The Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, in Ekiti State, Oba Rufus Adejugbe, has lamented the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the elaborate celebration of the annual Udiroko festival in the community, expressing optimism that the festival would soon reach global reckoning.
Oba Adejugbe who spoke during the abridged celebration of the festival due to COVID-19 in his palace in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital noted that the pandemic has dealt a huge blow on the festival following the restrictions on gathering of people in public to curtail the spread of the disease in the state.
The Chancellor of Abubakar Balewa University Bauchi used the occasion of the festival to pray for peace, prosperity and development of Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State and Nigeria and an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Udiroko Festival which is the New Year in the Ado Ekiti traditional calendar also saw the Ewi receiving homage from the traditional chiefs, the queens, princes and princesses, traditional groups, market women, among others.
The traditional ruler said the importance of the festival to the community cannot be overemphasized, which he said is being used annually to showcase the heritage, culture and traditions, adding, “it plays an important role to add structure to social lives and connect us with our families and backgrounds.”
According to him, ” We are here as tradition demands because it marks the beginning of a new year in Ado-Ekiti, it is like our January 1 in the calendar. Udiroko festival cannot go into extinction but bounce back as a global celebration in the years ahead.”
Ahead of the 2021 governorship election in the state, Oba Adejugbe advised politicians and youths in the town and the state to eschew all forms of violence and desist from anything that could trigger a political crisis in the state.
“Ekiti is our own Jerusalem, so all hands must be on deck to ensure that peace reign in the conduct of all the political activities before, during and after the governorship poll as well as the general elections in 2023, ” he said.
The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, at the festival restated the commitment of his administration to more developmental projects and transformation of Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
The Governor said the new Ado-Iyin dual carriageway is one of the legacy projects of his administration to indigenes and residents of the city.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, the Governor also disclosed that work would soon commence on the Ado-Iworoko-Ifaki Road to give respite to users of the major highway.
The Governor said his administration had no reason to stop this year’s Udiroko Festival as being rumoured in some quarters clarified that the government only needed an assurance that COVID-19 protocols would be complied with to check its spread in the state.
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Udiroko festival’ll bounce back as global celebration ― Ewi