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The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Ooni Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi (Ojaja 11) recently at Chatham House United Kingdom (UK) said his late mother’s core values of responsibility really prepared him ahead for leadership roles as an individual and traditional ruler.

The Arole Oodua and the spiritual leader of the Yoruba race advised African youths to, as a matter of necessity, imbibe the spirit of responsibility and commitment to positive ideals that can enable them to contribute meaningfully to the development of their society.

Ooni Ogunwusi who spoke at Chatham House, London in UK on “INCLUSIVE GOVERNANCE AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: THE ROLE OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS” recalled how a bungled errand given him by his late mother actually moulded him for leadership position in life.

“As a child, she would send me on an errands. She once gave me her most valuable dress to iron. I plugged the iron and left to play, hoping to return to do mum’s bidding but the iron had become so hot and I got the dress burnt to the anger of my mother”.

“You will pay dearly for this, I will punish you well so you will know what you have done wrong. That was a dress I was saving in case the King requested to meet me” mother said.

“That Phrase stuck into my brain. She had reserved a dress in case the King requested to meet her. This goes to show the recognition of Kingship and honour earned by a king in our culture.

The foremost African monarch admonished children to obey their elders and parents. He equally charged parents to respect the traditional leaders in society in line with African culture and traditions.

The Co-Chairman of Nigerian Council of Traditional Rulers also stated the involvement of Traditional Institutions in governance for a better tomorrow.

“You cannot separate nature and human beings, we believe traditional leaders and institutions are key in national building human capital development civilization” the monarch added.

“Traditional institutions based on my background is part of natures custodian of heritage and culture. We had ancient means of governance in the Kingdoms”.

“Before governance came into play, traditional rulers were the first to discover different things which later becames forces of civilisation such as: smelt iron, we were the first to weave cotton, this and many more started from the Yoruba race and now used all over the continents tho in an improved format.

Ooni further corroborates his claims saying that, “Antiques/artefacts all over the world made from Africa has shown that civilization started from us.

“Traditional leaders were the forces behind everything we are benefitting today because rulers set that pace in Africa and pioneered before the advent of modern day Government” Hence, Traditional Rulers need to be properly included and blended with modern day government. This arguably, will make a significant change.”

“A nation that intends to grow must uphold the heritage and tradition of that nation, We must not lose touch with our root” heritage and tradition.”

Before the advent of colonialization we had kingdoms across Africa. Colonialists had to go through the traditional leaders.

“Northern and southern protectorate were in 1914 merged to become Nigeria. This had to be done through traditional rulers and several African monarchs were either elected or appointed to serve in government”.

“At the Nigeria’s Independence, Former Ooni of Ife, Sir Adesoji Aderemi was the first Indigenous African Governor. The government across Africa couldn’t do anything without the inclusion traditional leaders in decision making, administration and policy making. That was a beautiful system!”.

“To date, it is commonplace in Nigeria, for most politician vying for pisitions of power to go through the traditional institutions. This system can be properly synchronized and aligned in a fair and civil manner.”

Ooni said Nigeria is at the forefront of leading Africa and urged the government to join hands with the traditional institutions to take that continent out of our current state, saying the continent is the fastest growing population with 70% of its population as youths mainly between the age of 16 – 25, which is an added advantage to our human capital if properly utilized.

He added that Africans should go back to the root.

“Very important to rise-up to that occasion and know that at some point things were running well in Africa when the traditional rulers were at the forefront. Let us blend our tradition and culture in everything we do today”.

“Asia is still holding on to their heritage and culture. Africa should not lose theirs. We need to know the roles of culture and this is achievable by involving our tradition rulers in the day to day running of our system in Africa”

“Africa has lost its roots. We must learn to project the continent as positive!” The monarch exclaimed.

“You must know your history, in order to know where you’re going, which is your future.”

Signed ;
Comrade Moses Olafare,
Director, Media & Public Affairs,
Ooni’s Palace.

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DRUMming THE FUTURE: LEGACY FOR THE FUTURE

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BY:  Oluwafunso Obasan

The recently held 4th edition of the African Drum Festival with the theme, ‘ DRUMming The Future’  may have  come to an end, but the echoes from the festival will continue to linger even for generations yet unborn. The festival unlike the last three editions held at the helipad of the June 12 Cultural Center in Abeokuta, was moved to the new Abeokuta City centre, the venue christened as the festival village Amphitheater, had a capacity to hold up to 10,000 people if it’s entire space was put into use. The amphitheater, according to the executive governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, said that the amphitheater would serve as the festival village, adding that the venue would be commissioned by the President.

