Action Congress governorship candidate in Osun State, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola has stated that with prudent management of resources and exploration of the tourism opportunities in the state, the state can be ahead of other states in the country in terms of wealth creation.
Aregbesola disclosed this at this year’s annual Iwude Ogun festival held in Ilesa, at the weekend, just as the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, who came with the AC flagbearer, called for cultural reawakening as a means of regenerating moral values in the country.
According to Aregbesola, Osun State would rank among the richest states in the country if her tourism potentials were developed; stressing that proper control and management of the state tourism would attract foreigners to the state.
He said, culture and tradition were among basic factors mostly needed to develop any society, advising the people not to rely on the only identity they have.
The duo came in a yellow helicopter which landed at Ilesa Grammar School, after which they rode in a motorcade to the palace of Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran, with supporters of should Aregbesola following on foot.
Besides, the presence of Aregbesola and Soyinka, in the ancient town halted commercial activities, as thousands trooped out to welcome the August visitors.
But the state deputy governor, Erelu Obada, who had earlier, come to the palace of the monarch with five cars in her convoy, was neither welcome nor stunned the indigenes of her fatherland, as she sneaked in and out of the palace like a stranger.
However, Soyinka called on government to revive arts and culture, adding that “we must not lose our heritage.
“Nigeria needs to harmonize religion and culture to foster unity, development and growth and there is need for cultural reawakening as a means of regenerating moral values in the country’’.
Speaking with journalists at the event, Aregbesola said: “God has given every people and every community its own resources to develop.
“If we don’t have oil in Osun, we can look inward and develop our tourism potentials. We should not always wait for handouts from the Federal purse monthly.
“We have arable lands; we have gold, we have some mineral resources we could explore and I hope to restore the glory of Osun State within two years of my administration largely through cultural tourism.
This has underscored the claim of the embattled governor of the state, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who said the state could not survive without Federal Government allocation.
It would be recalled that Oyinlola, while presenting N88.2 billion budget for 2009 fiscal year to the State House of Assembly said the state with her low income generation could never survive without the monthly allocation from the Federal Government.
Oyinlola said the state’s previous budgets hade been revenue-driven, maintaining that, that was why he presented such large budget in order not to hinder his government from executing his priority projects.
Explaining that he was touched by the outpouring of love showed by his supporters, the AC governorship candidate thanked all the citizens of the state for keeping hope alive and for remaining steadfast in the efforts of regenerating the state.”
Aregbesola with his Oranmiyan platform was the first to draw major international attention to the Iwude Ogun festival in 2006, when he invited scores of dignitaries from home and abroad to revive the event.
-SHINA ABUBAKAR and BISI ADESOYE