Mbanefo lauds Drums Festival initiative
By Ozolua Uhakheme
Assistant Editor Arts
DIRECTOR General Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs Sally Mbanefo has described the Nigerian Drums Festival as a big boost for tourism in Ogun State and Nigeria as a whole.
Mbanefo said the Yoruba has a lot to showcase to the world in terms of cultural heritage and tourist destinations both natural and man-made.
She spoke at the opening of the Nigerian Drums Festival last week organised by the Ogun State government and held at June 12 Cultural Centre, Abeokuta.
She said: “Africa has come to standstill today because of Ogun State. The state is the centre of action with this well-packaged event. The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Eniitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, came with many African Ambassadors to this event. That shows the importance of Yoruba heritage and culture in Nigeria.
“Most of the African Ambassadors are here today because of tourism. All the Ambassadors have come here to support the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the people of Ogun and the Egbaland in particular. We want to unify from within: the Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba and African countries at large.
“The success of the Drums Festival 2016 is a clear indication that if cultural tourism is well-developed and promoted in Nigeria, we will have labyrinth of tourists’ footfalls, which will greatly boost the nation’s economy, create huge employment and empowerment in the communities where the tourist sites and cultural festivals are located. It will interest you that the crowd-pulling carnivals in Nigeria are so much that you cannot finish writing about them.
The NTDC boss, however, decried the adverse effects of civilisation on the culture and heritage of the Nigerian people, saying “civilisation has made us forget our culture and heritage. We must know that a country that forgets its culture and heritage has lost its essence. Thus, we need to appreciate and be proud of our culture and heritage and give good attention to the promotion of our cultural heritage.
“I made the traditional rulers my first point of call wherever I go because they are the rightful custodians of our culture and heritage. To practically promote our cultural heritage, we must work together with the traditional rulers.”
Describing the importance of drums, Mrs Mbanefo said drumming is a good form of communication and a fantastic means of entertainment.
“We are happy to be here today. We are here to celebrate the unity of the Nigerian people,” she added.