LAI MOHAMMED & OTHER DIGNITARIES SET TO GRACE OSUN OSOGBO FESTIVAL TOMORROW AUGUST 17

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Arugba (Representing a royal virgin girl carrying the calabash to the Osun River)

The Osun Osogbo Festival is so huge that the festival has been listed by UNESCO as one of the socio-cultural brand fiesta of the Osogbo people. The Osun Osogbo Festival, which represents a pact between the Osun goddess and Oba Larooye, the first Oba of Osogbo, over 600 years ago, is set to hold on Friday August 17 2018. The 2018 edition might be the biggest yet, with thousands of domestic and foreign tourists set to grace the festival, alongside Osun devotees. This was announced at the palace of the Ataoja of Osogbo last Wednesday 8th August, during a stakeholders’ meeting/press briefing.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the major sponsors of the festival including MTN, Nigerian Breweries, Nike Art Foundation and Tours, GSM Category, Grand Oak Limited (Seaman’s Schnapps) White Spirit Category. The paramount ruler of Osogboland, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun, Larooye II, expressed gratitude to the sponsors for their continued support of the festival despite the economic challenges they have faced. He also used the same opportunity to stress the need for Nigerians, especially the South Westerners not to forsake their cultural heritage, of which Osun-Osogbo is a key part. The Ataoja of Osogboland highlighted again, the gains Osun Osogbo festival, has brought to the economy of the state and Nigeria as a whole because of its tourist attractiveness.

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Osun devotees on their way to the Osun River during the Osun Osogbo Festival

Otunba Ayo Olumoko, Chief Festival Consultant and CEO of Infogem Limited, disclosed that the Minister of Information and Culture, Ahaji Lai Mohammed would grace the event. Olumokun, used the forum to warn against unauthorised corporate organisations that go about leveraging on the potentials of the festival, with ambush promotional and marketing activities during the 14-day fiesta. He further stated that apart from letters written to some identified companies, the organizers would not hesitate to take legal actions in order to protect the interests of the accredited sponsors with exclusivity rights within their operating industries.

Olumokun who was recently elected as Vice President, Federation of Tourism Associations ‘of Nigeria (FTAN), added that, “As part of our efforts to turn the tourism sector around, Infogem Ltd will in no distant time be partnering with the South-West state governments to design a tourism template, and at the same time help in developing the entire landscape to benefit the region and the country.”

Olumoko also hinted that crowd control has been a recurrent issue through the years, but he stated that in this 2018 edition of the fiesta, Infogem Limited will partner with Sango of Africa. Prince Ayodeji, the highly reputed and multi-talented traditionalist popularly known as Sango of Africa, has decided to partner with Infogem Limited, the Festival Consultants for the Osun Osogbo Festival and hosts of other community culture festivals especially in the Southwest region of Nigeria, on Crowd Control mechanism at the Grand Finale of the festival scheduled to hold tomorrow August 17, 2018, at the UNESCO Listed Grove.

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Osun citizens praying and washing their faces for healing and cleansing in the Osun rRver after the Arugba’s visit to the goddess during the Osun Osogbo Festival

Sango of Africa will be engaging over 60 youths in the community, who will be well kitted in customised T-Shirts and Face Caps for easy identification from the teaming crowd. Part of key strategies is to create separate entrance and exit points at the Grove, to be manned by the Crowd Control Marshals of Sango of Africa with the support of men of the Nigerian Police, for adequate security.

This initiative is aimed at ensuring free flow of human movement, which will give both domestic and international tourists the confidence to participate and in turn promote the good image of domestic tourism in Nigeria, and most especially Osogbo been the only Ecotourism Destination in the country.

While giving his blessings at the forum, His Royal Majesty, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun, Larooye II, The Ataoja of Osogboland equally appreciated the sponsors, stating specifically that Nigerian Breweries Plc has been with the Osogbo people for 27 years, now while Grand Oak with their Seaman’s brand has been supporting for 29 years and not leaving out the GSM giant MTN with over 10 years partnership as well.

The Ataoja of Osogboland and Otunba Ayo Olumoko, both used the opportunity to invite domestic and international tourists to be part of the 14 days activities, which will climax with the Grand Finale on Friday 17th August, 2018 at the UNESCO Listed Grove in Osogbo.

The Osun-Osogbo Festival is a two-week-long programme. It starts with the traditional cleansing of the town called ‘Iwopopo’, which is followed in three days by the lighting of the 500-year-old sixteen-point lamp called ‘Ina Olojumerindinlogun’. Then comes the ‘Ibroriade’, an assemblage of the crowns of the past ruler, Ataojas of Osogbo, for blessings. This event is led by the sitting Ataoja of Osogbo and the Arugba, Yeye Osun and a committee of priestesses.

Do you think the Osun Osogbo Festival is over rated?

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