From Jimoh Ahmed, Owo
The 2023 edition of the Igogo festival, a popular cultural event in Owo, headquarters of Owo Local Government, reached its apogee on Sunday as the Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye III, danced round the town as part of the activities of the festival.
In his message to the sons and daughters of the town, both at home and in diaspora, Oba Ogunoye enjoined them to eschew hatred, bitterness and anything that can disrupt the peace of the town.
The Olowo who is sure that the indigenes of the town who are scattered all over the globe but could not come home to take part in the festival this year would be happy anywhere they may be.
The monarch described culture as very synonymous with Owo and its people.
According to him, the Owos never joke with their culture as they live and eat it.
“I know those sons and daughters of Owo who are in diaspora but could not come home to witness this year’s celebration will be happy wherever they are at this moment.”
“Culture is our way of life. We live it and we eat it. We don’t joke with our culture. Owo is culture, Owo is the home of culture. Our culture is simply our heritage and we proud of this.”
Oba Ogunoye also used the ocassion to pray for the peace and progress of the town, the local government, Ondo State and Nigeria in general.
Equally, the monarch who also thanked God for the life of the State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for recovery from ill health, further prayed that God will grant him the ability to carry on with his assignment and the great place He is taking him to in not distant future.
Meanwhile, this year’s edition of the internationally acclaimed festival was so spectacular and unique as it attracted an unprecedented crowd in history.
The Olowo who came out with his retinue of chiefs, was accompanied by residents of the town, tourists, cultural enthusiasts from far and near as he danced from his palace to Ijebu Owo and later returned with the mammoth crowd who were ever anxious to feed their eyes with every bit of the actions.
Speaking with The Hope, a resident, Miss Aanu Adekanbi, who could not hide her joy for witnessing the festival, wished that it could continue without a stop.
According to her, people should not see it as a religious thing but purely cultural.
In the same vein, Mrs Kehinde Ade, commended government for ensuring the celebration was peaceful by providing enough security who ensured that the fears of people about possible security breach is allayed.
On his own, Mr Ayo Kayode, posited that this years edition of the festival was special like no other.
According to Kayode, it was unique and different from those before it for the unprecedented crowd and the majority of the people who were clad in white attires, denoting the meaning of the festival, which is a festival of love.
A cultural enthusiast and consultant, Prince Rotimi Awelewa, said Igogo is so different from others from the way it is being carefully passed on to generations.
Prince Awelewa who is also the Cultural Consultant to Owo Cultural Heritage Organisation ( the organisation in charge of rebranding Igogo), disclosed that he took special interest in the festival because of its uniqueness.
The cultural consultant said he was working in partnership with Owo Cultural Heritage Organisation to repackage the festival to a commercial level.
Some of the spectacular additions to the festival is the provision of two ambulance vehicles to cater for those who may have health hiccups during the long dance.
A major spectacular part of the festival is the bringing back of the Udan Oroshen (maidens).
The Udan(maidens) was known to be a special attraction of the festival in the olden days but fizzle away probably because of modernization.
The Udans are girls who are still in their primes and always dressed half naked clad in beads around their lower body.
Meanwhile the festival continues tomorrow with other programmes and it is expected to come to an end on August 2, 2023 with the Ugbeyaloke rites.