The festival, unlike the last three editions had an increase in participation and attendance, the attendance this time around was enormous and even looked like the venue won’t be able to seat all present, from the entrance opposite the Central Bank of Nigeria, the venue was a beehive of activities, from a stage that was set up by the Nigerian Breweries, producers of Trophy, the company in its responsibility as a partner in progress and believer in the  sustenance of tradition and culture, brought Fuji music star and hip hop music star, Alhaji Wasiu Alabi Pasuma and Abolore Akande, aka, Nice, as part of its contribution towards a successful hosting of the festival.

It is a known fact that Adire is of Ogun State origin, the fact of its originality led the Ogun state government under the leadership of Senator Ibikunle Amosun to register Adire and get the trademark, through the unveiling of the Adire Ogun Seal of Authenticity at the Mitros Residences, at the unveiling, Senator Amosun disclosed that there was no Adire anywhere in the world that would be in the same quality as the one from the source, saying Adire Ogun was from the source.

He further noted that the state was now a cynosure of all eyes, not only because of the legacy projects his administration had put in place, but also because of the cultural reawakening his administration had continually promoted. It is now a fact that Adire Ogun is the best, the production of Adire dates back to the time of the second Iyalode of Egbaland, this was according to the Iyaloja of Kenta  market, Alhaja Saidat  Akamo, who disclosed that she was born in the house of Jojolola, the second Iyalode of Egbaland. Akamo  said that Adire was easy, urging youths to embrace the making of Adire, as Adire making was easy and shouldn’t be killed. Her counterpart at the Asero market, Chief (Mrs.) Kemi Oloyede said that hand craft is good, urging youths to embrace the making of the material, saying they shouldn’t be lazy.

The Federal Government’s stance at promoting made in Nigeria goods has made Ogun state, the only state from the south west to be chosen as the start up point for its start up campaign, these, the Senior Consultant to the Governor on Culture and Tourism, Mrs Yewande Amusan said was done in good faith, as the state was known as being worthy through its Ogun standard way of doing things. The festival reached a milestone, as the Nigerian Postal Service, through the office of the Post Master General and the Ogun State Government, launched a  hundred naira stamp to commemorate the African Drum Festival.

The Post Master General, Barrister Adebisi Adegbuyi, disclosed that the effort would afford the festival to reach about 192 countries that are in relationship with the Nigerian Postal Service. In actual fact, the stamps are already in the market, I have been privileged to see them, this gesture would impress the festival into the hearts of thousands of users of stamps from over 192 countries. The gesture to me is one of the Ogun standard way of doing things, the Senator Amosun led government has left a legacy, it is now paramount for everyone to embrace the stamp, it is our own, it deserves our patronage.

Spoiling the child and sparing the rod is a big mistake that shouldn’t be allowed to be the order of the day, that phrase was made by the consultant to the Ogun State Government on the African Drum Festival and Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka at the unveiling of the Kuti house Museum in Abeokuta. WS, has he is been called lately admired his late uncle, Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome Kuti, who he described as a disciplinarian that never for once spared his rod for his children, or his family. Soyinka noted that the success of most of the children that passed through the late Oludotun Ransome Kuti, who was the first black man to be principal of Abeokuta Grammar School, led  to the raising up of godly, noble and successful men and women who are leading in their various endeavours, a gesture he said made him who he is today.

The Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun while corroborating the view of Prof. Wole Soyinka, said he also benefitted from the immense contributions of late Rev. Israel Oludotun Ransome Kuti, describing him as a great man, through whom the likes of late Dr. Beko Ransome Kuti and the late Afrobeat king, Fela Anikulapo Kuti came into the world. The intellectual angle roundtable discussion of the program which was held at  Olumo Rock had as its theme, ‘ DRUMming The Future’, the roundtable discussion had both local and International master drummers spread across the length and breadth of the African Continent.

Some of the drummers at the roundtable discussion include Aziz Belheni from Tunisia, Cheickne Sissoko from Mali, Eddy Mboyo from DR Congo, Dennis Ngurwe from Kenya, Frendi Sofiane from Algeria, Machina Aimad from Morroco, Landry Luoba from Cote D’Ivoire, Jeleel Ojuade from Nigeria, Oladipo Abiala from Benin, Othnell Moyo from Zimbabwe, Noumoucounda Cissoko from Senegal, Sserwanga Bernard from Uganda, Sylvanus Kuwor from Ghana, Thandi Swaartbooi from South Africa, Luc Yatchokeu from Cameron, Armel Bokossa from Mali, Gregoire Kabore from Burkina Faso, Vernon Thompson from Trinidad and Tobago, Adepo Yapo from Burkina Faso, Sebaggala Jedidiah from Uganda, Dr. Ben Boateng from Ghana, among others.

