By Gbenga Dada
A culture promoter, Modupe Oyewole says there has been a drop in the followership of cultural events in Nigeria, hence a decline in respect for our culture and tourism, especially among youths.
Oyewole, Managing Director, Consumer Top Brands Ltd., Organisers of the annual Magodo Cultural Festival, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday.
She noted that culture was an integral part of a people’s identity.
According to her, culture provides important social and economic benefits, contributes to knowledge development and increases knowledge.
“Our culture is our strength and festivals foster the interest in our culture and heritage.
“Festivals trigger tourism and tourism will help to reduce unemployment, generate revenue and improve our reputation as a country,’’ Oyewole said.
She advised governments to focus more attention on arts and culture in order to increase tourism and also showcase Nigeria to those abroad as this would contribute significantly to the development of the country.
“It will as grow Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),’’ she said.
According to her, countries including the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius and Brazil generate a lot of revenue through tourism.
“Tourism is the proverbial oil well waiting to be tapped by our government,’’ she said.
Speaking on the annual Magodo Cultural Festival in Lagos, she said that over 20,000 people are expected to grace the 2020 edition on Saturday, April 11 and Easter Sunday April 12, 2020.
“The festival will have its theme as `Our Unity, Our Strength’ and it will showcase our cultural dance parades from different tribes in Nigeria and will also display competition in our various dialects.
“There will also be various guests’ performance from the likes of 9ice, Nikki Tall, Dbanj with the presence of icons of our cultural heritage including Madam Florence Ita Giwa, Nike Art Gallery and others,’’ Oyewole said.
According to her, the maiden edition of the festival in 2019 was encouraging as 8,000 people participated, in spite of the fact that it was an election year.
“The presence of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who has tourism as one of the areas of concentration for his administration, was encouraging.
“We cannot but appreciate his support in making the event successful.’’
Oyewole also advocated the sustenance of cultures and festivals including the Argungu Fishing Festival in Kebbi, Osun Osogbo festival in Osun and the Calabar Carnival in Cross River.
According to her, if fully harnessed, these festivals are veritable platforms toward the diversification of the nation’s economy. (NAN)