By AbuSatar Hamed & Abiola Rufai
ILARO: The Olu of Ilaro & Paramount Ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Gbadewole Olugbenle (MFR) has described the yearly celebration of Oronna Ilaro Festival as a unifying socio-cultural event of Ilaro people, which according to monarch was in pursuant of their cultural tradition and a platform for self-help initiatives to develop the ancient town.
The first-class monarch in Ogun state who made this known during a Press Conference which took place at Yewa Frontier Hotel and Suite, Ilaro-Ibese Road, Ilaro, headquarters of Ogun West on Friday, November 15, 2019, to kick start the 2019 Oronna Ilaro Festival pointed out that, this year edition would be a memorable event that would further enhance unity and progress of the town; “hence, the theme of this year Oronna festival – Festival of Peace”.
Represented by the Chairman, Oronna Festival Central Planning Committee, Alhaji Rafiu Akinola, Oba Olugbenle while tracing the history of Oronna Ilaro Festival said, ” the festival was celebrated formally since 1993 with Ogun State Government participation. But in line with positive trends and the axiom that change is an inevitable aspect of human life, the Oronna celebration is now being rebranded and taken to the next level as a national and international tourism event with potentials to impact on the economy of Ilaro, Ogun State and Nigeria in general”.
Oba Olugbenle opined that the objectives of the festival was to position the town as a rewarding tourist destination, vis-à-vis bringing back sons and daughters and other people of African descent to trace their root during this period.
He said further that the festival was an opportunity for the town to collaborate with the state government in her effort to develop tourism potentials of the state and also to showcase the growth and development of Ilaro town, socially, structurally and economically.
“The festival is now been rebranded as Oronna Ilaro festival. This year festival is the 26th of its kind, this we have tagged as the ‘Festival of Peace’. Last year we asked for peace and unity, we are grateful to God for granting us that request. We are building on that to take our community, Ilaro town and Yewaland to greater heights”, Oba Olugbenle posited.
Members of the Executive council of the Oronna Ilaro Central Planning Committee at the Press Conference included Alhaji Rafiu Akinola (Chairman), Chief Lala (Vice Chairman), Alhaji Lukmon Musa (Vice Chairman, Lagos and also in charge of Media & Publicity), Mr. Shola Ojo (Secretary), Mrs. Yemisi Oloyo (Treasurer) and Mr. Haruna Aderounmu.
The one week long festival was officially declared opened by Oba Olugbenle on Saturday, November 16, 2019 with a street carnival/road show and it was graced by clubs and association, members of the ruling houses in Ilaro, chiefs, guests and people of the ancient town.
The event would come to an end on Sunday, November 24, 2019 with Thanksgiving service at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Ilaro.
Other activities of the festival are as follows –
Monday November 18 –
*Tribute to Oronna and other deities in Ilaro
*Flag-off Medical Check-up by Olu Yewa at Oronna Hall, Ilaro.
*Paying of Homage to Kabiyesi at Olu Ilaro Palace
Tuesday November 19 –
*Flag off: 5km Festival Race.
*Medical Check-up continued, at Oronna Hall, Ilaro
* Igunnuko Masquerade at Oronna Hall, Ilaro
* Paying of Homage to Kabiyesi at Olu Ilaro Palace
*Football competition at Yewa College School Field, Ilaro
*Traditional Efe Dance Ceremony at the Main Market square Ilaro
Wednesday November 20 –
*Colourful Gelede display
* Paying Homage to Kabiyesi at Olu Ilaro Palace
Thurday November 21 –
*Colourful ONIGBA AJE Ceremony. at Odo+Ela to Igbo Aje Market
* Colourful Egungun Dance/Parade at Ago-Ishaga ,Ilaro
* Paying Homage to Kabiesi at Olu Ilaro Palace
*Talent Hunt/Club & Association Day. Poosu/Apara/Oso Night at Asade Agunloye Pavilion ground, Ilaro
Friday November 22 –
*Visit to less Privileged Home at the School of Handicap Children Ilaro
* Celebration of the Four Ruling Houses Forum with Kabiyesi private palace of Oba Kehinde Gbadewole Olugbenle
*Jumat Service at Ilaro Central Mosque
*Sisi Ilaro Beauty pageant @ Yewa Frontier Hotel Ilaro
Saturday November 23-
Grand Finale @ Asade Agunloye Pavilion ground. Ilaro
* Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey and his Miliki Band
* Spoof Simony and his Wisdom Musical Band
* Saheed Ajani Osanle and his Aluyo Band
Sunday 24 –
Thanksgiving Inter-Denominational Service at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Ona-Nla Ilaro.
Oronna A Gbe Wa oooooo!!!