Iba is bringing back Yoruba dying glory-Eburu

A silent revolution is ongoing in Iba, Osun State. It is a cultural renaissance anchored by the Eburu of Iba himself, Oba Adekunle Adeogun-Okunoye who is steadily turning his domain to a tourists destination. Through his the Eburu Adekunle Yoruba Cultural Renaissance, the royal father has brought Iba Mountaineering and Oriki Yoruba Festival to the town. Every December, people of Iba witness a large turnout of culturally inclined personalities, including traditional rulers regarded as the natural custodian of custom of their towns. Oba Adeogun-Okunoye speaks with TheTabloid.net on the transformation of his town. Excerpts

Your December seems to be crowded of your three events. Why did you chose that month?

You should know that that month must have symbolised something before it was chosen for the three events. And I am happy that the choice is serving its purpose. The point, according to your question, is the convenience or otherwise of that month for our events. I am confirming to you that we are happy with that choice. As we speak, calendar of 2024 is out. We have decided which days of December 2024 to host which events. That is what we are known for: sense of organisation. That is where the whites get it better than us. They make adequate preparation for their events ahead of time. There is no fire brigade approach in their life. I think it is good to emulate this right attitude. But that doesn’t mean I should take, hook line and sinker, everything about them.

How do you mean here?

I mean I am not obliged to accept everything about them. For instance, what I am doing here on our culture is more or less of retrieving what they have messed up.

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You still sound ambiguous. What do you mean?

Don’t you know that they came here and condemned our culture and our religion deliberately to promote their culture and religion? They knew if they didn’t demarket us, they wouldn’t have got an inroads they have. They almost succeeded in turning us against our rich cultural heritage, our inheritance from our forefathers. But things are changing now, and I am very happy that I am one of the change agent.

You sound radical here. Are you?

Call me anything, there is no going back on my resolve to bring back and restore our lost pride. I have begun. Iba is restoring Yoruba dying glory. Quote me! We have witnessed four editions of my festival. I am assuring you that we shall continue on that track and make our ancestors happy in their realm.

In my assessment, you had a good show. What is the secret?

I am an open person. There is no secret anywhere but there is determination, and that is me. I don’t do things in half measure. It is better I don’t do things at all than doing it half-heartedly. If you call that a secret, well, you may be right because I have realised that not everyone is given this strong head to see his project to the end. Did you see the joy on the faces of those kids while they were performing at the festival?  That is one of my achievements. It is my fulfillment.  I didn’t even know it could be this early. I couldn’t contain the excitement inside me while watching those kids chanting and dancing. You could see the future of my dream in them already. You could see that spirit of competition to outdo others in them. In fact, a particular family in this town produced winners of 2022 and 2023.

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How do you mean?

I was also surprised too when I got to know that the winner of 2022 comes from the same family with winner of 2023. It means the family is enjoying the benefits of this festival. It also means the family will always look forward to every December for the festival. We are catching them young and they are enjoying it.

What was the feeling when you were climbing the mountain alongside your invited guests a day before the Oriki festival?

That experience can better be felt than explained. You may not understand the real feelings. I felt light. I felt young. I felt an improved health. I thank God for giving my town this natural resources that is bringing people to my town. You see, we are making mistakes in this country thinking that only oil is our all in all. We are unnecessarily lazy not to explore other areas, especially culture and tourism.

Where should we expect your town to be on or before your 10th anniversary, as regards this your energy on Oriki Yoruba Festival?

What I have said above about the participants at the festival should give you an idea of the future of my town. I sincerely thank my fellow traditional rulers who would always attend the festival and make complimentary remarks which show they’re equally on the same track with me. I appreciate them, including all my guests, especially founder of the Atiba University, Oyo, Dr James Adesokan Ojebode who appointed me Pro-Chancellor of the University.

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