The sprawling town of Ile-Ife, Osun State, came alive as many in their hundreds, including residents, entertainers, tourists and royal fathers, came together to celebrate with the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ojaja 11, at the Aje Festival on Monday, February 18, 2019.
This year’s edition kicked off with Arole Oduduwa leading the thousands of Ife indigenes, market men and women, and top business owners to the village square, where necessary sacrifices were made towards marking this year’s festival.
The Ooni of Ife, while addressing the participants at the festival, said that Aje is regarded as the deity synonymous with wealth and economic prosperity. He further noted that Aje is of great positive influence on the world’s economy.
The Ooni also revealed that the first trade and commerce in the world started at the famous Igbo Mekun Market in Ile-Ife.
He stressed the significant role of the Igbos from the South East region in the growth and development of market activities, which is still reference point till date.
“We must go back to our history. This celebration belongs to all, including our brothers and sisters from the eastern part of the country.
“Igbo people are naturally part of the celebration, because Nigeria’s economy won’t be complete without emphatically mentioning them.
Also commenting on the festival, Chief (Mrs.) Shade Tinibu-Ojo, the Iyaloja General of Nigeria, said Aje Festival is one of the peculiar Yoruba deities with great economic potentials.
Expressing her strong belief in the festival, Tinubu-Ojo affirmed to many that with Aje festival, the economy would be given a new face lift.
The Coordinator of Aje Festival, Princes Toyin Kolade, appreciated the massive turn out of people who believed so much in the festival.
She gave kudos to Ooni for embarking on cultural tourism revolution to serve as instrument for economic boost.
“I am so elated with this turn out today, it shows that our people really appreciate the Arole Oodua OOni of Ife who has stopped at nothing in his quest to socio economically liberate the society through his cultural tourism revolution,” Kolade stated.
Nollywood actors, including Idowu Philips (Iya Rainbow), Dele Odule, Hon Rotimi Makinde and Aderupuko added glamour to the event with their presence.