Tuesday 21 December 2021

Ijesa Peopie Meet with Their King....The Uniqueness of 2021 Iwude Ijesa Festival Edition

The Iwude Ijesa Festival is an annual event in Ijesaland that gives other Obas, traditional chiefs, societies, the people and visitors from within and outside Ijesaland to meet and pay homage to the king. The importance and uniqueness of the festival as a great opportunity for the people to meet with the king as he does not come out or seen in public, except on special occasions like the Iwude Festival.

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Other events that preceded the grand finale of the festival included Friday Jumat prayer church service, press briefing, secondary schools debate, traditional Ayo Olopon competition, cultural day, beauty competition, marathon race, health walk and free medical health checkup for the people. 

The ancient town of Ilesa in the state of Osun Nigeria, was on Saturday 18th December, 2021 agog when people gathered for the grand finale of the one week long 'Iwude Ijesa Festival' for the year 2021.

For the Royal procession, traditional singers and drummers were not left out of the ceremony and Musical Band stands for different families and society groups stationed in strategic places all along different streets in the town played to entertain visitors and indeed the large crowd of people who attended the occasion.

The atmosphere was cool, peaceful and full of excitement with appropriate security measures put in place by men and women of the Nigerian Police Force and other security agents. Of great importance is the participation of the Omo-Owa Omo Ekun, an assembly of Ijesa youths under the leadership of Mr Tijani Usman to maintain orderliness.

The Royal procession and its convoy left the palace by 10.00am with the Paramount Ruler of Ijesaland, Owa Obokun Adimula Oba Adekunle Aromolaran, sitting in a royal chariot drawn by a white horse, stopped and stayed a while at Yeyerise's Chieftaincy House and with pump and pageantry with much traditional display by Chiefs uniformly dressed carrying their staff of office.

The King's Royal procession visited Ita-Okesa, passed through Idi Ose and waited a long time at Ijamo Chieftaincy House of the Sawe of Ilesa before moving to, Ijoka at Lejoka's Chieftaincy quarters.

The king visited Salotun and finally addressed and prayed for his people and the teeming crowd who came from different places for the festival at the pavilion near the central Mosque in Ilesa.

The evening program after the Royal procession attracted a mammoth crowd involving representatives of the Obi of Onitsha, notable Ijesaland traditional rulers, Ijesa sons and daughters at home and in the diaspora, political office holders, guests, dignitaries and visitors.

The pavilions were erected for the different societies, groups, guests and dignitaries for the evening reception and entertainment that took place after the Royal procession in the evening.

The International Breweries PLC participation at the grand finale/reception was of note as their major brand "TROPHY LAGER BEER" was freely served and the company sponsored decorative banners and the Afro Juju music maestro, Sir Shina Peters at the Civic Centre band stand. 

Men, women and youths in colorful dresses organized themselves at the grand reception to dance to his music and pay homage to the Paramount Ruler of Ijesaland. 

Societies and groups also entertained and paid traditional homage to the king as a mark of honour.

The winners of the beauty competition and marathon race were awarded their prizes at the grand finale gathering.

The Osun state governor, His Excellency Gboyega Oyetola was physically present as his arrival received a rousing welcome.

In his speech at the ceremony, the governor thanked the people of Ijesaland for their love and support for his administration, he urged them to be peaceful, united and work together not only for the development and growth of Ijesaland alone, but also for the growth of Osun state and the country as a whole, he promised that his administration is seriously putting in place the processes that will allow the realisation of the demand of Ijesa people that has become their great concern.

The king prayed for all who attended the festival, he admonished all sons and daughters of Ijesaland particularly those in the diaspora to always come home and support programs initiated for the development of Ijesaland. He wished them all journey mercy back to their different destinations.

The Vice Chief Chairman of the planning committee, Afolabi Igberoola, in his vote of thanks expressed his appreciation and gratitude to guests and dignitaries for the love shown in honoring their invitation. He particularly commended the support of all who immensely contributed to the success of the celebration.

The grand finale of the 2022 edition of the Ijesa people's festival of unity comes up on Saturday 24th December. 

Photos credit: Paul Babajide and Oladimeji Lasore

News report and coverage: Oladimeji Lasore [email protected] +2347035105413

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