The Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, Aladesanmi III has made clarification on the confusion trailing African culture, tradition and festivals which had been labelled fetish, insisting that the ‘Udiroko Festival’ has nothing to do with rituals, fetishism and idolism.
Oba Aladesanmi, also informed that the festival is purely the celebration of the cultural essence of the Ado people dating back to the establishment of the kingdom, adding that “through the Udiroko Festival, Ado people generally rejoice that another milestone is covered or reached in their life’s journey; they have safely scaled the past year over to the new year”.
” No deity is worshipped in Udiroko and no idolatry and secret ceremony is performed. It is a ritual free festival predicted on our historical, cultural and traditional values in Ado-Ekiti”, the monarch explained.
Speaking further at a well attended world press conference organized in respect of the Udiroko Festival, which was held at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja on Wednesday, ushering in the 2019 edition of the festival billed for August 12 – 20, the far famed custodian of culture, noted that the most dominant, traditional features of the olden day’s Udiroko festival are still in place in a modified form and, inline with the dictates of modern civilization with all the events associated with its celebrations published for everyone to see.
Ewi of Ado, at the event which was attended by stakeholders and bigwigs in the tourism industry, tour operators, festival/event consultants, marketers and Journalists, emphasized that the festival is a cultural phenomenon that strikes at the foundation of the systemic existence of Ado Kingdom and its people.
Unveiling this year’s theme of the festival – ‘Enforcing And Sustaining The Solidarity Of History, Culture And Tradition’, the revered monarch disclosed that the essence of the press conference is to further , through a more macro strategy put the ‘Udiroko Festival’ on a global platform to better its lot and usefulness to the cultural being of the Ado-Ekiti people.
“I wish to emphatically state that the foregoing articulation of the historical pedigree of the Udiroko Festival and its celebrations over the years in Ado-Ekiti is for the purpose of further educating the general public. This is done with a view to fostering its acceptability as one of the components that form the tripod – history, culture and tradition, upon which the systemic existence of the Ado people is predicted, and which has been so from the inception of the Kingdom”, he added.
The Ewi of Ado, Oba Aladesanmi, however expressed optimism that the well cherished festival would gain further international recognition that would propel it amidst its cultural peers in other kingdoms and climes within and outside Nigeria.
The story of ‘Udiroko Festival’
‘Udiroko’, which literary means under the iroko tree became significant in the history of Ado Ekiti people and to the people as well , right away from the establishment of Ado -Ekiti through conquest in the early 1300AD by the third, Ewi Awamaro, the second successor of Ewi (Elewi) Biritiokun, the first Ewi who left Ile-Ife like his fifteen other brother Princes of Oduduwa to establish their own respective kingdoms in 1200AD.
Udiroko is a euphemistic expression of the significant of the first meeting of the Ado people under the Iroko tree to celebrate the founding of Ado Kingdom under the Paramountcy of the Ewi who, thereafter gave a Royal Proclamation of the first gathering under the Iroko tree as the first day in the Ado-Ekiti Calendar year.
The commemoration of this first meeting under the Iroko tree (Idi Igi Iroko) with time , semantically developed into Udiroko as it is known and celebrated today. During the first meeting under the Iroko tree, it was decided that such a gathering shall continue to be held at the same time/ period every year.
This decision was made with the approval of the Ewi because of the significance of the meeting to the people and its enhancement of the opportunity for the yearly appraisal of the events of the previous year and determination of what to do in the next year.
This festival marks the first day in Ado-Ekiti traditional calendar and now a pride of cultural togetherness of the Ado people.
Also speaking at the event, the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi expressed his administration’s readiness to partner with the people of Ado-Ekiti to rebrand the Udiroko festival, by globalizing its celebration and seeking for marketers for the festival.
Governor Fayemi, who was represented by the state Director-General, Council for Arts and Culture, Ambassador Wale Ojo-Lanre, further disclosed that the collaboration between the state government and the Ado Ewi in Council was to make the festival become self-sustaining and involve Ado-Ekiti indigenes in the Diaspora, as well as those outside the shores of Ekiti.
According to Ojo Lanre, the council has the full mandate of the government of Dr Fayemi to promote culture as well as core values in order to evolve a State that manifest the vision of its founding fathers; adding that this explains the passion and commitment of the Council towards a collaboration with communities to transform their festivals into a prosperity instrument for the people.
“There is no doubt that the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti has joined the list of monarchs who have at one time or another addressed a world press in a bid to market their festivals to attract global attention and tourists. Osun Osogbo, Olojo and Ojude-Oba festivals have brought the Ataoja, Ooni and Awujale respectively to Lagos on similar purpose. Today, these festivals are bringing economic prosperity and attracting investment opportunity to those who own them. By this commendable initiative, Udiroko has become a festival for the cultural and tourism public, the manifestation of which would become noticeable in subsequent editions.
