For eight days, penultimate week, Ikorodu, the second most populous Local Government Area in Lagos State, was agog with arts and cultural activities. It was this year’s edition of Ikorodu-Oga Day celebration, the 30th in the series.
No doubt, the 30th Ikorodu Oga Day celebration has come and gone but the sweet, inspiring memories of the cultural feast will linger, with palpable nostalgia, for a very long time. Perhaps, until the next edition in 2022, as the event continues to get better, richer and bolder. Organised by Ikorodu-Oga Development Association (IKODASS), eightday cultural feast, which featured series of activities including Woro Carnival, Cultural Heritage Award, Market Expo, Indigenous Food Cooking Competition, Royal Banquet at Ikorodu Town Hall, Ijebu Dialect Debate, Miss Ikorodu Beauty Pageant, Food Festival, Cultural Display, Role Model Award, Beauty Pageant, music concerts as well as film screening, was held November 13 to 20.
The celebration kicked off on Saturday November 13, at the Ikorodu Town Hall with the interdenominational prayer by the traditional group as well as Christians and Muslims communities, thereafter, the Chairman of IKODASS, Mr. Rotimi Erogbogbo, led other executive members of the association and residents on the Woro procession round lkorodu town.
As expected, Ikorodu residents trooped out in their numbers to showcase their rich cultural and tradition. Residents marched across many streets while the Apena of Ikorodu, High Chief Kareem Ore, led members of different cultural and traditional groups (who were clad in their respective traditional attires) and masquerades to participate in the carnivalesque procession.
The procession started from the Ikorodu Town Hall, and then through Olubi Street to Ayangburen Road, to other popular and major streets, namely, Ojogbe/Oriwu road, Ireshe road, Aga, Itambalab street, Obu- Oke market, Ita-Aro Square, Obun-Ale, Ajina, Itun-Moja, Alhaji Street, Oba Adenaike/Alagbe road, Alhaji Street, Ladoga, Ojubode, to Ikorodu garage roundabout where the procession had a stopover to pay homage at the Oga Statue before moving through the busy Ayangburen road and finally to the Palace of the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, His Royal Majesty Oba (Engr.) Kabir Adewale Shotobi, where the rich cultural heritage of Ikorodu again took centre stage with series of performances and traditional homage to the Ayangburen.
Among the eminent personalities that participated in the procession include Member, House of Representatives for Ikorodu Federal Constituency, Babajimi Benson; the National Deputy Chairman of the Association of Local Government Vice-Chairman of Nigeria, and the Vice Chairman of Ikorodu Local Government, Lagos State, Aarebirin Hon. Princess Folashade Olabanji- Oba; Mr. Rotimi Erogbogbo; current and former executives of IKODASS and members. There were also members of different socio-cultural groups and associations.
In his royal message at the event, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu commended the people for trooping out to identify with their culture and tradition. He pledged his support towards the promotion of the rich cultural heritage of Ikorodu. But it was not only about performances.
There was an intellectual dimension to it as there was lecture on the topic, ‘Ikorodu’s place in Lagos Tourism Development’. Prince Abiola Kosoko, Alashe of Ebute-Iga Kingdom, who was the guest lecturer, in his lecture, urged traditional rulers and custodians of Ikorodu tradition and culture to do more in propagating the values of their culture if they are to get prominent and necessary attention, noting that “Ikorodu is enjoying a direct plan by the government in making Ikorodu a residential haven for all, irrespective of the level and from all walks of life.
In other words, Ikorodu is being designed to be a functional residential settlement to house the population that will aid the continuous existence of other settlement/ community that has promoted their tourism potential in the area of annual traditional festival and landmarks potential (either manmade or Natural ) that will outweigh the investment in the shortest possible time.”
He added that the Ikorodu tourism potential has remained untapped knowingly or unintentionally on the part of the government since the indigenous people are not promoting their traditional festivals and landmarks to attract government attention.
“There are over 45 historical sites/ tourism landmarks and about 34 festivals in Ikorodu division which require special attention despite being mentioned in the various colonial write up/reports which made them historical and important.
“The entire people of Ikorodu division must come together, synergize the festival calendar and defend the various tourism landmarks in Ikorodu division from being destroyed by land speculators and the enemies within,” he said. Highlights of the 30th Ikorodu-Oga Day include Royal Banquet where four prominent personalities in Ikorodu were honoured.
