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SOURCE: Olowa's Palace

DATE: 16th August, 2017

H.R.M Oba Dr. Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede, Olowa of Igbara-Oke Kingdom returning from the farm, during Ijesu Olowa 2017 festival

By Ayodeji M. Owolabi

Igbara-Oke, a peaceful and viable town in Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo state was pervaded with excitement and carnival-like celebrations when the Olowa of Igbara-Oke kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Oba Dr. Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede, Ilufemiloye, (Ogidi III) celebrated the 2017 edition of Ijesu Olowa Festival, otherwise known as Olowa Yam Festival in Igbara-Oke, Ondo State, Nigeria.
Ijesu Olowa is one of the most celebrated festivals in the serene town of Igbara-Oke kingdom, a community with thirteen viable satellite towns and villages. This kind of celebration is a custom in Igbara-Oke, and New Yam festival is a norm in Yoruba land, which marks the beginning of the time set to eat yam. The time of this celebration may differ as it concerns different towns and communities. Nevertheless, the New Yam festival is never without traditions.
It has always been a moment of excitement when the people of a community gathered to mark yet another celebration of a New Yam season.
The Ijesu Olowa 2017 celebration started with high expectations in the early hour of Monday 14, August, 2017. The people of the town had prepared themselves very early in the morning to accompany His Royal Majesty to the farm. The Palace and the Chiefs have set everything on top gear for the success of the festival. The Baales and the Village Heads of these thirteen satellite towns and their subjects were not left out.
The event started around 7am from the Palace of the Olowa of Igbara-Oke kingdom, when His Royal Majesty, Oba Dr. Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede, Ilufemiloye, (Ogidi III) stepped out in a grand style to embark on a walk to the farm to harvest the new yams, as the custom demands. The people, both the indigenes and non-indigene residents of the town expressed their love and affection for their own “Ilufemiloye”. Businessmen and women, traders and artisans, even members of the transport unions and commercial motorcyclist were not left out from among the people that accompanied His Royal Majesty to the farm in their large numbers.
As these were not enough, the Hausa traders were among the large crowd that joined in this celebration. Cultural groups, dance team, hunters and different shows were put to play during the over 3.5km walk to and from the farm. It was a display of Yoruba cultural heritage at its best.
The role played by the Oloris (Queens) and Omowas (Princes and Princess) from the Ruling Houses in Igbara-Oke cannot be over emphasized. The Council of Chiefs too was not left out at putting on their best efforts in the process of making this year Ijesu Olowa a success. Also, members of the executive, Igbara-Oke Development Council, IDC, were also present.
Since his ascension to throne of his forefathers in February 2017, this edition was the first “Ijesu” to be performed by His Royal Majesty, Oba Dr. Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede, Ilufemiloye, (Ogidi III). Without gainsaying, this celebration cuts the attention of everyone in the town, including the passersby, visitors and people who were on transit had a stop-over to gaze at the display of our cultural heritage.
The Ijesu Olowa came with different attractions as put together by the vibrant youths of the town. Kegite musical display, games, acrobatic stunts among others were performed by these youths’ clubs.
Many who could not hide their emotion, said the edition was the best Ijesu Olowa ever. They affirmed that previous celebrations have never been like this, and they are optimistic that the reign of Oba Dr. Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede will usher in more goodies for the entire good people of Igbara-Oke.
There is no need to be surprised with the large crowd that accompanied Oba Agbede to the farm. This shows that the name and title “Ilufemiloye” (the people of the town want me on the throne) was really given to him by the good people of Igbara-Oke, who believed that the ascension of Oba Dr. Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede to the throne of his forefathers is a Dawn of a New Era.
His Royal Majesty, Oba Dr. Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede, Ilufemiloye, (Ogidi III) while at the farm performing the basic rite, took time also to pray for the town, her indigenes, residents and visitors. He also prayed for the continued peace, love and implored everyone to unite in the interest of the development of the town.
Also, in his address to the good people of the town, Oba Dr. Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede commended their efforts and appreciated the residents and other well-wishers who participated in the celebration. He said he could not hide his joy that people could come out like that in their numbers despite their busy schedules and felicitate him on this great occasion. He said the reason for this new yam festival was to strengthen the bonds of unity of the indigenes and non-indigene residents of Igbara-Oke, and to seek the continued and unhindered peace, progress and prosperity.
Oba Agbede also reiterated his commitment towards the development and repositioning of Igbara-Oke kingdom. He urged the youth to venture more in agriculture and see it as a viable means of employment, and advised them to take advantage of numerous intervention and agricultural empowerment programmes that have been put in place by the government to improve their well-being.
He enjoined the youth to eschew all forms of violence and hatred, and embrace peace, unity and love that would engender speedy development, and to see themselves as the inheritors of today’s institutions.
He therefore called on sons and daughters of Igbara-Oke in the Diaspora to always remember home with the ultimate goal of rebuilding and repositioning Igbara-Oke.
The festival was rounded up with the hoisting of Igbara-Oke flag, to symbolize her identity and “Dawn of a New Era”.