Aso Ofi International Tourism Market Iseyin, Still in The Realm of Dream

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Oke Ogun is endowed with bith human and natural resources, the enormoua potentials in the region is not being properly utilize due to negligence on the part of the government.

Larger percentage of Oke Ogun residence are farmers and traders but they are not enjoying the deserved attention that will enhance their activities and that is why their economic growth is retarded.

The primary industry of Iseyin one od the ancient and historical community is cotton-based textiles, and it is reputed as the home of Aso Ofi or Aso Oke, a popular traditional fabric worn on special occasions by the Yoruba usually for coronation, chieftaincy, wedding engagement, festivals, naming ceremony and other important events.

The indigenous weavers collaborated with the government to initiate an annual event tagged ASO OFI DAy, The maiden Aso-Ofi festival was observed on September 27, 2016, during the World Tourism Day. The festival was conceptualised to showcase and celebrate a locally made fabric in Oyo State, which is now an internationally accepted brand.

In 2017, Oyo state governor under the leadership of Senator Isiaq Abiola Ajimobi launched an International Market called Aso Oke International Tourism Market and the foundation was laid on 16th September

The then State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Toye Arulogun, explained that the 13.5 Hectares Aso-Ofi International Tourism Market will contain 500 weaving sheds/workshops, 500 exhibition shops, a warehouse, 1st indigenous textile museum in Nigeria, a fire station, a clinic and a police station.

Arulogun also expresses optimism that the first set of 50 shops should be ready between 6-8months.though he said the development will be through the PPP because government alone cannot finance the projects but nothing was happening on the site untill recently when Iseyin Weavers Association constructed 10 shops for their members

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While laying the foundation for the international market, the former Deputy Governor of Oyo state, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo who represented Senator Abiola Ajimobi said the state is ready to harness tourism potentials for economic development but it is a pity that nothing was done to promote tourism beyond funnfares and media hype none of the tourism potentials in the region is developed

A recent visit to the international Maket revealed that nothing significant has happened on the land, the newly built shop was constructed by Iseyin Weavers Association with suppor of Hon Abiodun Olasupo, a a former member of the National Asembly while the government is yet to fulfill her own part

Kolawole A Balogun, Aso Oke Ambassador who is also a stakeholder in the project said “We initiated of celebrating Aso Ofi to relaunch the local fabric back into the market as well as creating awareness, it is what we have been doing in our own little way but when we met the state government, they added flavour to it by expanding idea and agreed on the proposal to establish an international Market

” The idea of international Market was welcome and celebrated by us because we believe that it will boost our job and economy but it is a pity that nothing beyond the paparazzi and showcasing that we did in 2017″

“We are not relenting, we have met with the state commisioner Information , Culture and Tourism,in the state with a view of revisiting the international market and see how we can boost tourism in the state but he told us to give them time and assured us that the government will assist us

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“We are hoping that the promise will not be audio like the immediate past administration because this is a great dream that if achieved will not only boost the Internally Generated Revenue in the state but also enhance job creations and attract development to Oke Ogun region as more cutton farmers will be engaged.

It is expected that prominent people from the region including the Deputy governor Engineer Rauf Olaniyan, Hon Shina Abiola Peller and others should rise up to the challenges and ensure that the international Market becomes a reality.

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