Ekiti Unveiles Cultural Tourism Offerings

By Frank Meke

Nigeria’s first professor of Dance and Ekiti state commissioner of arts, culture, and creative economy,  professor Ojo Rasaki, says time has come to bring culture business back to the communities and evolve strategic partnership with traditional rulers to market each local  festival into a unique brand towards a greater and enduring Ekitifest cultural tourism offering. 

” I have my governor’s buy-in and support on the series of grand breaking initiatives which will boost the development of  all year long calendar of cultural and historical events, which will guide visitors and tourists,  and in particular those who will help us market Ekiti state as a cultural tourism and creative economy destination “.

Professor Ojo Rasaki, who spoke with me on the Ekiti state, “shared the prosperity” agenda of governor Biodun Abayomi, disclosed that he would change the narratives of the state diverse cultural heritage and creative endowments  through focal attention on  the development of creative arts business,  activation of a special fund to support practising artists and the enthronement of a pool to discover,  train and empower raw talents in music,  dance,  sculpture , painting,  craft making and digital content creators, all with focal intent to create jobs and sustain a strong cultural economy. 

”  we want to produce the best hands to run our cultural,  artistic, and creative economy. We are going to the grassroots and will ensure that each community,  every Ekiti indigene buys into the dream.  We are careful not to build a glass house  initiative, which may break over time. That’s why we are going to get our respected traditional rulers to join us in this crusade to showcase Ekiti culture to the world.”

Professor Ojo Rasaki, who   led the award winning Ekiti state Cultural Troupe to  global culture Festivals in India last year,  further told me that cultural infrastructure is part of  the game-changing agenda for the advancement of Ekiti culture. 

” we are going to construct a state of the art cultural centre in Ekiti state, in the capital,  Ado Ekiti, to be precise. It will be an architectural masterpiece that will celebrate our indigenous technology and our creativity. The Arts and Cultural Centre will provide ample space for our stakeholders to flourish in visual arts,  culinary arts,  textiles, and even in performing arts. The complex will also accommodate an open theatre, a museum and gallery of arts,  bush bars and a kitchen, and a playground for children. 

On weekend cultural shows,  the commissioner explained that the effort is geared arresting the traffic of Ekiti indigenes who travel out the state during weekends due to the absence of any engaging social life and economy.

He said: we have done our homework well in this regard and will unveil weekend cultural shows with our famous culinary advantage, particularly our award winning pounded yam and palm wine, the best of Ekiti creative economy will be brought to bear. We also believe that the weekend will unify our people and bring them to support the developmental efforts of our dear governor.”

Professor Ojo,  a dye in the wool culture expert with many awards,  local and international upvoting his works, particularly in curating the best cultural dances and festivals across the country,  announced the return of Ekifest, the flagship state’s cultural tourism festival. 

” we are returning with a bang, and there’s going a bit of creative touches here and there.  However, we shall be focal on showcasing and encouraging the rich cultural heritage of our people,  discovering new talents,  Foster deep appreciation of our unique cultural diversity, and building a strong bridge for artistic exchange  of ideas and knowledge.  We shall use the ekiti Unity Festival to recognise and reward those who have contributed to the development of the creative arts economy in the state, even those in the media who have helped us to market,  shape and supported our cultural tourism diversity. 

On international visitations and exposure,  particularly in the yearly participation at the National Festival of Arts and Culture ( Nafest),  the  dance enigma and professor,  disclosed that Ekiti state will continue to  be critical participant in Nafest and other international cultural shows,  adding that culture sustains global and national cohesion. 

” we have seen the impact of cultural diversity on our people and also on the international scene.  We shall always participate actively in Nafest and all programmes of the National Council of Arts and Culture, including its culture expo, which the indefatigable otunba Segun Runsewe  has successfully executed and branded as Nigeria’s cultural gift to the world.”

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