The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi has described Lagos as the most accommodating State in the country, due to the foundation of love, unity and sincerity that were laid by past ancestors of the indigenes.
He said the only way to honour their contribution as well as appreciate their efforts to the development of Lagos is to continue to preserve the rich cultural heritage bequeathed to them and challenge both Federal and State governments to pay adequate attention to tourism development because of its tendencies to foster impressive development across all sectors of the economy.
Delivering a keynote address at the Muson Centre during the Lagos Third Festival Colloquium tagged ‘Tourism potentials in Yoruba land: Landmarks, Culture and History’, organised by the planning committee of Lagos @ 50 celebration, Oba Ogunwusi advised that for government to eradicate poverty, it must not only give priority to tourism but must harness it inherent potentials in Lagos in particular and the country in general.
The traditional ruler said that the rationale behind the programme is to internalise the culture of the yoruba race and further chronicle the efforts of past ancestors for sustenance, stressing that culture and tradition remains a pivotal binding factor that unites the yoruba race.
Ooni debunked the general belief that traditionalists are idol worshippers, describing such belief as erroneous while maintaining that traditionalists are preservers of culture and history.
“As the Ooni occupying this revered stool today, I still revere the creator of heaven and earth, who was, is and is to come. I pay obeisance to Him always. Idol worshippers are those equating themselves with God or contending with His pre-eminence and sovereignty, so as a person who holds tradition in high esteem, we still ascribe majesty to God and that is why we do refer to him as ‘Olodumare’. So, I want to advocate that our culture and tradition be kept, upheld and carefully followed, same message should be passed across to the generations yet unborn”.
“I am also a partaker of the prosperity of Lagos, the period I spent in Lagos in no small measure contributed to my present status because I came into Lagos with nothing but left with an outpouring and incredible prosperity”, he stated.
The Minister for Information, Arts and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in his remarks at the event, regrettably noted that despite the fact that Nigeria boasts of world class tourism potentials, artifacts and rich cultural heritage, inability to gainfully preserve these potentials has not placed the country on the world’s tourism map.
While noting that Nigeria sits on a goldmine that needs to be explored, the Minister said that more investment needs be made in keeping cultural and tourism inventory.
He said that one of the major moves that the present administration made in gaining International recognition in the area of tourism, arts and culture has enabled the country secure a United Nation’s technical assistance in gathering tourism data across the country.
On her part, the Special Adviser to the State Governor on Arts and Culture, Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola, said that the State government is presently exploring every available means to revive the rich culture of the State, stressing that one of such moves is the introduction of summer coaching for school children where they are only taught the culture and traditional values as obtained in the State.
“We purposely designed the tourism coaching class as a yearly event having observed that if something urgent is not done, technology and foreign culture would soon take the position of all valuable culture bequeathed to us by our parents, so we decided that catching these youngsters at their teen age will be worthwhile.”
She affirmed that the State government will continue to prioritize the promotion of culture and tourism, saying “This is why an integral part of the Lagos @ 50 celebrations is dedicated to showcasing the culture and tourism potentials of Lagos State to the whole world”.