Shina Abubakar, Osogbo
As the 2022 Osun-Osogbo international festival climaxed with procession of the maiden virgin to the sacred grove, cultural enthusiasts have stressed the need to rejig security architecture in the country for tourism development.
Osun-Osogbo festival attracts tourists within and outside the country that thronged the groove to join teeming Osun adherents to celebrate the god of fertility.
The maiden virgin left the Osun shrine at the palace after the safe trip ritual was performed by priests, around 11:30 and walked the about 3 kilometre journey to the grove with the spiritual calabash on her head.
She walked round the grove bearing prayers from the teeming populace inside the arena before she retired into the ancient palace situated therein.
Cultural enthusiasts inside the grove including Araba Ifayemi Elebuibon, Chief Mrs Nike Okundaye, the Generalissimo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams called on the government at various levels to rejig security architecture in the country to endear development to the tourism sector.
Elebuibon stressed the need for Government at various level to ensure proper security to attract investment in the tourism sector, saying the festival should be a major source of revenue for government.
Government must make tourists sites across the country more secured for foreign tourists as well as promotion of cultural and national heritage. It will encourage Nigerians in the diaspora to want to come and participate in their culture.
Muslims go to makkah, Christians go to Israel, than the traditionalists globally should come to Osun-Osogbo festival. But that can be possible if they are assured of adequate security. Government and Nigerians would benefit more from it.
Also the founder of Nike Gallery international, Mrs Okundaye urged the government and other well-meaning Nigerians to pay more attention to the preservation of the historical monument particular those recognised as international monument in the country.
Similarly, the Generalissimo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams said Yoruba race have allowed civilisation to erode the rich cultural heritage of the race, saying it is the reason the people suddenly became afraid of menace such as kidnapping and banditry.
He added festival like Osun-Osogbo is not just a means of celebrating culture but a major economic boost for the people, hence, tasked traditional rulers in the region to revive various festival in their domain in the interest of their people and the country as a whole.
“It is unfortunate that we have allowed civilisation erode on our quality culture and traditions to the extent that we are afraid of kidnappers and bandits, which was never the case with our forefathers.
“Festivals like Osun-Osogbo is not just a celebration of culture, it is also a means to boost commercial activities in the state and we must not let it die due to insecurity. Traditional rulers in Yorubaland must revive more of this festival and government must provide adequate security for its to thrive and become major means of revenue for the people and government”, he said.
Reacting, Osun State Governor, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji said government will continue to ensure adequate security at all tourist centres in the state, especially Osun-Osogbo which is a UNESCO recognised festival.
“In the last three and a half years Governor Adeboyega Oyetola has left no stone unturned to ensure the security and welfare for the whole state. If you look at this environment everywhere you can see that it is heavily fortified with the security to protect lives and properties.
“This is an international festival recognised by UNESCO and as a government we have the responsibility to ensure the safety of those coming from all over the universe for this event”, added.
Thereafter, the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji prayed for the gathering to be part of the festival again next year, seeking the gods protection over the state, Nigeria and the world from all evils.
Prominent dignitaries present at the event include, the Onigbaye of Igbayeland, Oba Joseph Moronfoye, the Onigore of Igore land,Oba Adeogun, Osi Aareonakakanfo of Yoruba land, chief Gani Kayode Balogun, Parakoyi Aareonakakanfo of Yoruba land,Prof.Raheem Kolawole, Coordinator of the Oodua Progressives Union (OPU) African Union,Otunba Olusegun Ogunpitan, Coordinator of OPC in Osun state, Prince Adedeji Aladesawe and all members of the OPC National Executive Council (NEC) and National Coordinating Council (NCC) among others.