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Ijakadi Festival ‘demonstrates love,’ communal bond- Lai Mohammed

From left: representative of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Kwara State NOA Director, Olusegun Adeyemi at the 2022 Ijakadi festival Offa. Photo: Abdulrazaq Bello

Culture and tourism have been identified as “great potentials” for economic growth and development in the 21st-century.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said this during the 2022 Ijakadi festival in Offa, Kwara State.

The Minister, who was represented by the Kwara State Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Olusegun Adeyemi described Offa as a community blessed with patriotic, brave and hardworking people. He also applauded them for upholding their rich cultural heritage.

He observed that the Ijakadi festival, if properly harnessed, is capable of promoting the community socially and economically.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed pointed out that the annual Ijakadi festival also “demonstrates love, unity, loyalty and communal bond”, which should continue to be accorded its rightful place.

The Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi-Esuwoye, his wife and other dignitaries in Offa. Photo: Abdulrazaq Bello

The Kwara State Governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who was represented by the Commissioner for Energy, Femi Whyte, felicitated with the people of Offa for another successful celebration of Ijakadi festival, and pledged that the state government would continue to accord priority to culture and tourism in every part of the state.

The Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi-Esuwoye said the fundamental culture of BUURE LA’ARE, which means Equity, fairness and justice, must be passed down to the next generation for them to be in tune with their roots.

Oba Gbadamosi-Esuwoye also launched the 10-year Offa Economic Development Plan from 2022 to 2032 as a way of achieving the Sustainable Development Goal Seventeen.

Highlights of the Ijakadi Festival include cultural display by Moremi and other groups such as special paying of homage by the clans comprising Offa kingdom, namely, OJOMU, BALOGUN, ESSA, SHAWO, ASALOFA, IGBODUN and OLUGBENSE, in addition to the symbolic wrestling bout between the Olofa of Offa and Chief Essa, which the Olofa always wins.

There were also goodwill messages from sons and daughters of Offa community, including the National President of Offa Descendants Union, Alhaji Abdulazeez Salako, who said efforts would continue to be intensified to make Ijakadi festival a national tourist destination.

Reporting by Abdulrazaq Bello; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino and Tony Okerafor