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The Lagos State Government has released a calendar of over 70 state-sponsored and endorsed arts and culture programmes slated for Y2018 in its bid to garner visibility for tourism-oriented art programmes.

The State’s Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde in a statement on Thursday, described the calendar as a novel exercise designed to frontload State and privately driven arts, culture and entertainment events that will have positive effects on tourism promotion.

“This is in fulfilment of the State Government promise to announce a yearly calendar of events to guide programming, tourist and visitors’ decision,” he said.

According to Ayorinde, the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, kick-started the year with his attendance at Ali Baba’s January 1st Comedy concert at Eko Hotel. Other arts and culture events held in January and February 2018 and included in the calendar are Angel and Muse, an art exhibition by a Lagos trained world renowned artist; Eebi; a month-long Indigenous Cultural Festival in Epe; Wazobia FM Carnival as well as the Lagos Marathon amongst others.

The idea of creating a calendar of events for state-sponsored and state-endorsed programmes, he said, is to make event planning, tour bookings and business decisions easier for tour operators and the general public.

He added that the calendar is part of the State’s innovation to project arts, entertainment and leisure benefits inherent in Lagos and makes the state attractive to domestic tourists; business travellers and stop-over passers-by.

The Commissioner said, “The State is forging ahead of expanding the consumption of its tourism products by improving access to tourism information and creating an events guide for the media and tour bloggers”.

Although not exhaustive, the calendar contains many of the indigenous cultural festivals across the state, entertainment events; concerts; visual; performing and fashion and culinary events.

The State is expected to leverage on infrastructural development, regeneration of old and creation of iconic attractions for entertainment, arts and culture enthusiasts to boost economic activities and expand opportunities for job creation during the various events slated on the calendar.

“The administration of Governor Ambode believes that the quantum of cash transactions across the tourism and entertainment value-chain, as tracked in December 2017 when about N50billion was spent on entertainment and leisure alone, is a testimony to the huge economic gain in promoting tourism in Lagos State. This and other economic factors make Lagos one of the most vibrant culturally significant cities in Africa with potentials to make enormous impact in driving in-bound tourists from across the globe,” Ayorinde said.

Major events listed in the calendar include Gidi Fest, Lagos Water Regatta and Fanti Carnival around the Easter Period; the International Jazz Day celebration on April 30 which will be dedicated to the South-African Jazz legend, Huge Masekela; the Lagos Comedy Festival on May 6 and the Eko Art Expo at the last weekend in May.

June will be rich with the first ever Lagos Golf Funfair and the Lagos Cinefest, which is designed to take cinema-going experience to all the five divisions of the State.

The Lagos Festival of Plays is a major highlight in the third quarter of the year; so is the Lagos Fishing Festival (Oshoroko) in Ibeju-Lekki; Akwaaba Travel Market and Faaji Agba – a special concert for the elderly to mark World Elders Day.

October to December will be the most intense period on the calendar with Olokun Festival; MUSON Festival; AFRIMA, AFRIFF; Kayo-Kayo Festival in Epe; the Lagos Luxury Summit/Fair; Felabration; Lagos Books & Arts Festival (LABAF) as well as the One Lagos Fiesta.

“The State is grateful to corporate sponsors who will make many of these events happen. Our aim is to use the calendar and other strategic initiatives to enrich the entertainment and cultural content to drive tourism promotion in this mega city,” Ayorinde said.

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Art & Culture

OONI of Ife urges government to raise living standards through favorable economic policies

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The Arole Oduduwa & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has charged governments at all levels to raise the standard of living of its citizens by spreading wealth through trade and investment policies.
The Ooni, who is Co-Chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria(NCTRN) gave the charge during the 2020 edition of the annual celebration of Aje Festival at his Ile-Oodua palace, on Monday in Ile-Ife.

Ooni Ogunwusi who is the natural father of the entire Yoruba race worldwide decried the current economic condition of the country which he described as pathetic, adding that the country’s wealth must be be enjoyable to all Nigerians.
“As it stands today, Nigeria has a population of few men and women controlling the economy while countless others are languishing in poverty. We cannot continue like this.

“For us to progress as a country, we must ensure that our wealth goes round especially to the poor and other vulnerable members of the society. We cannot keep having strikingly rich few Nigerians and uncountable ones wallowing in abject poverty.” The Ooni decried.
While explaining the basis for the Aje Festival celebrations, the African foremost monarch explained that it is a unique way through which the Yoruba people globally remember the deity which is known for wealth and riches.

“Aje is a deity which is known for wealth and riches. Its annual celebration as you have witnessed today is to acknowledge its relevance to us as people, especially its indispensable nature to us.
“Did you see the struggle for it during the procession to and from the Aje temple? That is the spirit of Aje, all of us are not rich because it is not easy to accumulate wealth.
“We are not devaluing the currency by spraying it to our people, we only do it on a special day like this to spread happiness. In the olden days, it was cowries, sometimes ago it was coins, nowadays it is naira notes and we hold it in a very high esteem.” The Ooni noted.
Coordinator of Aje Festival, Princess Toyin Kolade while briefing newsmen expressed happiness for the massive turnout of participants from within and outside Nigeria. She thanked the Ooni for the opportunity, pledging her commitment to the development of the prestigious Yoruba cultural heritage.

Similarly, the Lowa Adimula of Ife, High Chief Adekola Adeyeye, described the 2020 Aje festival celebration as the best in history, thanking the Ooni for uphold the cultural values of Ile Ife and Yorubaland. He added that the Ooni has rebranded the ancient city positively to the world, praying that God Almighty will support him in realising the greater Ife Kingdom of his dream.
Speaking on behalf of the international participants, Mr. Rodrigo Abdon from Brazil described the festival as awesome representation of the African rich cultural heritage.

