Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi has been appointed the chairperson of a 50-member technical committee saddled with the responsibility of turning around the fortunes of the arts, tourism and culture industries in the state.
The committee comprises traditional rulers, academics, practitioners and curators in the arts, culture, theatre and tourism industries, including non-indigenes of Ekiti.
In an address after a three-day consultative forum of the committee, she warned that anybody caught trading locally in the state’s artefacts or caught shipping them abroad would be prosecuted. During the three-day session, members of the committee had visited the palace of Onire-of Ire-Ekiti, Oba Victor Adeleke. The train also went to a spot in a forest in the town where Ogun-Onire, known as the god of iron, was believed to have employed magical powers to bury himself underground and the location where he smelted iron.
The team also visited Ikogosi Warm Springs; Arinta Waterfall, in Ipole-Iloro; and the palace of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe. At the Ewi’s palace, the monarch conducted the team round the recesses housing historic relics. Some of the members of the committee are the Director-General, Abuja National Carnival, Prof. Ojo Bakare; two renowned historians, Profs. Isola Olomola and Jide Osuntokun; Chief ]imoh Aliu, Chief Akin Fasae; Prof. Bamikole Ojo, Chief Peter Fatomilola, Mr.Tunde Kelani, Dr. Patrick Opah and Mrs Yetunde Fosudo.
The governor’s wife appealed to traditional rulers across the state to preserve the cultural heritage bequeathed on the state by its forebears and the nature in their pristine forms, including those in the palace recesses.
She also disclosed that the state would soon showcase its priceless antiques in a fair; the period when she said traditional rulers would be approached to release the items for the purpose.
“Ekiti State is abundantly blessed with natural and historical heritages, which have hitherto not been adequately tapped to improve the quality of life of the people.
All over the world, people yearn to savour the richness, splendour and wonders of nature that cultural-tourism of any society can afford. It is quite unfortunate that we have not keyed into this development in Ekiti.
There is the need to revisit our arts and culture industries. These are essential ingredients for job creation. If well packaged, it also has the potential of generating foreign exchange.
The youths need encouragement to acquire necessary skills in arts and craft production. They should be prepared to take over from the very talented, but ageing local producers. This is the surest way to ensure self reliance.
With the determination of the Dr. Kayode Fayemi-Ied administration to transform our cherished cultural endowments, anybody found shipping them abroad or selling them locally will be prosecuted and jailed if found guilty:”
The First Lady said,
“The fact that people have made mistakes and have ended behind bars does not mean that they are no longer human beings, we need to remember them in our prayers and also remember them as we share the tidings of Christmas with our families and friends.
The high number of awaiting trial suspects is worrisome and we have to work together with our partners to see how we can reduce this figure to the barest minimum.
I have asked the authorities of the prisons to furnish me with information so that we can see those we have to pay their fines. We did it last year and we are committed to doing it again this year.”
Erelu Fayemi noted that poverty, frustration and lack of opportunities were the major reasons that bring people to prison.
Earlier in his speech, the Bishop of the Ekiti Catholic Diocese, Bishop Felix Ajakaye, thanked the First Lady for sparing a thought for the needy in the state and prayed that God would reward her abundantly.
Bishop Ajakaye promised the continued support of the Catholic diocese to the prison community.
Welcoming the visitors, the Controller of Prison in Ekiti State, Mrs Patricia Omene, appealed for more government support for the inmates.
She said the authorities were doing everything legally and humanly possible to cut down on the number ATS.
The inmates and choir members from the Catholic Church treated the gathering to evergreen Christmas songs.
Last modified: December 30, 2011