The ancient town of Ile-Ife in Osun State was overwhelmed with hundreds of residents, tourists and entertainers as they all joined the Ooni of Ife, Enitan Ogunwusi , Ojaja ll, to celebrate Aje Festival on Monday and Tuesday.
During the annual festival, Ooni disclosed that Nigeria is rich with culture and tourism potentials that can be used to transform the economy of the nation if the government and the citizens jointly utilise these. He said culture does not negate religion.
“In 2017, we prayed during Aje Festival and we centred our prayers on the economic recession and within one week, we experienced dollar crash from about N480 to N350. So, as Christians or Muslim, our cultural heritage needs to be respected.
“Aje is the spirit of market profitability and nobody can survive without it. When you work and expect payment, it is Aje. Our youth should also be industrious so as to fulfil their destiny,” the monarch said.
He further admonished youth to stay away from thuggery as election draws nearer.
“Don’t be used by politicians for election violence as you can also build a name for yourself if you focus on your dream”, he advised.
Also, the Iyalaje of Apapa Lagos who served as the chief promoter of 2018 Aje Festival, Toyin Kolade, buttressed the Ooni’s point that Aje is the festival of wealth that radiates in all markets from its oldest market in Ile Ife, Ejigbomekun market. She enjoined Nigerians to cherish their culture as against promoting foreign culture.
Nollywood filmmaker, Idowu Philips, also known as “Mama Rainbow” in her short address gave kudos to the Ooni for his role towards cultural revolution.
Speaking with our correspondent, a resident of Ile-Ife, Kasali Ibrahim, said the town is rich in culture. He lauded the king for promoting the culture of the land as he described Ooni as an “uncommon king”.
“Last year’s celebration was massive and this year again shows that our king is uncommon and ready to take out culture to where it should be,” he said.