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Aso Ofi Day 2017: Ooni urges government to support local inventions

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The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II Saturday called on the State and Federal governments to always support initiatives that could guarantee gainful employment for the teeming youth populace and strengthen earnings of local business men in Nigeria.

The African foremost monarch made this call in his Ile-Oodua palace at Ile Ife during the launch of this year’s edition of ASO OFI FESTIVAL billed to hold at Iseyin, an ancient town in Oyo state widely known to be the biggest manufacturing hub for Aso ofi in the world which was first produced and worn in Ile-Ife, the cradle of mankind, averring that several vocations synonymous with the Yoruba race are big enough to provide employment for many people in the country and globally.

The Spiritual Leader of Yorubaland​, Ooni Ogunwusi recalled that Oduduwa during his reign was the first to discover cotton plant and transformed it to wool thread to make Aso Ofi driven by the inspiration he picked from spider cobwebs and grew large cotton plantation in the ancient town.

“Oduduwa was the first to discover cotton plant and transformed it to wool thread to make Aso Ofi in ancient Ife”

“In the medieval days, leaf and animal skin was what our forefathers were wearing.”

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“But with the discovery of cotton plant which was transformed to wool thread by Oduduwa to make Aso-Ofi, Iseyin later became a foremost city on cloth weaving.”

“He got the inspiration from spider cobwebs and grew a large cotton plantation. The fittings of Aso Ofi was later perfected by the children of Ogun (1st blacksmith), Abere (needle) and Obe (knife)”.

“Olokun, who is also known as ‘Oluofi’ started the venture with looming thread weaving along with Segi beads (remnants of the production site recently discovered in ife scientific dating of which gave over 4000 years old)”.

“Their descendants migrated to settle in Iseyin and later to train the other descendants of Oduduwa around the world such as – Anu (Ethiopia) and Nubia (Sudan) all the way to present India (Orissa region now known as Odisha in India) and now all over the world”.

“Iseyin and Ilorin people still practice Aso Ofi venture very gainfully till date and we must always encourage them with necessary support because If we don’t tell our stories by ourselves, nobody will” Ooni maintained​.

The Aseyin of Iseyin, HRM, Oba AbdulGaniyy Salawudeen Olooguebi, Ajinasan 1 who led hundreds of Aso Ofi weavers from Iseyin accompanied by their colleagues from Ilorin in Kwara state to Ile-Ife described Ooni as a true leader and the overall father of Yoruba race that deserves loyalty from all descendants of Oduduwa.

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“Ooni is our overall father in Yorubaland. He is a true leader, we will continue to honour him as the father of Yoruba and we resist any move to disrespect him”.

The first class monarch of Oke Ogun people in Oyo State, while tracing the history of Aso Ofi, said Olu Ofi, who is one of the founders of Iseyin, left Ile Ife several years earlier and settled in Iseyin town.

“Aso Ofi was invented in Ile-Ife the source and traditional headquarters of Yoruba race worldwide and later taken to Iseyin by Olu Ofi from where it was made to spread across the world saying the weaving business in Iseyin employs several people, owing to this, crime rate in the town is at very low level.”

He urged businessmen, cultural enthusiasts and promoters to key into the project and participate in the festival.

Earlier in his opening speech, the Consultant and Coordinator of Aso Ofi Day Festival, Prince Olamide Olajuwon, noted that Aso-Ofi which is being used to make shoes, bags, wrist-watch can be improved to a level of massive revenue generation for the people and government.

“Since coming back from America, I’ve stopped wearing jeans; what I wear now is Aso-Ofi designed in so many unique ways.

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“I must say here that Oyo State government has given Iseyin weavers Association seven hectares of land to build their factory and market which will turn Iseyin to a great tourism haven”. Olamide Olajuwon said.

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The untold story of legendary Obadoke Aare Latoosa | By Arowolo-Are Jubril

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Like many other Ibadan war lords and rulers, Mohammad Obadoke Aare Latoosa  was a native of Ilora, near Oyo. His father was Ore Orisa Oyatoosa while the mother bored Oyatooki. Both were river goddess worshippers. 

Being young and adventurous, Obadoke left his parents’ Bantu house of Okutuoje compound at Ilora for Ibadan in search of greener pastures.

Although, an altercation with a prominent Oyo ruler was said to have prompted this move.

On his arrival in Ibadan, Obadoke settled at a place around Oniyanrin-Nalende axis ( in the present Ibadan North Local Government), where he engaged in palm wine selling.

Obadoke was reputed to be versed in the knowledge of palm tree planting that he could tell the harvest period and profits with faultless precision!

Then, his palm wine selling exploits connected him with Beyioku Akere one of the promising warriors in Ibadan land. Akere later introduced him to Ogunmola who held the title of Bada under Iba Oluyole during the period.

During their meeting, Obadoke Oyatoosa’s bravery, confidence and war situation exploits impressed Ogunmola and he drafted Oyatoosa into his private army for which he later became the captain.

In the bid to have Obadoke Oyatoosa closer to him, Ogunmola settled him at a hill top which was then a dreaded forest that harbored a dangerous human eating lion! The choice of the hill top (now Oke Aare) was not particularly the making of Ogunmola who thought Obadoke could not survive the deadly animal. But Oyatoosa opted to settle in, regardless of any kind of threats!

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However, within the next few days, Obadoke caught the lion alive and took it on his shoulder to Ogunmola who was dazed with Oyatoosa’s bravery.

It’s interesting to know that Obadoke cut off the lion’s head and adopted it as one of his symbols of authority!

