Egungun Festival lights up Iwo
Last weekend, the ancient town of Iwo was agog in festivity, as the community held its yearly egungun (masquerade) festival, which attracted tourists from different parts of the world.
It was a colourful spectacle at the palace of the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba AbdulRasheed Adewale Akanbi where scores of masquerades were on display, dancing and praying for the monarch and the town.
Decked in a colourful costume made from blue and red Ofi fabrics, the Oluwo blended well with over 100 masquerades who performed before him one after the other in amidst of wild applause by their followers and guests who complimented the traditional ruler at the occasion.
But what seemed the icing on the cake was when a masquerade stunned the teeming crowd inside the Oluwo palace when he stepped forward and handed him a brand new pressing iron.
The event literally caught the traditional ruler unawares watching the masquerade with amazement as it walked towards him on his seat. The apparently elated Oluwo rose from his seat, collected the iron and raised it up to the ovation by the large spectators who filled every available space in the palace.
The government of Aregbesola congratulated the Oluwo of Iwo over the success of the festival in the ancient city.
Over the years, Aregbesola’s government has emphasised the development of various indigenous festivals in the state to international standard as part of the strategies to explore alternative sources of revenues.
The government has always maintained that festivals have the capacities to draw and ignite international audience participation that could translate to huge revenues for development purposes.
The All Progressives Congress chairman in Iwo, Alhaji Semiu Ayofe Raifu, in a statement, described the 2018 edition of the festival as unique, adding that the monarch has added glamour to the annual celebration through his unique style.
He assured the monarch of the support of the party, adding that the party recognises the progress that has been recorded since the emergence of Oba Akanbi as the Oluwo of Iwo.
The Special Adviser to Osun State Governor on Information and Strategy, Alhaji Semiu Okanlawon was no less impressed by the glamour and excitement that characterized the festival, pointing out that “government is serious about its development of tourism which is a huge revenue earner.
And this is why this government is committing itself to the development of these local and indigenous festivals such as the Egungun Festival in Iwo to one that is capable of attracting international audience participation.”
Okanlawon, an indigene, noted that the state government realised the significance of culture in general development, hence Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s special interest in giving equal opportunity to all faiths, including officially recognizing a day known as Isese Day since the administration was inaugurated in 2010.
The Special Adviser also urged indigenes to also look inward for possible business opportunities that various festivals offer.