Osuntokun harps on nation building through culture
From Victor Akinkuolie, Ado-Ekiti
A former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) Chief Akin Osuntokun has stressed need for all levels of government to harness huge opportunities that resides in the rich culture and tradition of various communities to aid development.
This is just as the Ekiti state government has reiterated its readiness to promote arts and culture of its people by investing heavily in the sector to shore up the state’s revenue base and make it less dependent on monthly federal allocations.
Osuntokun, also a one-time Special Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on political matters, spoke at Okemesi Ekiti, state at the grand finale of this year’s edition of Oladunwo Masquerade festival, where about 1,000 colourfully custumed masquerades were on display to entertain hundreds of tourists and fun seekers that thronged the town.
According to him, the situation the country currently finds itself has made it imperative for governments to start utilizing cultural heritage for socio-economic development, as part of economy diversification efforts being canvassed as alternatives to overdependence on oil.
He regretted that many cultural and traditional potentials had remained neglected over the years, thereby denying many states and local governments huge revenue derivable from them, on annual basis.
He urged those in helm of affairs, especially political office holders to put politics aside when it comes to issues relating to development, saying it was only then that the nation can move forward.
Osuntokun who denied rumour making the rounds that he was comtemplating dumping the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) said he was a liberal politician who does not believe dumping a party as panacea to settling scores or addressing grievances.
He urged those in leardership positions to avoid all tendencies that could lead to anarchy or complete disintegration of the country under whatever guise.
He promised to continuosly offer timely and genuine advice to all levels of government using all legal platforms available to him, if and when situation called for such.
Earlier, the state government, represented by the state Director General of the Council for Arts and Culture, Mr Wale Ojo-Lanre had said apart from revenue generation, arts and culture would reshape the minds of the people and curb all criminal tendencies, especially.
” Many people today earn their living through the money made fromthe various arts, thus Ekiti state government under Governor Kayode Fayemi, has resolved to make the sector become a veritable source of income to the state”, he said.
Earlier in a welcome address, the traditional ruler of the town, Oba Gbadebo Adedeji explained that the grand finale, tagged ” Okemesi Cultural Heritage”, was aimed at promoting the over 500 years Egungun, (Masquerade) festival and also project the town as a tourist destination in Nigeria.