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By Damiete Braide
Aside from sports, which unifies Nigerians, culture is another avenue of bringing Nigerians together. This gained resonance as Nigerians converged on the National Theatre, Lagos, for the fifth edition of Eledumare Festival.
Chief promoter of Yoruba culture, Gani Adams, set the ball rolling when he said, in his welcome address, that as “we roll out the drums to celebrate the Supreme Being in a special manner, I have no doubt in my mind that Eledumare is happy with our calling. Over the years, we have demonstrated a high sense of courage and purposefulness in the pursuit of our dreams as an organisation. We have been able to prove to Nigerians, irrespective of their religious beliefs and associations, that our foundation is committed in promoting Yoruba cultural heritage and tradition.”
Shedding light on the essence of Eledumare Festival, Gani Adams said: “We are here to glorify the highest God, who is the creator of all creatures, He and He alone is the creator of all things and to Him we shall all return. As His creature, the best we can offer Him is praise because His power transcend our understanding.”
The National Coordinator of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) urged the federal government to set aside a day to celebrate Eledumare just as all other religions celebrate Him at their chosen time.
Gani Adams re-echoed: “As much as I emphasise the celebration of Eledumare Festival, I appeal to both state and federal governments to harness the tourism potentials in the country. Nigeria, no doubt, can become a tourism destination in the world if the government can tap into the various potentials that abound in various parts of the country.”
Guest speaker, Gani Kayode Balogun, in his lecture entitled “Culture: A Way of Life,” described culture as a means and way of identifying a group of people. It is also the totality of our being. Culture is the ability to project one’s ancestry in music, dance and other ways of life,” he said.
In developed countries, he said, people use their language as a tool for development. Hence, Africans/Nigerians should use their language as a tool for development. Balogun bemoaned a situation where parents fail to teach their dialect to their children, rather preferring English language, saying, “When parents teach their children their dialect, it will make them to be grounded in English language.”
A representative of Igbo community at the event, Uche Edimba, admitted that he and his colleagues were happy to be at the celebration. “The organisers of today’s event, Gani Adams, has shown his commitment in the promotion of Yoruba culture and heritage. We will continue to support his programmes in order to make it bigger and better,” he added.
Muhammed Kudu, a representative of Hausa community at the event, emphasised the importance of the festival, stressing: “We should use Eledumare Festival and other festivals to unite every ethnic group in Nigeria because the event is unique and every tribe has something in common which is their culture.
“Our relationship is beyond friendship; we are brothers and sisters. Today, we thank God for using Gani Adams to educate Nigerians about Yoruba culture because students will learn a lot about their culture through festivals like this.” Kudu promised that his community would bring their cultural troupe to add more glamour to the festival next year.
Oodua Cultural Troupe entertained guests with their cultural performances, while the American-based Niki Spooner sang a medley of Yoruba songs, to the delight of guests.