The second edition of Omititun Pacesetter Festival of Arts and Culture hosted on Monday by the Oyo State government, was won by Saki West local government, with their outstanding attires, composure and unique display of the masquerade.
The Commissioner for Information, Culture, and Tourism, Wasiu Olatunbosun, while speaking at the event held at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan; said the occasion was organised to promote the Yoruba arts, culture, and heritage.
He explained that the festival was used to showcase the 33 local government potentials in arts and culture, as well as identify new talents who will represent Oyo State in national festivals like Abuja Carnival and Nigeria Art and Culture Festivals.
Olatunbosun maintained that Governor ‘Seyi Makinde-led administration is providing an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, adding that over 160 tourism potentials are in the state.
Among those who graced the Omituntun Pacesetter Festival were; Maye Olubadan of Ibadanland, Senior Chief Lekan Alabi; Chief Bayo Oyero, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu, local government chairmen and political functionaries.
Others were the wife of the former Governor of Oyo State, Chief (Mrs) Mutiat Ladoja and the founder of the Immaculate Group of Schools, Ibadan, Chief Mrs. Bola Doherty among others.
The overall best positions went to Saki West local government, were Saki came first; Oyo West local government, came second, Ibadan Southwest local government picked the third position, while Iseyin local government clinched the fourth position, among the thirty-three local government areas that participated in the competition.
The 33 competing local government areas were scored based on their performances in the areas like Costume, Best King/Queen display, Food Court/Arts and Craft Exhibition, Most Disciplined Contingent and Masquerade parade.
Speaking further on the aim of the Omituntun Pacesetter cultural festival, Hon Olatunbosun said: “We want to use this opportunity to identify new talents that we can use to represent Oyo State in national festivals like the Abuja carnival and Nigerian art and culture. So, the talents that we identify today will be the set of people that will be representing Oyo State.
“We are using this forum because we realise that the representatives of Oyo State are getting older and we need new talents that we can showcase anywhere and any time they have a national or international festival of arts and culture.
“We all know that Oyo State is a haven of culture and art as well as tourism and this administration has succeeded in making an atmosphere for private investors to come to Oyo State.
“You can see that the number of hotels, that is the hospitality business, has increased in Oyo State because of the environment created by Governor ‘Seyi Makinde, and we have succeeded in creating another environment for other tourism investors to come and invest in the area of tourism.
“So, for instance, we have about 160 tourism potentials in Oyo State and we want people to come. As you can see, this is a culture and tourism festival. We have many people all over Nigeria that came home from abroad to witness today’s festival.
“This administration has succeeded in making an atmosphere for private investors to come to Oyo State.
“As I said, this is the second one. We had the first one last year. By God’s grace, we are going to have another one next year. So, it’s going to be an annual event and if you look at the Aso Oke Festival, before we came in, they had issues but the moment we came in we started it. So, we had it last year, and we are going to have it this year as well.
“But this one cuts across all those sets of cultures across the 33 local governments in the state. So, unlike the Aso Oke Festival that is domiciled in Iseyin and the festival that is domicile in Ibarapa Central, this festival cuts across 33 local governments of the state and it will help us to develop the talents and help them to showcase their cultural potential that they want the whole world to see.
“If you look at what we are doing today, we are live-streaming it and people are seeing it all over the world and we have people all over continents that are watching it live and if you look at it, you will see that even most local governments showcase young talents. So, with those young talents, that means that this adage in Yoruba that says ‘Oosa ti aba fi oju mode kan, ko ni parun.’ So that means that if you start teaching your children your religion and the festival of your family, that festival will not go into extinction so that is exactly what we are doing.
“If we don’t have this forum, those potentials will just die without living them,” he stated.