This long list of master drummers spread across the length and breadth of Africa has truly shown that the festival has not only come to stay but it now has the respect of the international community. At the roundtable discussion, it was unanimously agreed that government should put into the school curriculum studies about drums, with the assumption that such effort would help to promote the culture of drums and also help to uphold the teaching of drums for generations yet unborn.

At the closing ceremony, Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun urged participants not to forget all they’ve learnt at the festival, saying that their ability to ensure they don’t forget all they have learnt would go a long way to ensure that the culture of drum remains intact and passed unto generations yet unborn.

There was a chorus performance by troupes at the festival, the troupes were all arranged around the rock, with chorus performance, the performance was beautiful to ear, the rhythm and tonality from the arrangement was great. At the end of the festival, five categories of winners was announced, at the State category, last year’s winner, Kwara State was edged to second position by Gombe State, while Ondo State came third with 2 million, 1 million and 500,000 Naira was won by the states.

The Individual International category saw Morroco coming first with 3,000 dollars, Chad second with 2,000 dollars and South Africa with 1,000 dollars, the African category saw Ghana coming first with 5,000 dollars, Chad coming second with 3,000 dollars and Benin coming third with 2,000 dollars. The independent category saw the Ekemini troupe come first with 2 million, Yaato troupe coming second with 1 million and Foye troupe coming third with five hundred thousand naira. There was also a special award, with a thousand dollar each for ten foreign countries and award for ten other troupes.

Some of the countries include Cote d’ Ivore, Algeria, Togo, Mali, Haiti, Morroco, Cameron, Senegal, DR Congo and Tunisia, the ten troupes that also received special awards include, Ogun State Cultural troupe, Musiliu Haruna Ishola, Eni Afede, Pa Adewole Oniluola, Ijo Dee foundation, Ara(Thunder), Ayanyinka Olowogangan, Unique Finger, Adisa Ogundele and Abideen Olatunji.

The fourth edition of the African Drum Festival is a testament that the festival has revolved round its original edition and that the increased participation from African Countries has shown that the festival has become an household name.

Time will only tell what the festival would bring to the state in the future.

Oluwafunso, Press Officer, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ogun State Government.

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Art & Culture

Ooni of Ife’s, House of Oduduwa Foundation, A Legacy of Service to Humanity

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Written by  the Chief Operating Officer,Adewumi Adediran.

The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi‎ (Ojaja II) is a man with a burning desire to see lives transformed; a man who believes in the productivity of the youth as a recipe to chase away poverty from the system.

In many ways than would probably be acknowleged, His Imperial Majesty, the Ooni of Ife, has been in the business of empowerment across the ages, with a vision to continuously touch the lives of people,while leaving a legacy of service to humanity.

In 2016, the Ooni established The House of Oduduwa Foundation, informed by the urgent need to reduce the level of poverty and also project the Yoruba Culture and Heritage.
A Non-Governmental Organisation, the main objective of the House of Oduduwa Foundation is to expand possibilities for children, women and young people in order that they live healthy and productive lives.

According to a United Nations report, the increasing rise in unemployment and income inequality has adversely affected the economy of Nigeria .

To checkmate this anomaly, it becomes top priority for Nigerian government to provide the right educational infrastructure to develop skills and requisite opportunities that would bring about unemployment and birth entrepreneurs and productive members of society, thereby reducing the level of poverty in the land.

Understanding education as a powerful weapon which can be used to change the World; a passport to the future which unlocks the golden door of freedom, and also knowing this to be a herculean task on the shoulders of the government still grappling with several issues, the Ooni of Ife launched the “NEXT GENERATION” project under the Foundation which aims to alleviate the financial burden of pupils and students whose parents face significant financial hurdles and uncertainty as they work hard to achieve their future dreams.

This Project is more or less a grant, to be awarded on the basis of academic excellence to support Students across the South-West geographical States.
Six States, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Lagos and Ondo are being regard as descendants of Oduduwa with a population estimated at 32.5 million people.
The Oduduwa Descendants also constitute a sizable proportion of the population in Kwara, Kogi and Edo States.

The House of Oduduwa Foundation appeals to Corporate bodies, IInstitutions,Philanthropists and all men of goodwill in Nigeria and Diaspora to partner with the House of Oduduwa Foundation to realise its dream for humanity.

Written by  the Chief Operating Officer,Adewumi Adediran.

