The famous Igogo festival in Owo, Owo local government area of Ondo state is to be repackaged and transformed into an international standard.
The Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin stated this in his palace while unveiling new activities injected into the igogo festival starting from the 2024 edition.
Addressing news at his palace, Oba Gbadegesin explained that oronsen beauty pageant, festival market and ogwha lopo events had now been infused into Igogo festival towards attracting tourists and bringing economic fortunes into Owo town.
The monarch pointed out that the repackaged 17- day annual festival, would also attract investors, thereby boosting the local economy.
The first class monarch said during Ogwha Lopo, he(the Olowo of Owo) would be seated on his throne while sons and daughters of the kingdom in order of their age groups would dance and pay homage to the king.
But the Oransen Beauty pageant would begin in the 2024 edition of Igogo festival.
Disclosing the target of the kingdom, Oba Ogunoye said: “Though, there is no single manufacturing industry in Owo, the Igogo festival will be exploited by attracting huge visitors to pour in and spend their money, thereby boosting the local economy.
“When this happens, happiness will permeate the society, tourism will grow and the economy will improve, thus providing job opportunities for the youth.
“Expectedly, the entertainment industry will also showcase the diverse cultural heritage of the Kingdom and lighten up her social activities.
“The Igogo Festival will open wealth creation avenues, upscale our small-scale businesses of cloth weaving and artistries and promote general uplift of the socio-economic development of Owo Kingdom.
“Under my watch, the Igogo Festival is to witness a rebirth in content and package to attract over 500,000 people yearly at its peak. We intend to build it gradually and aggressively to attract foreign visitors, Nigerians and Owo sons and daughters in diaspora.
“This year in particular, there will be the reenactment of the Udan dancers in beads. These are maidens who, in the olden days, usually form part of the train during the Igogo Olowo procession.”
In her address, the Chairperson of Owo Cultural Heritage Organization, Dr. Yemi Mahmud, disclosed that Oba Ogunoye constituted the organization with sole aim of adding values to Owo Kingdom through his resolve to showcase the Kingdom’s cultural heritage to the world.
She said : “In 2021, the Owo Cultural Heritage Organisation, the initiative of His Imperial Majesty was birthed with Kabiyesi himself as the Chairman, Board of Trustee.
“The ultimate goal of the organisation is to showcase the cultural heritage of Owo Kingdom, so numerous to mention: the Igogo Festival, Owo drums and dances, Owo music, Owo cuisine, Owo clothes among others to the world.
“The mandate of the organization is to identify these diverse activities, evaluate them and improve on them to meet the 21st Century standard that will make them attractive to relevant stakeholders in and outside Owo Kingdom and beyond the shores of Nigeria.”