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.
Lagos Film City Will Herald New Dawn of Film Production
Lagos State Government on Monday reiterated its commitment to make Lagos the major tourism destination in Africa through a Tourism Master Plan that will serve as pathway for the implementation of every tourism activity in the State.
This was disclosed by the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf while presenting the account of stewardship of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration in the last two years at a ministerial briefing held at Alausa, Lagos.
She said the series of activities of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture under the present administration are deliberately structured towards positioning Lagos State as a major tourism destination in Africa, where the private sector can confidently invest their resources to advance the State’s tourism and entertainment sector.
The Commissioner disclosed that the Tourism Master Plan, a document to revolutionise the tourism sector in the State, would be presented next month, adding that the document would change the narrative in Lagos State’s tourism sector and ensure uniformity of government programmes, plans and policies in the development of tourism.
She said: “We have maintained a better relationship with our stakeholders, developed policies that would guide tourism activities and also implemented programmes and projects as they relate to the fulfillment of the fifth pillar of the THEMES agenda of the administration of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, which is Entertainment and Tourism.
“We have equally identified the business side of entertainment and tourism. Beyond using tourism and entertainment as a vehicle for fun, relaxation and social integration, entertainment and tourism remain a major source of income generation for different countries and cities of the world and we will also leverage this aspect to boost the State’s IGR (Internal Generated Revenue.)
“We believe in creating an enduring atmosphere for tourism activities to thrive, being a majorly private-sector driven sector. It is our belief that when businesses operate under the right atmosphere, the economic activities of the State would increase and the resources at the disposal of government would also be impacted greatly.”
The Commissioner who disclosed the discovery of new tourism sites in Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu and Alimosho areas of the State, said the new tourism sites would be developed and harnessed to international standards to attract international tourists to further boost tourism in Lagos State.
Akinbile-Yusuf who spoke passionately about the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration’s commitment to the growth, development and expansion of the creative industry, also assured Movie practitioners, content owners and producers in the creative and entertainment industry of a modern and conducive atmosphere for producing their movies and creative contents in the State.
She said that with the proposed Lagos Film City designed to be located at Ejirin in Epe Local Government Area of the State, filmmakers are assured of better filming experience in their movie productions.
The Commissioner who affirmed that better days that will herald seamless movie production experience awaits content creators, movie makers and producers in the State, also urged practitioners in the film and movie industry to leverage on the Film City initiative to carve a solid niche for themselves and take possible advantage of the proposed facility to improve their content and production by the time it becomes a reality.
She also called on filmmakers, movie producers and content creators among other stakeholders in the creative sector to take advantage of the N1billion intervention funds approved for film production purposes and also explore the windows of opportunities and free trainings provided by the present administration for creative practitioners.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Solomon Bonu, said Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture held the Y2020 edition of the Annual Arts and Crafts Skills Acquisition Workshop where hundreds of beneficiaries in craft and artwork making were trained free.
He said the four-day event, tagged “Unlocking the Potential of the Innate Creativity for Sustainable Development”, was designed to equip participants for employability opportunities, adding that the intention of government is to empower over 2.5 million youths through Arts and Crafts, which is in addition to the provision of start-up credit facilities for them through the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment.
LAGOS COMMISSIONER PROMISES TO PROMOTE PRIVATE BEACH OWNERS
Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf has expressed willingness of the Ministry to collaborate with owners of private beaches in Lagos, describing them as key stakeholders in the State’s hospitality sector.
She made the promise recently during an interactive session with private beach owners at Redline Leisure Beach Resort, Okun-Ajah Community Okun-Mapo, off Abraham Adesanya Roundabout, Lagos.
The Commissioner expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the beach owners along the axis for putting in place standard infrastructure capable of attracting and stimulating the interest of tourists.
Akinbile-Yussuf also promised to assist the beach owners in the area with government presence that will further enhance their operations and increase tourists’ accessibility to the beaches.
Part of the incentives which the Ministry will give to the operators, according to the Commissioner, is in the area of publicity on the Ministry’s Website where most local and international tourists would be able to interface with the owners directly.
She said, “I want you to know that your operations complement what the Ministry is doing. You are very key in the area of attracting tourists to our State and as such we must ensure that your businesses thrive”.
The Commissioner explained that only registered establishments are given due recognition by the government, adding that anyone operating any hospitality establishment without registering with the State Government is regarded as an illegal operator.
Citing the instance of the N1 billion soft loans approved by the State Governor for the owners of businesses in the tourism, hospitality and entertainment sector, the Commissioner stated that one of the criteria for the beneficiaries is to be registered with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
She also mentioned the need to classify and grade the various beaches according to their facilities in order to give the beaches commensurate ratings that would guide visitors in making informed decisions when considering beach visitations.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Princess Adenike Adedoyin-Ajayi, remarked that the government is not interested in burdening the beach operators with unnecessary financial obligations, but implored the operators to regularise their business by registering with the Ministry.
Princess Adedoyin-Ajayi urged the beach owners to standardise their operations and bring their businesses to international standards for greater visibility to both local and international tourists.
The beach owners had earlier sought the intervention of the Ministry in the area of extending the tarred road in the area and assistance on the review of several fees and charges from the government.
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