Wale JAGUN & Ebunolowa AFOLABI (SIWES student)
Organisers of the annual Asa festival, IREP – Ikorodu Division Rebirth Foundation, on Wednesday, October 9,2019, met with stakeholders in Ikorodu Division to brief them on the preparations for this year’s edition of the festival.
This year’s edition of the Lagos State Government recognized annual festival is scheduled to hold at the Ferry Terminal, Ebute in Ikorodu West Local Council Development Area, on Saturday, November 2, 2019.
The Founder and Scout Master of IREP – Ikorodu Division Rebirth Foundation and the Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, and other chieftains of the cultural group were on ground to receive the representatives of elected Councilors, market men and women, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), community and cultural associations, political parties, Organisation of Party Entertainers of Nigeria (OPEN), DJAN, Police, LASTMA, Neighbourhood Watch, Onyabo Vigilance Group, LASCOTA, Association of Yoruba Teachers in Ikorodu Division, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and Asa families across Ikorodu division and many others and intimate them on the preparations for the much awaited festival.
Dare Odofowokan, Co-Chairman of IREP, in his welcome address at the gathering, said that:
“You are all invited here today for a briefing on the forthcoming Asa festival. Let’s celebrate this Asa festival like they are celebrating Eyo and other festivals.
“We have decided to make Asa festival more elaborate, hence, our decision to call on critical stakeholders on how to ensure massive participation and improve the annual celebration”.
He said that this year’s edition is targetted at projecting the cultural values and tourism nature of Ikorodu and setting the pace for other festivals in the division and Lagos as a whole.
Odufowokan also added that in an attempt to preserve Asa, IREP has documented the cultural performance in form of research book and documentary video.
He also stated that the annual festival is worthy of celebration as a way of promoting Ikorodu tourism.
In his keynote address, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, stated that the parley was to brief cross section of residents on the preparations towards the celebration of the ASA festival and also get their inputs for successful outing.
“We have briefed our traditional rulers and elders in the division, and we have decided to inform the people too since you are critical to the success of the festival”.
The lawmaker, while announcing November 2 as the date for the festival, also disclosed that popular Fuji artiste, Alhaji Alabi Pasuma and popular hip hop musician Qdus Alagbe , known by his stage name as ‘Qdot’, are among major artistes expected to perform at the event .
More so, Hon. Agunbiade urged the stakeholders and entire residents of Ikorodu Division to give maximum support to IREP in its quest to also promote other cultural and traditional values in the division such as the Etunrenren river in Ikorodu, Owodoro river in Ijede (where two rivers meet) and other sites and cultural centres that are abound in Igbogbo, Imota, Ipakodo and other parts of the division.
He also enjoined them to patronize the official local fabric for the festival to make the event colourful.
Also at the event, ASP Olalere Ayoola, the Station Officer, Ikorodu-Shagamu Police Division, appreciated Hon. Agunbiade for his effort in reviving dying cultures in Ikorodu division, especially Asa festival.
He recalled his participation at FESTAC 77 and stated that he was one of those that mounted the ‘delicate stilt sticks’ from Lanlate, a community in Oyo town of Oyo State.
“I really want to appreciate Hon. Agunbiade for his efforts in reviving dying cultures in Ikorodu, especially Asa. When I was a young junior officer with the Nigeria Police, I was one of those that mounted the ‘delicate stilt sticks’ at the FESTAC 77.
“During FESTAC 77, Asa festival was well celebrated then but suddenly, the celebration of the festival stopped without any notice. But today, I’m happy and elated that Hon. S.O.B Agunbiade is reviving our cultures and heritages. May the Lord’s favor continue to locate him”.
He also stated that Agere (another name for Asa in other climes) was staged in Libya by President Olusegun Obasanjo on his visit to the country when he was the President of Nigeria.
“In 1999 or 2000 when Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo became the President of Nigeria, I remember vividly that he took the Asa festival to Liberia where it was accepted and celebrated by all the people in that country”.
The fruitful parley also had contributions from several other participants.