The grand finale of this year’s ‘Olojo Festival’ held on Saturday in Ile-Ife (Osun State) devoid of the usual presence of a large number of foreign tourists.
The absence of the tourists, who usually visited the ancient city of Ile-Ife in large numbers to celebrate the festival, was linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
Moses Olafare, the spokesperson for the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, noted that tourists from Latin America, United States of America and other African nations, could not attend the event physically owing to COVID-19.
He said many of them followed the proceedings through several online platforms created for the festival.
The event, which climaxed with the Ooni adorning the ‘Are’ crown and making the symbolic trip to Oke Mogun, was witnessed by guests including Erelu Abiola Dosumu; the lawmaker representing Ife Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Taofeek Ajilesoro; a former House of Representatives member, Rotimi Makinde, traditional rulers from Nigeria and Benin Republic, traditionalists, students and culture promoters.
Speaking at the event, the Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, stated that his administration had plans to establish a world-class edifice called the ‘Yoruba Museums and Heritage Centre’ in Ife. He said, “To further show our commitment to the preservation and promotion of our root, Ile-Ife, the state government has decided to establish a unique and world-class edifice to showcase our unique culture, tradition, heritage and experiences to the globe and also create a huge market for the state.”
Commending Oba Ogunwusi for his efforts at promoting the festival and enhancing its tourist and commercial values, Oyetola maintained that there were abundant opportunities in the preservation and promotion of heritage and tourism.