… reintroduces beaded ‘udan’ dancers

… monarch targets $1B yearly investment

As the people of Owo kingdom celebrate this year’s Igogo festival, the Olowo of Owo, Oba (Dr) Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye III, has called on cultural tourists around the world to visit the town to behold the cultural richness of the festival.

The monarch made this call at a press conference in his palace to announce modern activities that will be added to the ancient festival to make it more attractive and colourful.

Oba Ogunoye, who narrated what led to the commencement of Igogo about 800 years ago, believes the addition of the new activities will further attract the younger generation to the festival.

The Olowo said, “As you are aware, Igogo Festival is the most celebrated in Owo Kingdom. Annually, its celebration comes with pumps and pageantry. Through the festival, therefore, we want to see this ancient town transformed into a hive of colourful activities that will attract tourists and bring economic fortunes into our domain. Our ultimate goal is to galvanise the festival to produce an economic impact of one billion dollars yearly. We are dead serious about its effect and target. Talks are on with our Diaspora sons and daughters to explore the low hanging commercial fruit and advantages which the festival portends for economic boom of our people.

“Even though, there is no single manufacturing industry in Owo, the Igogo festival will be exploited by attracting huge visitors to pour in and spend their money, thereby boosting the local economy. When this happens, happiness will permeate the society, tourism will grow and the economy will improve, thus providing job opportunities for the youth. Expectedly, the entertainment industry will also showcase the diverse cultural heritage of the Kingdom and lighten up her social activities. I am using this medium to invite private and corporate sponsors to partner with us in this laudable project.

“In summary, the Igogo Festival will open wealth creation avenues, upscale our small-scale businesses of cloth weaving and artistries and promote general uplift of the socio-economic development of Owo Kingdom.

“Under my watch, the Igogo Festival is to witness a rebirth in content and package to attract over 500,000 people yearly at its peak. We intend to build it gradually and aggressively to attract foreign visitors, Nigerians and Owo sons and daughters in diaspora. This year in particular, there will be the reenactment of the Udan dancers in beads. These are maidens who, in the olden days, usually form part of the train during the Igogo Olowo procession.

“Also, it is my desire to give the Igogo Festival a 21st Century outlook by making its processes and activities richer. To this end, some complimentary events will be added to the year 2024 Igogo Festival celebrations as they will be unveiled today. The major events to be added to Igogo festival, starting from the Year 2024 edition, are: the Oroshen Beauty Pageant, which will herald the festival and throw up the Oroshen Icon that will reign for a year; the Festival Market that will take place during the festival where assorted goods and services will be exhibited; and the Oghwa Lopo. ceremony, which will bring the Igogo festival to a close, yearly. During the Ogwa Lopo ceremony, His Imperial Majesty, the Olowo of Owo will be seated in his full royalty to relate with his subjects, visitors, tourists and well-wishers in an open place. The occasion affords him the opportunity to bless the people of Owo Kingdom and thank all for participating in the festival.”

Earlier, the monarch thanked God for the quick recovery of the state governor, saying “We want to specifically appreciate God’s kindness for the safe return of our Son and the Executive Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu from his medical trip abroad. We are indeed happy to have our dear son back home in our midst; and we pray that the good Lord shall continue to be with him as he resumes to continue his good work, so visible across Ondo State”.

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