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Osun festival holds in Ife amid COVID-19 pandemic

Kayode Oyero

The annual Osun Festival was held in the ancient town of Ile-Ife in Osun State on Saturday.

This happened at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has forced a number of states to ban traditional festivities so as to maintain social distancing and curb the spread of the lethal virus that has killed over 800 Nigerians in the last five months.

The PUNCH had earlier reported that the Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr) Sikiru Adetona, recently called off this year’s edition of the annual Ojude Oba Festival scheduled to hold August 2, 2020.

The Ojude Oba Festival, arguably one of the biggest culture fiestas in Nigeria which takes place two days after Eid-el-Kabir, was cancelled due to the need to avoid large gatherings, said a statement by the coordinator of the festival and Baagbimo of Ijebu, Chief Fassy Yusuf.

Similarly, the Ekiti State COVID-19 Response Task Force last week banned the celebrations of all traditional festival for the same reason.

However, the Osun Festival which is notable for the celebration of water was held on Saturday, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, who received Osun devotees in his palace during the celebration, said this year’s celebration was ‘restricted’ due to the pandemic.

Ogunwusi said, “Unlike the way we used to have it in Ife, we were forced to restrict this celebration which is a major festival in Ife. Our restriction made us ensure that we don’t create more problems while trying to solve the one at hand.

“Osun festival as the world knows is the celebration of water and we all know that water is life. We’re using this instance to reconnect with our creator through nature to cleanse the world, and especially to end the pandemic. We are remembering our ancestors and it is unfair to call us idol worshipers.”

The festival had a number of dignitaries in attendance including the Director of Field Research, Festival and Documentation, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Sola Duro-Ladipo, who represented the Osun State Government.

Source: punchng.com