Wednesday, December 16, 2015 12:11 pm
According to Kayode Akinmade, the State Commissioner for Information who also oversees the Tourism Ministry, revealed in Akure. Mare, according to him, has come to stay and that Governor Segun Mimiko was committed at ensuring the sustenance and visibility of the festival.
He pointed that Mare has “metamorphosed from a mere mountain climbing Festival to an economic endeavor which mobilizes and stimulate wealth , development and growth. Governor Mimiko has put all hands on the deck at making sure that this year’s Mare festival , will be bigger, better and best “
Mr Akinmade revealed further: “ From statistics obtained from the past Mare, we have been able to see the contribution of this festival to the economy of the state, Idanre and it’s environs and Nigeria in general. Though the budget for Mare this year is a reflection of the current economic reality, it will not affect the line up as expected as we have been able to adjust and amend possible areas that needed such for profitability and efficiency “
Mr Akinmade also disclosed that both local and foreign mountaineers and athletes were expected to participate in this year’s festival competitions while Olamide will be the leading artistes for the event.
“We are also using this event to expose and develop talents among the youth
Below is an interview Akinmade granted journalists at Ile Eri Igi (one of the wooden houses) at Iroko Mountain Resort, Idanre.
Q: Beyond the regular mountain climbing, how ready is the state for the visit of UNESCO officials?
A: We are expecting the UNESCO officials to come and look at what we have here as part of the process of enlisting Idanre hills into world heritage sites and with the development that is going on here we are optimistic that Idanre hills will make the list this time around”.
Q: What are the innovations that will make this year’s festival unique?
A: What you are seeing around the resort are indications that we are ready to ensure that this year’s Mare Festival will be like no other because this year’s festival will be that of distinction, unique and there will be many side attractions. We don’t have this type of structure last year. Now, we are creating resort like never before where tourists can come, stay and connect with nature, and enjoy nature it at its best.
Apart from the normal cultural event and dance we are also introducing sporting competitions such as table tennis tournament badminton competition, and other indoor games , not only that we are also creating Idanre as an experience you will treasure for life. Our athletes for the marathon race are also warming up for the events as well as the cultural events.
“We are also using this event to expose and develop talents among the youths. We have discovered raw talents in this environment and there are many amazing talents. So, we are using the festival to develop them and showcase them to the world. These and many others are our plans to make sure Mare 2014 is a Mare of distinction and a festival like never before.
Q: How prepared is the state in terms of security?
Security issue is not what you discuss on the pages of the newspaper but I can tell you we are providing adequate security, in fact, world class security because we are aware of the situation in the country and we are not leaving anything undone to ensure that live of our tourists and visitors are safe.
For your information, dignitaries expected at the festival include the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Commission (NTDC) Mrs Sally Mbanefo and her team, State Commissioners of Culture and Tourism from across the country, Chairman of Elizade Motor, Chief Michael Ade Ojo, who is also collaborating with us in this project. In fact, we are expecting many people including local and foreign tourists and we are fully prepared.
Q: Who are the musicians for the gala night?
A: Top on the list of entertainers are Davido, Olamide and Ara that will perform at the gala night. Also, prominent traditional rulers in Idanre local government are flag off the marathon race while their subjects and guests will cheer the participants.