All over Yorubaland, the birth of twins is a cause for celebration as in many homes, twins are held in awe. The importance that is associated with multiple births came to the fore at the weekend during the maiden edition of the Oyo State government’s Twins Festival in Igboora. YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE, who was at the festival, reports that it was a carnival of colours as twins in their thousands came to partake in the celebration.
Igboora, a sleepy and peaceful town in Ibarapa Central Local Government Area of Oyo state is filled with friendly and accommodating residents and citizens who express joy when they see tourists. However, to many who live in urban centres, it is nothing more than a village with huge land mass. But in spite of the rural nature, it is a land that gets tourist influx regularly for its feat of being the acclaimed land of highest twin population.
The population of the town is said to skyrocket due to its consistent multiple births; the town prides itself as the domain of the highest number of twin births over other places in the world anywhere else in the world; this is not surprising, every family in this community has a minimum of a set of twins and it is a normal situation to have multiple births in a nuclear family.
The people claim a figure of 158 sets of twins for every thousand births based on a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) research article. Though earlier research data gives a lower figure which still exceeds that of any community in the world. According to a research conducted by a British gynaecologist, Patrick Nylander, between 1972 and 1982,
Europe has about 16 twins for every 1,000 births, the United States about 33 for every 1,000 births while Igboora in Oyo state, Nigeria at that period records an average of 45 to 50 sets of twins per 1000 live births in the southwest.
Igboora, made up of farmers and traders is now considered the Twin capital of the world. It is therefore not surprising that the town came alive at the weekend when the Oyo State Government through its Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism celebrated the maiden edition of the Twins Festival with over 2034 registered pair of twins and hundreds of unregistered pairs from Southwest states especially communities within Oyo state.
The festival which took the form of a carnival attracted the attention of people from various walks of life including foreigners and foreign media agencies from Belgium and France. It was filled with various fun activities which include exhibitions, twins train, parade, tour of twin cuisine stands, lectures by exhibitionist on twin cuisine and taboos, street dining and food court, cultural performances, twin talent hunt, foundation of the twin tower and other forms of entertainment.
Indeed, it was a colourful event as twins of diverse aged groups with their parents and family members turned out in diverse uniformed clothes to take part in the festival. There was also a parade of traditional rulers and renowned sons and daughters of Igoora town who came in from different towns to partake in the festival.
The festival, a multi-functional promotion of twinning cultural heritage of Oyo state’s rich heritage is a collaboration spearheaded by the Ministtry of Information, Culture and Tourism in conjunction with the Ibarapa Central Local Government, the Igboora Progressive Union, Twins World Creation and the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC).
Speaking on the festival, the state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Toye Arulogun rated the festival a 90 per cent success based on the turn out and the parade of events, adding that for a maiden edition, everyone had done well and there will be an improvement with subsequent editions.
He stated that the festival should have started long before now, adding that it will be extended beyond Oyo state to be a national then international event, adding that the state government will not relent in its drive to promote the state’s tourism potentials.