The Oyo State Government will fully support the annual celebration of the Iyemoja Festival in Ibadan and ensure it attracts the attention of UNESCO.
The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun, gave this assurance at the end of the celebration of the 2023 Iyemoja Festival.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the celebration was held at the River Bank of Popoyemoja in Ibadan.
Olatunbosun said the state government threw its weight behind the festival in order to promote and preserve the cultural heritage, as well as remember the forebears in the state.
“To make the approval of UNESCO a reality, the next Iyemoja Festival will be well packaged to attract a mammoth crowd to grace the occasion,” he said.
The Commissioner said this would attract sponsorship to the Festival from different brands.
Earlier, the festival’s Yeyelorisa, Omitonade Ifawemimo Egbelade, had said the festival was an avenue for every son and daughter of Yemoja both at home and in the diaspora to converge.
“This will enable us to celebrate our past heroes and also plan on ways to move the belief forward,” she said.
NAN reports that the highpoint of the Festival celebration was the appeasement to the Iyemoja deity by Baale Iyemoja, Omikunmi Egbelade.
He took the propitiation and dived into the river, a symbolic representation of the sacrificial rites.
Prayers were later offered for the Oyo State Government and people of the state.
Other highlights were cultural displays by different masquerades, such as Ayelabola, Danafojura, the Olorisa Yemoja, Gelede and a host of others.(NAN)