THE Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun Oyetunji, has stated that the annual Osun Osogbo festival is of immense economic value to Nigeria as it contributes not only to the local economy but also the national treasury with the influx of people from all parts of the world.
He added that the festival will continue to contribute to the tourism sector in Osun State and the national economy as a whole, adding that the town understands the significance of the celebration and will continue to through the festival, aid the economy of Nigeria.
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, Equity Global, the consultant for the 2019 Osun Osogbo festival, adding that, “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, boosts 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 to transportation, agriculture, oil and gas, 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 who declared that the Osun deity is an immovable spirit which cannot be seen by anyone except him at the appropriate time added that anyone saying that he sold the deity is a fool as this amounts to selling his throne since 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,” he explained.
Speaking on 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 a memorable event.
Derrick added that Equity Global, which has been appointed as the new consultant for Osun Osogbo festival visited the Ataoja as part of the plans to make this year’s edition stand out as an international tourism and cultural heritage event.