A week after the Ileya Festival, the whole of Itori, the headquarters of Ewekoro Local Government of Ogun State went agog for the 2019 edition of the Ode Oba, a socio-cultural fiesta in honour of the Olu of Itori, Oba AbdulFatai Akamo. TUNDE BUSARI reports the event celebrated with glitz.
Itori started this year with unprecedented human and vehicular traffic in the town for the annual Itori Day. The 15th Coronation anniversary of the Olu of Itori, Oba AbdulFatai Akamo followed in April. That was another crowd-pulling function, which brought the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, the Alake of Egba, Oba Michael Gbadebo and other notable traditional rulers to the town.
Barely four months after, Itori again played host to fun-lovers who thronged the town and witnessed fourth Ode Oba Carnival. It was a day which occupies a special spot in events calendar of Itori held a week after the Muslims Ileya Festival during which the natives converged at the market square alongside their friends from within and outside Ogun State.
Ode Oba, to a large extent, shares a semblance with the historic Ojude Oba Carnival annually held in Ijebu-Ode in Ogun East Senatorial District. In terms of colour and glamour, both carnivals have enough mixtures adorned by participants-male and female-who generously displayed their joy for witnessing yet another carnival in good health.
The Planning Committee coordinated by the Adagunja of Itori, Chief Wale Bankole left no stone unturned in ensuring impregnable security which aided massive turnout at the occasion free from the dregs of the society. Social groups, as well as market women in Itori, explored the event to flaunt their respective uniform fabrics specially sown for the day.
One after the other, the associations paid homage to the appreciative Oba Akamo beside of whom was seated his wife, Olori Barakat Akamo, traditional and honourary chiefs and invited guests, including the Ewekoro Local Government Chairmanship aspirant, Honourable Sikiru Adesina. The grassroots politician seized the event to unveil his campaign caps, which were shared among the people in attendance.
Oba Akamo was beaming with smiles as he watched his subjects showing love to him and sharing same among themselves, affirming the realization of his dream of creating a new world where love, peace and unity reign supreme among his subjects.
“When I came to the throne, I had a pact with God to use me to transform this town to a model for other towns. I give glory to God that 15 years after I made that vow, things are falling in place the way I had envisioned it. My dream could not have been realized without your love. I am encouraged and promising to always do what will promote that love. I am happy to see this carnival expanding and attracting more participants. The concept was to create a rallying point to enjoy ourselves under a lively atmosphere. I thank my Olori for her support at all time,” he said.
Chief Bankole, who is regarded as a strong ally of Oba Akamo, was also full of joy for the love demonstrated by the people of the town, also appreciating the support his planning committee received from the Olu of Itori to have staged the glamorous show which attracted traditional rulers and heads of neighbouring communities.
He, in addition, gave a mention to some kind hearts whom, according to him, extended their gestures to the committee to have a smooth preparation, resulting into the success recorded at the end of the event.
“Appreciation goes to all generous givers and good-hearted individuals that rendered assistance both, in cash and kind towards the successful hosting of this year Ode Oba Festival.
Lastly, Praises and adoration goes to Almighty, Allah who gives us the Day as it was marvellous. 2019, Ode Oba Festival was truly expensive and tasty,” he said.
Another participant, Agbe Rasheed also applauded the festival for projecting Itori people as friendly and lovers of visitors. Rasheed also gave kudos to the security operatives. “This year Ode Oba was fun filled, as usual no violence cases was reported. The occasion was graced by high profiled personality from all walks of life. The security operatives did a job,’ he recalled.
Musical band of the famous Islamic singer, Alhaji AbdulKabir Alayande (Ere Asalatu) enlivened the gathering with his old and latest numbers, which kept dancers almost permanently on the floor. There was also cultural performance and speech by the chairman of the occasion, Mr Adewale Saranda who eulogized Oba Akamo’s transformation of his town.
The traditional ruler, who put up total calmness throughout the event, rounded off the well-attended fiesta on spiritual note as he offered prayers for his subjects and friends of the town, wishing them many more celebrations of Ode Oba.
Similarly, his wife, Olori Akamo also expressed her gratitude to the people of Itori for what she called their faith in the reign of her husband, calling for more support in Oba Akamo’s mission to open up the town to more socio-economic development with a view to creating rewarding employment to the old and young.
The Olori stated that public occasion like Ode Oba always offer her needed platform to show appreciation to the people of Itori for always standing by the palace, pointing out that there is no function in the palace which the people would not attend and rally round the royal family as demonstration of love to Oba Akamo
“You would see everybody buying uniform Ankara fabric and appear good at the occasion. I consider this as genuine love by a people who understand the direction to which Kabiyesi is taking the town. I sincerely appreciate this show of love and also pray to God to spare our life to celebrate many more of Ode Oba in sound health and happiness,” she prayed.
Basking from the success recorded at the festival, Oba Akamo received a team from the Peace Corps of Nigeria in his palace. The team was on a singular mission of conferring life patron title on Oba Akamo. Though a low-key gathering, some chiefs and palace aides witnessed the conferment and shared the special moment with the traditional ruler.
Peace Corps is a youth-based voluntary organization recognised by the federal government and the United Nations as promoter of peace and inspiration to the youths. From its formative stage, the corps has been focused on its mandate, recording many exploits, especially on the government war against cultists in campuses of higher institutions.
Oba Akamo said the antecedent of the corps informed his acceptance of the title as a mark of respect to the organization. He affirmed the contribution of the corps and commended the commandant and other officials for their selfless commitment to a peaceful society, despite some noticeable risks involved in their operations.
“I must say that this title will challenge me more to give more attention to the corp. As a traditional ruler who must always show concern on security of his domain, I consider this honour another call to service and to be more dedicated to the peace of my town and neighbouring communities. I thank you for the honour and look forward to a fruitful relationship with the organization,” he concluded.
Like Peace Corps, the leadership of the African Diaspora Ancestral Commemoration Institute (ADACI), a cultural troupe set up to honour the victims of slave trade, also stormed the palace of Oba Akamo and conferred him with patron of the group.
Coordinator of ADACI, Mrs Olaide Gold stated that the choice of the traditional ruler was informed by his acclaimed love for culture and human development. She said her group aimed at taking culture round the world.
The Olu of Itori welcomed members of the group with words of encouragement and assurance of supporting them in their mission, adding that mentoring the youths has always been his passion even before he ascended to the throne.
“My belief is that Nigerian youths can break ground if they are given right mentor. That is why I appreciate the group for their initiative. But I must use this opportunity to tell our youths who are desperate to leave the country for greener pasture in Europe to go through right route The suffering which many of them go through in the meditarenia sea is scary. I am wishing the group well in their assignment,” he said.
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