Lagos State Government and the Aare Ona-Kakanfo of Yoruba Land and Chief Promoter of Olokun Festival Foundation, OFF, Iba Gani Adams have called on all relevant stakeholders and the general public to be involved in salvaging the Yoruba culture especially the indigenous language from going into extinction.
This call was made on Thursday in Lagos at the grand finale of the 2019 Olokun Festival held in the Badagry area of the State.
The event which is championed by the Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba Land and supported by the State Government was aimed at exploring indigenous cultural heritage as well as marketing the Yoruba cultural identity to the world.
The Special Adviser to the State Governor on Arts and Culture, Mr. Solomon Saanu Bonu who spoke at the event commended Gani Adams for always spearheading initiatives aimed at cultural renaissance promised to continue to support similar initiatives that would further espouse the rich cultural heritage of the State to the whole world.
“This celebration is a welcomed development because it complements the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu’s administration. Just as we have partnered with the organisers of this event for this year’s edition, I can assure participants here that the state government would be more involved in the subsequent editions of this event,” the Special Adviser stated.
He opined that it is time Africans and Nigerians, in particular, begin to appreciate what belongs to them and place lesser attention to the promotion of foreign content, culture, and languages.
The festival according to him, if given the needed impetus, has the potential of attracting tourists and visitors in large numbers from across the world and would in effect positively affect the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
While urging Nigeria to follow the path of some developed countries who had adopted the use of indigenous languages as official languages in their schools, Bonu stressed that the use of indigenous languages does not debar students from being proficient in the English Language.
He enumerated several efforts by the state government to promote the Yoruba Language including the enactment of Yoruba Language Preservation and Preservation Law, stressing that the present administration has even gone a step further with the directive of the Governor that all state events must have a blend and reflection of the Yoruba language.
Speaking earlier, Gani Adams maintained cultural festivals such as the Olokun Festival, will make Nigerians to gradually begin to change the narratives about the country and project Nigeria’s image to the entire world positively.
He, however, made a clarion call to all Yoruba sons and daughters to continually promote the policy thrust and development agenda of the Olokun Festival.
“Together we must build our tourism potentials and provide opportunities for our people to explore the world, using cultural tourism as a template for growth and development.
“One thing I am sure of this is that one day, Nigerians, particularly, the Yorubas will look back at what is presently happening in the South-West and pass their judgment on us. Whether we have done well for our race or not, they will surely look back and posterity will judge us,” said Gani Adams.