By John Odunjo
It has been joy and celebrations at the Ewi’s Palace and indeed Ado Ekiti since activities for the 2023 Udiroko Festival began in the kingdom.
The grand finale of this year’s Udiroko Festival will hold on Sunday when Ado indigenes at home and abroad and as well residents, friends, corporate organisations and government officials would gather at the palace for the celebration.
The Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe and members of the Ewi-in-Council alongside members of the Udiroko Planning Committee led by a professor of Political Science, Prof Sunday Akindele and Ado Progressives Union were at Ikogosi Resorts on Tuesday for a Health Outreach programme as part of activities for the festival.
But it was an auspicious moment on Thursday when Oba Adejugbe toured parts of the kingdom particularly the developing areas and as well visited the four council areas in the ancient city – Ado Local Government, Ado North Local Council Development Area, Ado West LCDA and Ado central LCDA.
Right from the Oja Oba Market where marketwomen cheered Oba Adejugbe on sighting the long convoy of vehicles accompanying the monarch on the tour to the areas where the carnival-like train passed through, people expressed delight and hailed the kabiyesi.
The tour of the kingdom and the four council areas in the ancient city was, among others, to assess development and expansion as part of activities for the ongoing Udiroko Festival.
The Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Adejugbe who was treated to grand receptions at the LG and three LCDAs, expressed delight with the expansion and development in the urban and rural areas of the kingdom.
The monarch, who shed light on the essence of the yearly Udiroko Festival, said it was an avenue for Ado Ekiti indigenes to celebrate their history and how the kingdom came into being and as well to pray for the indigenes, Ado Ekiti community, Ekiti State and Nigeria in general.
Oba Adejugbe said, “We are moving round the kingdom to ensure you are part of this year’s Udiroko Festival at the palace. At Udiroko we celebrate our history, how our forefathers founded the town.
“At Udiroko Festival, as we celebrate, we pray for Ado indigenes, residents, the town, Ekiti State and Nigeria. We do not worship anything during the festival, there is no sacrifice nor any ritual”.
The monarch expressed satisfaction with the activities of the councils and the progress recorded, urging the council bosses to strive to do more.
He said, “The developments in the three LCDAs created out of Ado Local Government areas by the state government have justified their creation. We are hopeful that they would be recognized by the country’s constitution in due course”.
Oba Adejugbe expressed delight with the peace in the kingdom and lauded the non-indigenes making exploits in Ado Ekiti and its communities and as well contributing to its development, assuring them of continued support and patronage.
The monarch, who, however, expressed concern over the present situation in Nigeria, advised the Federal Government to channel the money gained from the removal of fuel subsidy on infrastructures including fixing the refineries.
The Ewi also advised the Federal Government to ensure that the palliatives it was releasing for the poor and vulnerable citizens to lessen the pains of the effect of subsidy removal on them got to the people they were meant for.
Oba Adejugbe said, “I want to appeal to the Federal Government that they should make sure that the palliatives that are targeted to the poor people get to them.
“The Federal Government should make sure that the money gained from oil subsidy removal is spent on infrastructures of this country. They should fix the refineries in this country. If the refineries are working, the price of petroleum products will come down”.
The monarch, who said President Bola Tinubu had good plans for the country, appealed to citizens “to bear with the Federal Government. The President means well for this country if we give him the chance to prove himself”.
He lauded Ekiti State Government for the ongoing construction of Omisanjana – Ajebandele Road in the capital city, and called on the contractors to ensure timely completion of the project, saying it would boost economic activities in the area and better the residents’ lives.
The Chairmen of the four councils – Ado LG, Bosun Osaloni; Ado West LCDA, Taiwo Alagba; Ado Central LCDA, Toyin Ojo; and Ado North LCDA, Yomi Oso lauded the traditional ruler for the visit, which they said was novel.