Funmi Olaitan, Ibadan
Oyo State government has appealed to custodians of Egungun festival in the state not to renege on their promise of celebrating a festival devoid of violence and hooliganism.
The government said peace, security and safety have been consistently at the fore during the series of stakeholders’ meetings involving heads of masquerades from all the geographical zones of Oyo State and custodians of the masquerades with government officials at Ministry of information, Culture and Tourism, saying that representatives of the government’s security department have always been in attendance at such meetings preceding the 2018 Egungun season.
The government in a joint statement by the State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun and Special Adviser to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Community Relations, Mr. Bidemi Siyanbade, stated that another stakeholder meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 20 at 12 noon to further deliberate and consolidate modalities and conduct of Masquerades during 2018 Egungun Festival to give it the prominence it deserves and promote its rich cultural values and tourism potentials.
It disclosed that 23 out of the 27 Egunguns in the state have signed a non-violence pact with Oyo State Police Command, stressing that it has also secured the commitment and readiness of security agencies in the state to maintain peace, law and order during the period of Egungun festival.
The government lauded Olubadan of Ibadanland, Mr Saliu Adetunji, for keying into the Governor Ajimobi peace initiative during the festival with his admonition to the custodians of the masquerades (Egungun) to maintain peace and order, urging that masquerades should curb excesses of their followers as promised during meetings with the state government officials.
It then called on the masquerades to celebrate the 2018 Egungun festival in the age long norms and traditions of the Egungun Festival albeit in a non-violent manner.