By: Adeyemo Abdul-lateef and Ibrahim Ramotallahi
The much anticipated 2019 Eegungun festival got underway with dignitaries spanning across traditional, political, corporate as well as entertainment sectors dared the light shower to partake in the festival.
It will be recalled that the festival which holds every 3 years was last held in 2011, a situation which put the people and lovers of Eegungun on a longer train of suspense.
The Olota of Ota, HRM Oba (Prof.) Adeyemi Abdulkabir Obalanlege, while declaring the event opened, said, “we welcome everyone to this epoch making event. This is our cultural inheritance and as such, we have to rally round it. Ota Eegungun festival is one of the most celebrated festivals in the world and the result is in the number of crowd witnessed here today. I want to implore all sons and daughters of Ota, as well as tourists and corporate organizations to participate in the festival because, doing so will have a toll effect on the immediate economy of the town.”
He tasked the state government to see the festival as a means of increasing the internally generated revenue which comes from the Local government through tourism and patronage of local contents.
A cultural Ambassador and Chairman, Director of culture and tourism, Olota’s palace, Barrister (Prince) Adewale Adeyanju, described the event as ‘historical and symbolic in the history of the Aworis’.
He said, ‘Eegungun in Ota is a unique and land-breaking festival that differs from other celebrations. We are known as custodian of Eegungun festival in the entire world and that is why you see us showcasing our culture through the display of drums and colourful costumes of the Eegungun.
He added that Eegungun has been misconstrued for Masquerade by the whites and that Ota’s Eegungun is not the same Masquerade named by those who translated Yoruba to English in that we have not departed from the old and traditional way of costuming our own Eegunguns since inception.
The event, which is expected to last for another 4-months, had yesterday showcased different types and costumes of Eegunguns which some families have prepared to wear their Eegungun in this year’s event. The event started on Friday with ‘Agan’ which came out mid night to pray for the entire indigenes and strangers that trooped to the town to be part of the event.
Some of the dignitaries that graced the event included; Asiwaju of Awori land, Sen. Ayodeji Otegbola, Elegushi of Egushi land, HRM Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi Kusenla III, Oloto of Oto-Awori, HRM Oba Josiah Olanrewaju Ilemobade Aina, Osolo of Isolo, HRM Oba Kabiru Adelaja Agbabiaka, Olu of Itori, HRM Oba Abdul-Fatai Akorede Akamo, Nollywod star, Taiwo Hassan, former Local Government Service Commissioner, Hon. Rotimi Rahman amongst several others.