Governor Abiola Ajimobi-led Oyo State Government on Thursday disclosed that it has approved 13.579 Hectares of land for the establishment of Aso-Ofi International Tourism Market in Iseyin area of the state, saying that the foundation will be laid during the 2017 Aso Ofi Festival coming up on September 16, 2017.
The State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun made this disclosure during a Ministerial briefing on the 2nd edition of Aso Ofi Festival and PaceSetter Entertainment and Recognition Award (PERA) of the Ministry held at Film Theatre Unit, Ibadan.
Arulogun stated that Aso-Ofi International Tourism Market will contain 500 weaving sheds/workshops, 500 exhibition shops, a warehouse, 1st indigenous textile museum in Nigeria, a fire station, a clinic and a police station, adding that the state is determined to fully reap maximally from the economic potentials of Aso-Ofi.
The Commissioner explained that Aso-Ofi festival was conceptualized to showcase and celebrate our locally made fabric that is now an internationally accepted brand saying “the celebration opened our eyes wider to the potentials that abound which include trade and commercial activities, employment and job creation. Financial institutions have also been having serious and genuine engagements with the weavers and marketers while export opportunities are also being exploited.”
Arulogu noted that the 2017 Aso-Ofi Festival is expected to attract Iseyin sons and daughters at home and in diaspora, as well as national and international tourists and traders, adding that the programme is slated for Friday, 15th and Saturday, 16th September, 2017 during which the Foundation laying ceremony will be performed at the grand finale on Saturday, 16th September, 2017 at the proposed site of Aso-Ofi International Tourism Market in Iseyin by Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
He said that the highlights of the two day event include Rally/Carnival round the city of Iseyin, Aso-Ofi Arts and Crafts Exhibition, Aso-Ofi Weaving Competition, Colloquium, Musical Concerts, Parade by the 4 zones of the Iseyin Weavers and Marketers Association and other stakeholders, Cultural Performance, Awards presentation, Aso-Ofi fashion show Foundation laying of Aso-Ofi International Tourism Market, stating that the programme will be held at the Proposed site of Aso-Ofi International Tourism Market, Iseyin.
Arulogun said “Oyo State Government through this Ministry currently operates an IPPP policy. This is IDENTIFY, PACKAGE, PROMOTE and PARTNER. We created a data base of all the cultural tourism potentials in the State; package them by making them more attractive. The next step is to promote them by creating awareness about their existence and because of the paucity of funds and the new direction in international tourism, the state must partner with the private sector and individuals to sustain our cultural tourism. We are now in the process of shortlisting companies for the Public Private Partnership engagement of our major cultural tourism sites.”
Speaking on the PERA, Arulogun said that the state government recognizes the role and importance of the creative and entertainment sectors in the economy of the state, saying that this necessitated the endorsement of the Pacesetter Entertainment and Recognitions Award (PERA) which has Nollywood Actress and an Oyo State indigene, Bimbo Akintola as Ambassador.
In his address, the Chairman Organising Committee of PERA, Mr. Rotimi Martins, popularly called Alariwo of Africa, said that PERA promises to be the largest coming together of Oyo State biggest and brightest entertainment and business stakeholders, disclosing that 35 outstanding indigenes of the state would be honoured.
Martins explained that the voting process for the award will run from October 1 to November 15, 2017 to allow adequate collation of votes and final selection of the peoples’ choice, adding that the award night has been slated for December 3rd, 2017 at Jogor Centre, Ibadan with the theme: Celebrating Excellence and Achievement in Oyo State.
In his own remarks, the Chairman of Aso Ofi festival local Planning Committee, Mr. Adewuyi Kazeem said that they want international recognition for Aso Ofi all over the world and consequently commended the Oyo State Government for supporting the Aso Ofi weavers.