Published On: Thu, Jul 16th, 2015

OPU UK charges S/W governors on cultural tourism calendar

OREDOLA ADEOLA

 

The Oodua Progressive Union, (OPU), United Kingdom chapter has urged governors of the South-West states of Nigeria to conceive a cultural-tourism calendar capable of luring tourists and visitors to the region. The Union made this recommendation at the one-day interactive session tagged ‘An Evening with Otunba Gani Adams, held at Novotel Hotel, North Greenwich, London, organised by members penultimate weekend.

 

The event which ensured the convergence of over 250 Nigerians mostly of Yoruba stock was held under strict intellectual ambience devoid of funfair except networking and brainstorming on revitalisation and rejuvenation of the cultural heritage of the Yoruba race.

 

According to Mr. Adewale Harrisson, OPU coordinator UK, apart from the funfair and displayed of cultural heritage, values, norms that is being showcased at this event, the union is making history by bringing stakeholders together  to explore the various ways of ensuring the institutionalisation of the cultural-tourism assets and potentialities of our region in alignment with the global market.

He said “We are actuated and incised by the vision and efforts of Otunba Gani Adams, who has been able to single handedly plant OPU in 58 countries with the sole aim of promoting, projecting, and sustaining the cultural heritage of the Yoruba race, which is being threatened by extinction.

“We consider this session as imperative and necessary as it will, through  various contributions from the eminent personalities  present here today,  find ways to accelerate the appreciation of our culture for socio- economic development.

“We deliberately tagged this event as an evening with Otunba Gani Adams because he is the symbol of the new Pan Yoruba cultural-tourism renaissance which we believe all altruistic Oodua sons and daughters should not only listen to, but understand the purpose and mission of OPU.”

Meanwhile, Otunba Gani Adams, said he was inspired to inaugurate OPU by providential necessity which border on the pull and push factor pillaging the pristine cultural heritage and tradition of the Oodua race. According to him, “I had the dream where I saw the obliteration of Yoruba cultural heritage from the Earth. I had a dream whereby our culture and tradition could not be found among the comity of venerated cultures of the world.

 

“I had this dream where generations yet unborn of Yoruba descent lost their identity and started raining curses on generations before them. And I heard a voice which commanded me to arise before dawn and commence a cultural troubadour, firstly at home and then among the Yoruba in Diaspora,” Adams added.

Otunba Adams revealed that in harkening to the command, Olokun Festival Foundation was initiated and registered with the mission of reviving major cultural festivals all over Yoruba land and branding them with touristic concepts.

“We thank God that we have over 16 cultural festivals which Olokun Festival Foundation sponsors every year. Our effort at home is not only lauded, applauded and commended but widely embraced and accepted by the people who are able to see the economic benefits in all these festivals which Olokun Festival foundation has so far revived, rejuvenated and reinvigorated.

“We have been able to inject innovation into all these festivals by first, letting the people see them as assets of immeasurable economic value rather than fetish, diabolical, primitive and uncultured culture.

“We have also been able to ensure the involvement of the youth by introducing beauty pageant and dances It is in line with this vision that the OPU, a non-political but purely cultural-tourism melting pot for all Yoruba in Diaspora.

He pointed out, “by the grace of almighty God, this association is planted in 58 countries and we are still counting.

“Recently in Austria, the OPU chapter organised a gala night where a German who is versatile in bata and gangan  drums entertained them to their satisfaction. But because the London summit is a forum for intellectual discourse, hence we decided to extricate the funfair and embrace sobriety necessitated by the goal of this meet.

“This kind of forum is necessary for critical assessment, agenda setting and evaluation, review of activities for optimum performance and proactive reflection, which will guide us from losing the goal of the mission of OPU.”

He declared that OPU is different from OPC. One is a self determination group which is Oodua People’s Congress, (OPC), a Nigerian affair while OPU is cultural and meant for Yoruba in Diaspora.”

A London-based Nigerian Immigration lawyer, Mr Adeyemi Bello who is one of the resource fellows at the event lauded the vision of OPU.

According to Bello, “it came at the nick of time when some of us in Diaspora are been suffocated by foreign culture and various indoctrination just because we are far away from home and most importantly because there is no platform like this poised and shapened to stoke  our cultural and traditional sensibility.

“Going by the vision and mission of OPU as espoused by Otunba Adams, a messianic drive has been set in motion to salvage the dwindling fortunes of the cultural heritage of the Yoruba race particularly on the global scene as it affects those of us in Diaspora. It now behoves us all to key into OPU for us to retain our identity.”

President, Nigerian Union of Journalists Europe chapter, Mr Lashley Ladigbolu noted that the inauguration of OPU is a new vista at re-establishing the cultural identity of Yoruba in the UK.

“This is necessary because some of us are raring children who have not only been to Nigeria talk less of acquiring or be in tune with the cultural values and norms of their native land.

“We appreciate the effort of Otunba Adams and we assure him of spreading this gospel to other Yoruba in the UK.

Reinforcing this stand, a seasoned broadcaster based in London, Chief Akin Omo Akin commended Otunba Adams for his visionary and strident effort at stoking the dying embers of Yoruba cultural-tourism heritage on the global level.

Following all deliberations, the union tasked the six governors in the South West to as a matter of urgency, take a cultural audit of the states and come out with a cultural calendar capable of drawing tourists and visitors to the region

The union agreed to  be cultural ambassadors of Yoruba race in all areas and to always ready to promote and project the cultural-tourism potentialities of Yoruba at any given opportunity and forum.

 

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