Following a declaration that a three-day Oro rite will hold from today, March 15 to Saturday, March 18, by Saheed Ademola (Kusenla III), the traditional ruler of the Ikate-Elegushi Kingdom, the ruler clarified it will not affect the governorship and state assembly election in Lagos State.
Ina memo issued to the residents of Ikate-Elegushi, on Wednesday, the monarch announced that there would be a restriction of movement to perform the Oro rite in the community till Saturday, 18th.
In a quick reaction from residents of the community, they alleged there is a political motive for the curfew which will further disenfranchise women and non-indigenes from voting on election day while others complained that it would paralyse commercial activities in the community.
Infact, a former stalwart of the Peoples Democratic Party, in Lagos State, Babatunde Gbadamosi called for the arrest of the monarch via Twitter.
He tweeted: “Saheed Elegushi needs to be arrested and dethroned for DESECRATING our culture and traditions by this political action.
“I hereby enjoin ALL Law-Abiding registered voters in ALL parts of Eti-Osa LGA, especially Ikate, to come out and exercise their right to vote on Saturday 18th March, 2023. Any attempt to stop ANYONE from voting in any part of Ikate will have extremely serious consequences for the perpetrators and their sponsors.”
Howbeit, the monarch told newsmen via his media aide, Temitope Oyefeso that “The restriction of movement for the Oro rites in Ikate-Elegushi Kingdom, Eti-Osa is from Wednesday to Friday, Election Day is not included.
“The restriction is from 12 midnight to 5 am on each day, while residents are free to move before and after this time. This clarification is necessary for those peddling falsehood as to the motive for the rites. The peace and progress of our land is the responsibility of all of us and we must be alive to this responsibility.”
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According to him, the Oro rite will bring peace to the community, adding that it happens in all communities within Lagos.
“We are not saying people should sit at home during the day like they have in other places.”
He added, “Elections are held during the day, and by morning we will open the roads for people to come. It is a traditional rite. But unfortunately, it has come at this time. It is an annual event, and this is not the first time. We are not disrupting any process.”
He explained that non-indigenes registered to vote in Elegushi will partake in the voting process, reiterating that “they will not leave the house to vote by 2:00 a.m., so they ought to be in their house.”
“Voting starts by 8:00 a.m., and there is a police curfew for midnight on election day. We are not doing anything different from what the police have done. It will just commence two days earlier,” the monarch’s spokesman explained.
“People should stop speculating rumours or being mischievous about Oro rites; it is not interfering with the process of the election. Residents can move about from morning till 11:30 p.m.”
The Orò Festival is an event celebrated by towns and settlements of Yoruba origin. It is an annual traditional festival that is of patriarchal nature, as it is only celebrated by male descendants who are paternal natives of the specific locations where the particular event is taking place.
During the festival, females and non-natives stay indoors as oral history has it that Orò must not be seen by women and non-participating people.