The late Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Oyewale Matanmi III, has been described as an apostle of tourism development in Osun State especially the development of Osun Osogbo festival.
The Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, (NTDC) Otunba Olusegun Runsewe stated this in the letter of condolence sent to theÂ Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola onÂ the death of the monarchÂ who joined his ancestors recently after 34 years of reign on the throne.
In the letter of condolence signed by Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, he saidÂ â€œthe exist of the monarch will be felt by all and sundry because of what he stood for as a custodian of culture and tradition and as an apostle of tourism development in Osun State in particular and the nation at largeâ€.
He affirmed that â€œthe late Ataoja will no doubt be remembered for his remarkable contributions to the development of Osun Osogbo festival, especially its elevation to an internationally acclaimed annual eventâ€.
Otunba Runsewe further expressed in his letter of condolence: â€œit is noteworthy that during his reign the Osun groove was declared a world Heritage site by UNESCO and that the festival now attracts tourists from all over the globe with increased business activities within Osogbo and its environs, an indication that the late Ataoja was concerned with the welfare and development of his domain in particular and Nigeria in generalâ€.
The NTDC helmsman expressed that even as a professional Accountant of repute, the late Ataoja brought his wealth of knowledge and experience to bear in projecting the Osun State cultural heritage and marketing of Osun Osogbo festival.
The condolence letter further reads: â€œindeed, it will be an understatement to say that the entire tourism industry would miss his wonderful contributions to the sector.Â NTDC would certainly miss this colossus of our cultural heritage, a detribalized first class monarchâ€.
The NTDC boss equally stated in his condolence letter that the demise of the late Ataoja of Osogbo was not only a great loss to the Osun people, rather, â€œit is a great loss to the entire Yoruba race and the entire nation, especially all lovers of culture and tourismâ€.