By Ola Ajayi, Ibadan
DESPITE the directive by the Olubadan of Ibadanland, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Adetunji that masquerade dance was banned in the compounds of his members of Obas-in-Council, the yearly ritual dance took place in defiance to the directive.
This came just as the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun said the monarch allowed himself to be used by a selfish politician to fight the new kings.
Though, the directive by the monarch had a negligible impact on the ceremony by the number of masquerades that were present at Aliwo, venue of the masquerade dance, it did not take the shine off the event.
Aliwo is the family compound of Oba Lekan Balogun, the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, who is next to the Olubadan throne.
Oba Balogun said, “I don’t know what the Olubadan stood to gain from his action. He went to the extent of stopping the Atipako, a prominent masquerade and also some people from coming. I have hosted this event for more than 6-7 years.”
“They had few of their agents telling the masquerades not to come. Olubadan does a lot of strange things. This controversy is very strange”. “He(Olubadan) applied to the former Olubadan that he wanted to host it and he was allowed. He now became Olubadan and he wanted to stop others from hosting it.”
As usual, hundreds of people including majority of new kings installed by Governor Abiola Ajimobi thronged the Aliwo residence of Oba Balogun.
As a mark of solidarity, the Oyo State Government was represented by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Toye Arulogun.
Contrary to previous masquerade outings when the ceremony would begin by 11am, this year’s activities took off rather late due to late arrival of masquerades.
When the masquerades eventually appeared around 2:34pm, the mammoth crowd in attendance went into wild jubilation.
The climax of the programme came up when a prominent masquerade, Atipako performed rituals by beheading a dog. This was said to have taken place before the arrival of other masquerades.
Shortly after the masquerades had danced before Oba Balogun and other kings and community leaders (Baale), heavy downpour started which punctuated the ceremony.
As heavy as the rain was, the kings and Mogajis did not leave their seats under the canopies.
Among those who attended the event include Oba Tajudeen Ajibola, Otun Balogun, Oba Eddy Oyewole, Ashipa Olubadan, Oba Amidu Ajibade, Ekaarun Olubadan, Oba Kolawole Adegbola, Ekeerin Balogun, Oba Abiodun Kola-Daisi, Ekerin Olubadan, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin, and Balogun of Ibadanland and scores of Mogajis.