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.
AJE FESTIVAL 2020 Holds In Ile-Ile
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.
PROMOTION OF OBAS: ABIODUN ASSURES OF EQUITY, JUSTICE
DRUMming THE FUTURE: LEGACY FOR THE FUTURE
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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