All is set for the 2020 edition of the yearly Eko Oni Baje New Yam/Beach Festival, a melting pot of cultures amongst residents of Lagos State, which is scheduled to hold from September 25 to 27, at the usual festival ground in Ibeju- Lekki, Lagos.
Castledown Art Centre, organisers of the festival, in a statement announcing the event, currently in its 12th edition, noted that there were worries amongst art and culture lovers in Nigeria over the possibility of the event to hold again after officials of Lagos State demolished the arena, spanning 4000sq meters alongside other properties located on that axis of Ibeju- Lekki, near Eleko Junction in Lagos.
The proprietor of Castledown Art Centre, Ozo Chiedu Idezuna, said the decision to sustain the festival against all odds, was informed by the fact that demolition can only affect structures, but not culture. He assured the numerous followers of Eko Oni Baje Festival, which usually coincides with the World Tourism Day that this year’s event, promises to be bigger with the support and collaboration of their stakeholders like Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC. “This festival has metamorphosed into a cultural melting pot of all tribal nationalities living in Lagos.
Unfortunately, we will be celebrating the 2020 edition on rubbles as a result of the harsh teeth of the bulldozers. “We appeal, having come this far in using art and tourism to promote peaceful coexistence amongst people in Lagos, that the Lagos State government should approve this acquired site for us to continue hosting our cultural event.
We are willing to pay the fees for its ratification by the government. We do not want this festival to go the way Lagos Boat Regatta did,” Idezuna said. The theme of this year’s festival is: Promoting Tourism as a Learning Tool; while its mantra is ‘One Man, One Yam’. Meanwhile, several programmes have been lined up for the festival: The Children’s Cultural Fiesta and Arts Exhibition (September 25); Beach Soccer/ Gala Night (September 26), Traditional Wrestling Competition and Grand Finale (September 27).