Ojude Oba Festival Canceled Amid Rising Cases Of COVID19

by Olamilekan Okeowo

One of the eagerly awaited socio-cultural and religious festivals in Ijebuland, The Ojude Oba Festival, has been canceled due to rising concerns over the third wave of the COVID19 pandemic.

The Ojude Oba Festival, which that brings together Muslims, Christians and adherents of other faiths is normally held two days after the Eid-el Kabir (Ileya) celebration.

The cancelation was approved by the Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Awujale Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, who attributed the cancellation of the annual fiesta to the detection of the lethal COVID-19 Delta variant in Nigeria.

In a press release issued by the Coordinator of the Festival and Baagbimo of Ijebu, Chief (Dr.) Fassy Yusuf, the cancellation became necessary due to the negligible number of people that had taken the COVID19 vaccine.

Yusuf added that rather than expose people who will converge on Ijebu Ode from all over the world to participate in the ancient and unique socio-cultural and religious festival of the Ijebu nation, with its parade of traditional age groups and the spectacular durbar with unsurpassable equestrian display, to avoidable and preventable health hazards, the monarch directed that the 2021 edition be cancelled.

This is the second time in its known history of more than one Century that the festival that unites People of different faiths will be cancelled.

In his message to the Ijebu people on the occasion of the 2021 Eid-el Kabir, the monarch thanked his subjects for the peace, progress, and tranquility pervading Ijebuland.

He prayed for additional economic and social prosperity within Ijebuland and charged his people to remain resolute and be optimistic that sooner than later, Ijebu State would become a reality.

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Oba Adetona further charged his people and visitors to Ijebuland during and after the festival to ensure they wear their nose masks, wash their hands regularly with soap, keep social and physical distances at public places, get vaccinated against the pandemic, and adhere to other medical protocols as directed by the federal, state, and local government authorities.

The Awujale thanked all the sponsors of the festival for the mutually beneficial partnerships that have ensured the unparalleled success of the annual festival in the past, while also hoping that the 2022 edition would be a reality.

He further thanked his subjects for their unflinching love, affection, loyalty, and solidarity in his sixty-one years on the throne as Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland.

Chief Yusuf disclosed that whilst the monarch regrets that COVID-19 would not allow him to host his usual guests and visitors, he assures all that he is in high spirit and will be celebrating the Eid-el Kabir with his family and very few others as dictated by medical protocols. Oba Adetona prayed for the return of peace and prosperity to all troubled areas of our great and beloved country, Nigeria.

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