Kunle Adelabu & Wale Jagun
Ikorodu residents trooped out on Saturday, November 13, 2021, to showcase their rich cultural and traditional values through cultural displays across streets and important traditional locations in community.
This year’s festival would hold between Saturday, November 13, 2021 and Saturday, November 20, with different activities scheduled to engage residents and visitors.
People started converging on the Ikorodu Town Hall as early as 6am for the interdenominational prayer by the traditional group as well as Christians and Muslims communities after which Mr Rotimi Erogbogbo, Chairman of the Ikorodu – Oga Development Association (IKODASS), the body responsible for organizing the annual festival, led other executive members of the association and residents on a marathon Woro procession round lkorodu town.
Residents marched across major and traditional streets while the Apena of Ikorodu, High Chief Kareem Ore, led members of different cultural and traditional groups (who were dressed in their respective traditional attires) and masquerades to partake in the procession.
Among the eminent personalities that participated in the procession were Rep. Babajimi Benson, Chairman, House Committee on Defense and representative of the Ikorodu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and Otunba Ganiyu Olusegun Abiru, the immediate past Chairman of IKODASS and former Clerk/Permanent Secretary, Lagos State House of Assembly and others.
There were also members of different social and political groups as well as associations who were entertained by DJs who were following the procession in trucks from where they were dishing out various melodious songs to create a carnival-like atmosphere.
The procession took off from the Ikorodu Town hall and passed through Olubi street to connect Ayangbure road and linked Ojogbe/Oriwu road, Ireshe road, Aga, Itambalab street, Obu – Oke market, Ita – Aro square, Obun – Ale market, Ajina market, Oba Adenaike/Alagbe road, Alhaji Street, Ladega, Ojubode down to Ikorodu garage roundabout where the procession had a brief stopover to pay homage at the Oga statue before moving through the busy Ayangbure road and finally berthed at the Ayangbure palace which was the last point of call.
At the Ayangbure palace, there was a cultural exhibitions while different groups took turns to pay homage to the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, His Royal Majesty Oba (Engr.) Kabir Adewale Shotobi.
The monarch, in his royal message at the event, said that Ikorodu has several cultural festivals and pledged continuous support towards there promotion to tourism level.
While congratulating the entire residents on the occasion of the Ikorodu – Oga Day Celebrations, the royal father also commended them for trooping out to identify with their culture and tradition.
He also charged journalists to always report positive stories about Ikorodu which he said are abound, and not the negative ones.
Meanwhile, Mr Rotimi Erogbogbo, IKODASS Chairman, speaking with THE IMPACT, said that the celebration is aimed at preserving Ikorodu’s culture and tradition and showcase them to the global village.
“This is the 30th edition of the annual Ikorodu – Oga Day. What you are seeing today is just the starting point. A tip of the iceberg”, he said.
“The idea is to showcase our culture and heritage to let people know that we have rich culture and also enhance the tourism potential of Ikorodu and by extension Lagos State in general. You can see our cultural heritage.
“No matter the modernization, we have to preserve our culture and let our people know about them. Ikorodu-Oga Day has come to stay and it will stay forever.If you see a society that does not want its culture to stay, such is heading for destruction.
“We are exploring our rich cultural heritage through this celebration and it also helps the leaders and the people to wake up to their responsibilities; while the event also assist the young people to showcase their culture and know its economic importance”, Erogbogbo said.
The Chairman of the occasion, Otunba (Sir) Ayodele Elesho commended the IKODASS executive, under the leadership of Mr Rotimi Erogbogbo, for improving on the organization of the annual Ikorodu – Oga Day celebrations and other achievements recorded so far within a short period of its emergence.
Elesho, who said that Ikorodu is progressing since the enthronment of Oba Shotobi as the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, added that the division would continue to promote its cultural heritages and make it tourist hub in Lagos State, Nigeria and globally.
He charged parents and stakeholders to do more in the area of guiding their children and wards to acquire education while lamenting the lack of many qualified students in lkorodu for admission into the Lagos State University.
Hon. Babajimi Benson, Member, House of Representatives who attended and participated in the ‘Woro’ procession and cultural display, in an interview with our reporter, said that the 30 years of Ikorodu-Oga Day celebration have been impacful.
“The Ikorodu-Oga Development Association has been very active and has put in place a lot of programmes in place and this is one of it. The people are very happy to identify with their culture. 30 years so far, so good.
“Ikorodu has a rich culture and the cultural celebration is doing very well. We are celebrating Oga Day today to showcase lkorodu heritage to the world and bring more attention to it”, he added.
Prince Abiola Kosoko, Alashe Ebute-Iga and the Oloja of Lagos – Elect who was the guest lecturer at the cultural festival, spoke on the topic, ‘korodu’s place in Lagos Tourism Development’, charged traditional rulers and custodians of Ikorodu tradition and culture to do more in propagating the values of their culture if they are to get prominent and necessary attention.
He warned that the state government’s plan for the division is to make it a residential place for people from other parts of the state and country with the massive infrastructural developments but not really to promote its actual tourism development.
“Ikorodu is enjoying a direct plan by the government in making Ikorodu a residential haven for all, irrespective of the level and from all walks of life. In other words, Ikorodu is being designed to be a functional residential settlement to house the population that will aid the continuous existence of other settlement/ community that has promoted their tourism potential in the area of annual traditional festival and landmarks potential (either manmade or Natural ) that will outweigh investment in the shortest possible time”, Prince Kosoko said.
“The Ikorodu tourism potential has remained untapped knowingly or unintentionally on the part of the government, since the indigenous people are not promoting their traditional festivals and landmarks to attract government attention. This may sound untrue but it is the doing of the indigenous people with total neglect on the part of the traditional leaders.
“The government has made it clear in the recent master plan delivered some months ago and the physical representation of the plan as contained in the Ikorodu master plan and that has beginning to manifest in all corners of Ikorodu.
“The roads network, the ferry jetties with quick consent to layout of privately financed new town development becomes the share of Ikorodu with less concentration on core tourism development plan”, he added.
The guest speaker said that there are about 16 festivals in Ikorodu but only the Asa has received the attention of the Lagos State Government.
“There are about 16 festivals in Ikorodu but none of these festivals has gained the support of the government with the exception of the Asa play which has become a festival to reckon with in Ikorodu division”, he said.
“It will surprise us to know that none of these festivals are listed in the Lagos state festival calendar except Asa Play being pioneered by the Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Sanai Oyeniran Bolanle Agunbaide”.
Proffering solutions to enhance tourism development in Ikorodu, Prince Kosoko said that traditional rulers should call for rebranding and promotion of festivals and the separation of festivals from traditional rites among others.
“It is paramount at this juncture for the traditional leaders to bring into their fold the traditional heads of the various deities that gave birth to the festivals to quickly address the problems of neglect and work together with the political office holders to achieve the following; Festivals Rebranding, Promotion of Historical/tourism site (Man-made and Natural), Separating festival from traditional rights, Mapping and tagging Historical site and Natural landmarks protection, Recognising the various deities’ heads and appointment of festival heads and Establishment of Divisional Tourism Board.
“There are over 45 historical sites/tourism landmarks and about 34 festivals in Ikorodu division which require special attention despite being mentioned in various colonial write up/ reports which made them historical and important.
“The entire people of Ikorodu division must come together, synergise the festival calendar and defend the various tourism landmarks in Ikorodu division from being destroyed by land speculators and the enemies within”, he charged.