OSUN OSOGBO: MONARCH ASSURES ON SECURITY

By NBF News
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As this year's Osun Osogbo festival gradually gathers momentum, the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun has allayed fear on the security of participants at the international festival, saying the community has put necessary security measure in place to ensure a hitch-free festival.

The monarch who is currently facing serious legal battle over his selection and appoitntment as the traditional ruler of Osogbo said at a stakeholders forum where the 2011 Osun Osogbo festival was unveiled that the organisers of the festival had put maximum security in place to ensure safety of lives during the festival which holds on the 26th of this month.

Some pressure groups in Osogbo had threatened to cause violence in the town during the Osun festival should Oba Olanipekun preside over this year's festival.

This followed the judgment of an Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo which nullified the selection and appointment of Olanipekun as the Ataoja of Osogbo on the ground that his appointment did not follow proper norms and culture of the ancient town.

But the traditional ruler insisted that he was still in control of the town and would preside over every traditional festival that demanded the right of the Ataoja by the culture and tradition of Osogbo, adding that he had appealed against the judgment of the Osogbo High Court.

Oba Olanipekun also urged the people of the town to co-operate with the traditionalists during the festival, just as he maintained that all arrangements had been concluded by both the community and the sponsors of the festival, including international organisations, to make this year's festival a unique and historic one.

While praying for continuous peace in the town, Oba Olanipekun urged the people to work in unity to ensure total victory over those he called enemies of progress and development in Osogbo land, adding that whether they liked it or not the festival would hold and would be a successful one.

Speaking at the occasion, the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Home Affairs, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Folorunsho Alao disclosed that the state government was committed to the development of the Osun grove, adding that not less than 5,000 tourists from all parts of the world would converge on Osogbo during the Osun festival.

He said necessary arrangements have been made for the tourists to enjoy the rich cultural heritage of the state.