Mixed Reactions as Oro Festival Kicks off in Ikorodu

As Ikorodu residents warm up for the curfew imposed by the announcement of the “Magboo Oro” festival starting this Saturday, reactions have continued to trail the development.

While many condemn what they describe as needless curfew and infringement on their rights of free movement, others say it is a tradition that must be obeyed and respected.

Oro FestivalOro Festival is an event celebrated by towns and settlements of Yoruba Origin. It is an annual traditional festival that is of patriarchal nature, as it is only celebrated by Male descendants who are paternal natives to the specific locations where the particular event is taking place.

During the festival, females and non indigenes stay indoors as oral history has it that Oro must not be seen by women and non-participating people.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, many residents are worried about the development, saying the town ought to have developed past the stage of restricting movements and businesses for a group to celebrate a traditional festival.

They said civilization should have ended it, adding that its implication on the socio-economic life of the residents was enormous.

NAN reports that the Secretary, Ikorodu Chieftaincy Committee, Okesanya Olugbenga, had advised women, men who were not initiated and visitors to stay indoors during the event on May 13.

Olugbenga said on the day, Ikorodu community would hold its annual “Oro” or cult festival.

He added that nobody would be allowed to carry out any business or commercial activity within Ikorodu community while the festival lasted.

Olugbenga said the orders were from the town’s kingmakers, the custodians of tradition and culture, noting that they had informed the police about the festival.

Olugbenga said it is a taboo for any woman or girl to see “Magboo”.

He said the festival would hold during the day and all women within the community were advised to stay indoors.

He said: “From time immemorial and in Yoruba history, there has never been time that a woman was allowed to see ‘Oro’.

“Any woman that lives within the community where the festival will hold must keep indoors, and never attempt to peep through her house windows.

“If such women cannot afford to keep indoors; they are advised to leave areas where the festival will hold before it starts.

“If she tries to go out; she will face untold consequences.”

Olugbenga said the restriction order during the festival was not only for women. He said: “It concerns male-indigenes from the town that are not initiates as well as visitors.”

Also, an elder in Ikorodu, Shuaib Osoala, told NAN that the “Oro” was usually performed to cleanse the town of any evil.

Osoala said: “It means no harm, but it is usually done to ward off any impending evil or one already committed from the community.”

However, a cleric, Ranti Adaripon, said on no account should any religious practice disturb another.
Adaripon said: “We practice three religions in Ikorodu just as in other parts of the state.

“I don’t think the practitioners of Christianity and Islam disturb those of the traditional religion.
“Why should the adherents of Oro restrict other people from going about their normal activities during the day.
“We are still sad that the government has yet to do anything about this restriction that occurs annually.”
Also, a business woman, who simply identified herself as Alhaja Masha, said she usually sold more wares at weekends.

Masha said: “Now that the adherents of Oro have directed that women should not come out this Saturday, many people who are engaged in buying and selling will lose much.
“Now that the day of the celebration of Oro festival falls on a Saturday, it’s so painful because I will not be able to sell anything.

“I make more money from my business on Saturdays.
“I am not happy with this annual restriction under the pretext of celebrating a local festival.”
NAN reports that Magboo Festival holds in May and is celebrated in Ijoomu, Ota-ona, Sheriff and Itaelewa areas of Ikorodu.

Other areas where the festival is observed are Ajina, Obunale, Itunpate, Aga and Ladega.
NAN also reports that another Oro festival known as Liwe will come up on a date yet to be announced.

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