The Lagos new yam festival, which is branded ‘Eko o ni baje’ Festival has been fixed for September 19th-21st in Ibeju Lekki, according to organizers.
The first day of the festival, which will be a cultural night, takes place at Eko o ni baje Kingdom, Eleko Junction. This will be followed by yam cutting, traditional dance and wrestling, as well as the royal question-and-answer at the Oni Ibeju Palace, Ibeju Agbe. The event will be wrapped up with a beach walk out and feel-free beach football at the Eleko Beach.
At a media and stakeholders conference held recently in conjunction with Centre for the Defense of Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CDHRDA) at the Oba’s palace to intimate the Onibeju of Ibejuland, Oba Olusegun Salami, of the festival and solicit his support and guidance for a hitch-free fiesta, the coordinator of the programme, Ozo Chinedu Idezuna, said it was a misnomer to always remember the Oba in times of conflict. When it was time for merriment like the New Yam Festival however, the Igbos would travel to their villages to participate.
Since culture is dynamic, he said: “We have decided to bring to the people of Ibeju Lekki community, the Igbo culture of eating new yam. This should not be restricted to Ibeju Lekki community alone, anywhere Igbo find themselves; culture should go along with them.”
Idezuna, who is also known as Chief Ezemmuo, said the festival was being celebrated in the same way it was done in Igbo land by first, visiting the marketplace or the palace of the Kabiyesi to announce the festival through a drumbeat, otherwise known as Ekpe in Igbo language.
He revealed that, apart from Olokun festival, the festival was another event that has received the backing of the Lagos Zone of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), adding that, “It offers an opportunity of attracting tourists to Ibeju Lekki area of the state.
In response, Oba Salami described yam as important and symbolic, noting that New Yam Festival was synonymous with the Igbos in the Eastern part of the country.
“It is not just a culture but a huge one,” he said.
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