The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has revealed that his government will continue to reawaken the hidden treasure in indigenous traditional festivals and the originality of the culture of the people of the State, just as he reiterated that the present administration will not renege in engaging and giving expression to the culture and heritage of the people.
Disclosing this at the 2018 Zangbeto Traditional Festival held on Saturday at Aholu Thanji Ajido Badagry, the Governor alluded to the belief that to make appreciative progress as a people, our culture and tradition remains significant and as such must be cherished.
The Governor, whose address was delivered by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Fola Adeyemi, declared that in ‘celebrating the rich culture and tradition of the people of Badagry and to further strengthen peace and cultural development of the environment, the government has taken initiative of making the Zangbeto festival a model of propagating affinity for all’.
Governor Ambode affirmed that in past years, the festival was only celebrated by few communities in Badagry division and in line with its policy of inclusiveness, where no one is left behind, the State government promised to organise a groundbreaking festival for all the daughters and sons of the Badagry kingdom.
He said the maiden edition of the Zangbeto festival will not only serve as a valid point for the people of Ajido town and by extension the Badagry Local Government but will also be instrumental in moulding the ancient town and making it a focal point for tourist attraction in Lagos.
In his words, “I am without doubt that this festival in years to come will grow to generate meaningful economy and have a great impact on the economy of the people of Badagry. This festival promises to create employment and improve the lifestyle of the indigenes of this community and the entire Lagos State”.
Speaking further, the Governor stated that his government is committed to the preservation, propagation and promotion of the culture and heritage of the people of Lagos State, adding that the clear promotion of indigenous culture has been demonstrated with the inclusion of Zangbeto festival in the State’s calendar of tourism events.
“Our intention as a government is to use this festival to raise the standard and make it one of the most celebrated festivals alongside other important festivals being celebrated across the world”, he added.
According to Governor Ambode, “In consonance with the inclusive government policy, the State is willing to collaborate with individuals, corporate organisations, other government agencies, traditional institutions to complement our efforts in promoting the rich cultural heritage of the Badagry people”.
He also congratulated the Akran of Badagry, the Aholu of Ajido Kingdom, the Cabinet Chiefs and the indigenes of Ajido Kingdom for placing Badagry on the tourism map, assuring them of the usual government support in the next edition.
Delivering his welcome address at the festival, His Royal Majesty, the Aholu of Ajido Kingdom, Aholu Saheed Sedonu Adamson, described the festival as a turning point in the history of the ancient Kingdom of Badagry, stating that it will continue to be a reference point in Lagos State and Nigeria in general.
He said, “This event is historical and memorial because it is the first time in human history when an array of 300 Zangbeto is being exhibited; made possible by the support of the State government whose desire is to make the State a destination of tourism in Sub-Saharan Africa”.
While enthusiastically highlighting the significance of Zangbeto in the community, His Royal Majesty revealed that aside from the entertainment frenzy, Zangbeto is a symbol of authority as its relevance in the community peace and progress is immemorial.
“We are indebted to the preservation and promotion of the tradition and heritage of this invaluable festival to give value and meaning to our existence, provide the coming generation the needed knowledge and deepen the voice of Africa in the global tourism community”, the Aholu asserted.
He expressed gratitude to the State government for the ongoing development of the Badagry region, attesting to the government’s proactive tendency and desire to provide a good life for the people irrespective of their location.
On his part, the Chairman of Badagry Local Government, Mr. Onilude Olusegun described the festival as an expression and appreciation of human purpose, which the State government is galvanizing and portraying to the world that Africa is the theatre of culture.
The Chairman emphasised that “We are here today to celebrate culture, to celebrate tradition and to celebrate the people of Ajido for staying true to their heritage because the only link between the people and their future is their heritage; the future generation will be grateful to you”.