Ito-Ogbo Obosi: FG committed to boosting Nigeria’s culture tourism – Mohammed
By Praise Necherem
The minister of information, culture and tourism, Alh. Lai Mohammed, has restated the ministry’s commitment to making culture and tourism an alternative to oil, as a source of revenue to the country.
Mohammed, who disclosed this during the weekend in Obosi, Idemili North local government area of Anambra state during the ‘Ito Ogbo’ longevity festival of the town, also assured the ministry’s plans to initiate the process of getting the festival enlisted into the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage.
The minister, who was represented by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Dr Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, promised to upgrade the festival to a national festival. He said, “The ministry is determined to diversify the nation’s economy and, more importantly, making culture and tourism an alternative to oil as a source of revenue to the country.
“Over the years, Ito Ogbo Obosi festival has been used to facilitate, develop and harness the cultural and tourism potentials of not only Obosi kingdom and Anambra state but Nigeria in general. There is no doubt that this festival has impacted hugely on the health and quality of lives of people of Obosi and its environs.
“Ito Ogbo Obosi is a unique and uncommon festival that celebrates and encourages longevity whereby our indigenous Obosi senior citizens, both male and female, who are 80 years old and above are inducted, capped, and officially received into the prestigious octogenarians age grade.
“This festival is peculiar to Obosi kingdom and it dates back to over 400 years. We are aware that some neighbouring communities have started to emulate this noble festival. We are encouraging other communities to emulate and copy this festival.
“Over the years, the ministry of information and culture has conducted researches, identified, documented, developed, and upgraded several local and state festivals to national and international festivals and has also facilitated the enlistment of some of these festivals into the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
While commending the community’s monarch, Igwe Chidubem Iweka and others for putting structures that have led to the sustenance and development of the age-long festival, Mohammed said the ministry would partner with the town to ensure the cultural festival did not go into extinction.
“Hopefully, the ministry and the Obosi Kingdom will partner and collaborate together to ensure that this all-important cultural the festival does not go into extinction. We will work hard to ensure that it is upgraded to a national festival,” Mohammed assured.
The colourful event which attracted personalities from all walks of life witnessed over 130 octogenarians inducted into the Ito Ogbo of Igwebuike Age Grade.