By John Odunjo
The memories of the 2023 Festival which held on Sunday at the Palace of the Ewi of Ado Ekiti will linger for long in the minds of those who attended the celebration and as well those who watched it through electronics devices in terms of beauty and splendour.
Like the Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde, said, “They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty”, the setting at the palace, the sitting arrangements and the people in attendance to celebrate the yearly festival with the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe showed class, colour and beauty.
Dignitaries included former Governor of Gombe State, Senator Ibrahim Dankwambo; former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose; Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Mrs Monisade Afuye; Secretary to Ekiti State Government, Dr Habibat Adubiaro and All Progressives Congress State Deputy Chairman, Chief Sola Elesin.
Members of different groups and associations including the Ewi-in-Council; chiefs; princes and princesses; oloris (monarch’s wives); the apex social body, Ado Progressives Union; hunters; marketmen and women; different quarters and non-indigenes among others clad in colourful attires paid homage to the Ewi who wore an ancestral crown and regally dressed in a blue embroidered attire.
Different cultural groups including the Ekiti Performing Company treated the Kabiyesi and the audience to traditional and cultural songs and dance as they relished every activity at the event.
Oba Adejugbe hailed the Ewi-in-Council, APU members, Udiroko Planning Committee members and all Ado Ekiti indigenes for a successful Udiroko Festival, which he said marked the first day in Ado Ekiti calendar.
The monarch said, “The celebration of this tripod of our collective existence as Ado people every year provides the ample opportunity to all Ado sons and daughters both at home and in the Diaspora to come together to appreciate God and pray for continuous peace and progress in the coming year”.
Oba Adejugbe lauded Ekiti State Governor Biodun Oyebanji for marching Ekiti to greatness and rejigging the machinery of governance in the state since assumption of office in October last year.
He said, “As a matter of fact, he (Oyebanji) has put in place various palliative measures to deal with the effects of the subsidy removal and its challenges. In the process, he has accorded the traditional institution in Ekiti State the requisite recognition and reverence.
“It is my fervent prayers that his tenure that started well shall end well and Ekiti State shall continue to do well and attain greatness throughout his tenure and beyond. Amen”.
Former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, made case for the continuous development of the state and the palace hence the need for Ekiti people and politicianss to allow governors complete eight years without stress.
Fayose lauded Oba Adejugbe and described him as “a great man who has put indelible mark in the history of Ado Ekiti and Ekiti State”.
The former governor said, “We will continue to celebrate the throne. Kabiyesi, you have made it so elegant”.
Governor Oyebanji’s wife, Olayemi, who is a princess of ado Kingdom, wished Oba Adejugbe long life on the throne and appreciated the great role that the monarch played to ensure the creation of Ekiti State.
The Chairman, Udiroko Planning Committee, Prof. Sunday Akindele, said, “Udiroko is a traditional and historical festival that can be discussed as a Siamese twin with Ado Ekiti. There is no Ado without Udiroko and there is no Udiroko without Ado, Ewi is Udiroko, Ewi is Ado, Ado is Ewi”.
Akindele, who is a professor of Political Science, said that Udiroko was unique, saying, “Udiroko Cultural Festival is Ado Day, but it is historical. It is different from what many other cities are reinventing to launch funds.
“At Udiroko, we demonstrate our traditional values, our traditional essence and our sense of corporate existence as a collective,” he said.