Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja ll, has urged entrepreneurs and investors generally to invest in the various tourist centres in Ile-Ife.
Ooni Ogunwusi who spoke at the unveiling of the Olojo Festival Logo to kick-start the activities of the 2016 Olojo Festival, held at the Ooni’s Palace, Ile-Ife on Friday, maintained that tourist attractions in the state were capable of generating huge interest for the investors and entrepreneurs, and as well increase the internally generated revenue of the state.
Olojo is one of the oldest festivals in Ile-Ife and celebrated all over Yorubaland as Ogun, the god of iron and other gods and goddesses.
The highly endowed royal father also called on the Federal Government to intensify investments in tourism, maintaining that proper exploration of tourism was capable of bailing Nigeria out of economic recession.
According to Ooni Ogunwusi, “Both government and private entrepreneurs should begin to use tourism for unity and economic development. Tourism is about movement. It is like a mandate that draws people from every part of the world.
“It will bail us out of economic recession. It is a product that will provide lasting solution to economic challenges in the country. We should not rely on downsize sector alone.”
Speaking on the Olojo logo, Ooni said: “What we are doing is indeed a new one, we have improved the branding and we want to show the landmark uniqueness of Ile-Ife as a tourist centre.”
The Obalufe of Ile-Ife, Oba Idowu Adediwura, said the logo signified the commencement of the 2016 edition of the festival.
Adediwura added that it contained attributes of the Olojo Festival, the Aare sacred beaded crown, appearance of the new dawn – ‘Ojo’, Ile-Ife, the ori Olokun insignia, year 2016, colour purple and a red ribbon.
He explained: “The Olojo Festival commemorates the descent of Oduduwa to Ile-ife is the celebration of the first dawn, the first afternoon and the first night in creation which is only celebrated in land of expansion, Ile-Ife.
“The appearance of the new dawn is what Olojo basically signifies as the day of creation and references can be sighted from evolution in science and the holy books – Quran and Bible where the creation of human existence started as cradle of mankind.”
Also speaking at the occasion, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State said that tourist centres in Ile-Ife were capable of making Osun one of the richest states in Nigeria.
Aregbesola, who was represented by the Director General of the Office of Economic Development and Partnerships (OEDP), Dr. Charles Akinola, noted that entrepreneurs involvement was necessary for cultural rebirth and socio-economic development.
Disclosing that Ile-Ife has no fewer than 12 international standard tourist centres, the governor stated that many countries whose tourist attractions are not as beautiful as the ones in Osun, have generated revenue ranging from $20.2bn to $177.2 billion.
The governor said, “There are at least 12 monuments and sites in Ile-Ife that are of international standard. We can tap into the Yoruba Diaspora population and make them come to Ife on an annual pilgrimage. If we get this right, this alone is enough to give Osun a buoyant economy and make her one of the richest in Nigeria.
“When these are developed and well marketed, they will generate jobs in arts and craft; tours guide; transportation services in airlines and taxicabs; hospitality services, such as accommodations, including hotels and resorts; and entertainment venues, such as amusement parks, casinos, shopping malls, music venues and theatres.
“The state government already has a tourism master-plan and has been developing it within the possible financial circumstances. What is most important now is for entrepreneurs and those interested to partner with the government in order for our states and people to benefit from this tourism money-spinter.”
Aregbesola, who commended the rebranding of the festival, explained that it was another way of promoting culture and the Olojo.
Describing Olojo as a famous of the festivals in Ile-Ife which echoes reverberate all over the world, Aregbesola said: “It is proper therefore that it is being branded and presented in modern form. It is going to reinforce the notion of Ife as a foremost cultural centre.