-We will continue to promote our culture, tourism – Prince Kosoko
Ebute – Iga, an ancient community in Ikorodu West Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Ikorodu Division, Lagos State, Southwest, Nigeria, has again hosted another successful Liwe festival which was characterized by voyage to ‘Oko – Igo’, and appeasement to gods for safety on water.
Prince Abiola Kosoko, the Alashe of Ebute – Iga, also used the ceremony to pledge the continuous promotion of tourism through the festival.
The celebration, which is over 500 years old, brings the residents of the riverine community and friends together and sustained its tradition with young, old and eminent people in the community converging on the Ebute riverbank.
The festival usually features the colourful display of traditional and cultural values of Ebute – Iga community and voyage of prosperity, development and goodness.
Prince Kosoko, who is the Oloja of Lagos – elect and Chief Executive Officer, Origin Zoo & Resort, said that the annual festival will not go into extinction and that it will continue to bring good tidings to the community.
He said further that the community is also promoting tourism with through the annual celebration.
“This is an annual festival that has been with us long before now. It is a festival that is over 500 years old and it’s all about cleansing our community and neighbouring towns of evil, sorrow and negative developments
“It’s about facilitating progress, prosperity and good developments into our community.
“It is a festival that our people are greatly attached to because of its importance. During the festival, we do invite guests and while many others also come around to identify with us own their own.
“We are using the culture and traditions of Ebute – Iga to also promote tourism in this ancient community, which is the reason the festival will continue to exist because it’s a delight to watch for the residents and guests”, he said.
“It is an annual tradition mainly meant to cleanse the town and the entire Ikorodu division of evil and water transportation troubles. This is what we are celebrating”, Alashe added.
“Liwe is usually the first festival to be celebrated within the Ikorodu and Lagos traditional circles. It ushers in all other festivals.
Prince Kosoko also charged the Lagos State Government to support the community in the promotion of tourism in Ebute – Iga community which, according to him, has many important and ancient sites and festivals.
Explaining the reason for the turning around of the two boats while embarking on sail and after returning three times, Alashe said:
“The first turning around when they are going means that they are taking away sorrow, while the second implies that they are taking our evil and third, they are removing every form of bad things from the community and taking them into the wilderness where they are going to dump them.
“When they are returning, they usually bring back goodness, happiness and progress to the community and neighbouring communities. These are the implications of the boats turning around three times”.
Meanwhile, after necessary prayers and rites earlier in the morning by Asiwaju Liwe in Ebute – Iga, Chief Kehinde Oseni Ogunmowo and Abota of the group, Chief Lekan Ladega and with the blessings of Prince Kosoko, young and able youths parjed themselves into two boats for an onward journey to ‘Oko – Igo’ (Igo farm) at ‘Igbo Edun’ (Edun forest) which are situated around Majidun.
The two boats, traditionally known as ‘Majowu’ and ‘lnoki’, left the shore of Ebute – Iga at 9.15am and sailed towards ‘Oko-Igo’, while traditional chiefs and residents watched with amazement until and later dispersed when the boats went out of sight.
While the community youths had gone to perform necessary rites at ‘Oko – Igo’, the residents prepared for the celebration to come later in the day while Liwe chieftains retired to their enclaves to intercede for safe return of those that had journeyed on behalf of the community.
At 2.00pm, members of the community started returning to the bank to await the arrival of the two boats which were sighted from afar at 3.02pm and at exactly 3.28pm, they arrived the shore where they made three turnings while the sound of drums and songs from them echoed at the river bank where residents were awaiting them with excitement.
At the river bank was a set of women and a few men called ‘Alugbe’ (Igbe singers) dressed in white attires and were rendering traditional songs to entertain the crowd while at the other side of the lagoon were Osun worshippers who were also dressed in white attires performing rituals and singing as well.
After completing the traditional turning around which they equally observed in the morning before they embarked on the journey, a loud shout emanated from the two boats from afar which signaled that the trips to ‘Oko- Igo’ was successful and this was immediately followed by a corresponding louder shout from the residents at the shore.
On their arrival, two traditional chieftains were in the water to welcome them and also perform necessary rites, after which the boats piloted by another smaller boat maneuvered their ways through the water hyacinth to get close to the shore.
It was another spectacular scene when they started disembarking from boats by acrobatically jumping into the river and swimming through the hyacinth.
At the shore were Prince Kosoko, other traditional chiefs and dignitaries who were waiting for them. Prince Kosoko later gave prayers and commendations while charging those present to honour the community youths with monetary rewards which came in drive.
As expected, the two teams returned with a water pot which was handed over and taken to a safe place for the cleansing of the community.
In celebration of the feat, members of the community and guests joined Alashe of Ebute – Iga at the Metro ferry facility where a reception took place, while others organized parties at the frontage of their houses.