This year’s Iwo festival, which took place early July has come and gone.
And as usual, the people of Ode-Ayeka Kingdom in Okitipupa area of Ondo State, as well as their sons and daughters in diaspora, came together to enjoy the highly esteemed annual festival. Over the years, the festival has come to establish and endear itself in the hearts of the citizenry of this particular geographical location in South-West Nigeria.
Indeed, one can say without any fear of contradiction that this ever-colourful festival is one of the few surviving historical legacies of the founding fathers of Ode-Ayeka community in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State.
According to history, the Iwo festival is a period marked by prayers,intercession and sacrifices on behalf of the people for peace and progress, good health, bountiful harvest and development. There is also a lot of merry-making. Before the festival, the Priests and High Chiefs are required to maintain high level of sexual discipline and abstain from eating Okra.
Explaining, Chief Obafemi Ifagbuyi, one of the most respected High Chiefs of the community,said that the importance of the Iwo festival cannot be over-emphasized. According to him, ” Iwo celebration is an event that showcases the rich culture and traditions of our people in Ode-Ayeka Kingdom. It also serves as a means to fostering peaceful co-existence among the people and their neighbouring communities. In addition to these, this festival provides an avenue for economic, cultural and social growth of our people.” Speaking further, Chief Ifagbuyi lauded the Iwo Festival celebration for triggering rapid development in the kingdom.
Some of the indigenes of the community interviewed described the Iwo fesival as one of a kind. They were full of thanks to the Almighty God for being alive to witness the glorious event. In the same vein, the traditional ruler, Oba F.B Aiyelomi was full of praise for all the sons and daughters of the communiny home and abroad for their cooperation in making this year’s celebration a huge success. He prayed God to spare their lives to witness future celebrations.