“Since it is within the compass of our purview to inject critical innovations into the original manners of celebrating festivals in Ekiti, we initiated this world press conference in furtherance of the strategic marketing of some Ekiti festivals. We have noticed the energy and vigor with which the Ewi and the people of Ado prepare and celebrate Udiroko annually hence our decision to partner with Ado Ekiti people to rebrand the festival, Globalize its celebration, Seek marketers for the festival so that it becomes self-sustaining, Clear the air over petty controversies and stigmas that threaten its sustainability and Involve Ado-Ekiti indigenes in the diaspora as well as those outside the shores of Ekiti State”, the DG continued.
The Chairman of the occasion, Prince Julius Adelusi in his welcome address noted that the festival aimed at encouraging young people to embrace the culture and tradition of Ado Ekiti.
“Ekiti man is known for integrity and upholding values and this has been of great help in life”, Adelusi submitted.
In a related development, the Chairman, Organising Committee, Professor Sunday Akindele assured residents. tourists and indigenes that the committee has put in place adequate security measures.
The event, also had in attendance, prominent Ekiti indigenes , including Senator Raji Rasaki, Hon Sola Elesin, Deputy Chairman APC Ekiti state, Hon Femi Bamisile, Chairman Ado Ekiti Local Government, Engineer Ayoola, President Adk Ekiti Progressive Union, Hon Sola Fatoba, among others.
FG To Review Allowances Of Governors, Lawmakers, Others
As part of efforts targeted at reducing the cost of governance, the Federal Government of Nigeria has directed the revenue mobilisation commission to review the allowances of political office holders including governors and lawmakers.
Senator Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, made this known on Wednesday, during a meeting with members of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Speaking further, Ngige also decried the huge sum of recurrent expenditure in the proposed 2020 budget, insisting that there is no option other than to cut down the cost of running the government.
He said, “we cannot allow the government to shut down the economy because they want to pay salaries and wages. The 2020 budget of N10.3trillion has N3.88trillion as personal cost without an overhead. A budget that is 76% recurrent and 24% capital, for me, this is nothing to cheer about.
“Revenue mobilisation commission will also beam a searchlight and review what they are giving for political officeholders. Some of the allowances in their prescriptions are not allowances that should be gotten.
“What is a governor doing with hazard allowance? What is the hazard about, when the state is feeding him and his family? What is a governor doing with constituency allowance? The whole state is his constituency.
“These are things that will be holistically reviewed”.
The Minister, however added that both workers and politicians must be ready to make sacrifices so that more money will be available for infrastructure.
Oyo, FRSC Embarks on Licence Plate Number Enforcement
Oyo State Government in collaboration with Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) has embarked on enforcement exercise to ensure all motorcycle and tricycle riders get necessary driving documents and plate numbers so as to curb crime and other misdemeanors.
While addressing newsmen in his office shortly after the exercise, the Executive Chairman, Oyo State Internal Revenue Service (OYSIRS), Aremo John Adeleke, said most of the crimes being perpetrated in the State were done by motorcycle riders that did not have registration documents which could be used to trace them.
The Chairman explained further that the government wanted to make sure all road users comply with all extant registration and vehicle renewal requirements for them to operate business activities.
He said, “our people are alarmed that there are quite many motorcyclists and cyclists in the nooks and crannies of our society without any registration, this gives room for a lot of crimes and their ability to escape, It is important for motorists and riders to register and obtain their license and plate numbers, those who must renew their vehicle papers and license should also proceed to do so.
“Complying with registration is just one of the criteria in the process of obtaining a license, there are necessary tests and other activities such as data capturing before its procurement. In addition, there are enough plate numbers so the public need not do business with touts and third parties to get their papers,” he admonished.
Aremo Adeleke advised the people of the State not to wait for enforcement before doing the right thing, assuring the public that the next phase of the exercise would concentrate more on private and commercial vehicle owners, urging them to do the needful before being enforced.
Speaking earlier on behalf of FRSC before the commencement of the exercise, the Deputy Corp Commander, Mr Olalekan Morakinyo told the task force to carry out the assignment with caution, stressing that they should make inquiries on why those concerned refused to obtain documents before plying the roads and direct them to appropriate quarters for the next step.
The exercise covered Onireke, Dugbe and Sango all within Ibadan metropolis with plan by the agency toit to the rest of the State in due course.
Illegal Migrants Arrested In Ogun
No fewer than six illegal migrants who were being smuggled by some Nigerians through Idiroko borders were arrested by Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Immigration Service on Tuesday.
The two suspects who smuggled the migrants are reported to have been on the watch list of security agencies in Ogun State for trafficking of migrants into the country.
The comptroller of immigration, Mrs Doris Braimah who paraded the suspects at the office of the service in Abeokuta, the state capital, disclosed that the illegal migrants include four Mali indigenes and two Guineans.
“When you aid unknown people into your country, without even knowing their aim, it is a big risk. It is actually called security threat,” Braimah said while parading the suspected.
She explained that the two suspects would be arraigned, while the six foreign nationals would be repatriated to their countries.
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