How Ado-Ekiti residents ushered in traditional New Year
Ado-Ekiti monarch frowns at youth ideness, drug peddling
August 23, 2016, was the dawn of a new year in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, courtesy of the Udiroko festival, which climaxed on that day.
As it is done every year, indigenes of Ado-Ekiti returned home to celebrate the festival with their monarch, the Ewi of Ado, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, Aladesanmi 111, to mark the beginning of a new calendar year.
Incident that birthed Udiroko festival was a need to account for the seasonal proceeds of war to the then Ewi of Ado, who was not only a monarch of the then small Ado community but also an army chief.
So, each season, a get-together of all the people in the town used to hold at a spot under the Iroko tree where warriors who conquered neighbouring towns bring proceeds of the war to their general and leader, the Ewi of Ado.
It was called, “Olorunbosun Day,” but renamed Udiroko because it was holding under an Iroko tree. With time, Udiroko graduated from a mere avenue to give accounts of seasonal proceeds of war into an elaborate social ceremony comprising the paying of homage to the Ewi, performance of rich cultural shows and ritual offerings to the gods, and the gathering of dues for the Ewi from subordinate chiefs from neighbouring towns among others.
Today, Udiroko has heigtened into an elaborate social get-together of the monarch with indigenes, home and abroad, their friends, business associates and career colleagues, various interest and political parties and ethnic groups.
As noted by Oba Adejugbe, this year’s Udiroko witnessed an unprecedented success with the greatest crowd ever. The completion of the palace amphitheatre by Governor Ayodele Fayose and robust media publicity given it, prior to the celebration, further enhanced the festival.
The 20,000-seat amphitheatre was filled to its brim. Different cultural groups and age groups took turn to pay homage to the king amid dancing and singing.
First, the Oloris, wives of past monarchs as led by the wife of the present Ewi, Olori Abosede, who carried the ancient drums (Iya Ilu) each on their heads and after jointly beating the drums before the king, prayed with it for the monarch. Then the Agba-Oke Ewi and Agba Odo-Ado chiefs, Agba Oke-Ula, Omo Owa, the Elegbes, otherwise known as the traditional war chiefs, Elerimarun of Oke-Ewi, lare Odo-Ado chiefs as well as Olori Ogbon Meta.
Elaborate traditional costumes representative of their occupation and the cultural role of the groups added colour to the ritual of music and dance each of these groups displayed before the monarch. Ado-Ekiti was shut down as people thronged the palace amphitheatre, where the display showcased the rich cultural heritage of Ekiti people.
Fayose who was special guest of honour spoke: “When you do good, you get good, and when you do bad, you get it back. You reap what you sow. I have been in office in less than two years. The amphitheatre is here which I built, the fly over brigde and Oja Oba are on going. The Onala, Awedele dual carriageways and others are already here. So, I want to tell you that I am happy.
“Another thing that is of note is that since I assumed office there has not been any politically motivated killings or harassment and I want to say it again, there would never be. Also, the peace in our state has been more enhanced.
“Again, the bar has been raised, the Udiroko festival every year has been growing under my watch. It may be difficult for any other governor to continue this tempo. Udiroko is not an offering to any god, but one of the coming together of all our people to celebrate our cultural heritage with many other monarchs that are interested.
“I would have loved to have Ekiti Airport and I am still nursing that ambition and waiting for the slightest opportunity. Ekiti airport will facilitate development for our state. It does not matter what anybody is saying. Many years after, they would come to appreciate what we are doing. So far so good, in spite of the paucity of resources in our covers, we are not doing badly.
“Udiroko has become a national festival already. Look at the mammoth crowd here. Ekiti has never witnessed this huge crowd in the history of the festival. I will continue to support everything that would enhance this culture, especially Udiroko under my watch. I wish all Ekiti people in and outside the nation well and enjoin them to let us leave in an atmosphere of peace and harmony. In an atmosphere of peace we will have a country of our dream.”
Oba Adejugbe said: “I am ndeed very grateful to the Government of Ekiti State led by Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, a pragmatic, committed beacon of excellence and a hardworking governor for the massive road construction work being undertaken in Ado metroplolis such as Onala/Tinuola Road, De-Head (Bawa Estate)-AdetiloyeeRoad, Awedelee-Secreatiat Road dualization, Adunni Olayinka Women Development Centre, Oja-Oba Erekesan ultra-modern market under construction, and the fly-over under construction, just to mention a few, all within 18 months of assumption of office.
“The on-going fly over bridge project deserves commendation. The government equally, extends its developmental programmes to other parts of the state in road construction and provision of health facilities is highly commendable. It is my fervent prayer that Almighty God will give His Excellency the enablement to complete all the laudable projects he has embarked upon for the overall development of Ekiti State.
“I am using this medium to sincerely thank the governor for the completion of this Royal Gallery (amphitheatre) of Ewi’s palace. The community was getting fed up with the finances of the projects when he wonderfully came to our rescue. Ado-Ekiti shall ever remain grateful to you. Like an Oliver Twist, I am begging the governor to help complete the Oba Adejugbe Hospital for urgent and effective healthcare delivery.”
Reacting to the cancellation of history as a subject in the nation’s teaching curriculum, Fayose, who was flanked by Governor Ibrahim Dakwambo of Gombe State and Rivers State Governor, Nyesome Wike, represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Kenneth Ubani, advocated for a bring-back of history into the teaching curriculum of the nation, advising that “without the past we can’t make out the future.”
He expressed dismay at the cancellation of history as a subject: “That is strange, I am hearing that for the first time. That must be strange because without the past we cannot make out the future. History must be told for people to learn out of it and to make a sense out of it. I believe in history and I believe in our culture.”
Oba Adejugbe who expressed his worry at the high level of unemployment: “My appeal to our teeming youths is to go back to the land. In those good old days, farm work provided full employment for the teeming population apart from others who were gainfully engaged in other professions like tailoring, carpentry, bricklaying, hunting, blacksmith, buying and selling. With the emergency of oil, sudden wealth came giving birth to a complete change of taste and attitudes of our people and the government. This led to abandonment of agriculture with its attendant unemployment and social vices in the country today.”
The Ewi also urged Ekiti indigenes to stop selling landed property on which their family ancestral homes were built: “Let me passionately call on our people to please for God’s sake and posterity sake stop selling our old family houses with their historic background in the name of getting quick money.
“The negative social of this in our community will soon start to rear its ugly head. Our children will invariably rain curses on their parents at their graveside when eventually they could no more show their own children their base in Ado-Ekiti. May we not experience what is happening in Jos today where the host community is at the mercy of her guests.
“Let me use this chance to appeal to our security operatives to assist in curbing excesses of the miscreants and undesirables of Atikankan in Igbehin quarters of Ado-Ekiti who shamelessly smoke Indian hemp at will in the day time.”