Former Director of the Abuja Carnival and first Nigeria Professor of Dance, Prof. Bakare Ojo-Rasaki, has urged politicians and leaders in the country to stop playing politics with the soul of the nation, saying that such negligence has been responsible for backwardness in virtually all sectors of the nation.
He also regretted the failure of a world class Film village planned to be sited in Ekiti during ex-Governor Kayode Fayemi’s administration and which would have served as a virile income generating a platform for the state and Nigeria at large.
The university don, who has directed several cultural festivals in Nigeria and across the globe, however, said he is working towards realizing the dream by rebranding and remodeling a cultural festival of his country home, Aramoko-Ekiti in Ekiti West Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
Bakare, who has been appointed as the Festival Director of the Aramoko community cultural festival 2017, tagged Arahfest 2017 scheduled to hold from November 9 to 11, urged politicians to stop playing politics with the soul of the nation by promptly bringing good governance to the people after they have been elected.
Lamenting that the attitude of politicians in this regard has been responsible for the comatose nature of several sectors of the nation such as economy, industry, culture/tourism education and agriculture among others, Bakare said the nation could develop the huge cultural endowments deposited by nature to such a level that it would become an alternative source of revenue to crude oil.
He was speaking on Saturday during the press briefing on the yearly cultural festival of his hometown, Aramoko-Ekiti, now to be redesigned, rebranded, remodeled as Arah fest Day.
Said he: ” I want to urge our politicians to stop playing with the soul of the nation. Politics should end with the campaign period, the moment you finish the campaigns come to leadership proper. But it is not so in Nigeria and that is why our cultural tourism is being killed. Tourism is a very technical area that needs the expertise to run it. It is also an investment that would not generate immediate income, you may invest for 10 years but when the income comes, it will be so numerous. It is human development. Mistake government makes is that they look at tourism like it oil that they export and generate quick money from.”
Speaking about the festival, he said: ” We want to put Aramoko on the cultural and tourism map of the world. We envision the festival to constructively engage our youths to take them away from criminalities and negativities. Many of them have been idle and are taken over by Satan. We want them to get busy. That is why we have loaded the festival with a lot of youths activities. We will run workshops/training for all participants both old and young so that the quality of the festival would be high. We will invite some experts from outside who will work with us. The activities will like competitive activities among the four quarters of Ijowa, Isao, Oke Oja and Anoye quarters, all activities are contests among the four quarters and each of these quarters would want to win. And will be busy doing that and be busy. In a place like Calabar, youths have been fully engaged in festivals. November 9 is the day of the festival. Long time idea is to keep the Second Thursday of every November. It started with a youths carnival with carnival bands so branded with their quarters’ name.”
“Elites will sponsor different carnival bands in all they need to do theirs. Carnival train will empty into the festival ground where music concert will take place with likely Ayefele, Osupa, 2 faces who will be supported by our own indigenous musicians such as, as well as a night-long musical concert.
“Next day will be a carnival of indigenous powered by traditionalists by performers, professions, hunters, farmers, who have their guilds, and also different cultural associations from several ethnic nationalities in their traditional attires, and age grade guilds, and in the evening there would be the Miss. Aramoko Beuty pageant.
On Saturday, November 11, is Grand Finale which is the festival Day, we call it Upono Alara, which is Ojude Alara, where all different groups would come to pay homage to the Alara in the most colorful cultural way to the king. It will feature performances such as dances, music and all others and award of several chieftaincy titles to eminent people by the Alara. Also arts and crafts exhibition for display which would showcase artistic works of craftsmen such as painters, sculptures etc.Aramoko is tourism corridor of Ekiti.”
President, Aramoko Development Association (ARA), Dr. Dipo Isaac Aladeloye, Said: “The Aramoko cultural festival was the first of all cultural festival in South-west Nigeria. Its debuts in the mid-1980s at Tafawa Balewa square in Lagos and was sponsored by the Aramoko Progressive Federation union, members of which were based in Lagos, it later came to Aramoko.
It used to be a three-day event which showcases Aramoko’s traditional and cultural heritage, it is being rebranded because it will be more elaborate in terms of displaying the town’s heritage. It would feature the totality of who we are as a people. Our town used to be and remains a core, legendary town, it is a modern central town that connects south west to the North.
“Aramoko s an ancient town, for those who know Yoruba cosmology, whenever the Ifa corpus is invoked, there is always a mention of Aramoko, Orangun, and Ijero, in the “Alara which history shows that the three were born of the same mother and became legendary kings in Yoruba Land. Our town has unlimited rich cultural heritage,
So, the coming will demonstrate, display and promote the best of our heritage as a people in a way to align with the contemporary situation so that we can have a formidable future of this kingdom.we are a very proud people and our history made us so.
We have affiliated sixteen towns and villages such as Ajaye, Ile-Odan and others, which comprises people from many other nationalities across Nigeria, Tivs, Hausa, Ibo, Urhobo, from Benue State Oyo, Osun, etc and all these would showcase their respective rich cultural heritage. The chefs that represent various groups in the town would pay homage to the monarch. Using the opportunity to foster unity. An opportunity to strengthen the relationship. We will be making it a national pride and draw tourists to the town in order to boost the economy of the community. Bakare will be coordinating and bringing his professional skills, well used for other similar and bigger festivals in the country and in other countries, to bear on the festival.
Also speaking about the festival, the Alara of Aramoko-Ekiti, Oba Adegoke Olu Adeyemi, said: “I want an idea that would teach a man how to fish and not give him fish. This festival will go a very long way to develop them. The festival would also motivate our youths to identify their talents and make good use of them. “