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Moko shut out Ondo women from public glare

By Sade  Adewale
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Women across all age grades in Ondo city, headquarters of Ondo West Local Government  area of the state yesterday  complied with the traditional stay at home order, following the celebration of the annual Odun Moko festival in the area.

The Hope Metro  learnt that during the celebration of the festival, women across all age grades are barred from coming out in the morning of the  celebration till evening when the celebration would  have come to an end.

The festival  dates  back to  655 years ago, since Udoko community, a suburb town in Ondo city was founded and ruled by  its first monarch called, “Adegha”  who was said to have migrated from Ile-Ife  in Osun state.

The festival is said to be the second to the last festival among the over 44 traditional festivals usually celebrated  annually in the area.

As a result of the compliance by the women, virtually all commercial and  businesses activities as well as celebration of other ceremonies were almost paralyzed. Women who own business as well as those on paid employment in several government and privately owned companies stayed away from their work places.

Similarly, activities in all the four major markets located at  Moferere, Sabo, Odosida and  Agbogboke  were also closed temporarily except for the presence of traders of Hausa and Igbo extractions (males) who opened their shops.

Apart from  the low economic activities at the markets, the usual hawking activities by women were also affected,  as none of those who usually embrace such selling in activities could be seen  in the town.

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Cross sections of traders who spoke with Journalists  lamented the absence of women which they said was responsible for the low sales  recorded by them.

Similarly, some operators of intra city commercial vehicles, tricycles as well as Okada riders   also attributed what they observed as the low level of patronage as being caused by the absence of women who have complied with the stay at home order announced in the town.

When our correspondent went round major streets in the community such as Igele Ale, Okedibo, Yaba, Esso, Surulere,  Idishin, Ododibo, Odotu as well as Okelisa,  all the doors to residential houses, shops,  eateries and liquor joints were firmly locked.

In addition to this, all the roads in the areas were almost empty.  A situation which led some  children  to convert them into  temporary football field.

Although, the festival is usually observed all over Ondo city, it was however learnt historically,  that its celebration is usually observed more by people within the community who belonged to a clan called the Udoko, in local parlance and whose traditional affinity with the Ondo people dates  back to several centuries.

in an interview on the significance of the festival, the traditional  ruler of Udoko Community in Ondo West Local Government, Oba Samuel Adeyemi Akinmusire, stated  that the festival was being observed by the people of his community in line with the legacy bequeathed to it by their forefathers.

The monarch who bears the traditional title of Oludoko, described the festival as very unique. He stated that apart from the fact that it  signifies the second to the last festival to be held annually in the area, it is usually used to usher in the beginning of new one.

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He further said  that the festival during which women are barred from public glare was not meant to punish the women folk, but was done in line with the age long tradition and culture of the people of the community.

The festival which began on Tuesday in the town with  a procession by Oba Akinmusire in company with  his Chiefs and traditional drummers round some traditional spots within the jurisdiction of Udoko community and terminated at Oyeren River in Okelisa street, where prayers were offered for the peace, progress and unity of the community, Ondo city,  Ondo State and Nigeria in general.

The festival  continued  on the second day during which Moko deity were taken  round the city by the worshippers to offer more prayers during which eminent indigenes of Udoko community will later converge at the palace of the monarch located along Ondo/Ile-Ife high way to felicitate with him amidst singing and dancing.

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