By: Precious Oluwole
The Olowa and Paramount Ruler of Igbara-Oke kingdom, His Imperial Majesty, Oba (Dr.) Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede, OFR, had declared a new year in the traditional calendar of Igbara-Oke kingdom. This was contained in his address during the celebration of Orikadun Festival in the ancient town of Igbara-Oke.
As a custom, Orikadun Festival marks the end of the traditional calendar and the beginning of another New Year. It has always be a historic event that usually brings together the sons, daughters and visitors, both home and abroad annually.
Oba Agbede said Orikadun Festival has been the kind of festival that brings people together, towards appreciating the goodness of God in their lives. He said the outgoing year has been filled with different challenges, part of which is the cashless policy and the redesigning of Naira notes. Despite these, the town remained strong and never reneged in their focus at providing enabling environment for the people of Igbara-Oke.
He said the new year has begun and there is need for us all to continued in love, peace and harmony.
While appreciating the representative of Ondo State Governor, Oba Agbede said the town will continue to partner with the government in all areas of human developmental endeavours.
In his opening address, the chairman of Orikadun Festival committee, High Chief Akin Ashimolowo, who is also the Sasere of Igbara-Oke kingdom reiterated the importance of the Orikadun festival among other festivals being celebrated. According to him, Orikadun Festival capped all festivals in Igbara-Oke kingdom. He said the town celebrates twenty six (26) festivals annually , beginning with Alabasaba through Ikegun Obaji to Odun Ogoye in June, Ijesu Olowa, Ijesu Obanifon and Ijesu Olua in August.
He said since the ascension of His Imperial Majesty, Oba Dr. Agbede OFR, these festivals have been promoted globally, and the cultural heritage of the town has received global attention.
Igbara-Oke being a boundary town is an entry point from both Osun and Ekiti States, and this has given the town a great fortune of agricultural products to feed their population with the land, equally being blessed with a historic 500 years old petroglyphs as a tourism attraction centre.
The tourism ambassador, Wale Ojo-Lanre, while speaking at the event, said Igbara-Oke is blessed with ancient monuments, one of which is the petroglyph. Wale Ojo-Lanre informed gathering that there are 3 petroglyphs sites in Nigeria, one in Calabar, one in the North and Igbara-Oke is blessed to be the third location to have this attraction centre.
“It is quite unfortunate that the other two locations are using this natural endowment to generate revenue, but in Igbara-Oke, the reverse is the case,” he added.
The former Senior Spesial Assistant to the former governor of Ekiti State, Ojo-Lanre therefore pleaded with His Imperial Majesty and the inhabitants of Igbara-Oke to develop this petroglyphs to a centre for generating revenue for Igbara-Oke.
The Orikadun festival had in attendance different people from all works of life, among who is the Commissioner for Finance in Ondo State, who represented the Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akerdolu SAN, CON, Mr. Wale Akinterinwa. In his remarks, he appreciated the Olowa and Paramount Ruler of Igbara-Oke and applauded the youths on different developmental projects that have heralded the serene community.
He urged the good people of the town to continue these feats, and implored the youths never to derail their vision at providing enabling environment for all. He therefore pledged his support for the youths of the town.
He also charged the visitors to replicate the same by constituting a youth organ in their respective community, and learn from the good works of Igbara-Oke Youth Council.
Akinterinwa said, the Ondo State government will continue to partner with such developmental projects in order to give all citizens of Sunshine State a good life.
The highlights of the event include youth empowerment, paying of homages to His Imperial Majesty by different quarters, traditional Chiefs, Honorary Chiefs, ethnic groups among others.