Adherents and worshippers of the Osun Osogbo goddess, and observers of her ageless festival, which has gained for itself prided international recognition, derive joy and conviviality in the annual celebration; while global tourists and enthusiasts who throng the events find in it an avenue for spiritual refreshing.
Reputed to be as old as the founding of the Osogbo city itself, the deity is worshipped by large number of believers, dotting the entire Yorubaland and the Diaspora. Held in faith to be the purveyor of fertility, divine favour, healing, protection, creativity and prosperity, the name ‘Osun’ has become an archetype of the people and an identity, which birthed the christening of a state after it. Corroborating its vast influence, fame and acceptance is the fact that years past have seen Osun Osogbo finding an ample pride of place on the world tourism map.
Not only this, the Osun Osogbo was enlisted officially as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Durban, South Africa on July 25, 2005. UNESCO has, since Year 2005, conferred on the cultural festival a global status; while its convergence spot, the Osun Grove, became listed as World Tourist Site.
In merrier and more opportune years, the worship of the Osun river goddess had drawn mammoth crowd to Osogbo for varied and diverse interests. This, aside its spiritual and cultural / traditional significance, has given fillip to the socio-economic cum income profile of the Osogbo town and the entire State of Osun by extension. The image and prominence of Osun within the Nigerian nation have leaped so astronomically that Osun has been transformed into a massive tourist site and haven for inexhaustive potentials in the industry.
Sadly, in recent times, adverse incidences and occurrences in the category of epidemics / pandemics are putting a cog in the wheel of advancement of the festival. In Year 2014, Ebola saga, which threatened the entire world, robbed the festival of its hustle-bustle attribute. This year also, the novel COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted a palpable blow on the festivities, causing it to be held low-key and bereft of all pomp.
As we wish all stakeholders in the festivities a happy sober celebration, we strongly caution strict observance of, and adherence to all regulations laid down to nip the spread of Coronavirus in the bud. As we hope for a better outing next season, we urge worshippers and sponsors alike to keep hope alive by intensifying structural and infrastructural support for the groove and its reception / crowd retention capacity. Sponsors in particular are enjoined to commit the unspent votes for this year to this cause and purpose.