Activities coincides with 2010 Odun Oba festival
The celebrations of this year’s Odun Oba Festival and 500 years of Osemawe dynasty in Ondo town began on July 2 with the paying of homage by the people of the ancient kingdom to the palace of the Osemawe, Oba (Dr.) Victor Adesimbo Ademefun Kiladejo, Jilo 111.
As expected, the occasion was colourful as people of all ages and sexes trooped out en-mass to celebrate the occasion.
The day was full of fun and excitement as traditional drummers were at their best. They displayed mastery of their trade to the admiration of the resplendently dressed indigenes who sang and danced to the palace.
Oba Kiladejo left no one in doubt about his happiness as he beamed with smiles and responded to greetings from the people by waving his traditional horse tail known in local parlance as “irunkere”.
The occasion was further made colourful with the presence of a cultural troupe from the Ondo State Ministry of Culture and Tourism which entertained the people.
AS a mark of respect for the traditional institution, Ondo town was virtually on a holiday as the township market popular called Mofeiye and all shops shut for the day. Vehicular movements were restricted in some designated locations such as Odotu, Enu-owa and Odosida road junction.
However, before the parade and homage paying, a planning committee was inaugurated to oversee the success of the Odun Oba Festival and the 500 years dynasty celebrations.
The committee drew up a 13-day programme of activities which include the announcement of the date for the celebration of the annual festival. This ceremony is called “Dida ojo Odun Oba “in local parlance.
Other activities include musical concert, exhibition of Ondo cultural artefacts, traditional wears and drumming, tree planting and launching of Ondo heritage museum.
The programme also included the performance of the traditional Ughasu and Ulesi ceremonies by traditional chiefs and district heads known as Olojas.
Also held during the 13-day programme was the “Oba Kon ma e” ceremony, delivery of a treatise on evolution of Ondo Kingdom over five centuries, presentation and launching of Ondo City Vision 2015, inauguration of a forum of honorary chiefs, and Royal banquet.
The activities also included the installations of honorary chiefs and interdenominational thanksgiving service at the expansive Oba Adesanoye Civic centre, Ondo.
Meanwhile, the celebration of this year Odun Oba Festival was held with pomp and pageantry. The ceremony began on July 4 with the usual “Idijo Odun Oba” programme.
Chiefs from various quarters and clans in the town neighbouring communities who owe allegiance to the authority of the Osemawe arrived in their best attires made of traditional Aso-Oke.
Traditional drummers from the town added colour to the event as they beat their drums dexterously to the admiration of the chiefs who, in return, rewarded them with crisp naira notes.
The excitement was on until the Osemawe arrived the venue of the event about 4.30pm. The monarch who appeared in a white embroidered traditional Aso-Oke was ushered in by the King drummers who also wore Aso-Oke attires.
As the Oba sauntered towards the specially decorated seat made for him, the venue was electrified with the thunderous shout of Abaiye O!!! rending the air. The King responded by waving his traditional horse tail to the people.
Shortly after the Osemawe had taken his seat, the ceremony began with people who came out in groups to dance and greet him. They were followed by the Ijama chiefs who also danced towards the Osemawe and paid obeisance to him.
Another set of chiefs, the Elegbe who wore traditional dresses of different colours also came forward to pay respect to the monarchy. After their leader had eulogized the Osemawe, they repeated what the Ijama Chiefs did earlier on by prostrating before the King.
The other batches of Chiefs, which include the Otu and Ukule as well as the female High Chiefs, called Opojis led by High Chief (Mrs.) Mosekonla Fawehinmi, the Lisa Lobun of Ondo Kingdom, and also paid homage to the Osemawe.
The occasion became more colouful and interesting when a prominent traditional Chief, Sagwe after conferring with the Osemawe, was directed to convey the message on the Odun Oba date declaration to high Chief Odunwo.
After the delivery of the message by Chief Sagwe, High Chief Odunwo was ushered into the venue of the celebration with Ugbaji drum, a special type of drum and gongon which are only beaten for the high chiefs.
As soon as Chief Odunwo entered and took his seat, Chief Sagwe again went to Kabiyesi, conferred with him for a few minutes, before going out again in company with some Ukule Chiefs to bring in High Chiefs Lisa.
At that juncture, the King drummers led by their leader moved towards the spot where High Chief Lisa was seated under a big umbrella called “Abuada” in local parlance.
The drummers later ushered him in. However, as he stepped in, he stopped at a spot few metres away from the Osemawe and stretched out his two hands, with the hands clenched, he paid Osemawe obeisance to the Osemawe who responded by waving his traditional horse tail.
After the end of this brief ceremony, the king drummers moved towards the Kabiyesi. As soon as they got closer to him, they beat their drums and made citations of all the past Osemawe.
At the completion of the citation, the audience shouted a thunderous Abaiye O! The head of the drummer later placed his drum on the palms of the Osemawe and prayed for him.