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In Oyo, govt preaches unity through culture

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From Stella Obi, Ibadan

 Oyo State Government has called on administrators, stakeholders, and well-meaning individuals to work on bringing people together through the rebirth of cultural values, virtues and unity.

 Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Wasiu Olatunbosun, made the call at a news conference in Ibadan at the weekend, to intimate the public on the activities lined up to celebrate the 2022 and second edition of the Ijala Ere Ode Cultural Renaissance. 

The Commissioner commended the organisers of the festival for taking the giant stride to revive the Ijala Ere Ode, an entertainment chant performed by hunters in Yorubaland, Southwest Nigeria and urged other local government areas in Oyo State to emulate them and bring together their indigenes to promote cultural values and unity of purpose.

While pledging the support of the state government, Dr Olatunbosun revealed that the festival, championed by the Ona-Ara Ijala Ere Ode Cultural Renaissance through the Ona-Ara Development Forum (ODF) is on the path of becoming a global event that would attract participants across the world.

Earlier, the President of ODF, Kola Bolomope, explained that apart from sustaining and promoting the dying Yoruba cultures and values, the festival would also help to boost tourism in the state, through the promotion, presentation and development of Yoruba cultural heritage, pointing out that the COVID-19 pandemic had disrupted the festival from being held annually after the first edition was successfully held four years ago.

Bolomope disclosed that the cultural renaissance was necessitated by the dearth of Yoruba culture which had contributed to the low sense of cultural belonging and poor moral rectitude among the people of Southwest Nigeria, noting that a lot still needs to be done in order to maintain the important aspect of Yoruba oral tradition.

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“The development of Ijala Ere Ode is to promote the cultural identity of the Yorubas, to use our common cultural heritage to promote peace and harmony in Yorubaland, to boost tourism in Oyo State, thereby promoting, preserving and developing Yoruba cultural heritage and to maintain the oral tradition of the Yoruba people for our children to be more exposed to the art of Ijala story-telling and other types of oral tradition,” he said.

The three-day festival, to be held between the 24th and 26th of November, would feature a lecture, titled: ‘Beyond Social Gyration to Intellectual Exposition of Yoruba Cultural Heritage’ to be delivered by Prof. Akin Alao, from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, on Nov 24.

The event, packaged by the Ona-Ara Development Forum (ODF) in conjunction with the Oyo State Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, scheduled to hold at Ilaji Hotels and Resorts, Ibadan, is slated towards awakening cultural renaissance and bringing back the glory of Yoruba oral poetry, popularly called Ijala.

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