Idere Community in Ibarapa Central Local Government on Sunday, witnessed colorful display of Yoruba tradition and culture as Oyo State took the celebration of year 2020 World Tourism Day to the ancient town surrounded by hills.
As early as 8am, residents of the community thronged the palace of the king, Oba Aderoju Kingsley to felicitate with him and traditional leadership of the town, offering prayers and support to the monarch.
The event of the day which started with the climbing of the popular Idere Hills where spots where special prayers were offered by the king for the government and the people of the State in the morning, which led to a formal gathering for the official celebration at the Oniyangi area, Oja-Oba, Idere, where different groups displayed colorful cultural renditions to the joy of visitors and residents.
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State who was represented at the event by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun said the event reaffirmed the State government’s stand on promoting internally-generated revenue through tourism.
He said the title of the year 2020 World Tourism Day ‘Tourism and Rural Development’ was apt as the celebration would be used to promote the development of each community that has the tourist sites in the State.
“From this moment on, this community will witness tremendous development in commerce and social growth, the celebration of Idere Hills this year will mark a notable change for good for the benefit of the community, among us are travelling agencies and tourism stakeholders that will now begin to help us promote the potentials of the hills.
“Tourism will henceforth in Oyo State, be another money spinning venture for the State and the affected communities where the sites are located, this is the dream and emerging actualization of the Seyi Makinde’s policy of economic expansion.
“The economic expansion which is also anchored on agricultural promotion and commercial engagement are to be supported with tourism and with what we have witnessed here today, we can see that Nigeria has potentials in the tourism sector to booster the nation’s economy, if the country sees reason to take the opportunity as done by developed countries of the world.”
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Tourism and Culture, Hon. Ademola Akeem Ige said tourism was an engine for economic and social development, as it increased investments, developed local economy while promoting natural and cultural heritage, which according to him, would curb urban migration.
While mentioning the arrays of natural and cultural heritages as well as monuments spread across the State, Ige said processes were ongoing to concede some of the moribund tourists sites to investors for rehabilitation, renovation and refurbishment.
“Today, I am happy to inform you that processes are ongoing to concede some of the tourist sites which are moribund and in comatose situation to some developers and investors for rehabilitation, renovation and refurbishment, when this is done, we would have created another source of income and generate employment for the teeming unemployed youths.
“There is no doubt that the tourism sector is one of the industries that was greatly affected during the Covid-19 pandemic that is ravaging the whole world because of the lockdown and ban on international flights, social gathering and festival activities, kudos should be given to the governor of Oyo State, Engr, Seyi Makinde who has given so much support to the tourism sector and those in the sector through distribution of palliatives and other inputs for survival.”
The Chairman of the day, Hon. Ajibola Muraina in his address appreciated the approval for the celebration of the World Tourism Day to be held in Idere community which he said was a demonstration of commitment of the State to the promotion of the tourism in the State.
He eulogized the natural and cultural sites within the community and those on the hills, calling on the stakeholders on tourism to beam enough light on the potentials inherent on the Idere Hill to the world.
The Onidere of Idere, Oba Aderoju Kingsley appreciated the efforts of the present administration in revamping the economic status of the State through what he called ‘ingenuity’, which he said have been having good results on the commercial growth of the State.
He called on the people of the State to give their support to the Seyi Makinde-led administration so that many more dividends of democracy could be accessed in the agriculture, health, education and tourism sectors.
Among the notable dignitaries at the celebration are Hon. Muraina Ajibola who was the Chairman of the day, Special Adviser to the governor on Tourism and Culture, Hon. Hakeem Ademola Ige, members of the State tourism board, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, traditional rulers from Ibarapa zone, tourism stakeholders and representatives of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC).