Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has called on government at all levels to use the diversification from oil and gas to develop our local produce to rescue the country from the current economic recession.
Speaking at the World Tourism Day celebration in Iseyin tagged ‘Aso-Ofi Day’, the governor, who was represented by his wife, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi said that identifying and developing our local produce as well as tourism potentials would be one of the most effective means of growing the economy, adding that, attracting tourists would eventually translate into investments.
According to him, “Tourism is one of the most effective means of growing the economy because attracting tourists will eventually translate into investments when the tourists discover the investment opportunities present in their tourist destinations. This becomes more important especially at a period like this when we are grappling with the effects of recession and looking for revenue generators other than crude oil which before now was the mainstay of our economy”.
Ajimobi said that the effective and efficient use of ‘Aso-Ofi’ is a cultural-tourism potential which should be used to develop the economy of the state and develop Iseyin town as a whole and Oyo State in general.
The Governor also acknowledged that the traditional Aso-Ofi has attained a status of both national and international importance and is widely accepted as the fabric of choice for traditional occasions and majority of social events.
“Oyo State, the Pacesetter State; the land of many firsts has a huge number of tourist attractions that can translate into tremendous wealth and the government will harness all to grow our economy and develop the state. Quite noteworthy amongst them is the traditional Aso-Ofi Industry located in Iseyin local government area. Aso Ofi is a versatile, multifarious woven fabric design that has attained a status of both national and international importance and is widely accepted as the fabric of choice for traditional occasions as well as a huge majority of social events”, he explained.
In his speech, the State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun noted that the ‘Aso-Ofi Day’ became imperative, because the State Government found it needful to harness tourism potentials in every local government in the state, stressing that, this would not only promote the rich culture of the state, but also promote the tourism potentials in the state.
He further declared the Senator Abiola Ajimobi led administration’s determination to promote Iseyin’s rich cultural heritage, by establishing an International Aso-Ofi Market in Iseyin and create an internet platform to market Aso-Ofi to the international community.
In his address, the  Aseyin of Iseyin Land, Oba AbdulGaniyu Adekunle, Ologunebi1, appealed to the State Government not to relent in its efforts at resuscitating the dying Aso-Ofi industry, noting that, it is an age-long fabric which has long been neglected by past administrations in the State.
He solicited that the government should equip the Local Government with more weaving centres and an international Aso-Ofi market in the local government for better patronage. “I urge the state government to enact a law recommending periodic use of Aso-Ofi by public school students in the State, as uniforms. This will revive the cultural values of the Yorubas and promote our culture in the state,” Oba Adekunle added.
While speaking, Iseyin Local Government Chairman, Mr. Saheed Alaran declared the local government’s readiness to synergize and collaborate with the State government for a renewed local, national and global patronage of the locally fabricated textile from Iseyin.
Alaran however decried the deteriorating state of culture in the state, which he noticed has given way to the foreign culture. This, he noticed has by extension affected the ‘Aso-Ofi’, which he described as the pride and glory of Iseyin land.
In her own view, Dr. Paula Gomes, the Cultural Ambassodor to Alaafin of Oyo, commended the people of Iseyin for the creativity displayed with Aso-Ofi during the event.
In his recommendations, Prof Dele Olayiwola, the guest lecturer at the maiden edition of the Aso-Ofi Day Celebration enjoined Government to help in creating a modernized weaver’s loom which could be automated rather than the manual technology, which he described as laborious.
Prof. Olayiwola, the Director, Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, said, “Nigerians should research and produce our own dyes locally instead of depleting our hard-earned and meager foreign exchange on imported dyes which service other people’s economies and impoverishes us.”
Among the dignitaries at the event were, the wife of the deputy governor of Oyo State, Mrs Janet Adeyemo, the Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba AbdulGaniyu Salau, the Eleruwa of Eruwa, Oba Samuel Adegbola, the Onjo of Okeho, Oba Rafiu Osuolale Mustapha, Onitede of Tede, Oba Rauf Adebimpe Oladoyin, Olugbo of Igbojaye, Oba Oladimeji Olatunji, other Oke-Ogun traditional rulers. Others in attendance were, House Reps and House of Assembly members from Oke-Ogun area, Commissioners from the state, all Caretaker Chairmen from Oke-Ogun area, the cultural ambassador to the Alaafin of Oyo, Dr Gomes Paula as well as other dignitaries and traditional rulers were among those that graced the celebration of World Tourism day in Iseyin where the locally made fabric, Aso Ofi, was promoted.