Asa Festival: IREP Briefs Obas, Eminent Persons, Others On Journey So Far

Kunle Adelabu

– Ikorodu division sets to host Asa festival, Ooni

Obas in Ikorodu, Asipa Kaoli Olusanya(2nd right) endorsing the compilation on Asa with Hon. Agunbiade

IREP – Ikorodu Division Renaissance Foundation, a socio-cultural group leading the cultural rebirth of the division, on Friday, September 29, 2017, took another giant step when it successfully briefed the royal fathers, chiefs and eminent persons in Ikorodu division on the progress made so far since its establishment two years ago, especially as its regards the documentation and the upcoming staging of Asa festival in Ikorodu.

At the well-attended and culturally inclined ceremony tagged, ‘Asa: The Journey So Far’, held at the Ayangbure Palace in Ikorodu, the initiator/scout master of the group, Hon Sanai Agunbiade, while stating that written and video documentary on Asa are almost completed, announced  the date for the much expected Asa festival.

“We are pleased to informed you that we are ready for the Asa festival and also that the custodian of traditions and cultures in Yorubaland, the Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has given his blessings to the festival and equally pledged to personally attend it because of his interest in Asa”, Hon. Agunbiade stated.

“It was the revered monarch, who has been internationalizing Yoruba cultural heritages that even picked the date for the event so that he can be present. It is with gladness that I announce that November 4, 2017, has been fixed for the festival which will hold in Ikorodu”,he said to the joyous guests.

“Ooni has also written the foreword to the book written on Asa and it will be presented on the day of the festival. The festival is going to be a parade of colours and culture. We have also gotten the approval of a leading fuji musician, Alhaji Saheed Osupa who is reputed for his vast knowledge in Yoruba music  rendition, and  other music acts to entertain the people .”

“We are also pleased to inform our revered traditional rulers, chiefs, stakeholders and the entire good people of Ikorodu division that we have gone round the division in documenting Asa (the man on delicate stilt sticks). We have being to Aga, Ijomu, Isele, Imota and Agura and we have also been able to discover many things that would interest you when the outcome of our research is out”, Hon. Agunbiade stated.

“While Asa is still being practiced in all the places mentioned, though with some challenges, there are other areas where it has gone into extinction. Our aim is to ensure that those still practising it sustain it while efforts will be geared towards reviving it where it has gone into extinction.”

R-L, Otunba Ganiyu abiru, IKODASS Chairman, representative of the acting Commissioner for Tourism/Special Adviser on Arts & Culture, Hon. Agunbiade, IREP Scout Master and Otunba Waliu Daini at the briefing held at Ayangbure palace

“This briefing is primarily aimed at thanking our royal fathers for their immense supports and blessings. When we were about starting the journey, we sought and received royal blessings from the Ayangbure, Ranodu, Adeboruwa, Obateru and Olubeshe’s palaces and today, we are appearing before you to give you feedback on the errand you have sent us.”

“Ikorodu division is endowed with cultural and traditional heritages but they are gradually going into extinction. Our aims, as a group focusing on the rebirth of the division’s culture, include ensuring the documentation and preservation of every aspect of our culture in a book and video documentary, reviving the dying ones and ensuring that our traditional festivals are staged from time-to-time. This is how to preserve those heritages bestowed on us for younger and future generations”, he stated while highlighting the objectives of IREP.

He also acknowledged the contributions and supports of the governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, acting Commissioner for Tourism, Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola, Chairman of Ikorodu-Oga Development Association (IKODASS), Otunba Ganiyu Abiru, former Commissioner for Information and Chairman, IREP Board of Trustees, Otunba (Sir) Ayodele Elesho, former Commissioner for Agriculture, Asipa Kaoli Olusanya among others.

“As we speak, the governor of Lagos State has given his support for the project because he was convinced that it is part of his administration’s agenda to promote culture and tourism. He has favourably minuted and directed our letter to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, asking them to give us necessary support”, Hon Agunbiade said.

