Lagosians in their thousands on Saturday defied the early morning downpour but trooped out to welcome their own “Adamu Orisa’ popularly called Eyo festival.
The festival is part of the activities to celebrate Lagos @50 marking 50 years after Lagos State was created from the old Western Region on May 27, 1967 by the then Military head of state, general Yakubu Gowon. He appointed Brig.-Gen. Mobolaji Johnson as the first military governor of Lagos State.
The residents who did not open shops described the rainfall as a sign that the gods of the land were pleased with the celebrations and with the present administration of Lagos state led by Gov. Akinwumi Ambode. It is also a sign of peace that greeted the popular Eyo festival and our masqueraders as we used the cultural festival to commemorate Lagos @ 50, they said.
They said that rainfall during “Eyo” masqueraders’ parades was a sign that the heavenly beings or the gods were at peace with the land. The masqueraders in their immacualte white regalia and accompanying palm frond and caps to match danced round Lagos island in the downpour that had been drenched and stained from red mud and erosions from floodings. Mr Jacob Kehinde, an indigene of “Eko’ the Yoruba name for Lagos city, said that the array of white regalia and costumes was a true replica of the culture and traditions of the indigenes of Lagos Island.
According to him, the festival was a theatrical display and pageantry that highlights and showcases the rich indigenous history of the people and Lagos city. “Every thing done in this festival is showcasing what we have as a people and what our culture entails. “Lagos is a tourist attraction centre and we must use this medium to showcase sites while we celebrate Lagos as a state,’’ he said. Also, Mr Taofeek Adebisi, a freelance journalist, advised Africans and the general public to seek knowledge rather than attributing Eyo festival to a fetish practice.
“I was born and breed as a Muslim on the mainland of Lagos and over the years I have been made to believe that Eyo masquerade dance is diabolic. “On the contrary, it is not true because I have been going around town with the guys dancing since 10p.m. on Friday night and I have not seen anyone pouring libations to any deity.
“Eyo is all about fun and nothing else, but, pure fun,’’ he said. The Festival which started several decades ago was invented as part of the regalia for the purpose of wading off undesirable elements. From the beginning, the festival depicted by the image of masqueraders in flowing white apparel has grown for a rural festival to an internationally acclaimed event, he said.