The awardees were Asiwaju Steve Anifowoshe, a prominent Pharmacist and international businessman; Chairman/CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NILDCOM), former three-term Member, House of Representatives, Abike Dabiri- Erewa; Chairman, Ikorodu Division Resource Development Group (IDRDG), Bashorun Babatunde Rotinwa; and former Director, Project Evaluation and Monitoring and former Member, Lagos State Judicial Service Commission, Mr. Fatai Oluwole.
A book, ‘Asiwaju: A Compendium”, written by Prof. Tajudeen Kayode Bawa, in honour of Babatunde Olusola Benson, SAN, was also presented at the banquet.
Speaking at the event, Mr Erogbogbo, said, “This Royal Banquet is unique in more ways than one as you will enjoy Ikorodu hospitality at its best and equally experience two historic events: the presentation of a book on Late Chief Babatunde Olushola Benson, SAN, KJW, and the conferment awards on four illustrious individuals who have left their footprints in the sands of time.”
His Royal Majesty, Oba Kabir Shotobi, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, in his speech, stressed the need for Ikorodu to produce the next Governor of Lagos State. “Ikorodu will not have its fair share of things until we produce the governor of Lagos State.
As I have been stating, there is still a fight in future and I am ready to lead the fight for Ikorodu because it must be our turn after Governor Sanwo – Olu,” said the Ayangburen. Oba Shotobi described the book presented in honour of late Chief Babatunde Benson as another testament to productivity of Ikorodu sons and daughters. He commended the giant strides IKODASS has been achieving under the leadership of Erogbogbo.
“This presentation of this book is another testament to the tenacity of the sons and daughters of Ikorodu division in term of their zeal and devotion to get results. “This lovely banquet is another verdict that we did not make mistake with the choice of Erogbogbo as the IKODASS Chairman,” Ayangburen said.
The reviewer of the book, ‘Asiwaju: A Compendium’, Sir David Sunmoni, the Pro-Chancellor/Chairman, Governing Council, Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos, commended the author and IKODASS for producing the book.
Among other eminent personalities at the banquet include, Prof. Kunle Ade Wahab, Sir (Engr) Chief Kayode Shoderu, Otunba (Sir) Ayodele Elesho, Asipa Kaoli Olusanya, Chief Bello Olusanya, Dr Eniayewun, and Dr (Otunba) Saheed Ibikunle. The Market Men & Women/Artisans Day, which was also part of the activities for 30th Ikorodu Oga Day.
To mark and celebrate the event, markets were closed several market men, women and residents converged at the king’s palace to pay homage to the Ayangburen.
There was also product display. Highlight if the 30th Ikorodu-Oga Day also include, School’s Indigenous Food Competition, Food Sales, Cultural Heritage Award, Hair and Beauty Contest, Schools’ Parade, Safety Talk, Music/ Drama, Ijebu Dialect Debate, Cultural Display, Role Model Award, and Beauty Pageant. The activities for the Grand Finale, which was held on Saturday, November 20, homage to the Ayangburen by clubs and associations, scholarships announcement, Community Lifetime Awards and Merit Awards as well as get together party for clubs and associations.
In an interview with New Telegraph, Mr Erogbogbo, said that the yearly Ikorodu-Oga Day celebration is aimed at preserving Ikorodu’s culture and tradition and showcase them to the global village, adding that it is a call on leaders and the people to wake up to their responsibilities.
“We are exploring our rich cultural heritage through this celebration and it also helps the leaders and the people to wake up to their responsibilities.
The idea is to showcase our culture and heritage to let people know that we have rich culture and also enhance the tourism potential of Ikorodu and by extension Lagos State in general.
“No matter the modernization, we have to preserve our culture and let our people know about them. Ikorodu- Oga Day has come to stay and it will stay forever. If you see a society that does not want its culture to stay, such society is heading for destruction,” he said.
We are exploring our rich cultural heritage through this celebration and it also helps the leaders and the people to wake up to their responsibilities; while the event also assist the young people to showcase their culture and know its economic importance”, Erogbogbo said.
Speaking with New Telegraph, Hon. Babajimi Benson, Member, House of Representatives who attended and participated in the ‘Woro’ procession and cultural display, said that the 30 years of Ikorodu-Oga Day celebration have been impactful, adding that the Ikorodu-Oga Development Association has been very active and has put in place a lot of programs in place and this is one of it.
“The people are very happy to identify with their culture. 30 years so far, so good. “Ikorodu has a rich culture and the cultural celebration is doing very well. We are celebrating Oga Day today to showcase lkorodu heritage to the world and bring more attention to it,” he added.