By Babatunde Kaka
Eko Hot Blog reports that the Chairman of Epe Local Government, Princess Surah Animashaun, on Wednesday 28th September 2022 held members of the audience spellbound with her jaw-dropping acting prowess on the occasion of the World Tourism Day Celebration tagged “Rural and Community-Centric Tourism.”
Ekohotblog reports that the entire gathering erupted into various forms of exclamatory statements, cheers and applause when the figure who earlier sat with them in the audience appeared acting on stage during the premiere of an epic story of the Epe people put together by a popular Theatre Troupe, Footprints of David (written and directed by Seun Awobajo) in collaboration with Epe Local Government.
The stage drama titled “Beere Arolu,”- The Moremi of Epe Kingdom was depicted as a female warrior who against all odds fought and won several battles for freedom for her people such as the external invasion from neighbouring communities and that of the strong resistance displayed by the men folk against her emergence to rule.
While the major festivals displayed in the stage drama were in reference to both Kayokayo and Eebi festivals where the Kilajolu masquerade is celebrated, the play also depicted the circumstances that led to the war against the invaders where one of the Epe warriors beheaded their leader thereby becoming the reason why the victory is celebrated in the town till date.
In addition, the colourful performance through music and choreographic dance performance chronicle the several communal feuds experienced by the indigenes who are majorly fishermen and farmers. These were depicted through props such as nets, canoes, fish, and traditional elements of ritual and sacrifices to appease the gods and other notable imageries, paraphernalia and symbols peculiar to the people.
Ekohotblog reports that some notable dignitaries at the event include – HRM Oba Kamorudeen Ishola Animashaun, the Oloja of Epe Land, Alhaji Akanni Seriki Bamu, GAC member, Lagos APC and Dr Bakut T Bakut, DG National Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution.
Others are the Keynote Speaker, Alhaji Nura Sanni KanGiwa, DG National Institute for Tourism Development and Hospitality, Alhaji Adedayo Thomas, Executive Director, National Films and Video Censors Board, Epe LG Management Team, Hon Kehinde Adeniyi, Lagos APC Welfare Director, Baales, Chiefs, and others.
Ekohotblog reports that the stage drama was conscious of the conflicting issues in the community and therefore represented both sides of the divide fairly in strategic moves to entrench sustainable peace.
This was corroborated by the Director-General. The Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution, Dr Bakut T Bakut disclosed to the gathering that he was aware of some of the major causes of conflict in the community and assured of his organization’s support in peace-building initiatives as there now exists an office in Lagos.
“I want to say that you are very lucky to be indigenes of Epe and from the cultural side that we have seen so far, it gives me the pleasure to know that there is peace here. As the Director of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution, my responsibility is to promote peace and build peace. I do that by investigating potential conflict areas so that we can build peace structures. And what you have seen that is being done here today, for me, is a very important peace structure”
“For the Chairman of Epe LG to specially create a specific day like today is an indication that you are a very peaceful people. I want to assure you that the staff of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution would also come to Epe and will look at the areas that we need to work on to make sure that anything that would breed conflict in the future can be prevented before it becomes an issue,” he said.
The DG, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, NIHOTOUR, in Nigeria, Alhaji Sanni Kangiwa, in his address, remarked that he was excited that one of the practitioners of tourism clinched the Chairmanship seat in Lagos State’s most serene and peaceful Local Government.
He, therefore, pledged his unflinching support towards the establishment of a training centre and as well the provision of technical aids and logistics.
“I am very confident that she will not only bring world tourism day to Epe but she would do everything possible to persuade us and now we are really convinced that she is capable to set up a training centre around October”
“My dear friend Princess, now I can authoritatively tell you that I will inform his excellency that he is not just commissioning the village but he would be commissioning the NIHOTOUR Centre,” he said.
On his part, the Director General, National Films and Videos Censors Board, Alhaji Adedayo Thomas expressed excitement at the paradigm shift being experienced in Epe local government as regards the emergence of the Chairman.
“I am very confident and I am proud to tell you that our daughter, the present chairman has been one of the best networking outside the state. To convince me that this has to be hosted in Epe was the underground work of your chairman who has done exceedingly well. You might not know the significance of this or the multiplier effects,” he said
While he commended the Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Commissioner of Tourism Arts and Culture for their forward-thinking ideas in establishing a Film Village in Epe which he said would boost the economy of the town exponentially.
Ekohotblog reports that while the event featured a Bursary Award of forty thousand naira to some students of tertiary institutions from Epe LG, the gathering was treated to a sumptuous dinner.
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