All local festivals and sites of deities being celebrated in prominent communities in Ekiti are to be acquired by government as part of its aggressive drive to boost Internally Generated Revenue as well as promote culture and tourism.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that government, on Tuesday, said such festivals are to be enhanced to attain national and international status.
The new Director General of the State Council for Arts and Culture, Wale Ojo-Lanre, made this known in Ado Ekiti when the Ogun Onire Carvival Forum, a committee set up by Ire Ekiti community for the 2019 edition of the Ogunnire Festival, visited him.
He expressed regrets that many of the deities that were of great significance in Ekiti like Ogun and Osun had been neglected.
He said: “Ogun was a deity that has become so popular in Yoruba race and other climes. And if you look at the myth around it, it has significant connection with Ire Ekiti people, but not much has been done to improve the festival the way Ondo people are doing.
“According to history, the Osun Osogbo, which is now celebrated as a festival in Osun annually, originated from Igede Ekiti but today, we can all attest to the millions of naira being made on yearly basis through Osun groove and its celebration by Osun government.
“That is why we have a law that now empowers the state to acquire, protect, project and market local festivals and deities of interest to promote our culture and make money for our dear state.
“If you also look at Ogun festival, people only pay obeisance to a man who did well for the people , there was nothing fetish about it and other mythical festivals we are holding to celebrate our past heroes.”
NAN reports that the Chairman of the Ogun Onire Carnival Forum, Chief Femi Ajayi, had appealed to the government to help in rehabilitating the Ogun groove in Ire Ekiti before the 2019 celebration.
Ajayi said the town was particularly happy that the government had taken over the location where the groove was situated.
He said developing the site to an international standard would help the drive to promote the festival to national and international standard.