Despite the influence of western civilization, education and religion, Osun Osogbo festival has to a very large extent maintained its originality, authenticity and acceptability among nations worldwide.
The Osun Osogbo festival consultant, Otunba Ago Olumoko stated this at the Osun Osogbo festival stakeholders’ forum held at the Ataoja’s palace in Osogbo on Wednesday, saying, the consistent celebration of the festival was the basis for its recognition by UNESCO.
According to him, cultural promotion of the festival would help preserve and protect the rich culture of the Nigeria people.
Olumoko who lamented the attitude of government towards promotion of culture, accused the federal government of withholding funds released by UNESCO for the promotion of the festival.
He said: “UNESCO has listed the grove as a world heritage site and as such allocated money for the yearly celebration of the Osun Osogbo festival, but unfortunately nothing has been disbursed to organize the cultural event since I took over in 2000 as the consultant.
“At a point in time it seems they were looking at our direction but unfortunately nothing has come till date.”
He said, the festival was being sustained by supports from sons and daughters of Osogbo, state government and corporate bodies.
He called on the government across all levels to put round peg in round hole by appointing competent hands who can help promote the people’s culture, saying, there would be nothing called tourism if the people’s cultures are not promoted.
According to him, if done the right way, culture and tourism can be the bedrock of the Nigeria economy as major alternative to its sole reliance on oil.
Mr Kufre Ekanem, the corporate affairs adviser, Nigerian Breweries, represented by Adelaja Adejare believes its partnership will not only enhance commercial activities in the town but increase trade transactions which in turns, positively impact the economy of the state.
Bayo Onafuwa, a representative of MTN promised to always render supports in order to protect and preserve the festival, expressing optimism that it would crystallize the superb experience of Nigerian festivals.