The Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun Oyetunji has stated that the annual Osun Osogbo festival will continue to contribute to the tourism sector in Osun State and the national economy as a whole.
Oba Oyetunji said that the festival is of immense economic value to Nigeria, stressing that the annual festivity contributes not only to the local economy but also the national with the influx of people from all parts of the world to participate.
The Ataoja, who is the custodian of the festival, said this during a visit to his palace by a tourism, art and culture consultancy group, Esquire Global, saying “we cannot count the blessings and the value of Osun Osogbo festival. The festival brings a lot of people from all over the world to this country annually and as a result boosting the state and national economies as well as preserving and promoting our cultural heritage.
“Every sector of the economy has benefited from the yearly festival ranging from tourism and hospitality, transportation, agriculture, oil and gas, transportation, telecommunications, finance and business, entertainment, information technology and manufacturing amongst others. We are ready to make this year’s celebration a huge success and distinct from the previous ones. Come August, I am inviting all from far and near to come and celebrate the 2019 Osun Osogbo festival with me.” Oba Oyetunji said.
The Ataoja declared that the Osun deity is an immovable spirit which cannot be seen by anyone except him at the appropriate time, saying that selling the deity amounts to selling his throne as the Osun goddess is the tool of his office apart from the staff of office presented by the Ajaguna.
“Osun Osogbo goddess is my stool of office and I am ready to protect her till I meet my ancestors. The deity is static, it cannot be moved and it is still there. It was bequeathed to me by my forefathers and I will continue to worship it. I derive some of my powers from the existence of the Osun goddess,” the first class Oba said.
Oba Oyetunji promised to preserve the heritage of the festival and the Osun scared Grove, listed among the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) world heritage site in 2005, stressing that as the custodian of the Osun deity, he has the responsibility to ensure her preservation, safe keeping and maintenance.
Speaking of behalf of the group, its spokesperson, Mr. Williams Derrick assured that the group will improve on the previous festivals with innovations that will not affect the myth and mystery of the Osun Osogbo goddess, stating that they are ready to work with more indigenes in diverse trades and arts as well as culture business to make this year’s festival memorable and eventful.
Derrick disclosed that Esquire Global has been appointed as the new consultant for Osun Osogbo festival, noting that the group’s visit to the Ataoja was part of the plans to make this year’s edition stand out as an international tourism and cultural heritage event.