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Turning drum festival into continental tourism brand

By Florence Utor
11 May 2016   |   4:02 am
The debutant Nigerian Drum Festival hosted recently by Ogun State Government in Abeokuta was full of pomp and pageantry with theatrical and enchanting performances on display.

African-Drum-Festival

The debutant Nigerian Drum Festival hosted recently by Ogun State Government in Abeokuta was full of pomp and pageantry with theatrical and enchanting performances on display. It was also a galaxy of personalities, including the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja 11 who was accompanied by over 10 African envoys.

Besides the titillating and awesome performances put on by the various performers, a reflection of the rich and diverse performance culture and extensive repertoire of the various ethnic groups in Nigeria, masterfully embellished and crafted in the best tradition of the performing art, the occasion also attracted rich presentations by some notable culture, entertainment and tourism promoters.

One of such presentations, which was widely acclaimed by all, including the governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who was the chief celebrant, was that by the Founder and President of La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, as he submitted that the drum festival, which was making its first entrant to the cultural and entertainment landscape of the country, should be renamed African Drum Festival.

According to Akinboboye, who applauded the state government for the initiative, which he said demonstrated positive and creative thinking by the governor and his team, is one of the best cultural concepts that has emerged from Nigeria in recent times and that if properly managed and promoted has the potential of opening up the rich and vast cultural potential of the country and thereby opening door for the tourism industry to thrive.

Akinboboye, who is also the President of Motherland Beckons, an organisation through which he promotes African culture to the world, said that the drum festival is something that will resonate well with the rest of the world because it is a showpiece of the authentic and creative ferment of Nigeria culture, which is the world has never seen except the fleeting percussion sessions that they are treated to in our musical performances.

As the true African ambassador that he is, he advocated for the festival to be made an African event and named African Drum Festival with the scope and content enlarged so as to use it as a force to unite Africa countries but more importantly to lauder the image of Africa.

He submitted that if properly put together and that he has no doubt that it could be, judging from what transpired at the festival that it has the potential of drawing huge traffic to Nigeria and the continent especially The Diaspora, whom he said are yearning for a return to their root.

Although the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who was represented by the Director General of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, who also spoke on the richness and potential of the festival suggested that the festival should rather be called World Drum Festival, however, governor Amosun right on the spot endorsed the suggestion of Akinboboye that the festival should henceforth be called African Drum Festival, which was resoundingly given the nod by everyone.

Besides, the governor gave directive that plans for the 2017 edition of the festival should immediately commenced. Amosun who applauded the festival and commended all the artistes and troupes as well as the guests and the audience, publicly acclaimed the performances of Anu, the lady Ekwe, who is Nigeria’s only female Ekwe percussionist and Olo Omidan Bata, who is also Nigeria’s only female bata drummer both of Atunda Entertainment.

He described their feat at the festival as not only entertaining but exceptionally creative and enchanting, adding that being ladies made it the more captivating and that their devotion to the art and the authentic talents displayed by the duo should be embraced and emulated by all especially the youths and young girls. He later honoured them at the executive dinner hosted by him at the government house.

Another highlight of the festival was the royal presence of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja 11 who was accompanied to the event by over 10 African ambassadors to Nigeria. They include the envoys of South Africa, Kenya, Sierra Leon, Ghana, Senegal and Tanzania.

The Ooni and his entourage who had earlier visited the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, was at the event adopted by the African ambassadors as the peace, unity and prosperity traditional leader of Africa.