FUNKE OSAE-BROWN, Abuja
On Friday, the Gateway State, Ogun, puts guests in attendance at the International Arts and Crafts Expo, organized by Nigerian Council for Arts and Culture, on the edge with the electric performance of the state’s cultural troupe.
The hall came alive to the beauty of the dance steps, body gyrations and the rhythm of the authentic Egba songs of the troupe.
The first performance pays homage to the progenitors of the state with a prayer of preservation, protection and prosperity for those in attendance. As the lead singer aptly puts it:
“We pray for God’s protection and prosperity for all. None of us will be found wanting.”
Her intro was followed by a line of male and female dancers dressed in bright lemon colored attire fashioned in the ancient ‘oleku’ style.
The dance steps were eclectic, the songs rendered in the local Egba dialect was full of rhythm. At some point there was a fusion of English with an Egba intonation this:
“clapu your hands, clapu your hands, clapu your hands,” intoned the female lead singer.
To this the audience clapped their hands including the Director General of Nigerian Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe.
The first performance was followed by series of others including Balufon, Apepe, Abo and all other dance forms that cut across the different languages and cultures of Ogun State, from Egba to Ijebu.
Speaking at he the flag off of Ogun State Day, Mrs Selimot Otun, permanent secretary ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism says her State has been consistent in attending INAC year-on-year with careful curation of its tourism and cultural offering for visitors to the expo to enjoy.
“We have been attending the programme to showcase what we have in our state. We are here again this year to show that our state is endowed. It is the gateway state to everything good in this country,” she explains.
In addition, Runsewe, says he feels honored that Ogun State comes first in maintaining and keeping faith at showcasing the best the state has to offer in Nigeria.
“Ogun State delegates was electrifying last year. It was the face of the country last year and same this year. Last year, someone came from Venezuela and visited Ogun State. He wants to return this year again. The state is home to some of the firsts in this country. The first woman to drive a car in Nigeria is from Ogun State and she wished the first pilot will be from the state. Her wish has become a reality,” says Runsewe.