Ekiti State Government has said plans are in the offing to look at all local festivals being celebrated in some towns in the state and promote them to gain national and international recognition.
The Director General, Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, Mr. Wale Ojo-Lanre said the move was to promote the state’s cultural heritage, tourism potentials, boost local economy and shore up its internally generated revenue in the state.
He spoke on Tuesday in Ado Ekiti when Ogun Onire Carnival Forum, a committee set up by Ire Ekiti for the 2019 edition of the Ogunnire Festival slated for August visited him at his office to unveil its agenda for this year’s celebration.
Ojo-Lanre who noted that many of the deities that were of great significance in Ekiti like Ogun and Osun and were veritable sources of income in other states were relegated and neglected in the state.
He restated the commitment of Dr Kayode Fayemi-led administration to the promotion of those sites that were regarded as being historical and strategic to the existence of any town.
According to him, “Ogun was a deity that had become so popular in Yoruba race and other climes. And if you look at the myth around it, it has significance connection with Ire Ekiti people, but not much has been done to improve the festival the way Ondo people were doing.
“According to history, the Osun Osogbo originated from Igede Ekiti but we could all attest to the millions of naira being made annually through Osun groove and its celebration by Osun government.
“That is why we have a law that had empowered the state to acquire, protect, project and market local festivals and deities of interest to promote our culture and make money for our dear state.
“If you look at Ogun festival, people only paid obeisance to a man who did well for the people , there was nothing fetish about it and other mythical festivals we are holding to celebrate our past heroes”.
The Director General added that it would seek the collaborations of the towns where the deities are located and corporate organisations to achieve the task.
The Chairman of the Ogun Onire Carnival Forum, Chief Femi Ajayi, appealed to the government to help in rehabilitating the Ogun groove in Ire Ekiti before the 2019 celebration.
Ajayi said the town was particularly happy that the government had taken over the location where the groove was situated, saying developing the site to an international standard would help the drive to promote the festival to national and international standard.
“We are not going to leave the festival to government alone to promote, we are ready to collaborate, because our local economy will witness a radical change when tourists are trooping in to be part of the celebration”, he said.
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