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.”
“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.
“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.
“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.
Runsewe hails Governor Fayemi over cultural strides
The Director-General, National Council of Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe has commended the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi for his keen interest at the promotion of culture and arts in the state
The DG described Governor Fayemi as “one of the greatest cultural assets in Nigeria who is stoking the arts and cultural sector for the overall development of Ekiti State and its wonderful homogenous indigenes “
Otunba Runsewe made this observation about Governor Fayemi after the Director-General, Ekiti – State Council for Arts and Culture, Ambassador Wale Ojo Lanre highlighted the cultural strides in Ekiti State at the 49th National Stakeholders Meeting on the National Festival of Arts and Culture ( NAFEST) held in Benin, Edo State last week.
Otunba Runsewe declared “I am not surprised about the stories of good news emanating from Ekiti State because Governor Fayemi is not only a brilliant and cosmopolitan personality who understands the import of culture as the base for value restoration, moral rectification and attitude shaping but an exceptional human being who is determined to employ arts and culture to drive commerce, investment and investors to the state. And going by the testimonies and reports from Ekiti State one is convinced that Ekiti State which has come back to take its front-row position in the cultural agenda of Nigeria “
Ambassador Ojo – Lanre who attended the meeting with two directors of the Council, Messer Banji Adelusi, (Culture) and Adeoye Adewuyi, ( Arts), has briefed the body of the cultural strides being made by Governor Fayemi at enhancing the cultural potentialities of the state
“I am bold to tell this distinguished gathering of cultural administrators of 36 states of the Federation that Governor Kayode Fayemi has brought to life the hitherto lifeless, moribund , sterile and dead Arts and Cultural sector thus empowering it as one of the essential agents of value restoration and reorientation “
Ojo – Lanre, also disclosed that the state has commenced the implementation of the Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture 2012 Law which was enacted by Governor Fayemi during his first tenure and which was relegated and put into the cooler by the previous government.
He revealed that Ekiti State also, via the Law has legally established Council for Arts and Culture which has been mobilized and reinforced to promote, enhance and market the cultural ingredients, values, arts, crafts and heritage sites from being sources of entertainment but of empowerment, revenue generation and employment creation.
Ojo – Lanre hinted that within the last two months of inaugurating the Council, Governor Fayemi has empowered it to attend the 2019 Drum Festival in Abeokuta, rebranded the State Standing Cultural Troupe, accelerating the work on the Cultural and the civic centre, approved the hosting of Stakeholder Forum and Creative workshop, stoking of indigenous industry clusters , ensured the harmonisation, the unification of the various hitherto disorganised sectoral association players and rejuvenation of cultural festivals like Ogun, Oladunwo in Okemesi, Ekiti Parapo War Festival and institutionalization of culture and arts as the fulcrum of value reorientation
He pointed out that one of the signs that Governor Fayemi is doing well in the state was the presence and attendance of the Ekiti delegate at the Pre NAFEST Technical Forum being held in Edo State.
Ekiti govt. to train youth on indigenous arts, crafts
Ekiti state government, through its Council for Arts and Culture in collaboration with Bureau of Labour , Employment and Productivity have promised to train young indigenes of the state in indigenous arts and crafts with a view of enhancing creativity, empowerment and reducing unemployment .
The DG Arts and Culture, Ambassador Wale Ojo Lanre and Mr Lanre Ogunjobi, DG Bureau of Employment, Labour and Productivity disclosed this during their recent visit to the Onisan of Isan Ekiti, Oba Adejuwon Gabriel Ayodele in his palace.
Isan , the country home of Governor Kayode Fayemi is one of the towns in the country with highest number of skillful potters.
According to Ojo Lanre, “part of the mantra of the council is to resuscitate and promote the dying indigenous cottage industries as well as training the younger ones in the arts to prevent them from going into extinction.
“We have been to Ogotun Ekiti where we have mat weavers , today we are in Isan to see the pottery centre and we will go to Ara, Ipoti and other Ekiti communities with creative and indigenous industries to reinforce their sustainability and ensure their being embraced by this generation for economic development and posterity”
Also, in his own remarks, Mr Lanre Ogunjobi, Director General, Bureau of Employment, Labour and Productivity said the Bureau would train and facilitate soft loan through micro credit agencies to encourage women and younger ones in the business.
“ Part of Dr Kayode Fayemi’s vision is to uplift the lot of women and young people and one of the ways he wants to achieve this is to put in place sustainable projects that will reduce unemployment, empowers and generate revenue”, he said.
Responding, the Onisan of Isan, Oba Adejuwon Gabriel Ayodele said “Isan women are endowed with skillful potters who need support for mass production and marketing of products”.
The monarch, then urged the government to rebuild and upgrade the Isan pottery center which was built in 1985 during Late Mariam Babangida’s Better Life Programme and which the wife of the State Governor ,Erelu Bisi Fayemi was working upon during the first tenure of Dr Kayode Fayemi .
CULTURE : Ekiti to adopt own fabric
The Ekiti State Council of Obas has been urged to fish out the traditional fabric which is unique and homogeneous to the state
The Director General ,Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture , Ambassador Wale Ojo Lanre made this call during an official visit to the Council of Traditional Rulers at the House of Chiefs ,Old Governor Office, Ado Ekiti.
The Director General pointed out that ” it is a fact that we are homogeneous in language but also it is our believe that Ekiti has that special fabrics which is unique and of great ancestral value to the culture and tradition of Ekiti . I am thus utilizing this opportunity of urging our traditional rulers to fish out that antecedental fabric which all Ekiti indigenes will not only be identified with but be proud to display anywhere to further reinforce the homogeneity of our state”.
Ojo – Lanre who was accompanied by his Directors informed the traditional Obas of the functions of the Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture as codified in the Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture Law 2012 as assented to by Dr Kayode Fayemi during his first tenure as the Governor of the State
He said that Governor Kayode Fayemi has the highest respect for the traditional institution hence ‘has charged the Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture to ensure the reverencing of traditional stool and enhancement of traditional culture ,values , arts, sacred places and heritage sites’
Ojo – Lanre pointed out that his visit was not just a formality rather an attestation to the fact that his council was established primarily to add value to the institution of traditional rulers and the shoring up of the cultural influence of the royal fathers
He intimated the royal fathers of the stride of his Council at documenting and profiling all the cultural festivals and heritage sites in the state for positive enhancements
Responding on behalf of the traditional rulers ,the Elekole of Ikole ,Oba Adewumi Ajibade , who was the acting Chairman for the meeting,commended Governor Fayemi for his visionary and revolutionary acts ,deeds and steps particularly in the arts and culture sector
He pointed out that the visit by Ojo Lanre is a clear demonstration of the government serious commitment to the promotion of culture , enhancement of the arts and protection of the pristine heritage of Ekiti people.
The Elekole said that the traditional rulers were impressed by the speech read by the Director General in which he exposed the steps taken so far by the Ekiti Council for Arts and Culture
He assured the Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture of the support of the traditional rulers in the state .
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