Having settled well at Oke Aare, he got married to Osubunmi, Ibeji and Moriola in succession but the unions were fruitless until after about 16 years when he had Sanusi as the first child. This happened after reverted to Islam and he believed that the change in religion influenced the birth of his son. There after, Obadoke adopted the name ‘Mohammad’ (Momodu in Yoruba pronunciation), with the aid of the then Emir of Ilorin, Abdul Salam who had earlier conquered Katunga, the capital of Old Oyo Empire with the fall of Afonja.

Since then, Mohammad Obadoke Oyatoosa never looked back. He was fully involved in many territorial conquests as the captain of Ogunmola’s private army from where he rose through the ranks until he got the ultimate title: Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land.

He started on the leadership line with the title of Are-Ago Balogun during the reign of Baale Oyesile Olugbode, (1851-1864), Otun Seriki during the time of Bashorun Ogunmola, (1865-1867) and Otun Balogun during the short reigns of Balogun Beyioku Akere (1867-1870), and Baale Orowusi Awarun Ososo (1870-1871). Akere as the Balogun during the reign of Bashorun Ogunmola was to assume the Baale position after Ogunmola’s demise but he, (Akere) deferred it until after he must have won Oke Ogun war. Although, Akere won but he died after his victorious return and few days to his installation.

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To be continued…

 

Arowolo-Are Jubril,  journalist and media consultant, sent this piece from Ibadan, Oyo state.

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Ibadan 125 room-Irefin Palace to rival London’s Buckingham Palace, Oyo govt. boasts

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Oyo State government has disclosed that the historical Irefin Palace in Ibadan has been positioned to rival the Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom as the State has entered into agreement with private partners to promote notable tourist sites.

The State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun stated this recently while playing host to the Irefin Royal Family of Ibadan at his office.

The family held an historical significance of being the descendants of Oba Onirefin who built the biggest palace of 125 rooms in the history of Yorubaland, during his reign between 1912 to 1914.

Late Oba Onirefin was noted for his philanthropic efforts, especially in promotion of education as he was said to be the highest donor to the establishment of the popular Ibadan Grammar School where he donated 100 pounds and the land upon which the school was built.

Olatubosun boasted that the Seyi Makinde led government has turned away from the old style of neglecting tourism as a means of generating internal revenue and has adopted the public-private-partnership model to develop and promote major tourist sites in the State.

“We want to work with the Irefin Royal Family to bring more attention to the tourism potential of the palace and the significance of it to humanity, the palace is not just a structure, it symbolizes love, it symbolizes philanthropy.

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“The late Oba Onirefin was a giver and lover of educational development, that is why the State government will support the family to promote the palace to be as famous as the Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom, look at the number of people that troop to the U.K to see the palace among other sites, it will generate goodwill for the government and promote the tourism industry in the State.”

The leader of the family who doubled as the Coordinator of the Irefin Historical Palace Foundation, Prince Omokayode Ayinla Irefin said the family was happy with the stride of Oyo State government towards promoting the tourism sector in the State.

Omokayode said the Irefin Palace Heritage Tourism Development Foundation has entered into agreement with a foreign partner to train youths that are interested in tourism and send them abroad for the practical aspect of the job.

He, however called on other notable families in the State with historical potentials to emulate the Irefin Tourism foundation so as to diversify the State’s economy and gain more from foreign input into tourism.

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Oyo govt. expresses readiness to partner investors for tourist sites development

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Oyo State Commissioner for Information Culture and Tourism, Dr Wasiu Olatubosun has hinted that the state has tourism potentials that could yield enough income and also generate employment if private investors and corporate bodies could collaborate with the present administration to develop the tourism sites.

The commissioner who stated this during a courtesy visit by the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN) to his office last last Monday, also added that the present government in the state was committed to partnering with groups, associations, corporate bodies and individuals who are into the development of culture and tourism potentials.

He said this was due to the fact that the state is blessed with diverse traditional elements and tourist sites which when utilised and harnessed, would attract investors, provide employment and increase the IGR of the state.

“It is no news that Oyo State possesses more traditional elements that always attract foreing and local interests as well as tourism sites that when, harnessed, will bring enough fund to the State and booster its IGR, countries like Israel, Kenya, Italy and others do not rely on petroleum to survive, they use tourism to drive revenue.

“We are replicating same in Oyo State and it shall be successful with conscious collaboration of corporate interests and organizational support for the government in the areas of revamping, redesigning and facelifting our major traditional programmes and tourist-attractive sites, Ado-Awaye suspended lake is one site that has no equal in Africa, even United Nations should show interest.

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“Governor Seyi Makinde has shown great interest in building the tourism industry to become a revenue-generating sector in the State, that is a quality of a leader that sees into the future and sees potentials for solutions where others are lamenting,” he said.

The Commissioner further assured the association of the state’s readiness to partner with the them in promoting the culture and tourist potentials around while also working together to promote the activities of the association through the Ministry’s various media platforms.

In his remarks, the Vice President Southwest Zone of FTAN, Otunba Ayo Olumoko, who spoke on behalf of the team expressed profound gratitude for the warm reception they got from the Ministry, saying that the association has been in existence in the past 23 years and has chapters of the association in all the 36 states of the federation.

Olumoko said the purpose of the visit was to acquaint the state government, through the Ministry, of their efforts at sanitizing the tourism industry in Nigeria and put in place a structured executive body in each state to oversee its activities in line with the mandate of the association.

He promised a robust relationship with Oyo State government through the Ministry so that activities in the tourism sector would not be hijacked by miscreants.

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