By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
Amidst fear of possible spread of Ebola Virus Disease in Osun state during the grand finale of this year’s edition of Osun Osogbo Festival slated for Friday, 22nd August, 2014, the Advisory Committee for the festival has declared that the celebration will hold with its usual fun fare.
Apparently reacting to the call for the postponement of the grand finale which usually feature influx of foreigners and other tourists across the world into the state, the organisers on Thursday, August 21, 2014 maintained that the endemic Ebola Virus does not pose threat to the celebration of the festival assuring that it is safe to attend the event.
Recalled that Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital, Osogbo branch, had in a statement issued on Wednesday, 20th August, 2014, called for the postponement of the festival.
The group claimed large gathering of any kind should not be allowed at the moment in the state, when the country was still struggling to contain the spread of the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease.
But addressing a press conference on Thursday in Osogbo, Mr. Ayo Olumoko, Chief Festival Consultant to the organisers of Osun Osogbo, said the call for shift of the event was unnecessary, since both Muslims and Christian gatherings have not been stopped
because of the deadly Ebola infection.
Olumoko said there were also insinuations that the Federal Government may stop the festival to prevent the spread of the virus into Osun state, adding that while Osogbo community would not defy any order by government aimed at containing the virus, it would be unfair to stop the festival, after almost two weeks of different activities.
He however, added that though no agency of government has approached the organisers of the festival with the proposal to stop its grand
finale, he assured that the Osogbo community would cooperate with government to ensure a hitch free festival.
As part of measures to educate the populace about the disease, he said leaflets detailing how Ebola can be contracted have been printed and distributed in the town.
While commending Governor Aregbesola for efforts to ensure that people live in hygienic environment across the state, especially in Osogbo, Olumoko called for more education on how Ebola Virus can be contracted.
His words: “the Federal Government cannot cancel or put Osun Osogbo festival on hold because of the issue of Ebola. President Goodluck Jonathan was here few days ago to campaign for the candidate of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the Osogbo City Stadium was full of crowd without anyone talking about the spread of Ebola then.
“Similarly, the state Governor who was the candidate of All Progress Congress had his own campaign at the same Osogbo City Stadium and they were not considering the spread of Ebola there despite the massive crowd that attended the APC governorship rally”.