“What I see here today has further represented the economic potentials of the enviable Yoruba cultural heritage and Africa at large. I see arts, I see dance, I see music, I see paintings and many others like we have in Brazil. The people are also receptive, very accommodating and it shows the good nature of the land. We are really feeling at home”Mr. Rodrigo noted.
The former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Consular General of Brazilian Embassy in Nigeria, Helge’s Samuel Bandeira, several traditional rulers and Nollywood stars including Adewale Eleso, Iya Rainbow, Lanre Hassan(Iya Awero) and Saheed Balogun others dignitaries witnessed the event while the Apala music maestro, Musiliu Haruna Isola thrilled the guests.

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AJE FESTIVAL 2020 Holds In Ile-Ile

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All roads lead to the ancient city of Ile-Ife believed to be the cradle of humanity as the Arole Oodua & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II will on Monday 24th February 2020 lead thousands of Ife indigenes, market men and women, tourists, financial experts and business tycoons from across Nigeria and abroad to celebrate the 2020 edition of Aje festival.

Reports from the Ile-Oodua palace of the Ooni confirmed the organizers of this year’s AJE festival led by Dr Toyin Kolade are not leaving any stone unturned with top gear preparations to enable Ooni Ogunwusi host this year’s edition of the annual AJE FESTIVAL expected to be attended by both local and international participants in a more remarkable way.

Speaking on behalf of the Ooni who is the natural head of the Oduduwa race globally, his Director of Media & Public Affairs Comrade Moses Olafare said in a press release that not less than twenty Africans in diaspora like Cubans Brazilians and Americans have confirmed their flight tickets to arrive Nigeria this weekend to take part in the festival on Monday.

“The 2020 AJE FESTIVAL Planning Committee ably led by Princess(Dr) Toyin Kolade are working assiduously with the Arole Oodua Olofin Adimula to ensure a better and more superlative edition of the festival this year with several foreigners coming to participate, especially from Cuba, Brazil and America. Olafare said.

According to Princess Toyin Kolade captured in the statement, Ooni Ogunwusi with white pigeons in his hands will lead the procession of participants from the palace ‘Ile Oodua’ to the Aje shrine known ‘Idi Aje’, located a kilometer away from the palace right inside the Ejigbomekun market believed to be oldest market in the world where prayers for economic and commercial prosperity of the Oduduwa race worldwide and Nigeria in particular will be made, after which the pigeons are released into the air.

“Iyalaje Toyin Kolade last Saturday led her committee to brief His Majesty the Ooni that not less than twenty Africans in diaspora have already confirmed their flight tickets to arrive Lagos before Saturday from where they will be conveyed to Ile-Ife for the Aje festival holding on Monday which will witness a long procession by the the participants to be led by the Ooni himself holding some pigeons in his hands which will be released into the air after prayers are offered at the shrine(Idi Aje)”. Olafare said.

The statement added that as one of the 401 gods and goddesses like Ogun(iron), Osun(water), Kori(children) and Orunmila(divination) Aje is a deity in charge of wealth and economic prosperity with great positive influence on the world’s economy.

“The deity of AJE is in charge of wealth, commerce and economy just like Ogun is in charge of iron and Osun is in charge of waters. The festival annually holds on a Monday traditionally known as ‘Ojo Aje’ in Yoruba parlance. During this Aje Festival, participants including foreign tourists, business men and women would purchase a white pigeon each, this is symbolic of purity and peace.” Olafare added

It will be recalled that Princess Kolade led a royal team to Brazil in August last advancing the cause of AJE FESTIVAL where fruitful discussions and meetings were held with government of the city of RIO and other cultural tourism stakeholders for collaboration on the festival in furtherance of the Cultural Tourism Revolution Agenda of the Arole Oodua’Olofin Adimula, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife & Traditional Head of the Yoruba race globally.

The activities of 2020 edition of ODUN AJE will be climaxed with a dinner party at the banquet hall of the palace where guests and the foreign tourists will be entertained by the Apala music maestro, Musiliu Aruna Isola.

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Art & Culture

PROMOTION OF OBAS: ABIODUN ASSURES OF EQUITY, JUSTICE

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The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has assured of equity and justice by his government over the upgrade and promotion of Obas, made at the tail end of the last administration.
         The Governor who gave the assurance at the maiden statutory meeting of the State’s Council of Obas, held at the Conference Hall, Obas’ Complex, Oke-Mosan Abeokuta, said the Committee’s report had been reviewed and consultations had also been made, adding that, the decision arrived at would soon be made public.
        “The committee we set up to review the promotion and upgrade of some Obas has submitted its reports. I am assuring you that the decision would soon be made public and it will be based on justice, fairness and equity”, Abiodun said.
      He thanked the Obas and the people of the State for maintaining peace all through the period, seeking more supports from them to take the State to the next level.
    Speaking on the achievement of his administration in the last four months, Abiodun promised to uphold the tenet of good governance of participatory and effectiveness, for the betterment of the citizens of the State.
       In his address, the Chairman, Ogun State Council of Obas, Alake and Paramount Ruler Of Egbaland, His Royal Majesty, Oba (Dr.) Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, said the meeting has given them the opportunity to interact with the Governor, which according to him would make it possible for them to contribute effectively as traditional institution towards the development and progress of the State.
       In his welcome address, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, enjoined the traditional institution to cooperate with government in achieving its set goals by remaining in the frontline of stakeholders in the business of achieving sustainable development in the State.
      He urged them to support the present administration in resolving issues bordering on communal conflicts, in order to promote peace and harmony that would engender socio-economic development within their various domains.
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