The Okeagbe community in Akoko North-West Local Government Area of Ondo State has bemoaned what they described as the rising level of insecurity and dearth of social amenities in the area and the Akoko Division.

The community urged the state and Federal Government to improve the security architecture of the area, as well as infrastructure of the community.

The call was made by the Chairman of Steering Committee of 2021 Ibegbe Festival (Age Grade Graduation) of Afa Okegabe-Akoko, Dr. Foluso Arewa, at a news conference, organised to herald the ceremony, slated for tomorrow.

Explaining the modalities of the festival, he noted that the festival, which was as old as the community, is a ceremony in which those in Oyere Age Grade will graduate or transit to Agbane Igu (Senior citizens) after performing the necessary traditional prayers and rites at Ooko, the ancestral place of the people of Afa community.

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Arewa said: “You may wish to note that the Ibegbe Festival, known as the Age Grade Graduation, is an important tradition of the people of Afa Okeagbe community, which was not only held in high esteem by our forefathers, but which also has continued to be held with nostalgia as part of the life of the people of the community.”

The Ibegbe Festival, which is held every nine years and that was last held in 2006, would have been held on March 28, last year, before it was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To celebrate this year’s Ibegbe festival, including all Egbegun Oyere are expected to assemble at the Omode Owa (Oba Palace) by 6a.m for the traditional prayer before leaving for Ooko for traditional prayer/rites as part of their graduation rites.

According to Arewa, they (Egbegun Oyere) are also expected to return by 12 noon to the Oba’s Palace, where their relations, friends and other well-wishers would receive them, and this will be followed immediately by the ‘Royal Speech’ by the Ajana, traditional chiefs and other community leaders, marking the final graduation.

The Egbegun Oyere graduates will return to the palace with their family members, friends, associates, guests and visitors for entertainment, where a Lagos-based Fuji musician, Alhaji Saheed Osupa, will entertain them.

As part of the requirements for the graduation of the Egbegun Oyere, the Steering Committee Chairman said the group undertook the multi-million naira Palace Gate and the general upgrade of the palace, among other community projects as contribution to the development of the community.

Arewa said: “I want to appreciate the Kabiyesi, Oba Oladunjoye Fajana and his Ajana-In-Council and other community leaders for making it possible for us and the community to hold the Ibegbe Festival this year, after about a 16 years delay.

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