Nigeria’s Cultural Heritage Has Huge Export Potential – Ooni of Ife

The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II

The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has described Nigeria’s cultural heritage as a huge export potential, capable of igniting economic rejuvenation.

Ooni Ogunwusi said this at Ile-Ife during the joint celebration of Alafere, Oya and Ijugbe festivals which attracted a huge crowd of participants from within and outside Ile-Ife, especially the Bariba and Nupe people in Niger and Kwara states of Nigeria.

The African foremost monarch who is the spiritual leader of Yoruba race stated that the celebration is to give glory to God Almighty who he described in Yoruba language “Oba ti a ko ri, ti a n ri ise owo e”, meaning “The unseen God but whose impact is being felt always”.

The Ooni wondered why cultural festivals and heritage are not getting necessary attention from citizens of the country, saying this has been affecting the growth of the local festivals and culture in the country.

He also expressed displeasure that foreigners were beginning to appreciate the African culture, mysteries and festivals than indigenes of the continents.

“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 mankind to 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”, Ooni said.

He called on government at all levels to improve the level of infrastructure, noting that the government needs to support the drive to project the Yoruba culture to the world.

“It 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.

“The government should pay serious attention to our heritage. We are blessed here because our tourist centres and attractions are natural.

“We don’t need to create any form of artificial tourism. They are very natural tourism potentials and that is why we need to display them.

“We hope that at one point, the government will appreciate us.” He added.

Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi Advises Jonathan, Buhari Against Violence

Bolaji AkinyemiNigeria’s Former Foreign Minister, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, has advised the presidential aspirant of the PDP, President Goodluck Jonathan and that of the APC, General Mohammadu Buhari, to strive to ensure the safety of lives and property in the face of a possible breakdown.

Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, in an open letter to the two presidential candidates, also suggested some conflict-control measures to manage the violence he believes would erupt post-election.

According to the Deputy Chairman of the 2014 National Conference, the certainty of violence after the 2015 elections is higher than it was in 2011, as the illegal importation of weapons into the country has reached alarming proportions.

A portion of the letter read: “One of my low moments during the just concluded 2014 National Conference was when in an attempt to break an impasse, I painted a grim picture of devastation which would follow a breakdown of the Nigerian state, to which a delegate between 45 and 55 years old replied “so what?”

“I thought to myself, here is a man who would probably run away to a neighboring country at the boom of the first gun but was callously indifferent to the fate of the youth, women and children who would be caught in the middle.”

He proposed that the two presidential candidates meet and sign a Memorandum of Undertaking that will commit both a civil and peaceful campaign, devoid of threats; a commitment to preach peaceful elections to their supporters and a commitment to control their supporters after the elections.

He also appealed to the Sultan of Sokoto, the Emir of Kano, the Oba of Benin, the Ooni of Ife and other traditional rulers in the country, members of the clergy, past heads of state and elder statesmen to facilitate the pre-election meeting between the candidates, the preparation of the Memorandum of Undertaking and as a Council of Wise-men to assist in managing the post-election conflicts.