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One festival, two celebrations

New yam commemorations set troubled Ekiti community aglow

From Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti

The new yam festival to celebrate a bumper harvest was held recently in Ikere-Ekiti, a major community in Ikere Local Government of Ekiti State. It helped douse the tension due to some ugly developments that pitched some sections of the town against government.
Governor Ayodele Fayose had got the shock of his life when a group of angry people of the town prevented him from uprooting an ancient tree, Olsunta, believed to shelter some gods worshipped by the people from time immemorial.
The Olukere, Oba Obasoyin Ganiyu, and his supporters resisted attempts by government to demolish the tree and pave way for a road dualisation project.
However, the incident again pitched the opposing camps of Ogoga of Ikere, Oba Adejimi Adu Alagbado and Obasoyin against each other.
They threw verbal invectives with Ogoga taking sides with Fayose and lambasting Obasoyin for disrespecting constituted authority in the name of some “archaic tradition.”
This culminated in tension when both Ogoga and Olukere fixed July 29, 2017, for traditional festivals to be celebrated separately at the palaces of the two monarchs. Heavy security had greeted the two celebrations.
Ogoga’s celebration of the new yam festival tagged Odun Oba, renamed from Idupe Oba, was made colourful with cultural presentations. It was celebrated with pomp and elaborate cultural displays by the palace chiefs, youths, women and professional bodies.
Ogoga called for understanding, peace and unity: “We thank all most sincerely and pray that God Almighty will continue to bless and honour each and everyone of you. I enjoin our people to ignore their provocation because it will not be long before they fizzle away if the long arm of the law does not catch them earlier for their criminality, they will not escape the judgment of God.
“They deliberately create distractions. But we remain focused in our pursuit of peace, progress and good image for Ikere kingdom. I salute our sons and daughters. I appreciate your encouragement and support.
“We continue to give glory to God that despite the machinations of those tiny evil group, who think they can, through lies and propaganda, disrupt the peace of this kingdom in their delusional devilish plot to rewrite history, they continue to fail, they continue to bring ridicule to their own heads.
“They failed before and will continue to fail. This is because we stand on truth and God is with us and the world is seeing through all their shenanigans.”
The lawmaker representing Ikere Constituency 1 in the state assembly, Wale Ayeni, recalled that the people’s support earned Fayose’s developmental strides in Ikere in forms of roads, water and other infrastructure.
Chief Babatunde Olorunfemi, the Akogun Ikere-Ekiti, explained the significance of the festival:
“This is the best of the new yam festival celebrations Ikere has witnessed after so many years. We bless God for this successful outing and we also commend the organisers of the programme.
“We now call it Odun Oba instead of Ijesu Oba because Ijebu Oba as a name for festivals like this accross the nation has become too common.
The Ijesu Oba festival has its origin from a usual traditional practice or ritual making.
“The monarch eats the new yam of each year’s harvest season and ensuring that the yam tastes good in his mouth before every other person celebrates.
“Last week, our monarch, Ogoga of Ikere land, Oba Adejimi Samuel Adu Alagbado, Agririlala 11, ate the new yam and up till now, the yam hasn’t given him any ill-health so we are celebrating this.
“We have invited all the indigenes of Ikere, home and abroad, as well as our friends and associates to rejoice with us and the Kabiyesi, the Ogoga on this day.”

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