The Ilara Eredo-Epe community in Lagos became a mini-pilgrimage on Saturday, May 15, 2021, as the attention of Lagos was drawn to its annual Kilajolu festival. It was the first of its kind for Oba Dr Olufolarin Ogunsanwo who is just about to celebrate his first year on the throne of his ancestors.
The event which took place at the palace of the Alara of Ilara Eredo-Epe came alive as many sons and daughters of Ilara Eredo-Epe came home from their far and distant locations to celebrate. It was a pure display of culture, the wealth of Ilara Eredo-Epe and many other things the community has to sell to the whole world. Different royal fathers topped the list of the dignitaries that stormed the event.
Oba Dr Ogunsanwo himself was an inspiration to many with his style, speech, elegant royal regalia, and composure. His speech was full of hope and a bright future for the community while he noted that the festival was majorly meant to bless every son and daughter of Ilara Eredo-Epe both at home and in the diaspora. City People’s DAMILARE SALAMI (08155134152) graced the event alongside Photojournalist, Abdulrasheed Sanni and he brings you some of the exclusive gists, enjoy.
ABOUT KILAJOLU FESTIVAL
The Kilajolu festival holds every year in the Ilara Eredo-Epe community of Lagos. It is a festival that affords all indigenes of Ilara Epe starting with the Oba down to the youngest person, the opportunity to come together to pray, seek the face of God and felicitate together as one big family. The festival marks the beginning of a new season. Because Ilara Eredo-Epe is basically a farmer-based community, this festival enables them to pray for rain, peace and tranquillity and the progress of Ilara Epe. It also displays the culture of the ancient town thereby ensuring the continuity of the rich culture of Ilara Epe by orally passing it down to the incoming generation, year-in and year-out.
ALARA OF ILARA GOT WHIPPED
It is customary for the Kilajelu masquerade to open a flogging exercise for all the youths and adults in the land. An inside source revealed that the essence of this exercise was for the purification of the land and the people. At the event, it was the Kabiyesi, Oba Dr Ogunsanwo who got whipped first by the masquerade three times before it was extended to other members of the community.
ROYAL FATHERS DISPLAYED THEIR ROYALTIES
It was a parade of royalties as different royal fathers across the southwest region and beyond came to honour Oba Dr Ogunsanwo and the entire Ilara-Epe people. Starting with the Alapomu of Apomuland, Oba Kayode Afolabi who stormed the event in sparkling white regalia, the list of the Obas was virtually endless. Obateru of Egbin Kingdom, Oba (Dr.) Adeoriyomi Abdu-Akeem Oluwasesan Oyebo was among the royal fathers that stood out. His style and charming look in his white regalia only spelt out the splendour of his throne. Also among the royal fathers that were sighted was Oba Monsuru Ladega, the Olu of Agboyi Ketu.
OAP KEHINDE LADEGA ANCHORED EVENT
The fun of the event came to the fore as the compere of the day, Prince Kehinde Ladega thrilled all the guests and royal fathers at the event. Kehinde is a popular on-air-personality with the radio Lagos. He is young and has a deep knowledge of the Yoruba language. This skill added some beauty to his performance as he eulogized all the royal fathers using the beauty of the Yoruba culture. His performance was indeed splendid as he perfectly code-mixed the English and Yoruba languages.
OONI OF IFE’S GRAND ENTRY
If the entry of other royal fathers were noteworthy, then that of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi would be regarded as terrific. It started with his royal entourage who announced his entry through the royal trumpeter. This was immediately followed by his security who ensured that they clear the way for the son of Oduduwa. Ooni entered the event in the company of the Alara of Ilara and other royal fathers who left the gathering to meet him on the way; as a sign of total respect to His Imperial Majesty.
IGWE & LOLO GODWIN EZEADISIONU CAME ALL THE WAY FROM ANAMBRA
It was not just a Yoruba gathering. The Alara has attracted so many fishes to Ilara Epe-Eredo in this year’s Kilajelu Festival and one of them was a royal father in Anambra State and his beautiful wife. HRH Igwe Godwin Ezeadisionu is the Obu Nanka of Nanka in Anambra State, he is a first-class royal father and he came down to Ilara Epe with his wife to honour his friend and colleague, Oba Dr. Ogunsanwo. His outfits stood him out at the event. He came in his traditional royal garment and fully represented the Igbo tribe in words, speech and actions.
GOV SANWO-OLU FULLY REPRESENTED
Princess Adenike Adedoyin-Ajayi, is the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism. She represented the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and delivered his goodwill message to the people. The governor reiterated his support for Ilara-Epe and the entire Epe community at large. He said he will do everything his power to ensure that the cultural heritage of Lagos is not toyed with or abused in any way. Princess Adedoyin is the daughter of the Awujale of Ijebuland.
POLITICIANS ALSO PAID HOMAGE
Some notable politicians made their presence felt at the event. They did by coming to pay homage to the royal fathers one after the other. Some of the politicians sighted include Hon Bayo Balogun, a member of the Federal House of Assembly representing Ibeju Lekki, Chairperson, Hon. Abdul Hamed Salawu, Somolu Local Government, Alhaja Tanwa Salawu, Chairman, Eredo LCDA Hon. Rasaq Adeniyi Saliu, who also delivered a welcome address.
ILARA EPE TRADITIONAL SINGERS THRILL
The Alara’s palace became the venue of a mini-concert as different traditional performers came with their band members to thrill Kabiyesi’s guests. Starting from the gate down to the high table, there were different sections where traditional performers had occupied to ply their trade inside the Kabiyesi’s palace. It can only happen during the Kilajelu festival, a palace source revealed.
OONI SHOWERS PRAYERS ON ILARA EREDO-EPE
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi is not just the traditional head of the Yoruba race, he is equally the spiritual head. That is why he is regarded as Oonirisa meaning Ooni the deity. It was in this capacity that he showered heartfelt prayers on the Ilara Epe community and everyone in attendance. Ooni’s prayers were received with the chants of amen by all and sundry. It became another talking point after a visible miracle happened almost immediately after his prayers.
…AND THE GODS SMILED ON ILARA EPE
Almost immediately after Ooni’s prayers, there was a shower of rain on everyone. Those who were not indigenes of Ilara Epe felt bad about it and thought that it was a disruption of the fun they were having. However, Oba Dr Ogunsanwo announced to everyone that it was a sign of an answered prayer. Whenever there is a Kilajelu festival and there is no rain, it simply means that the gods are angry. Showers of rain is a sign of an answered prayer, Kabiyesi concluded.
THE WAKA QUEEN DID HER THING AGAIN
There is only one Waka Queen in the Nigerian music industry and it is no other person than Queen Salawa Abeni. She was on the bandstand to serenade all the royal fathers and other guests. Did she disappoint? Far from it. At age 60, Salawa Abeni is still waxing strong. From the oldies down to the current trends, the Waka Queen had them all in her archives and she was never tired of dishing them out. Did you know that the Ooni requested a special performance from Queen Salawa Abeni? Yes, he did. That’s to tell you how much she is being held in high esteem in the music industry.
OLORI BOLANLE OGUNSANWO GOT ALL THE LOVE
This report will not be complete if the mention is not made of how Olori Bolanle Ogunsanwo, the wife of Alara of Ilara Epe, Oba Dr Ogunsanwo stole the show on the stage. As Queen Salawa Abeni was serenading her, the Olori was busy getting cash spray from her friends, family and loved ones on the night. Her beautiful look was complemented by her sparkling white attire.
ALARA Of ILARA Holds 1st Kilajolu Festival was last modified: May 25th, 2021 by