By Sesan Laoye
The welfare Manager of Asa Day, a worldwide organization and initiator of Asa Day festival, Princess Ololade Oluwakemi Babade, has said one of the ways to have peace and harmony in Nigeria is for all to go back to the basis, and use the different cultures available in the country as tools of revivingthe economy.
This, she said, will ensure the smooth industrialisation of Nigeria.
Princess Babade made this declaration in a statement issued to announce the 2021 Asa Day Declaration, billed for November 21 at the Blue Roof Agidigbin, Lagos.
The programme is organised in conjunction with the Lagos State government, through the State’s Ministry of Tourism, Art and Culture and Asa Day World Wide inc. Canada, a non-partisan, non-profitable but purely cultural organisation, with specific interests in promoting Yoruba culture and heritage.
She said Asa Day worldwide has been promoting Yoruba culture in Canada and the Caribbean, noting that the Yoruba culture is one of the richest in the world which is equally marketable.
She, however, regretted that governments and individuals, specially corporate bodies, have failed to invest in “our culture to boost the economy of the country especially that of the Yoruba race”
According to her, there is nowhere in the world that the Yoruba cultural heritage has not stood out as very unique and which can’t be ignored.
“Yoruba artifacts, painting, language, dresses art and crafts are the most sought after out there in countries of the world and the culture practiced by indigenes of those countries with pride,” she said.
Princess Babade who highlighted some of the successful Asa Day Celebrations since it started, said the maiden edition held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, was very successful with Nigeria’s first class monarchs, cultural ambassadors; Yoruba actors and actresses as well as Representatives of Canadian Government, present
According to her, the second edition in 2019 was also held at the same venue in Canada with people from entertainment industry, dignitaries, Lagos state government officials as well as Oyo State government officials led by the Deputy Speaker , Hon. Abiodun Fadeyi and the Chairman, House Committee on Culture, Hon. Isiaka Kazeem Tunde in attendance. Also in attendance were Representatives of Premier of Manitoba, Canada
In 2020, Asa Day celebration was moved to Nigeria and held virtually at the Cultural Centre, Mokola, Ibadan due to the COVID – 19 pandemic and it was broadcasted on all social media platforms to ensure that the passion and vision for Yoruba culture celebration is not hindered.
According to her, the 2021 first edition of Asa Day, along with Word Cultural Day was held at the Cultural Centre, Mokola, Ibadan Oyo State in Conjunction with Oyo State Government.
There were Prominent guests present at the event, including the Alaafin of Oyo’s wife, Queen Ramat Adeyemi; Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams; Bashorun of Oyo, High Chief Yusuff Akinade; former Oyo state first lady, Alhaja Mutiat Ladoja; the Former Deputy governor of Oyo state, Ambassador Taofeek Oladejo Arapaja, and former Commissioner Information, Culture and Tourism in Oyo State, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun, as well as members of Oyo State House of Assembly.
On the coming event in Lagos, she explained that the two stakeholder’s aim was to bring international outlook to Yoruba heritage, promote Yoruba culture to attract more investors and to serve as an encouragement to the Yoruba people to give more recognition to their cultural heritage.
Also, the festival, she pointed out, would help in promoting the establishment of cultural institution in Nigeria, where the youth will be empowered with skill acquisition and knowledge awareness for livelihood.
Princess Babade said apart from what have been enumerated, the Asa Day in Lagos will feature Lectures and Symposium.
The Lectures she said would be delivered by Prof. Adedotun Ogundeji, former Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan; Dr. Bayo Omolola Lecturer of World Language and Culture, Howard University, Washington DC, USA, and Director, Fulbright Hays Intensive Advanced Yoruba Group Project Abroad.
Also at the celebration, there will be Launching and Awareness of the Youth Empowerment Access Centre to empower the Youths; Various Cultural display, fashion and language displays. It will also feature awards to major key players and promoters of Yoruba culture, she said.
Princess Babade called on multinational companies and lovers of culture to give their full support to aid the promotion and conservation of “our cultural history and heritage,” saying that if they show interest and give their support, it would help to revive, restore and conserve Yoruba heritage.
Some of the expected dignitaries and guests to be at the Asa Day 2021 in Lagos include; the Chief host, the Lagos State Governor. His Excellency, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Deputy Governor Lagos State Dr. Femi Hamzat, the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, Commissioner of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Pharms. Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile Yusuf.
The Royal fathers and Special guests also expected at the event include; the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akinolu, The Elegushi of Ikate Kingdom, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land , Iba Gani Adams; Chairman Committee on Culture and Tourism Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Fatai Oluwa.