Destination Ado in Ekiti South West, Nigeria is rich in tradition and culturally attractive hence UDIROKO FESTIVAL as the annual cultural signature of the people of Ado-Ekiti.
Before now the historical event known as UDIROKO FESTIVAL used to be celebrated just among the Ado Ekiti people, the organisers of the festival, in conjunction with the Ekiti State government, have decided to promote the festival and elevate it as an annual tourist event that both local and inbound tourists could mark in their calendar and attend.
The organisers held a press conference in Lagos to announce the date for festival. The UDIROKO Festival will hold from Monday, August 12 to 20.
His Royal Majesty,The Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, Aladesanmi III, who revealed, Wednesday at the world press conference to herald the 2019 edition of the Udiroko Festival said it was high time the cultural pride of the people of Ado Ekiti got an international leverage.
According to Oba Adejugbe, “it is very clear in terms of its manifest intention to further, through a more macro strategy, put the Udiroko Festival on global tourism platform in order to better its lot and usefulness to the cultural being of the Ado-Ekiti people.
“Through the conference, the generality of the people, both at the local and international levels, would be further and better educated on the nitty-gritty of the Udiroko Festival and its yearly celebrations both of which are deeply seated in history.
“Udiroko became significant in the history of Ado-Ekiti people right from the establishment of Ado-Ekiti through conquest in the early 1300AD by the third Ewi Awamaro, the second successor of Ewi (Elewi) Biritiokun, the first Ewi who left Ile Ife like his fifteen other brother princes of Oduduwa to establish their own respective kingdom in 1200AD.”
Oba Adejugbe pointed that Udiroko is a euphemistic expression of the significance of the first meeting of the Ado-Ekiti people held under the Iroko tree to celebrate the founding of Ado kingdom under the Ewi, who thereafter gave a royal proclamation of the first gathering under the Iroko tree as the first day in the Ado-Ekiti calendar year.
“It is our hope that from now on, the Udiroko Festival will gain further international recognition that would propel it amidst its cultural pers on other kingdoms and climes within and outside Nigeria,” The Adejoba said.
Speaking for the government of Ekiti State, the Director-General, Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, Ambassador Wale Ojo-Lanre, congratulated the Ewi of Ado Ekiti for taking a passionate lead towards giving a cultural promotion a boost, alongside investing time and money in reawakening and developing cultural consciousness of the sons and daughters of Ado Ekiti.
Ojo-Lanre said Governor Kayode Fayemi had given the state Council for Arts and Culture the mandate to promote cultural values in order to evolve a state that manifests the vision of its founding fathers, adding that “this explains the passion and commitment of the council towards a collaboration with communities to transform their festivals into a prosperity instrument for the people.”
“Since it is within the compass of our purview to inject critical innovations into the original manners of celebrating festivals in Ekiti, we initiated this world press conference in furtherance of the strategic marketing of some Ekiti festivals,” Said Ojo-Lanre
According to him “We have noted the vigor with which the Ewi of Ado Ekiti and the people prepare and celebrate the Udiroko annually, hence our decision to partner with the Ado people to rebrand the festival, globalise the celebration, seek marketers for the festival so that it becomes self-sustaining and involve Ado Ekiti indigenes in the diaspora as well as those outside the shores of Ekiti State.”
The festival which is billed to host the sons and daughters of Ado Ekiti, friends and well-wishers from around the world, including indigenes in the diaspora, will start with people driven activities among which are a walk for fitness from the Ewi’s palace to the Fajuyi area of the town on August 10, press conference by the Ewi on August 12. On August 13, 14 and 15, there will be a lecture session, health talk and visit to the aged by the chiefs to round off with a traditional game (ayo olopon and draft).
Other events that will precede the grand finale, which comes on the August 20, include Jumat prayers on August 16, while homage to the Ewi palaces and the Ewi’s Novelty Cup final at the Olukayode stadium will hold on August 17.
On August 19th a day before the grand finale, there will be a presentation of gifts to kabiyesi, youth carnival and the prince and the princess night.
The world press conference had in attendance the chairman Udiroko Festival Committee, Prince Julius Adelusi, Chief Ayo Ayoola; Senator Raji Rasaki, Professor Sunday Adeluyi, Chief Adeola Yesufu, among other sons and daughters of Ado-Ekiti in Nigeria and beyond.