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TOURISM: LAGOS ECONOMY RECORDS OVER N50BN CASH TRANSACTIONS IN DECEMBER

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For the second year in a row, the Lagos State economy received a major, unprecedented boost in the entertainment, hospitality and creative sectors in four weeks of the yuletide season, Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde disclosed on Saturday.

Trends and reports monitored by the Lagos State Government over the four weeks in December, especially during Christmas and New Year festivities, captured an estimated spending well above N50bn in cash transactions, a record slightly higher than December 2017 which also recorded a good run in travel, entertainment and leisure-related spendings.

The monitored reports attributed the positive trend to the peak in entertainment activities; huge influx of people from neighboring states, neighboring countries and holiday makers from abroad who either chose Lagos as their primary destination or transit to other parts of Nigeria last December.

In a press statement he signed, Ayorinde said various reports, statistics and analyses monitored across immigration office, banks, aviation, hospitality and leisure parks; food, beverage and distribution businesses as well as event venues, shopping malls and cinema box office earnings captured an estimated direct spendings of over N50bn within the entertainment and tourism sector in Lagos State alone.

He said reports monitoring the prevailing December trends showed an unprecedented footfall influx of more than three million people entering Lagos in December alone with a multi-billion naira spendings in tow in hotel lodgings, local in-bound flights and taxi/chartered transportation, alcohol and beverage consumption; culinary business; visits to resorts, parks, clubs and lounges, live theatre and cinemas; concerts and clubs as well as ancillary  businesses like fashion and clothing, kiddies’ games and toys, and private security guards, which are all now part of the tourism and entertainment ecosystem.

“Like in 2017, last December in Lagos was hugely creative economy- friendly, which again affirms the State’s preeminence not just as West Africa’s commercial hub but also its entertainment nerve-centre,” Ayorinde said, adding that the beauty of this assertion is that the surge in the creative enterprise over the yuletide period was felt by all and sundry; was statistically measurable and is now a subject of discussion among analysis.

The Commissioner said there was a slight correlation between the horrific gridlock in some parts of Lagos during the yuletide season and the huge trading by residents and visitors leading to seasonal job provision and economic gains.

According to him, the high volume of economic activity that were directly related to tourism-related visits, entertainment and leisure accounted for a significant chunk of the total value of transactions in the State of 21million residents whose estimated GDP of $136bn in 2018 is regarded as the fifth largest in Africa, after Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Algeria.

The statement attributed the State’s continued high performance in the creative economy to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s deliberate interest in and commitment to the development of infrastructure, security and ideas that impact positively on tourism, entertainment and shopping.

He cited the State’s “innovative Calendar of Arts and Culture events which was released in January 2018 specifically to assist both local and foreign visitors in planning their visit to and around Lagos with a detailed guide of festivals and art events available in each month.”

Ayorinde said: “December has always recorded the busiest footfall in Lagos from figure obtained from immigration and aviation authorities. Aside the One Lagos Fiesta which drew over two million visitors cumulatively across its five venues over eight days from December 24 to 31st, other big concerts like those by Davido, Whiz Kid, Burma Boy, Adekunle Gold, Rhythm Unplugged and Sound City Awards also attracted large crowd into Lagos and of course huge spending.

“Hotels were filled to capacity in most parts of the State and we are aware that Lagos and Calabar benefited from additional scheduled flights due to the huge attractions of Calabar Carnival, OLF and the A-list Concerts in Lagos.”

He added that virtually all the entertainment sub-sectors recorded huge spendings in billions over the yuletide period with 15 top foreign and local box office hit films released across the state hitting a record N3bn revenue in December alone; while parks, beaches and other resorts also recorded remarkable, sometimes unprecedented patronage from reports made available to the state government.

The statement added that the December 2018 high creative economy spending in the state corroborates the two key important global tourism industry indicators that were favourable to Lagos in 2018.

First was the British report in Daily Mail of London in April 2018 listing Lagos alongside Nairobi, Kenya as the top non-European destinations among British travelers planning for summer holiday. The second was the MasterCard Global Travel Index released in October 2018 ranking Lagos as the most visited city in sub-Saharan Africa in 2018.

The Commissioner said these remarkable global recognition and last December’s good business outlook in the creative sphere were in tandem with the vision of Governor Ambode to make Lagos the creative hub in Africa and “to assure corporate institutions and investors that the State security and social infrastructure can support the ever growing entertainment and creative landscape in Lagos.

“The night economy has fully returned and every part of the state duly felt the impact of a vibrant tourism, art and entertainment eco-system In December.”

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