The popular Ojude-Oba festival, usually held as part of activities to mark the Muslim Eid-el-Kabir in Ijebuland, southwest Nigeria has been cancelled due to recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
This is coming as the Katsina and Daura Emirates councils in Northern Nigeria have also suspended public activities for the forthcoming Eid-el-Kabir, citing security reasons, according to a report on franktalknow.com.
Activities affected are public display by horse riders (Durbar) at the palace of the Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumin Usman and that of the Emir of Daura, Faruk Umar. However, the two emirate councils, have implored residents in the two councils to use the Sallah period in offering prayers for peace in the state and in the country.
Earlier in May, the Emir of Daura suspended activities marking the end of the Ramadan fast in the emirate council, also for security reasons. The royal father rather directed district heads to join the people in their domains to pray for peace in Nigeria.
Concerning the latest decision, sources revealed that the step was in connection with the current security situation in the state. The spokesman for the Katsina Emirate Council, Iro Bindawa, confirmed the development on Wednesday.
He said, “Yes, the Emirate council has suspended activities concerning Durbar during the Sallah, but his Eminence has implored residents to seize the Sallah period in offering prayers for the state and for Nigeria.”
The decision of the Daura Emirate council on the suspension of public activities during the Sallah was contained in a letter addressed to the Emirate council members and the Emir’s advisers. The letter was dated 13, July 2021 and signed by Danejin Daura, Abdulmumini Salihu, on behalf of the secretary of the council.
The statement further revealed that special prayers should be offered for sustainable peace in the state immediately after the Eid prayers on Sallah day.
Meanwhile, in another development, the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, has approved the cancellation of the 2021 edition of the annual Ojude Oba festival of Ijebu Ode. This is as a result of the upsurge in cases of COVID-19.
In a press statement issued by the coordinator of the festival, Chief (Dr.) Fassy Yusuf, the cancellation was attributed to the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic, its likely upsurge with the Delta variant and the negligible number of people that had taken the anti-COVID 19 vaccine.
Rather than expose peoples who will converge on Ijebu Ode from all over the world to participate in the festival, with its parade of traditional age groups and the spectacular displays. the traditional ruler directed that the 2021 edition be cancelled.
This is the second time that the festival that unites Muslims, Christians, and adherents of other faiths will be cancelled. The Ojude Oba Festival is normally held two days after the Eid-el Kabir festival.
In his message to the Ijebu nation on the occasion of the Eid-el Kabir, the Awujale thanked his subjects for the peace, progress, and tranquility pervading Ijebuland. He prayed for additional economic and social prosperity within Ijebuland and charged his people to remain resolute and be optimistic that sooner than later, Ijebu state would become a reality.
Oba Adetona further charged his people and visitors to Ijebuland during and after the festival to ensure they wear their nose masks, wash their hands regularly with soap, keep social and physical distances at public places, get vaccinated against the pandemic, and adhere to other medical protocols as directed by the federal, state, and local government authorities.
Chief Yusuf disclosed that while the traditional ruler regretted that COVID-19 would not allow him to host his usual guests and visitors, he assures all that he is in high spirit and will be celebrating the Eid-el Kabir with his family and very few others as dictated by medical protocols.