By Gbenga Olarinoye
OSOGBO—AS part of his efforts at showcasing the rich Yoruba culture to the world and to generate foreign income for the country, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, has called on the Yoruba nation to harmonise efforts towards promoting all cultural festivals and traditions of the race.
The monarch said this in his palace in Ile-Ife, during a press briefing heralding this year’s Olojo Festival.
Oba Ogunwusi, who was flanked by palace chiefs, priests and sponsors of the celebrations that include Bet9ja, MTN, Goldberg and Seamans Aromatic Schnapps, decried the continuous description of adherents of traditional religion as idol worshippers.
Urging people of the race to rise to the challenge and protect their cultural beliefs, Oba Ogunwusi said the entire Yoruba race should jointly embrace the traditions of their forebears, repackage and export it.
He said: “Failure to admire it would surely destroy the labour of our past heroes. We are not idol worshippers, but we are using the celebration of the festivals to acknowledge and give due honour to all our deities that have contributed immensely to human existence.
“The Olojo festival symbolises celebrating the first day of creation and the beginning of existence in Ile-Ife, being the cradle of human race. The word, Olojo, refers to Olodumare, the creator and the owner of the day and that is why Olojo festival is being celebrated in Ife kingdom, the cradle of Yoruba.
“Christians and Muslims do celebrate the remembrance Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammed in due times, same thing should be applicable to the traditional religion adherents.”
Giving historical background of the Olojo Festival, Ooni said the owner of the whole universe, Olodumare, would be apprehended during that period of celebration of Olojo.
“All forces of nature such as rain, sun and water among others, will interact for the betterment of the day and humanity. We all believe in, and worship one God in diverse ways, Olojo festival is a day that God specially answers prayer not for Ife indigenes alone, but for all and sundry.”
Chief Ayo Olumoko, the Olojo festival consultant, said this year’s celebrations would begin with Gbajure Festival on 18th of September, while Ooni would wear Are Crown on 30th of same month and perform the symbolic trip to Oke Mogun.