Ogun State Governor-ELect Prince Dapo Abiodun has hinted that one of the first projects his administration will tackle is the building of a Creative Arts and Entertainment Village.
“It will be one of its kind in this country,” he said while speaking at the Pre-Inauguration Cultural Evening in Abeokuta on 25 May. The intent, he added, will be to turn the Gateway State into a bustling tourism hub, given the range of talents he saw on display at the event.
The evening was a rich and colourful expression of Ogun State’s culture and heritage through song, dance and costume, with representations from the four main divisions of the state: Remo, Yewa, Ijebu and Egba.
There was a special rendition of Bata dance by the Aworis and a sprinkling of praise poetry (Oriki) every now and then.
The evening’s main feature was a command performance of Ola To Dara (A Better Future), directed by dramatist and folk singer Jimi Solanke, who thrilled the gathering by singing a few of some of his own songs from the 1970s and 80s.
Ola To Dara is a story about politics, electioneering and the importance of leadership based on good judgement and one that sees to it that the interests of the people overrides any other consideration.
Though set in a traditional society, the message is modernist and speaks to the recent political happenings in the country. It is a call to both the political class and the electorate to make democracy count, to practice it “with openness, Truthfulness, Selflessness and a high sense of Patriotism”.
“A man that wins an election where people’s votes count is a like a king that picked the calabash of honey (Igba Oyin),” a part of the synopsis reads.
The cultural night was one of the activities put up for Abiodun’s swearing-in into the Ogun State government house on 29 May. On 23 May, Mr Abiodun outlined some of his plans at an Inauguration Lecture, held at the same venue as the cultural night: the June 12 Cultural Centre.
Themed “Good Governance and Public Administration,” Mr Abiodun said: “My commitment is to serve you diligently and sincerely as an appreciation of the mandate you have bestowed on me…In all our decisions and conduct, our government will be fair, just, equitable and inclusive. These are non-negotiable principles that will underpin government operations.”