Ondo Residents condemn atrocities committed during Akure Festival, call for its review
By Our Reporter
Reactions have continued to trail Thursday attack by some hoodlums who attacked a bus loaded with foodstuff and other household materials and carted them away.
The hoodlums who were acting under the guise of enforcing the annual Aheregbe Festival also attacked some residents in the state capital, a development that led to confusion at Bolajoko junction of Oke-Aro, along Idanre road in Akure, the Ondo state capital.
Reacting, some eyewitnesses said, the hoodlums also seized the sales representative’s three year-old daughter and handset after deflating the bus tyres.
Narrating his ordeal,the Sales Rep named Festus said he was taking his daughter to school when they blocked him at Bolajoko junction and empty his bus loaded with his company’s household products, insisting he was not selling today as a mark of respect for the Akure festival that forbids opening of shops, markets, buying & selling.
It was gathered that after two hours, some good spirited people around the area however followed the hoodlums and retrieved the ‘kidnapped’ daughter.
In their separate reactions , some residents of Akure and public affairs analysts advised the Akure monarch to reform the festival
A political and public affairs commentator, Mr Zadok Akintoye described the attack as barbaric.
Zadok said, “the conduct of any festival is subsumed under the Constitution of a country. Just as a president is liably responsible for any action taken by his government, those who authorized this festival are also criminally liable for any part of its conduct that infringes on the rights of the people or violates the law.
“The police should prosecute anyone found culpable of stealing under the guise of a cultural practise and also ensure that the traditional rulers under whose authority these crimes are committed face the consequences.
“We shouldn’t be justifying our propensity for willful criminality under the excuse of culture and custom. To prove that this culture is an abberation, why does it’s implementation not include banks, schools and all other economic activities? I keep saying that some cultural practices are more often the easy lazy leaning of the people when they fail to find a solution to challenges.
“How does one explain a tradition that compels all stores to close for an entire day? Does the king have the constitutional right to make a law that infringes on the fundamental rights of the people? I believe that such a tradition should be limited to the kinds market (which is simply an honorary title as the king does not even own the market in the first place).
“I am incensed by such a very mundane practise….If the company in question drags the king before the court for damages, that culture would be better policed and managed,” said Zadok Akintoye
Reacting, Olufemi MFR said “Things like this can’t but happen when a supposed ‘city’ is still tied with a tradition of backwardness.”
A lawyer and law lecturer, Gbenga Oke Samuel….”the company should institute an action against the Deji and his council. The court should determine the competence of Deji to declare public holiday or shut down economic activities in view of the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.”
A former Ondo state lawmaker, Hon Cicero Akinduose…. “I support your articulation. We are guided by laws which permit no one to inflict unlawful hardship on others. Our people must be protected particularly by traditionalists who are expected to put in place some control measures during festivals.Everybody may not subscribe to festivals. Yet we must respect those who find pleasure in traditional rites/ festivals.”
A public affairs commentator Segun Odidi…..”I think this practice should be challenge in court, in my place, we have one festival called “Iwo festival”, on the day of this festival, women and strangers are not permitted to come outside their houses, if it falls on Sunday, that means no church, a particular church leader of blessed memory now who also hails from the area challenged this festival in Court and said that the festival have no right to disturb worshippers on Sunday, while he did not totally object to the festival being taking place.
“He argued that for such holding on Sunday and disturbing other people from going to church is an infringement on the right of others, I followed this case with interest then and if I’m not mistaken, I’m sure despite that the festival is still holding now, that having it on Sunday must have been defined properly, I suggest same to this festival, it should be redefine perhaps limit it to some locality or design it in such a way that it won’t amount to infringement on the rights of others.”
Shola Eniola said….. “I am of the opinion that the execution of Aheregbe Festival/tradition in Akure in its entirety doesn’t abhor or condone the commission of any crime. Hence, the commission of crime should be treated away from the tradition of the Community.”
A resident, Ojo Oyewande said “This is not ODUN AMOLE we grew up to know. Rather, it has been turned to ODUN OLE. I think there is the need to take away the festival from the grips of hoodlums. What we have now is shameful. No indigene can rationalise it.”
A youth activist, Yemi Fash said….”A Doctor just told me they have been trying to access a pharmacy since morning to attend to an emergency, and all the stores are closed. So, there is no preference for essential utilities/commodities in the wake of this festival? That is very unreasonable.”
When contacted over the incident, the Deji of Akure spokesman, Mr Michael Adeyeye said the palace was not aware of the incident, promising that proper investigation would be done to unmask the perpetrator for necessary traditional actions.
Adeyeye said the palace did not send anybody to be causing confusion in the capital city, warning hoodlums against hijacking the peaceful festival meant to give traders traditional holidays.
The Palace through the Deji of Akure spokesman Michael Adeyeye had said on wednesday that “it wish to notify the residents of Akure and its environ that all Markets and Shops in Akure will be shut on Thursday 19th August, 2021 and Saturday 4th September, 2021.
“The closure becomes necessary as part of the requirement to observe the age long tradition of the annual Aheregbe and Amole Festival.
“It is important to emphasize that there shall be no trading or opening of shops under any guise on these days.
“Residents, Market Women and shop owners are kindly enjoined to comply with this directive. However, the festival will not in any way restrict both human and vehicular movement,” Adeyeye said.