By Taiye Olayemi
The Igbobi-Sabe Kingdom in Lagos State on Sunday revived the ancient Efe and Gelede Festival after 12 years break in its commemoration.
This was held at the Yaba College of Technology Sports Complex in Lagos, with the theme: “Cultural Rebirth”.
Oba Owolabi Adeniyi, Onisabe of Igbobi-Sabe, said that the rebirth of the festival had been on the front burner for years
Adeniyi said that the festival was such celebrated by the Yoruba communities across Nigeria, Benin Republic and Togo for three centuries ago.
He noted that the significance of the Gelede Festival was to pay tribute to the primordial mother – Iya Nla and to the roles that women play in the process of social organisation and development of yoruba society.
According to him, Gelede does not focus on fertility and motherhood alone but also a form of correcting social behavior within the community.
Adeniyi said this would henceforth be celebrated annually as the festival had been registered with Yaba Local Council Development Area and the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture.
He noted that the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) had endorsed the festival and also included it in its annual calendar.
“Igbobi-Sabe community is known for Gelede and Efe, just like Isale-Eko, Lagos Island, Mulero in Orile Agege, Alausa in Ikeja, Otta in Ogun State as well as Benin Republic and Togo, that we have involved in the celebration.
“For over 12 years now, the festival has been observed in Igbobi-Sabe but to avoid this indigenous festival going into extinction and the wrath of my ancestors, I needed to act fast to ensure it is quickly revived.
“This is a fulfillment of my promise to move my community to greater heights developmentally and socio-culturally.
“Involving communities who had been observing and celebrating this festival with Igbobi-Sabe community will foster peaceful coexistence and cultural solidarity among all.
His wife, Olori Mosunmola Adeniyi, advised women generally not to be complacent by being full housewives but be hard workers to contribute to the growth of their homes and the society at large.
She urged parents to uphold cultural rebirth in their homes by encouraging their wards to speak their mother tongue.
“There is no reason a woman should not help her partner and contribute meaningfully to the growth of her home and the society. We have the American Vice President as a woman.
“In doing this, we should resist all forms of abuse and report such to the appropriate authorities,” she said.
Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege, Olota of Ota, in Ogun, commended the Igbobi-Sabe community for such a laudable cultural rebirth.
He urged Nigerians to look inwards and ensure every aspect of African culture that was gradually going into extinction was revived.
He said the Yoruba culture of respect and hard work should be reawakened, while the youths maintain their self dignity and ignore all forms of ill mannered behaviour.
“It is obvious we have lost some aspects of our cultural heritage to western civilisation, culture is an important part of our identity. So, we should protect it from untimely dearth,” he said.
Also, Oba Lateef Adams, Onikate of Ikate land in Lagos, warned Nigerians, saying, “Don’t kill your cultural heritage, let us live in peace and harmony to uphold our culture”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gelede Masquerades were seen displaying all forms of cultural dance at the venue while Nigerian Legendary Fuji Musician, Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde-Marshal, popularly known as KWAM 1 and Nigerian Female Gangan drummer, Aralola Olumuyiwa performed to the delight of the revellers. (NAN)