The annual celebrations of Olojo festival 2017 has commenced in Ile-Ife with the movement of the Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II into a seclusion of 7 days which began on Sunday to terminate on Saturday when the Arole Oduduwa is expected to appear to the public with sacred Aare crown only worn once a year by Ooni.
Ooni had earlier in his Palace unveiled BET9ja, a betting company based in Lagos as the media sponsor of the festival believed to be the most important of all the festivals in Yorubaland being the festival that celebrates Olodumare (GOD) and the first day (Ojo) before he subsequently processed alongside with his Traditional aides called EMESES and later joined by thousands of the people who accompanied him to the Traditional Supreme Court (Iledi) located along Iremo road received by the waiting Kingmakers known as AGBA IFE with whom he held a brief meeting and offered prayers for the nation before later moving to the sacred seclusion house (ILOFI) where he would remain incommunicado till Friday night.
While unveiling BET9JA as the media sponsor of the Olojo festival, Ooni Ogunwusi called on media to assist in creating positive awareness about Yoruba traditional festivals, saying that is the only way the people can be totally freed from the slavish mentality inflicted on us by the colonialists who had only come to turn us to their slaves even in our own land.
Highlighting what he will be doing during the seclusion, Ooni told the newsmen in his palace that he shall together with the deities reviewing the last one year and offer prayers to the Almighty God (Olodumare) for the entire country and its leadership as he would not be receiving visitors nor be seen outside to avoid unnecessary abuse of the sacredness of the period.
“Our ancestors will be appeased during the period and by the time I come out on Saturday for the grand finale, the seclusion rites would have been concluded.
“It is a celebration of creation of the universe and many visitors from within the country and the diaspora will come around to celebrate with us. My duty is specifically to offer prayers and that I will do to the best of my ability,” Ooni said.
On the significance of the festival, the Spiritual Leader of the Yoruba race worldwide said olojo is the celebration of first dusk and dawn and creation of the universe, with an assurance to work towards promoting further all notable cultural festivals in Yorubaland.
This year’s edition is expected to witness an unprecedented participation of foreigners the members of the black caucus of Pennsylvania House of Representatives and about 150 other black Americans have already indicated interest to participate in the festival.