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.
BUA set to establish ultramodern 3million metric tonnes cement plant, 50mw power plant in Adamawa
One of West Africa’s largest Cement companies, BUA Cement has announced that it is set to establish a three million metric tonnes cement plant and 50 megawatts power plant in Guyuk and Lamurde local governments of Adamawa state in the North Easter region of Nigeria. This was revealed when the Chairman of BUA, Abdul Samad Rabiu led the BUA Cement Management team on a courtesy call to the Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri in the Government House, Yola.
Speaking during the visit, Abdul Samad Rabiu said preliminary findings show that the two local governments of Guyuk and Lamurde are reputed to have good quality of limestone deposits and BUA Cement is ready to begin the investment in the state. He added that the BUA will use new technologies to supply power to the proposed cement plant and communities of Guyuk and Lamurde in addition to providing three thousand direct and five thousand indirect jobs.
The Chairman stressed that the Guyuk Cement Plant will be the major investment in the North East by BUA and solicited for support of Governor Umaru Fintiri to set up the factory in Guyuk. Rabiu said the company made a decision to source its raw materials locally and it has invested billions of dollars in various sectors across Nigeria and therefore urged the state government to support BUA to actualize the Guyuk Cement project. In addition, he praised the commitment of the governor within one year in office in many sectors of development despite the economic challenges in Adamawa.
Responding, Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri said his administration’s effort in exploring local contents has started yielding results and thanked BUA for showing interest in establishing the cement plant in Guyuk. He further assured the management team of BUA that government will make whatever is needed and provide the necessary support which will create enabling environment so that the BUA Cement company in Guyuk will become a reality.
He also expressed readiness of the government to protect the investment once it is established and told them that his administration will maintain the good relationship with the company for the benefit of the state.
BUA is Nigeria’s second largest Cement Producer by volume with cement plants in Sokoto and Edo States. The Company’s newest plant in Sokoto is expected to be operational in 2021. When completed, the Guyuk Cement Plant will bring BUA’s total capacity to 14million metric tonnes per annum.
Oyo govt. promises to overhaul security in public schools
The Oyo State Government has expressed concerns about porous security in public schools across the State, noting that challenges such as theft of furniture and destruction of facilities in schools would be brought on the front burner by the present administration.
The Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Nureni Adeniran said this today, during inspection of some selected Primary schools within Ibadan metropolis.
Adeniran noted that the repositioning and transformation agenda of Governor Seyi Makinde led-administration in the Education sector would also ensure the overhaul of security in the sector, so that teachers and students would learn in a very conducive environment.
Expressing displeasure at the state of facilities met in some public schools after the lock-down, Adeniran promised that Oyo State Government would put into urgent consideration security of public schools, in order to forestall vandalization of properties in schools.
He noted that “we would put the security of these schools on the front burner. This would forestall theft of furniture and other classroom items, which most teachers complained about”.
While he commended teachers for their dedication and commitment to duty, he also appealed to them to ensure adequate preparation of pupils in the State, towards their common entrance examination.
“The essence of re-opening schools for those in Pry 6 pupils is for teachers to prepare them adequately for their forthcoming exams. I appeal to you teachers to do this without prejudice”, he said.
The SUBEB boss, however said the Seyi Makinde led administration would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that lack of necessary facilities and teaching aids are made available at schools.
Adeniran also expressed happiness about the adherence of teachers and students in schools visited to the strict COVID-19 Protocols, which he observed was a good way to start.
Dr. Adeniran who was accompanied by the Executive Secretary, Mr. Olusanjo Adeniyi and other officials of the Board visited OLGC Primary School, Odo-Okun, IMG Mokola, C&S New Eden Pry. School, Mokola and IMG Oje-Igosun. The team would also visit schools outside the metropolis tomorrow.
Ajimobi lived a fulfilled life – Sheik Bello
• Family frowns at continued politicization of late governor’s death, burial
Immediate past Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi has been described as a once in a lifetime leader who only comes around in a generation.
This was the verdict of Sheik Muideen Bello who delivered the sermon at the 8th day fidau prayers for the former Governor.
Sheik Bello said Ajimobi died a fulfilled man after having achieved all God wanted him to achieve.
“ When Senator Isiaq Ajimobi entered Baitul -L- Atik, he asked God to let him see 70 years because no one in his lineage had seen it. He asked God to make him the first Governor to serve two terms in Oyo state. He also asked God to grant him mercy to build a befitting mosque for HIM. God granted all his requests. He died a fulfilled man”, the preacher said.
According to Sheik Bello, an individual like Ajimobi was a special creation of the Almighty Allah and a leader like him will not come around for another 50 years.“ He was a special being, we can never have a Governor like him in Oyo state who had done so well until the next 50 years”.
The scholar who was accompanied by other notable Islamic scholars and clerics in leading series of prayers for the repose of the soul of the deceased recounted the various encounters he had with the Governor and where he (Ajimobi) had emphasised how he longed to break the family jinx of living beyond 70 years.
“Many times, he didn’t hide his secret prayers of how we wanted to live for 70 years because his father had died before the age of 70.”
The cleric also condemned people for only coming out to sing the praises of the deceased Governor after his death said such hypocrisy will attract judgement and punishment from the Almighty Allah. The fidau prayers which started shortly before 11 am was strictly a family affair in line with the Covid-19 protocols as laid down by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). There were less than 30 people at the ceremony which included Dr (Mrs) Florence Ajimobi, wife of the late Deputy National Chairman (South), the All Progressives Congress (APC), the children and extended family members.
Sheik Bello further enjoined those present at the event to be prayerful at all times in order to live a good and fulfilled life like Senator Ajimobi did.
Before the event ended, special prayers were offered for the protection of the family, Oyo state and Nigeria as well as prayers for the departed former Governor.
Meanwhile, the family has reacted to the issue of the inability of the Deputy Governor not having access to the venue.
In a statement signed by Bolaji Tunji, Special Adviser on Media to Senator Ajimobi, the family of the former Governor were not aware of the incident with the Deputy Governor, just as they frowned at the continued politicization of the death and burial of their husband, father and grandfather.
“In view of the disinformation going about concerning the inability of the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan’s inability to gain access to the venue of the 8th day Fidau prayers for HE, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
“We want to state clearly that the event was announced as strictly a family affair. However, some dignitaries arrived for the event prior to the commencement of the prayers and were permitted entry and because they were not family, they were taken to a sitting room specially prepared for that purpose.
” There was a need to comply with the Covid-19 protocol as established by NCDC – Social distancing, not more than 30 people in a place and seats arranged, accordingly.
“Once we reached capacity, the gate was locked in order to reduce the continued presence of people at the event.
” No one was aware that the Deputy Governor was coming as neither the advance team nor the protocol informed us.
“The Deputy Governor arrived after the prayers had started and once the family was informed they proceeded to the gate in order to usher in the Deputy Governor.
“By the time we got to the gate to usher him into the sitting room, he had left. Everything happened within a few minutes.
“Through a serving Senator and a former Attorney General we tried to get in touch with him that it was not to slight him and he could sit in a private sitting room provided by the family. Unfortunately, he had left.
“There was no attempt to disturb or detain the DSS details of the Deputy Governor. From information available, they did not park within the same area as the Deputy Governor and had to do a catch up in order to meet the deputy Governor ‘s convoy that had already left”, the statement explained.
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