• Monday, July 22, 2024
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Nigeria’s cultural endowments rich enough to earn forex, says Ooni of Ife

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Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has called on government at all levels to gear efforts towards harnessing rich cultural endowments that abound in all parts of the country, saying Nigeria’s cultural heritage is rich and huge enough to earn the country more foreign exchange.
The monarch said this at the weekend during the joint celebration of Alafere, Oya and Ijugbe festivals, which attracted a huge crowd of participants from Ile Ife, Bariba and Nupe land in Niger and Kwara states.
Ooni, who also wondered why cultural festivals and heritage are not getting necessary attention from citizens of the country, attributed the development to misinformation about people’s cultural beliefs.
Oba Ogunwusi said: “Our heritage is so strong. All the things that we are celebrating may be strange to a lot of people living in Nigeria and Yorubaland but in the Western World, I just returned from the UK where I met with the British royal family and visited the British museum, they don’t joke with our culture.
“All these things are so important to them. They traced the origin of Africa and all these facts are displayed in their libraries and museums. They believe in the potency and power of all these festivals. It is about time for us (Africans) to nurture what we have.
“We should celebrate what nature has given to us. Our culture is a very huge export potential and tourism is one of the biggest trades in the world. It is bigger than a lot of investments that you can think of because it has a lot of people’s movement. With tourism, people are able to establish a common heritage and ancestral background.”
He then called on government to support the drive to project the Yoruba culture to the world, adding that ” is about time for us to focus on tourism by improving our infrastructure and for us to package these entire heritages. Most of the heritage and festivals are very timely and yield benefits.”
In his remarks, the Obalejugbe of the source, High Chief Abiodun Akinrefon, declared that worshipping Ijugbe, god of rain in Ile-Ife would boost the economy of the community.
Speaking in similar vein,  the High Chief Oyarekun Oyaro, the Balogun of Famia, who doubles as Oya priest, admonished Nigerian to henceforth place high value on their tradition and culture, adding that culture plays important roles in shaping life of the people.