The Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun Oyetunji, has vowed not to sell the Osun Osogbo deity, saying it is the tool of his office and will at all time guide it jealously.
He also said the annual Osun Osogbo festival will continue to contribute to the tourism sector in Osun state and the economy of the country as a whole.
The Ataoja, who is the custodian of the festival, who played host to a tourism, art and culture consultancy group, Equity Global, said the Osun deity is an immovable spirit which cannot be seen by anyone except him at the appropriate time, stating that selling the deity amounts to selling his throne as the Osun goddess is the tool of his office apart from the staff of office presented by the Ajaguna.
He said, “Osun Osogbo goddess is my stool of office and I am ready to protect her till I meet my ancestors. The deity is static, it cannot be moved and it is still there. It was bequeathed to me by my forefathers and I will continue to worship it. I derive some of my powers from the existence of the Osun goddess.”
The monarch said the festival is of immense economic value to Nigeria, stressing that the annual festivity contributes not only to the local but also the national economy with the influx of people from all parts of the world to participate and we cannot count the blessings and the value of Osun Osogbo festival.
According to him, “The festival brings a lot of people from all over the world to this country annually and as a result boosting the state and national economies as well as preserving and promoting our cultural heritage.
“Every sector of the economy has benefited from the yearly festival ranging from tourism and hospitality, transportation, agriculture, oil and gas, transportation, telecommunications, finance and business, entertainment, information technology and manufacturing amongst others. We are ready to make this year’s celebration a huge success and distinct from the previous ones. Come August, I am inviting all from far and near to come and celebrate the 2019 Osun Osogbo festival with me.”
Oba Oyetunji promised to preserve the heritage of the festival and the Osun scared Grove, listed among the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) world heritage site in 2005, stating that as the custodian of the Osun deity, he has the responsibility to ensure her preservation, safe keeping and maintenance.
The spokesperson of the group, Mr. Williams Derrick, assured that the group will improve on the previous festivals with innovations that will not affect the myth and mystery of the Osun Osogbo goddess, stating that they are ready to work with more indigenes in diverse trades and arts as well as culture business to make this year’s festival memorable and eventful.
He also disclosed that Equity Global has been appointed as the new consultant for Osun Osogbo festival, noting that the group’s visit to the monarch was part of the plans to make this year’s edition stand out as an international tourism and cultural heritage event.