By _ Babatunde Kaka & Ronny Ikpoto
- Kayokayo, a century old festival celebrated by people of Epe, is inspired by the historical voyage of King Kosoko from Lagos Island to Epe.
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The much anticipated Kayokayo festival got off to a flying start on Wednesday, September 8, 2021 with a press conference which held at the palace of the Olu-Epe, His Royal Majesty, Oba Dr Shefiu Adewale.
Kayokayo, a century old festival celebrated by people of Epe, is inspired by the historical voyage of King Kosoko from Lagos Island to Epe, a voyage which fundamentally defined the history of Epe Kingdom as we know it today.
Recall that Eko Hot Blog earlier reported that Olu-Epe, HRM had announced 8th-11th September as the date for this year’s Kayokayo festival, which usually comes on the heels of the Eid-El-Kabir festivities.
The press conference had in attendance eminent personalities in the likes of Prince Tiamiyu Abiola Olojo Kosoko, the Oloja of Ereko and Princess Surah Olayemi Animashaun, first female chairman of Epe Local Government.
In his brief address after the briefing, Oba Shefiu Adewale charged Epe indigenes to express the values of love, selflessness and and service to community as is synonymous with the Kayokayo Festival.
Speaking with journalists after the press conference, Otunba TJ Abass, Aremo of Epe land and coordinator of the Kayokayo festival described the event as an aspect of culture that could be harnessed to unlock the economic potentials of Epe Division and Lagos state at large.
“We have a lot in our cultural gallery, so we have to industriously harness that. Our story is a story of forging the broken shards of our history to emerge as a force to be reckoned with in the political, economic and social landscape of our state. We have a beautiful story to tell, and there couldn’t have been a better way to talk about our story than to say it from the perspective of culture.”
“Culture is the key to our development, all we need to do is leverage it, it could be a great income source, not only for the community, but for the state as well. That is why kayokayo is so important. It is celebrated annually. It has become a platform to consolidate and bolster the political an economic landscape of our community,” he said.
He noted that this year’s celebration would be abated to a much lower key due to the COVID-19 pandemic; but would still produce the resounding impact that the festival is synonymous with.
“Its not going to be as elaborate as what we have witnessed in the past. This is not to say it will not have the same flair, the same flamboyance that it is always accustomed to, but of course we are doing it COVID inspired. We don’t want to endanger anyone’s life.”
“The community has been so supportive with donations. Without their donations we would not have been here today. I want to thank the entire Epe community for supporting us.”
Olushola Tinuke Raji, the Public Relations Officer of the committee stated that this year’s edition, despite the attenuated form, would be a special edition, particularly with the theatrical performance which would chronicle the voyage of King Kosoko’s journey to Epe.
“Kayokayo festival has so many things involved; the cultural aspect, the religious aspect, and the economic aspect. Its about religion, which is used to celebrate new year in Islamic Calendar. The cultural aspect of it is the migration of King Kosoko to Epe Kingdom, while the economic aspect is that during this festival business people make a lot of sales.”
“Its not been easy despite the fact that we are thinking of cutting it down to four days. Kayokayo took another dimension maybe the last five or six years. But this year’s edition will be a very special edition with the drama, which we have never had before. It is just to showcase how King Kosoko migrated to and back to Lagos from Epe.” The most symbolic aspect is it is the Etufu, the torchlight King Kosoko used to arrive Epe because he arrived late in the night.”
Oloja of Lagos, Prince Tiamiyu Abiola Olojo Kosoko, in an interview with Eko Hot Blog highlighted the significance of lighting the Etufu, which according to him goes beyond mere illumination to symbolize peace, progress and spiritual cleansing.
“If you look at it properly, there are two sets of religion that came to Epe. The first one is the traditional religion, while the second one is the Islamic religion but when he was returning, he returned to Lagos Island with the traditional religion, leaving behind the Islamic religion with his followers. That is why you find out that Epe is predominantly of the Islamic religion.”
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“The good thing about the Etufu, which is the most important thing about the festival, is that the light signifies progress, spiritual cleansing and infrastructural development.”
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