No fewer than 5,000 foreign guests are expected at the grand finale of this year’s edition of the Osun Osogbo festival coming up on August 26, 2011.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Mr. Folorunso Alao, made the disclosure on Friday at a pre-Osun festival press conference held at the Ataoja Palace in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
He pleaded with the people of Osogbo to allow peace to reign throughout the week-long festival, saying the visitors coming to witness the celebration of the festival would not feel safe in an atmosphere of tension and crisis.
Alao praised Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the state for his interest in culture and tourism development.
Also, the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun, at the programme, appealed for peace, praying that God would not allow trouble makers to mar the programme.
He assured the people of Osogbo that as custodian of their tradition, culture and value system, he would not abuse the Ataoja’s stool.
He expressed gratitude to his chiefs, the state government and the people ofOsogbo for their support for him, particularly in his trying times.
He also thanked the Intercontinental Distillers Limited and the Nigerian Breweries PLC for their continued support and part-sponsorship of the annual festival.
Both representatives of the Intercontinental Distillers Limited and the Nigerian Breweries PLC, Mr. Bayo Oke and Mr. Okanlawon, respectively, assured their organisations’ continued support for the festival.
The governor of Osun State chapter of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Prince Tunde Adeyemi, promised active participation of his members at this year’s edition of the festival.
Meanwhile, the governor has directed the Osun Youths Empowerment Scheme (OYES) Commandant, Colonel (Rtd) Enibukun Oyewole to ensure that the OYES cadets are stationed at strategic locations in the state capital throughout the period of the festival.
He said that the Commandant should work with the O-Clean Committee to see that all the streets are cleaned during the period.
According to him, the step should be taken to ensure that the purpose of O-clean programme of the government is not jeopardized before, during and after the festival.