“Our own sister and representative, Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola has also being of immense assistance. She has taken this up as a duty. In fact, her passion for this project is highly commendable and she has proven that she is a true daughter of this division.”

“I want to personally acknowledge and thank her for the immense support given us since the day we intimated her on the project.”

“Otunba Ganiyu Abiru has also given us  support long before he was elected as the IKODASS Chairman and since ascending that revered position, he has also been supporting the project. He believes so much in it. Same thing goes to Otunba Ayodele Elesho and Asipa Kaoli Olusanya among others.

In his remarks at the ceremony, the Chairman, IREP Board of Trustees (BOT), Otunba Ayodele Elesho, while appreciating IREP,enjoined sons and daughters of Ikorodu division,both home and abroad, to give maximum supports to IREP  to be able to achieve its objectives.

Also, Otunba Abiru, Chairman, Ikorodu-Oga Development Association (IKODASS) stated that Asa is a pride of the Ikorodu division and called for support from government and well meaning individuals to ensure that its tourism potentials is fully tapped through IREP’s efforts.

He also stated that part of his administration’s plans is to revive dying cultural and traditional heritages in Ikorodu like Noomu Arere which he said was last staged before the Nigerian independence.

Meanwhile, in his royal remarks, Oba Kabiru Shotobi, Ayangbure of Ikorodu thanked Hon. Agunbiade and his cultural group, IREP.

“I thank Hon. Agunbiade and IREP for embarking on cultural renaissance for Ikorodu division. Your group has taking up a very big task that will place Ikorodu on global cultural map”, Oba Shotobi said thankfully.

“There is no family in Ikorodu division that is not connected or affected by Asa heritage. The entire Obas are in support of what you are doing. We are ready for November 4 festival and I want to enjoin every stakeholder to start praying for the successful staging of the festival which will showcase the division.”

Enter a Hon. Agunbiade introducing IREP members to the gathering

“You are not looking for any personal enrichment, rather you are using your good office and resources to further the division’s development. You have been successfully discharging your representative and ambassadorial duties for Ikorodu”, Ayangbure of Ikorodu stated.

“The entire Obas in Ikorodu division are ready to support you in this task and other endeavours. We are praying that God should make the division’s dream for the governorship’s seat of Lagos State come true soon and when the time comes, we know that you are capable to represent us at that level. I’m not campaigning for anybody, but we must acknowledge the good things you have been doing for our division”, Oba Shotobi stated

Oba Ajibade Agoro, the Ranodu of Imota, in his own address warned that Ikorodu division’s cultural heritages must not be allowed to go into extinction.

“Religion is quite different from culture and even the whitemen recognizes this. In one of my travellings abroad, I was  taken to a Mosque called Islamic Cultural Centre when I wanted to pray. We must do everything to support Hon. Agunbiade in his effort to preserve our cultural heritages”, Oba Agoro appealed.

The royal father,whose speech was laden with traditional songs in  appreciation of Hon. Agunbiade, stunned other royal fathers and guests when he said he will spend more time singing with Asa groups on the day of the festival.

“On that day, I will only spend little time with my co-traditional rulers and more time singing with the Asa groups. I can sing more than 70 Asa songs without stopping. It is an inbuilt thing”, Oba Agoro boasted.

More so, the trio of Oba Semiudeen Kasali, Adeboruwa of Igbogbo, Oba Akeem Oyebo, Obateru of Egbin and Oba Richard Ogunsanya, Olubeshe of Ibeshe, also took  turns to acknowledge the efforts of the IREP group and called for cultural revival in Ikorodu division.

Copies of dummy of the research work on Asa compiled by IREP  were presented to the royal fathers for their endorsement at the briefing.

Other eminent guests at the ceremony were Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola, acting Commissioner for Tourism/Special Adviser on Arts & Culture, who was represented by Mrs Adams Omowunmi, Otunba Daini Waliu, Chairman,National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW),Ikorodu Chapter, Comrade Pelaiye Okanlawon, Seretary, IKODASS and Mr Owolabi Anifowoshe among others.


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