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|Osun Holds Africa’s First Cocoa Festival by HAMEED16: 5:03pm On Dec 05, 2016|
Osun holds Africa’s first cocoa festival
The first cocoa festival in Africa has been held at Eti-Oni, the ancient community which pioneered the production of cocoa in Nigeria over 120 years ago.
Cocoa farmers, produce buyers, dignitaries and tourists converged at the Gureje Square in Eti-Oni in Atakumosa East Local Government area of Osun State where the cocoa festival took place.
The Oloni of Eti-Oni, Oba Dokun Thompson, while speaking on the occasion, expressed worry that Eti-Oni and other cocoa producing communities in Nigeria were wallowing in abject poverty.
He frowned that despite the richness of the land, the cocoa wealth did not manifest in the lives of the cocoa farmers and their communities because of the anger on the Land. The monarch warned that poverty would persist unless the Land was appeased.
The traditional ruler explained that there may have been a curse upon the Land following the manner a renowned Yoruba king, Oba Emmanuel Olajide Layode, Soun of Ogbomoso was killed mercilessly in 1969 during the Agbekoya revolt that occurred following the hike in taxation on cocoa.
During the cocoa festival which was tagged Gureje Day, Oba Thompson raised the Bible that was presented to him by the Christian community in Eti-Oni and showered blessings on the community and the nation.
According to him, “This Cocoa Festival was meant to mark the 120 years of cocoa production in Nigeria as pioneered by Eti-Oni. But you would be wondering that this wealthy community was languishing in abject poverty over the years”.
“There would be wealth on the land and poverty would varnish when we appease the Land. That was why I sought the intervention of the King of kings who created the Heavens and the Earth”, Oba Thompson said.
The Osile Oke-Ona Egba, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso who was Royal Guest of Honour on the occasion joined his host, Oba Thompson in appeasing the Land and speaking out blessings upon the Land through the Scriptures.
Speaking on the occasion, Osun State Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola reiterated the need to go back to farming as the panacea to the current economic situation caused by dwindling oil revenue.
The governor lauded Oba Thompson for his pragmatic approach to redirect the attention of the people to focusing on profitable cocoa production that would bring maximum gain to the farmers and change the fortune of the people.
Aregbesola who was represented by the Coordinating Director in the Osun State Ministry of Agriculture, Food Processing and Youth Engagement, Dr. Isaac Aluko promised full support for any initiative geared towards agribusiness.
The governor formally presented the Premium Artisan Eti-Oni Chocolate Brand to the public and also launched the Eti-Oni Model Smart Town which is to be developed in line with the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The Chief Executive Officer of Eti-Oni Development Group, Ms Adaeze Ekwueme while speaking on the agenda of EDG said the initiative was designed to develop Eti-Oni community to be self-sustained.
Also speaking, Erelu Kuti of Lagos, Erelu Abiola Dosumu, who was represented by Erelu Modupe Martins commended the organisers of the cocoa festival and pledged support for the development of Eti-Oni.
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