The Curator and Site Manager of Osun-Osogbo Groove, Mr Aworeni Joseph, says the removal of the petroleum subsidy will not affect the expected turn-out of tourists and participants at the grand finale of the event on Friday.
Joseph, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Osogbo, said that all necessary arrangements had been made towards the success of the festival.
“I believe we will have a huge turnout, not minding the subsidy removal.
“People have passion for culture and the Osun-Osogbo festival is an international festival, which usually attracts tourists across the world.
“When there was COVID-19, which caused restriction of movement, even at that, we still had a manageable crowd for the festival.
” I don’t believe the fuel subsidy removal will affect the turnout; I believe the turnout will be greater than last year, he said.
Joseph further explained that the National Commission for Museum and Monuments (NCMM) had made necessary arrangements with stakeholders to ensure that the festival is successful.
“The Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun, who is the chief traditional custodian of the Osun-Osogbo Festival, the Osogbo Heritage Council and the Osun-Osogbo Festival Council, with NCMM are working for the success of the festival.
“The state government has been assisting us and doing a lot of restoration, rehabilitation and preservation works at the groove.
“Stakeholders have also been meeting with security agencies on how the festival and grand finale will succeed.
“With everything done so far, we are prepared for the grand finale and we expect a successful grand finale on Friday,” he said.
The Osun-Osogbo Festival, which history dates back to centuries ago is usually celebrated in an ancient grove believed to be among the last of the sacred forests among Yoruba cities.
In recognition of its global significance and cultural value, the sacred grove was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
For the people of Osogbo, the festival symbolises the traditional cleansing of the town and the cultural reunion of the people with their ancestors and founders of the Osogbo kingdom.(NAN)