There have been misconceptions by many that African traditional festivals are diabolic. This unverified fallacy has misled many to dissociate themselves from traditional festivals like the Ikorodu Magbo, Liwe, Odun-Osu and others. It is worthy of note that critics of these festivals are not only dead-wrong but wallow in ignorance.
On a closer interview with the custodians of the traditional mysteries, we unravelled amazing facts about these annual traditional festivals in Ikorodu. Unlike what people think, the motive behind these sacred events are for the better cause of the society. In our search for detailed information on the various mysterious annual festivals, we spoke with some well informed and educated indigenes of Ikorodu. First was with Chief Fatai Olajide Ajani, the Olotu Akogun Osugbo of Ikorodu; later, we met with Chief Sunday Ogede, the Olotu of Lasunwo Ruling House, and the interview was capped by the ardent researcher, Prince Adeola Owolabi, author of the book, ‘the Big Deal’ and Copy Editor of Sunrise Stock Magazine.
According to sources, the major traditional festivals celebrated annually are the Odun-Osu, the Magbo, Liwe, Eyibi, Ogun and the Ikorodu-Oga Festival. Though, there are other festivals celebrated aside these, they are the widely accepted and celebrated annual traditional festivals. Each of these festivals has significant implication in the society and they all have order of months adherents observe the rites.
On the hierarchy of the festivals is the Odun-Osu, a royal festival, which is celebrated by His Royal Majesty, the Ayangburen, in the month of March. Records have it that the festival was introduced by Oba Kaalu Ekewaolu, fourth monarch of Ikorodu kingdom, who went by the title, ‘Adegboruwa the 3rd’. Oba Ekewaolu laid down the procedure for celebrating the royal festival. There is a ban, prohibiting music in the public for three months, prior to Odun-Osu. By the end of the three months, the ban is lifted by playing the Rogunyo drums. The Rogunyo drum is always played to commemorate the victory of the ancient Egba war. Shortly after, the Kekeku (sea turtle shell) is played by the Odis- custodians of the royal throne. The rites end with the Oba paying tribute to his predecessors and pronouncing blessings of good fortune on the land. The theme song for the Odun-Osu is an attestation of the noble motive of the special festival; ‘Wa lowo, wa bimo lodun ton’bo…’ the song is a prayer for wealth, fertility to all participants.
The Magbo is an Oro festival, which is observed after the Odun-Osu. This Oro festival was introduced to Ikorodu from Igbo-re in Abeokuta. It was narrated that the deity was first settled in Agbele-Ikorodu and later moved to Ijomu, where they built a shrine for the Magbo deity. The festival is usually celebrated in the month of May every year, but could be rescheduled for the month of June any year Ramadan festival falls on the month of May.
The significance of Magbo in the society is to appease the gods to help ward off evil consequences of erroneous deeds by the people. For instance, suicide and other forms of related crimes are believed to have negative repercussion on the land. The consequences of such taboos will affect many in the society; hence, the gods are appeased to help prevent further disaster.
The Liwe festival is another Oro festival, which comes up seventeen days after the Magbo. The Liwe deity plays similar role like the former, yet, they differ slightly in terms of origin and special functions. Traditionalists believe the deity was brought from Isheri (Ojodu-Isheri) to Ikorodu by Olofin, an influential migrant. In similitude with Magbo, the Liwe festival comes up in June to appease the gods and bless the people of the community. The chief priest calls on the deity to send rain of blessings to the people.
In the months of August, the Ikorodu traditionalists also observe another crucial festival called Eyibi festival. Its root was traced to Ogborin and was later settled at Itunmoja. Its focus is the celebration of new yam. During this festival, colourful masquerades such as the Agemo make public appearance to entertain the people. Olore and Eluku masquerades are also featured. However, the Eluku only perform to the delight of indigenes; foreigners are not permitted to attend its performance. The new yam festival is a unique practice features across all traditional societies in the country.
Ogun is the special festival celebrated by the Amurin (Alagbede) and the Mosene Elewuala family. During this time, Apon rite is performed before the commencement of the Ogun festival. By September, the Alaiyeluwa (the traditional word for His Majesty) participates in the commemoration with Gbedu and tipe-tipe drums. The nine-day fiesta is significant for ironsmiths, farmers, and all artisans, who use metal objects as working tools. Iron is important to traditional community dwellers as it is used for farming, hunting, and fashioned into war weapons.
The Ogun worship is prevalent in Southwest Nigeria and is known by same name everywhere. Though, festival like the Igunnuko is celebrated in the month of April, its adherents are very few and that renders it less appealing.
The month of November is for the elitist festival, where notable people and landmark achievements are celebrated in what is known as Ikorodu-Oga festival. During the nine days, parties, symposium and gala nights are held in Ikorodu town hall. Awards of achievements and contribution to community development are giving to deserving individuals. The focus of this festival is to take stock of cultural and socio-economic developments in Ikorodu. A special committee called the Ikorodu Oga Development Association (IKODASS), is entrusted with the organisation of the great event annually.
Many indigenous bigwigs in politics, business, the academia, etc., all participate in this grand celebration and details are published in special magazines.
Like festivals of the world extant religions, Ikorodu traditional festivals serve higher purpose and help preserve lore by keeping the people in touch with their ancestral belief system. Just as Christians observe Christmas and Easter commemorations and Muslim faithful observe the Salah feasts; Ikorodu traditionalists genially celebrate Oro festivals every year.
Contributor: Oriwu Sun NewsPaper
Articles Created: 18th February 2020