The people of Ikere-Ekiti have marked 2019 Odun Oba Festival in style as the indigenes paid homage to the Ogoga of Ikere, Oba Samuel Adejimi Adu Alagbado. The festival climaxed the harvest of the new yam, reports Emmanuel Amuda.
The rich cultural heritage of Ikere-Ekiti, a prominent town in Ekiti State, was on display last Saturday as indigenes and residents trooped out to celebrate the 2019 Odun Oba Festival. It is a yearly event to mark the harvest of new yam and to pay homage to Oba Samuel Adejimi Adu Alagbado, Agirilala Ogbenuotesoro II, the Ogoga of Ikere Kingdom.
The festival, which has grown since Oba Alagbado ascended the throne in 2015, saw the people celebrating the town and its indigenes’ achievements.
Various interest groups, such as traditional and honorary chiefs, palace queens (oloris), age-grade groups, professional and vocational organisations, social clubs, community associations, market men and women, local hunters, traditionalists and non-indigenes, resident in the town, took turns to pay homage to the Ogoga.
Also honouring the monarch were the Igbo, Hausa, Igala, Ebira, Edo and Urhobo communities, Ikere Students Union, Supreme Council Of Ikere Youths, Ikere Development Forum(IDF), Ibedo age group, Osaka age group, Iyalojas, Iyalodes, honorary chiefs, obinrin Ile, Agbado/Oyo/Iluomoba chiefs, Are/Afao chiefs, Otu Elegbe, Otu Ologotun, Otu Sao and Otu Sapetu.
The Supreme Council of Ikere Youths, apex body of Ikere Youth presents awards to the top runners of the debate competition earlier organised by the council.
The Ogoga, who wore a cone-shaped special crown with beaded strings in the front waved his horse tail (irukere) while savouring the honour by various interest groups. Some notable indigenes, who shared the joy of this year’s Odun Oba with the mornach, included a philanthropist, Foluso Alaba(FO); retired Assistant Inspector General of Police; Chief Tunde Ogunsakin and his wife, Chinyere; Speaker Ekiti State House Of Assembly; Rt(Hon) Funminiyi Afuye, oil and gas mogul, Otunba Sola Adewumi, who also doubled as chair of Odun Oba Planning Committee, Emmanuel Ogunremi; Ikere Local Government Secretary; Mrs. Afolabi Toyin; SSA to Governor on Rural Mobilization, Princess Taiwo Olowolagba, Commissioner 1 in SUBEB, Pastor Mrs. Funke Fajobi among others.
They drummed, sang, danced and prayed that the Ogoga, whom they described as a harbinger of good fortunes for Ikere, will enjoy a long reign for the town to witness greater development. For about six hours that the event lasted, the palace and its vicinity throbbed with crowd, which grew until the celebration reached its peak at about 3.30 pm.
There was plenty to eat and drink to celebrate the season. It was a spectacle of colour, beauty and class with the Ogoga and his consort, the Eyesorun, Olori Funmilola Ololade Adejimi Adu, beaming with smiles.
It was a spectacle to behold when she led the palace queens for their homage, which was preceded with eye-catching dance steps.
Also, there were intermittent firing of gunshots by traditional hunters. On the band stand was a musician, Micho Ade, an Ikere indigene, who dished out melodious traditional tunes to the delight of the guests.
In his welcome address, Otunba Adewumi said the Odun Oba is an event to showcase the greatness of Ikere in Ekiti State and Yoruba land.
Describing the Odun Oba as ‘the grand finale of all Ikere festivals,’ Adewumi said the event indicated much about the extraordinary nature of Ikere Kingdom, its societies’ accomplishments and historic contributions. Adewumi praised corporate organisations such as International Breweries, Ilesa and Intercontinental Distillers for their support for the festival.
Addressing the crowd, Oba Alagbado, expressed joy that Ikere is moving forward in the areas of physical, infrastructural and corporate development. He urged the indigenes not to rest on their oars to bring life to their town.
He hailed prominent indigenes of the community at home and in the Diaspora for cooperating with him to lift the town, which had resulted in positive changes that can be seen by all and sundry. “Within the year (2019)”, Ogoga noted, “many Ikere indigenes have achieved milestones in their careers in business, politics, academia and law.”
He said Ikere now boasts of five Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) with the admission of Mr. Bode Olanipekun, son of legal icon and Asiwaju of Ikere, Chief Wole Olanipekun, into the Inner Bar.
The monarch urged other Ikere sons and daughters to come home and invest in the town to boost its economy and provide job opportunities for the teeming youths..
“I implore all to forget this ugly past and let us love one another, work together for the future, believing God will have mercy on Ikere. Our ancestors worked in unity and that was our history of never being conquered in the history of internecine wars that ravaged Yoruba land then.”
Speaking on the significance of Odun Oba, the Sapetu of Ikere, Prof. Babatola Olufemi, explained that the events leading to the festival started early last month. The Sapetu said the festival had nothing to do with anything fetish or worship of idols as believed in some quarters, adding that it is a celebration of agriculture heritage and fertility of the land. He said: “This is the time that yam, which is the major food here, is matured and we are starting to harvest. Before this ceremony, the Ogoga or the Sapetu will not eat the yam until the celebration.
“We started eating since last Saturday because the “Idasu Sapetu” was on Friday, then the second day, the “Idasu Ogoga” the night of Friday to the early morning of Saturday then the second day we eat the yam.
“This is the conclusion of the festivity; it is the “idupe” (thanksgiving), but now the Ogoga rechristened it as Odun Oba, to make it more comprehensive. This is harvesting period, even the pastor in the church will ask for “akoso” (first fruit) from you. It is a thanksgiving period to thank God that last year we planted and we are now harvesting.”
He urged the people of the town to go back to land and engage massively in agriculture to ensure food security in Ikere and Ekiti State.
The celebration was rounded off with a royal dance by the Ogoga and his queen to the admiration of the crowd at the ceremony.