Udiroko festival: We won’t allow public gathering due to COVID-19 ― Ewi of Ado-Ekiti
The Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe, has said the annual celebration of the Udiroko festival in the town would be observed with no public gathering and in strict adherence to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Udiroko festival which marks the first day in Ado-Ekiti traditional calendar is an annual event which brings together sons and daughters across the world to give pride of place to history, culture and tradition of the town.
The theme of this year’s celebration is, ‘Celebration of our history, culture and tradition in a period of global pandemic and its challenges.’
The monarch who addressed journalists in his palace, on Monday, ahead of the festival slated for August 30th revealed that the usual pomp and pageantry associated with the festival had been cancelled in obedience to the government’s directives on public gathering as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
He, however, said that the palace will be opened for selected senior chiefs and head of the three principal quarters purposely to offer prayers for the town, the state and the county as a whole.
Oba Adejugbe maintained that all safety measures such as the use of face masks, washing of hand and use of sanitizer and the physical distancing rule would be strictly observed during the festival in order to stop the spread of the disease.
He said: ” As a pride of our cultural togetherness as a people, the Udiroko yearly celebration with pomp and pageantry is compulsory, however, this would not happen this year because of the COVID-19 pestilence and the need to combat it and cooperate with the governments.
“In view of this, the celebration of this year 2020 Udiroko festival would be low key as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.”
While lamenting the negative impact of westernisation on culture and tradition, the Ewi noted that the annual celebration of the festival had helped in showcasing the history, culture and the tradition of Ado-Ekiti.
He explained that it would be difficult to cancel the festival considering the importance to the peace and development of the community, saying, ” we will come here on that day to pray for the community, the state and Nigeria as a whole because it is obvious now that we truly need prayer to overcome our challenges.”
Oba Adejugbe revealed that the planning committee would be making use of technology to beam the event for residents in the state and across the world, adding, “what we will be doing is no secret, it is purely prayer and we want people to watch us.”