The Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, has assured Lagosians, particularly indigenes of Badagry, that the 2019 edition of the Olokun Festival will boost the economy of the state and enhance eco-tourism of the host community.
Speaking in Lagos on Sunday at a briefing to unveil the programme for this year’s edition of the Olokun Festival, Adams, who is also the Chief Promoter of Olokun Festival Foundation, revealed that the annual fiesta has made significant impacts in boosting the economy of the ancient town and the entire state.
Adams also affirmed that the Olokun deity has a special blessing for Lagosians.
He said: “Not a few people will agree with me that Lagos is one of the most prosperous states in Nigeria.
“It is gradually becoming the city of everybody’s dream and a smart city because of the Olokun deity’s phenomenon.
“In the spiritual realm, Olokun is in charge of the wealth of the nation and it controls the wealth.
“That is why it is important to rejoice and celebrate the festival.
“This year’s festival is unique because it will open up the tourism space of the historic town.
“About 50,000 people, including tourists and traditional rulers, will grace the grand finale and you know what that means in terms of business opportunities.
“We are ready to beef up the security and the atmosphere will be conducive for visitors that are coming from every part of the world.”
Part of the activities lined up for this year’s edition of Olokun Festival, Adams said, include: Prayer to almighty God, holding at White House Hotel in Ikeja on October 16; a quiz competition for selected primary schools in the state will come up on October 17 at the News agency of Nigeria Media Centre, Iganmu, Lagos; arts exhibitions will hold on October 18 at the Centre for Black and Africa Art Culture headquarters in Lagos; while a beauty pageant will be come up on October 20 at R/A Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
Beach soccer, festival float, boat regatta and Olosa Gala Night will hold on October 22 and October 23 at Sultan Beach, Badagry, with the grand finale coming up at the same venue on October 24.
The Chairman of Olokun Festival Planning Committee, Ambassador Muyiwa Oshinaike, said: “A window of opportunities will be provided for traders to do their businesses and visitors will also know more about the Badagry ancestry, culture as well as the tradition of the people.
“The event is basically to explore the potentials of nature and revive the tradition of the people of the ancient town, and I think with the programme coming up as scheduled, we are going to make the best use of our time.”
Oshimaike thanked Adams for the support so far.
He said: “It has been almost two decades since the OFF became the official and sole sponsor of the Olokun Festival and other festivals across the South West.
“It involves a lot of sacrifices and commitment for a non-governmental and non profitable organisation to have sustained this kind of cultural project for almost 20 years without any support from government, either at the state or federal level.
“So, we need to commend all members of the Oodua Peoples Congress and the entire members of the planning committee for going this far and for bringing to fore the best of Yoruba culture and tradition.”