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ARTS CULTURE Lagos State

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu Pledges Support For 2019 Asa Festival

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The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has pledged his government’s support towards a successful hosting of the 2019 Asa Arokolo festival in Ikorodu.

The Governor made the pledge when the IREP-Ikorodu Division Rebirth Foundation, led by its Co-Chairman, Kunle Adelabu, paid him a courtesy visit at the State House in Ikeja on Thursday, July 25.

He was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, who hosted the IREP members in his office.

The annual state-recognized Asa festival is being organized by IREP, a socio-cultural organization established by the Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly and the Opomulero (Pillar) of Ikorodu, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade.

The governor stated that the state government will give maximum support to the festival to ensure a successful outing.

He commended the initiative of the cultural group in preserving the cultural and tourism values of the Ikorodu division which he said is part of its government’s agenda.

The Governor said that his government has stated in its cardinal points that it would nurture and showcase the state’s cultural heritage and unique hospitality which Asa is part of.

Copies of a research book on Asa and a giant congratulatory card was presented by the group to the Governor.

Speaking earlier, the Co-Chairman of IREP, Kunle Adelabu, had stated that the group was established to preserve, document and propagate cultural and traditional heritages of the Ikorodu division.

“IREP- Ikorodu Division Rebirth Foundation is a cultural group set up by Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, the Opomulero of Ikorodu, for the purpose of preserving, documenting and propagating the cultural values of Ikorodu Division.

“We aim at developing these cultural, traditional and monuments to tourism level for people to know that our division is endowed in tourism.

“Our first task, after formation, was to revive Asa Arokolo, a cultural and traditional performance that cut across the Ikorodu division.

“We did not only stage the first edition of the Asa festival in 2017 with the former governor represented by the then acting Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture who also presented us with certificate of recognition of the festival by the state government, but also the festival was subsequently included in the state’s annual tourism calendar.

“It is also imperative to note, sir, that we also erected a 14ft Asa statue at the Ogolonto junction in commemoration of the maiden edition of the festival and also presented the first-ever research book on Asa Arokolo to the public.

“The research took us to Ile-Ife where we interfaced with His Imperial Majesty, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife, who also told us how Asa came into being. The monarch personally wrote the forward of the research book”, he added.

Adelabu explained that the second edition was unable to hold last year because it coincided with the electioneering period.

“We were constrained last year because it was an electioneering period when everybody was focused on the general elections and we deemed it necessary to suspend the celebration due to that”, Adelabu revealed.

While thanking the Governor for the supports of the state since the inception of the festival, Adelabu also solicited for more financial, moral and other supports from the government for the 2019 Asa Arokolo festival and subsequent editions.

“Aside thanking His Excellency for the support of the state government so far, we are equally here to ask for more financial, moral and other supports towards the celebration of this year’s edition and subsequent ones.

“Since this festival is Ikorodu Division’s tourism gift to the state, country, and the globe, we are also asking for sustained supports in preserving this cultural heritage that also has its roots in Remoland in Ogun State and Ile-Ife in Osun state”.

This year’s edition of Asa Arokolo festival, which is fast gaining global attention, is slated for November 2019.

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