meeting with the over 200 clubs under CCII and we said those who are interested in joining us should officially register.”

    Explaining the rationale for choosing to celebrate Egungun, the commissioner added: “Egungun performs two functions; spiritual and entertainment. We believe that since we have adopted our slogan, we should not rubbish the traditional aspect of it.

    “They have done the spiritual aspect of it. What we want to do is to package and sell the entertainment aspect to the whole world so that by the next edition, we will have people all over the world coming to Oyo State, which will really give us the rating in the comity of nations as regards tourism.

    “We are using this programme to drive the tourism agenda of our principal as contained in Omituntun 2.0. We know if we are trying to expand our economy, we are not supposed to restrict ourselves to tourist sites alone but also focus on certain heritage sites.

    “It will also interest you that the Egungun Festival in Brazil has one of the highest crowds in the world.

    “Oyo State has a lot of potential to showcase to the world and our principal is trying his best to explore these potentials to attract both local and foreign tourists.”

    Dr Olatunbosun noted that the event will also feature a guest lecture, with the Araba of Osogboland, Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon, as guest lecturer, while Fuji legend, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, an indigene of the state, will also be honoured with a posthumous award in appreciation of his lasting legacy in promoting Fuji music to the world.

    Speaking on security before and during the festival, the commissioner assured the attendees of safety, stating that Governor Makinde’s security architecture has ensured the effective security of lives and properties in the state in the last five years.

    Present at the briefing were the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Dr Adebisi Ayoola; chairman, 2024 Planning Committee for Egungun/Fuji/Amala Festival, Agboola Adekunle; Head of Alaagba in Ibadanland, Baba Ojeniyi Akintomide; and Oyo State Coordinator/Chairman of Oloje, Baba Bamidele Ojebode.

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    Festivals

    Oyo Govt to celebrate Fuji legend Sikiru Ayinde Barrister at Egungun festival

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    2024 Egungun/Fuji/Amala Festival: Government targets economy prosperity

    The Oyo Government has said a Fuji legend, the late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, would also be honoured with a posthumous award the maiden edition of the State Egungun (Masquerade) Festival, tagged “Our Culture, Our Heritage” to be held on Thursday.

    Oyo Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun who announced this at a press briefing in Ibadan on Tuesday said fuji musicians have also been lined up to perform at the Egungun festival.

    The Commissioner said the festival, the first of its kind in the South-West, would equally create a platform to promote upcoming cultural artistes in the Fuji and Apala music genres.

    He said the Egungun festival was targeted at the expansion of the state’s economy through cultural tourism.

    The festival will be a rich package of the cultural potential and heritage of the state.

    “The event is also intended to attract both local and foreign tourists for investment opportunities in line with the vision of the state governor, Mr Seyi Makinde,” he said.

    “Masquerades hold deep historical significance, embodying the spirit of resilience and unity, which defines the state’s identity and a testament to the enduring legacy of Oyo state’s traditions.

    “The event will hold at the Race Course, Lekan Salami Sports Complex in Adamasingba, Ibadan.

    “It will feature major masquerades offering a dynamic showcase of culture and dance, as well as music, and a savoury flavour of ‘amala with gbegiri, eko and moinmoin’,” he added.

    “Amala with gbegiri” and “eko and moinmoin” are Yoruba delicacies.

    Olatunbosun further stated that the event would feature a guest lecture, to be delivered by Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon, the Araba of Osogboland.

    He said a Fuji legend, the late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, who was an indigene of the state, would also be honoured with a posthumous award.

    ”This is to appreciate his lasting legacy in promoting Fuji music and taking it to the outside world,” Olatunbosun stated.

    He said the focus of the Makinde-led administration was to ensure that Egungun Festival was enlisted by world body UNESCO just like the World Sango Festival.

    “This is because it has been packaged with good contents through rich cultural heritage and preservation of tradition for coming generations.”

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