The Ondo State government has unfolded plans to organise culture and tourism festival, tagged Ondo State Art Festival (Ondofest), before the end of the year, as parts of efforts to boost tourism in the state.
The state’s Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who disclosed this at the unveiling of the logo for the event, restated the resolve of his administration to reposition the state as one of the best tourism destinations in Nigeria and around the world.
Speaking, when he hosted the Chief Executive Officer of Oshodi Arts Gallery, Mr. Sheyi Oshodi, who is an organising partner of the proposed Ondo State Art Festival, the governor said the state government was committed and ready to give the project all necessary support to give the state prominence.
Akeredolu, who was represented by his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, said the initiative was to “bring back the lost glory of our heritage”.
He said: “These values are not newly invented, but we have virtually forgotten all of them and this is not good for our culture, the state and for record purposes.
“I am happy this is coming at a time Ondo State has just established an Archive Centre. I am sure the synergy will bring back our culture and we will have our historical values to show our children yet unborn.”
He added that by the time the festival becomes a reality, they should be able to have a big event that would advance and surpass that of Calabar festival which would bring the whole world to the state as well as turn its economy around.
Also speaking, the state’s Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Ismaila Olurimisi, said the state would benefit immensely from the partnership, adding that it was at no cost to the government.
According to him, arrangements on the maiden edition of the arts and culture festival in the state have almost been concluded to make it a worthwhile event, and the date and programme of event will be disclosed soon.
He said: “The Art festival will be like a seven-day event which would feature various activities such as, mountain climbing, marathon race, as well as programme at the riverrine area, among others.
“This is going to be a bigger event than the usual Mare festival whereby people home and abroad will converge to celebrate, and the government will be able to generate more IGR from the commercial activities around the festival. This is not to put Mare into extinction.”
Also, the CEO, of the Oshodi Art Gallery, Mr. Oshodi Seyi Paul, said the project was an avenue to bring back the heritage of the state, which, according to him, is one sure way of boosting the state’s economy.
“The tourism elements in the state, including the culture and talents, are enough industries to make it a greater one in the comity of states, and even around the world. All these among other historical events would be showcased during the festival to promote the state,” he said.
He added that the initiative was also to advocate for the re-introduction of art which comprises music, dancing, drama, sculptural designs, painting among others, into the secondary school syllabus, and empower no fewer than 5,000 youths in terms of technical and vocational skills acquisition.
According to him, one of the objectives of the programme is to project Ondo State into the World of Ethnotourism festive entertainment.
“This programme will enhance windows of business opportunities to investors, tourists and Ondo State people, and make it a tourist attraction,” he said.
He further stated that some of the events planned for the programme include, trado-modern carnival float, agrotourism, mountain Racing, concerts, exhibitions, film fest, theatre production, water carnival, fireworks concerts, choreography and summit.
The high point of the courtesy visit was the presentation of the logo of the Ondo State Art Festival tagged ‘Ondofest 2018’ to the governor.