The Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) Dr. (Mrs.) Sally Uwechue-Mbanefo, has commended the efforts of the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) on the new Moremi Statue in Nigeria as a major tool for the promotion of domestic tourism in Nigeria.
According to Mrs. Mbanefo “The rejuvenation, development and promotion of the Yoruba culture, heritage and tradition, is no doubt on the fast lane, as efforts are being intensified to ensure this by the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Ooni Adeyeye Eniitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II).
His vision in putting together the Moremi Statue, the tallest in Nigeria and 3rd tallest in Africa is a major landmark in domestic tourism promotion in Osun State and Nigeria in general. The latest of his efforts is the Moremi Beauty Pageantry held recently at the palace in Ile-Ife, Osun State”
She further said “Since His Imperial Majesty’s coronation, Ile-Ife had witnessed a turnaround especially in the areas of agriculture, youth development, infrastructure and tourism revolution leading to the rejuvenation of some festivals like Olokun, Osara, Oramife, Olojo etc facelifting the shrines and rebranding them, we are very proud of him”.
Adding that “I hereby challenge other custodian of culture to emulate a programme like what we have today to propel the rejuvenation, development and promotion of our culture, tradition and heritage, which are so rich and highly enviable.”
Mbanefo, who lauded the virtues of Moremi Ajasoro, describing her as a brave amazon, who in order to deal with the problems facing her people offered anything she had to give in sacrifice to the spirit of the river, Esimirin, so that she could discover the strength of their enemies, called for the empowerment of the Nigerian women.
The first-class monarch, Oba Adeyeye Eniitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II), expressed satisfaction towards the success of the maiden edition of Moremi Beauty Pageantry, he said “this would not be the last of the event, we will work on the survival of the beauty pageantry, which is borne out of the dire need to immortalize Moremi Ajasoro, who is not only an Ife heroine, but a Yoruba’s heroine.”
The beauty pageant was laced with electrifying performances from different artistes. Among them is the fast growing classic entertainer and saxophonist, Elusiyan Eluwole popularly called Omo-Elu, who was not economical in dishing out his unique genre of music which is a blend of Afro and Hipop.
The beauty pageant got to the peak when Animashaun Blessing, a medical practitioner, emerged as the Face of Moremi, with Fashina Abodede coming second and Olowokere Olayinka came third.
Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Mrs Sally Mbanefo, earlier in her address described the newly unveiled gigantic Moremi Status in Ile Ife as a major tool for promotion of domestic tourism, while she commended the strides of the monarch towards developing and promoting domestic tourism in Osun State.