Victor Akinkuolie, Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State Government has disclosed plans to boost its economy by promoting traditional festivals to international standard.
The Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in the State, Prof. Rasaq Ojo-Bakare, said that the state has over 145 viable festivals that can earn national recognition and rejuvenate its economy if well promoted and given the right exposure.
He said the state can promote the standard of Egungun festival usually held in Ijan-Ekiti to an international standard.
Bakare, said the Poroye Masquerade Festival of Ijan Ekiti, and in other towns, were viable economic potential, if propelled to national status like Osun-Osogbo, Argugun fishing festival, Ojude Oba, Udiroko, among other festivals.
This came as the State government and International Council for Ifa Religion (ICFIR), partnered the people of Ijan Ekiti, to celebrate Poroye Festival with intention to propel it to the national and international levels.
The Commissioner, represented by the Director of Tourism in the Ministry, Prince Banji Adelusi, spoke in Ijan Ekiti, during the Egungun Festival Pilgrimage 2022 marking the annual ‘Poroye Masquerade festival’.
Bakare said several initiatives like Ekiti State Festival of Arts and Culture, were invented by Governor Kayode Fayemi’s government to bring Ekiti’s potentials to the front burner and make the state a tourism destination.
“The goverment is encouraging communities to start celebrating because of the economic potentials inherent in tourism. Our collaboration with ICFIR will help in promoting many festivals, particularly Poroye that stands for Yoruba History.
“Ekiti is so rich in culture and arts, we have a lot of products. Investment in tourism can turn around our economy. Ifa, Orisa and Egungun pilgrimages are full of economic gains”.
Speaking Dr Solagbade Popoola, who led some Ifa devotees to the town, posited that the festival was unique and pivotal because it represents historical fact in Yoruba land.
Popoola assured that the festival would gain national traction if proper investment is made to develop it, promising that this will be done in due course.
A Museum and Cultural Heritage Expert, Mr. Olakunle Makinde, said the myth and mystery behind Poroye had been that it has the power for prosperity, protection and granting of children to the barrens if prayers are offered in its groove.
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