Local and foreign tourists were treated to a special display of culture as the people of Ikate, Lagos marked their annual Elegba Festival.
The event, which was held on Monday, April 27, was the climax of the week-long celebration. The ancient festival is celebrated annually to reunite the people of the ancient community with their ancestors.
Sons and daughters of the community who trooped out with enthusiasm to celebrate the festival, which symbolizes prosperity and peace, were not disappointed as the Elegushi of Ikateland, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, ably assisted by his aides, ensured the ceremony was successful.
The ceremony started with a visit to the Elegba Shrine, called Agbo Elegba, where various sacrifices are performed to appease the deity. Earlier, wives of traditional white cap chiefs in ankara uniform, embarked on the sweeping of the community amid singing and jubilation. They moved from one royal family to another. They first called at the Palace of Elegushi where their service received a financial reward from the traditional ruler.
An elated Oba Elegushi and his white-cap chiefs trekked to the shrine, to perform the traditional rites and pay homage to the gods amid drumming and singing. They also performed the traditional breaking of kolanuts called Ikunlepabi to get the approval of the deity to continue with the celebration. This was followed by the divination session and sharing of kolanuts among the people. The divination was performed by the Ejure of Ikate who is the custodian of the shrine. Animals, including pigs, goats, cocks and snails were also killed to appease the god.
The outcome of the traditional divine consultation was subsequently conveyed to the monarch who was anxiously waiting for the message of the god at the outer side of the shrine. In the evening, Oba Elegushi and his chiefs retired into the recesses of his palace to witness a parade of the masquerades that came to entertain and celebrate with the people.
The Elegba Festival is celebrated by the descendants of Olofin, the progenitor of the original founders of Lagos to mark the beginning of a New Year and ensure peace in their community. The Olisa of Ikateland, Chief Moruf Elegushi, told journalists that the peaceful conduct of the recently concluded general elections was as a result of the special prayers offered by Omo Olofin at various Elegba shrines.
Prince Anofi Olanrewaju Elegushi, who is the immediate past Chairman of the Eti-Osa Local Government Area, said Oba Elegushi used the occasion to bless the people of the community and Nigerians in particular during propitiations at the shrine of the deity.
He described as untrue the notion that the cane is used to beat people during the festival.
Oba Elegushi said he was satisfied with the successful conduct of the ceremony, saying:“Just like last year’s event, today’s ceremony has also turned out to be successful, and we shall have enduring prosperity throughout the year in Ikateland.
“ Our prayers for peace in Lagos and Nigeria in particular have been accepted by the god of our ancestors, and we shall live to celebrate many years of the peaceful Elegba Festival.”