It was a great spectacle on Saturday, July 30, 2022, when male residents of the ancient kingdom of Igbogbo converged on the Igbogbo Night market to celebrate the 2022 Oro Abosan festival.
The grand finale of the festival, which started on Thursday July 20, was held on that Saturday and it reassured residents that the festival would continue to be part of the culture and tradition of the ancient Igbogbo town.
A major feature, of this year’s celebration was the emergence of a new Masquerades – Panpa Lantan from the Lantan Onanusi family, which added colour to the traditional Oro display.
The occasion also presented the Igbogbo Cultural Heritage Group led by Chief Sotomiwa Omotayo and Chief Lookman Oladunni, the opportunity to perform their new songs in the two albums launched few days to the Oro festival.
The eve of the Oro Abosan this year was a clear departure from the past as families, groups and bases converged on the frontage of their respective family houses and other places to celebrate with women before they retired indoor at 12am and remained there till the next next day while the male indigenes were outside throughout the Saturday, as permitted by tradition.
Like previous years, the Oro priests led hundreds of men to the deity’s shrine for necessary rituals early hours of Saturday morning on the day Oro and returned to their various homes to rest and prepare for the late afternoon display.
Around the town, young men with their canes set up artificial road blocks to solicit money from motorists plying the road and other road users, an act which has, over the years, become part of the activities marking the festival.
There was calmness unlike in the years past when tension of deadly clashes by cult groups usually envelope the atmosphere. Young and old men moved about freely without any molestation.
There was massive presence of the Local Joint Taskforce being managed by the Ikorodu Division Peace Initiative Peace Ltd/GTE, Joint Taskforce under the Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA, Onyabo Vigilance Group and officers of the Nigerian Police at strategic points to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order.
Though, shops and markets were under lock and keys, since women were not allowed outside, some young men took advantage of the celebration by preparing rice, eba and other meal for sales and they enjoyed adequate patronage.
As early as 2pm when our reporter got to the Night market, young able men had started arriving the arena of the final display for the festival.
There were tents with banners of different families and groups arranged at the Night market at Club 24 which extends to Oba Omolaja Road, palace and Agarawu.
Among families and groups with sitting arrangement at the grand finale were Lantan Onanusi family, Saaogun, Igbogbo Youth Coalition (IYC), NULGE among others.
After hours of preparations at the Iga (Palace) Odofin of Igbogbo, High Chief Tajudeen Alade Duduyemi Onasanya who is also the Olootu General of Lantan Onanusi Chieftaincy family and the Oloritun of Itun Abosan, led other Chieftains of the family and youths at 4.07pm on procession with the new Panpa Masquerades to the market for display.
It was a beautiful sight to behold as hundreds of residents looked at the Masquerades in awe while also praising and commending them.
The Adeboruwa of Igbogbo, His Royal Majesty, Oba Semiudeen Orimadegun Kasali, at 5.47pm, emerged from the palace and led members of the Adeboruwa- in – Council, eminent personalities and others in procession to the market for the final display.
In the royal entourage were Builder Sesan Daini, Chairman, Igbogbo-Baiyeku LCDA and Hon. Adeola Banjo, Chairman, Ikorodu North LCDA.
At the arena were various Masquerades like Panpa Lantan, Saaogun among others. They took their turns to pay homage to the Adeboruwa and also entertained the crowd with their breathtaking displays.