Olukere celebrates Olosunta Festival, seeks promotion of culture, tradition

*Why our forefathers lived longer – Oba Obasoyin

By John Odunjo

The people of Ikere Ekiti, Ekiti State celebrated this year’s Olosunta Festival, particularly the grand finale amid fanfare.

They trooped out in their numbers to the Odo Oja Roundabout and the Olukere Palace to celebrate and be part of the august occasion which took place in August, marking the end of a traditional year and beginning of yet another calendar year of the community.

The Olorisas, Oloris and Omo Iles were not left out as they, alongside high chiefs, chiefs, residents and other guests celebrated the especial event in honour Ikere’s hero as they prayed for better things for themselves and the community within the next Ikere Ekiti calendar year.

The traditional ruler, the Olukere of Odo Oja Ikere Ekiti, Oba Ganiyu Obasoyin, who shed more light on the Olosunta Festival, said, “It is a yearly celebration, it is like the Christmas of Ikere Ekiti.

“It is a unifying occasion for sons and daughters of Ikere Ekiti. We thank God that since we have been celebrating Olosunta, whatever we request, we get. We do not curse there, we pray there.

“We do not say Olosunta is God, he is our hero and we ask him to take our voice (requests) before God which he has been doing and we have been getting results. Since we began to celebrate Olosunta Festival, things go well in the community.

“Because we do the right thing, Ikere has never been captured by anybody or in any war. That is why in Ikere today, you have people from different places because when they have trouble, they know that they will have peace when they run to Ikere. These are what we are celebrating”.

The Olukere, who said his vision was to showcase the festival to the world by ensuring it becomes a major tourists’ attraction, called on well-meaning corporate bodies, individuals and organisations to consider sponsoring Olosunta Festival.

He said, “We are expecting to have financiers for this festival, we are expecting to have collaboration with big companies, who will come to support the culture and tradition of Ikere.

“With such collaborations and sponsorship, we believe the economy of Ikere Ekiti will continue to move forward. I believe and I am hoping and praying that by next year, we will surely have at least one or two good company(ies) to sponsor this event for a start,” the Olukere said.

Oba Obasoyin assured Ikere people of more development and progress in the traditional year, saying any community that followed the customs and tradition of their forefathers would definitely prosper and the people would enjoy good health and long life.

“Our forefathers who didn’t know Christianity or Islam lived longer than us now. They were closer to God than we are today and they got close to God through all the deities they had. The deities were not God, we are not saying the deities are God, but they are heroes who we communicate through to God.

“In the olden days when our forefathers were observing the cultures and traditions, they were living for 150 years, 200 years, there was peace in their communities.

“I plead with my brother obas, let us look back at our culture and tradition, this has nothing to do with religion, but now, you discover some obas are being stoned in the palace, some obas are sent out of their towns, may God forbid such.

“We have to look back, consider those good things and do them. A king that Ifa divination guides and who follows tradition and custom witnesses peace and progress in his domain.

“I am confidently telling my people in Ikere that as progress has been coming since I ascended the throne of my forebears, more progress will still be coming. We will continue to follow the footsteps of our forefathers.

“Let our children know about our culture, let them speak Yoruba Language. Yoruba language should be our language while English language should be vernacular”.

The traditional ruler, however, appealed to his subjects “to continue to live in peace and harmony. Without peace in a community, there cannot be progress.

“But when there is peace, you can think, you can plan, your plans can be executed. Even in the face of provocation or intimidation, they should continue to live in peace,” the Olukere said.

The monarch, who urged the Tinubu administration to give the issue of constitutional roles for traditional rulers the urgent attention it deserved, said, “If they want to ensure governance is made easier for the politicians, they should involve the obas that are closer to their people, that know what happens in their domains.

“I am happy to hear from the Senate President recently that they would ensure that traditional rulers have constitutional roles to play in governance. It is important, it is compulsory. I thank the present government for having that in the pipeline”, Obasoyin said.

The Olukere lauded Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, who he said had made a difference in governance in his few months in office as he advised the governor to be cautious so that selfish civil servants and politicians did not distract him.

He said, “My prayer is that civil servants and politicians will not distract him from the good works and plans for Ekiti. We are proud of him and he has been so good to Ekiti State and I as Olukere, I am so proud of him”.

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