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BADAGRY RESIDENTS DEFY HOT WEATHER TO WITNESS OLOKUN FESTIVAL

By NBF News
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The hot weather did not deter guests from attending the 10th edition of the grand finale of the Olokun Festival, which held at the Suntan Beach, Badagry. The maiden edition took place at the Alpha Beach, Lekki, Lagos, in 2011 and since then, the festival has grown in leaps and bounds.

Indigenes made brisk sales just as the guards at the beach were on ground to warn visitors from entering the ocean. Cultural groups played rhythmic music to welcome guests. Members of Association of Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP) staged a play entitled: Olokun, as well as performances from Oodua National Troupe, which performed to the delight of guests. In his address, Chief Promoter of Yoruba culture, Otunba Gani Adams, noted that Nigerian should be transformed to tourist centres, to earn revenue for the country.

According to Otunba Adams, beaches in Badagry deserve the attention of the government because the town is the entrypoint from other West African countries. Badagry has a rich cultural environment which will attract the world to Nigeria he said. He urged the gathering that people should take advantage of festivals to reflect deeply and take their culture seriously. ' Our language should not go into extinction because as parents, we must let our children speak our dialect very well.

'For example, Yoruba culture stipulates moral ways of teaching and bringing up a child. If you see a cultured Yoruba child, you will know because the female child will kneel down to greet her elders. The male child will prostrate to greet his elders, which is the beginning of the system of respect in Yorubaland. A young Yoruba child will always honour his/her elders irrespective of the position he or she occupies in the society.'

In his lecture entitled: Culture, Identity and Emancipation: Challenge to the Yoruba race, Akogun Tola Adeniyi, the Jagun Oodua of Yorubaland, observed that culture is a powerful tool for survival, but it is a fragile phenomenon.

' It is constantly changing and easily lost because it exists only in our minds. Our written languages, governments, buildings and other man-made things are merely the products of culture.

' The Yoruba is very philosophical, and hence, most of their day-to-day conversations are laden with proverbs and rich idioms. But the richness of our culture, tradition, wisdom and varied expressions lie in our language. Take away a man's language, his entire being is rendered prostrate. Therefore, there is the need to restore our language to its historic dignity and pride of place.' he said. He urged the Yoruba to rediscover who they are by researching into their history. They must be re-educated on their cherished value system, reclaim and restore their identity and dignity, he said.

Also De Wheno Aholu, Aholu Menu Toyi 1, Akran of Badagry, said the festival has turned our sorrows to joy. it has brought prosperity and all the good things of life to Badagry. When the white men came to Nigeria, they came through the sea. Let us be grateful to Otunba Gani Adams for bringing the festival to Badagry and for making conscious efforts in promoting the Yoruba culture.

The senior special adviser on Tourism and Inter-governmental Relations, to the governor, Mrs. Morounranti Alebiosu, who represented Governor Babtunde Raji Fashola, (SAN), commended Chief Gani Adams for promoting tourism and culture in Lagos, noting that the government will increase tourism potentials.

HRM Oba Adekilumo Alajowun of Ajowunland, Republic of Benin and president, Yoruba Council of Obas, Benin Republic, said Otunba Adam's name will be remembered for his efforts in promoting the Yoruba culture.

The Oba of Badagry also presented car keys to Princess Anietiok Akan, winner of Miss Olokun 2011.

Some of the guests that attended the occasion include Oba Sejiro Ogunbe James, Okiki Arolagbade Aholu-Henwa of Kweme kingdom, Oba Oyekanmi Ajose, the Alapa of Equn Awori, Apa kingdom, Oba Isreal Adewale Okoya, Isreal Adewale Okoya, the Onibereko of Ibereko Kingdom. Others include Oba Wahab Kayode Oyedotun, Bibire 1, the Orangun of Ila-Oragngun, Orangun, Osun State and popular Jide kosoko.