2024 Egungun/Fuji/Amala Festival: Govt targets economy prosperity

Wed, Jul 10, 2024
By editor

General News

THE Oyo State Government has said that its maiden edition of the 2024 World Egungun/Fuji/Amala Festival, tagged “Our Culture , Our Heritage” will target the expansion of the state’s economy through cultural tourism.

Commissioner for Tourism and Culture, Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun, gave this indication on Tuesday, when the festival’s committee hosted a pre-event press conference at the Briefing Room of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.

He stated that the festival will be a rich package of the cultural potential and heritage of the state and is intended to attract both local and foreign tourists for investment opportunities in line with the vision of the state governor, ‘Seyi Makinde.

The commissioner also maintained that the festival, which is first of its kind in the South-West, will equally create a platform to showcase and promote talented upcoming cultural artistes in the Fuji and Apala music genres.

According to him, masquerades hold deep historical significance, embodying the spirit of resilience and unity, which defines the state’s identity and is a testament to the enduring legacy of Oyo’s traditions, while the state also produced Fuji greats, including the late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, Iyanda Sawaba, Rasheed Ayinde Merenge, Abass Akande Obesere, Saheed Osupa and Taye Currency, to mention a few.

He added that the Egungun/Fuji/Amala Festival aligned with Governor Makinde’s Omituntun 2.0 agenda, which has incorporated tourism for the expansion of Oyo State’s economy.

Dr Olatubosun, who noted that the cultural event will hold on Thursday, July 11, 2024 at the Race Course, Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan, said it also will feature major masquerades offering a dynamic showcase of culture and dance, as well as music, and a savoury flavour of Amala with gbegiri, Eko and moinmoin cuisines.

The commissioner also stated that the Makinde-led administration, through the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, has been working towards ensuring that the festival is enlisted by UNESCO just like the World Sango Festival, as it has been packaged with good contents through rich cultural heritage and preservation of tradition for coming generations.

He said: “The maiden edition of the World Egungun Festival will be held on Thursday at the Race Course, Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Ibadan.

“The festival will be the first of its kind in Oyo State, South-West and probably Nigeria and it is also going to be an annual event.

“We are going to make sure that we improve on whatever we do this year. “Our target is to get it enlisted by UNESCO just like we did for Sango Festival and one of the criteria is for us to do the programme seamlessly for a minimum of five years.

“I believe strongly that we have laid a very strong foundation and we are helping the Engineer of Modern Oyo State, the governor himself, to also make another first in this regard.

“We are going to have Egungun, Fuji and also Amala on parade. We believe that the state should start doing something to recognise what Baba Barrister did in the area of Fuji creation. So, we are giving him a posthumous award. We also adopted all his songs as our official songs for the event.

“Also, we believe that we should also create a platform where we can promote upcoming artistes who are looking for such platforms to perform. So, we decided to use the day to accommodate them so that they can have the opportunity to showcase their talents.

“We have discussed with the food vendors and the official foods that will be served include Amala and Abula soup, Moinmoin and eko and akara.

“We want to package all these to the extent that the entire world would see us and appreciate Oyo State. Our slogan will be ‘our culture, our heritage.’ And that will form the basis for our mode of dressing, which will be traditional outfits. We want you to look native. We want to show the world that Oyo State owns tradition.

“We have already involved many associations. I held a meeting with the over 200 clubs under CCII and we said those who are interested in joining us should officially register.”

Explaining the rationale for choosing to celebrate Egungun, the commissioner added: “Egungun performs two functions; spiritual and entertainment. We believe that since we have adopted our slogan, we should not rubbish the traditional aspect of it.

“They have done the spiritual aspect of it. What we want to do is to package and sell the entertainment aspect to the whole world so that by the next edition, we will have people all over the world coming to Oyo State, which will really give us the rating in the comity of nations as regards tourism.

“We are using this programme to drive the tourism agenda of our principal as contained in Omituntun 2.0. We know if we are trying to expand our economy, we are not supposed to restrict ourselves to tourist sites alone but also focus on certain heritage sites.

“It will also interest you that the Egungun Festival in Brazil has one of the highest crowds in the world.

“Oyo State has a lot of potentials to showcase to the world and our principal is trying his best to explore these potentials to attract both local and foreign tourists.”

Dr Olatunbosun noted that the event will also feature a guest lecture, with the Araba of Osogboland, Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon, as guest lecturer, while Fuji legend, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, an indigene of the state, will also be honoured with a posthumous award in appreciation of his lasting legacy in promoting Fuji music to the world.

On security before and during the festival, the commissioner assured the attendees of safety, stating that Governor Makinde’s security architecture has ensured the effective security of lives and properties in the state in the last five years.

Present at the briefing were the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Adebisi Ayoola; chairman, 2024 Planning Committee for Egungun/Fuji/Amala Festival, Agboola Adekunle; head of Alaagba in Ibadanland, Baba Ojeniyi Akintomide; and Oyo State Coordinator/Chairman of Oloje, Baba Bamidele Ojebode.

10th July, 2024.