By Kolawole Olayinka Abeokuta
Politicians from the Yewa Zone of Ogun State have been warned not to turn the forthcoming Oronna Ilaro Festival into a political rally or battlefield.
The festival kicks off on Saturday, November 12 and ends on Sunday, November 20 with a thanksgiving service. The grand finale is scheduled for Saturday, November 19.
The Chairman Planning Committee, Alhaji Rafiu Abidemi Akinola, who spoke at a press conference in Abeokuta organised to herald the activities lined up for the festival, lamented that politicians from the zone often turned the venue to a battlefield whenever they arrive for the celebration.
He said the incessant clashes had been given the people of Ilaro and Yewa Zone in particular a bad name among other zones in the state, saying “others see us as immature”.
Akinola added that this had also affected the zone in taking important posts in the political arena of the state, lamenting, “We can’t be on the loosing side every time. Since we have been fighting, what have we gained?”
He said the committee had made the politicians to understand that any form of fracas would not be condoned, urging them to warn their supporters to desist from any form of violence.
“We don’t want anybody to turn Ilaro to a battlefield. Oronna Day should not be a political rally. When it comes to the real battle, we lose again and again. Why are they (politicians) always fighting at Oronna Festival? Other zones are looking at us and when they see it, they will say we are not matured”.
Akinola said the committee would also use the avenue to enlighten the youths of the zone to embrace education so as to be at per with others.
“We know the importance of education, we are working to let them (youths) embrace education because the future belongs to them,” he said.
He disclosed that all the programmes slated for the celebration had been duly approved by the Yewa Paramount Ruler, Oba Kehinde Gbadewole Olugbenle.
Some of the activities included medical check-ups, street carnivals, tribute to Oronna, “Sisi Ilaro” beauty pageant, 5 km festival race, football competition and homage to Oba Olugbenle.
He said Oronna Day “is a festival recognised in the calendar of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation and it is meant to bring together sons and daughters of Ilaro as well as engender the development of Yewa Kingdom”.