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Okota Festival

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Okota Festival


Arigidi was once again brought to the fore of cultural  promotion and development  in Akokoland, Ondo State, during the 2011  edition of Okota festival.

The festival afforded tourists  from all over the world, the opportunity to explore the rich cultural heritage of the Akoko people.

The Okota Festival  enabled the Olokun Festival Foundation to take stock of efforts of the past heroes, which was the highest point of the  two-day event.

The festival afforded the Arigidi people them the opportunity  of making brisk money from the sale of souvenirs, foods and other items, particularly  to thousands of  members of the Oodua People’s Congress.



The annual beauty pageant, that has been an important activity of Okota festival  took a different direction this year.

Apart from a core Yoruba contestant, winning the crown, scores of notable Yoruba  actors and actresses, including: Bashir Ishola, popularly known as Oloye Ajere,  Adebayo Tijani  Banji Onifade (Asipa) Rasak Adewusi (Sokoti) and Monsur Obadina, among others, added glamour to the event.

Idowu Blessing, a student of Ladoke Akintola University, emerged as the winner. The chief promoter of the festival, Chief Gani Adams, while speaking at the event, stated that the purpose of the festival is hinged  on the common interest of bringing the site of Okota River to international recognition.

He added that the festival will help  to improve the quality of people’s existence.

The OPC chief noted that  paying obeisance  to Okota River is not in any way peculiar to  Arigidi, insisting that  Pow Mow, Thames and York Festivals in the United States of America   are notable celebration of rivers in  developed countries, Adams explained that “Okota Festival is therefore dedicated  to the preservation, protection  and sharing of the cultural heritage of Arigidi with the world.”

He averred that the festival, more than any other events brings the highest number of guests to the town as it brings at least “20,000  people  from around the world  to Arigidi  to celebrate Okota River, in the way that other rivers are celebrated in Yorubaland going down memory lane, Adams stated that: “In 2008, the first Okota festival  was celebrated to showcase  the cultural values of Ondo State indigenes, especially those from Arigidi and Akoko land.

“Spiritually,  the Okota Fetuival is held to celebrate  our heritage and to pray off evil from the land.”

The festival chief promoter  also claimed  that many people, who have attended the  the previous editions have attested  to the goodness of Okota in their lives.

Oba Olusola Dare, the Arigbamu of Agbamu, while speaking at the occasion enjoined Yoruba sons and daughters not to see Yoruba culture as inferior to the western culture. The monarch stated that he has been a witness to the efficacy of the water from Okota River.

The guest speaker at the occasion, Dr Ehinmore Omolere of the Department of History and International Relations, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Ondo State, while speaking on the topic “Culture as a key factor in national development,” stated that for any nation to develop  socially, economically, technologically and politically, its cultural components  must first of all be harnessed  and developed especially  through the celebration of indigenous history and festivals.

Omolere identified  the cultural components as: festivals, science,  technology, language, music history and folk wisdom, noting that the quest to develop culture  becomes necessary because no nation can develop effectively outside the socio-cultural  contents of its environment.

“It is germane for Nigerians to rediscover, preserve and promote  their creative and true cultural heritage  and prevent it from genocide, extinction  and use it as a catalyst for virile  nation building,” the don averred. - Festival Nigeria, Okoto Festival


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