As 2018 egungun festival commences in Ibadan tomorrow, Monday 18th June, 2018, there would be no masquerade dance for Ibadan High Chiefs this year.
Since 1976, during the reign of late Oba Gbadamosi Adebimpe, masquerades used to pay homage to selected High Chiefs in their family compounds with the permission of the Olubadan.
Though no reason was given for the last minute suspension of masquerade dance for Ibadan High Chiefs, it might not be unconnected with security reason arising from the controversial chieftaincy review that confers kingship without domain on high chiefs.
Rising from a 2-hour security meeting with stakeholders at his Popoyemoja, Ibadan Palace over the weekend, the Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, stated that the decision to suspend the masquerade dance this year is in the overall public interest.
A press statement signed by his personal assistant and media director, Adeola Oloko, stated that “As the chief custodian of our culture and tradition, I also owed it a duty to work in tandem with the law enforcement agents not to turn the celebration of our custom and tradition into a theatre of war.”
The monarch who commended the security operatives for smooth-free Oke’Badan festival last March urged them to raise the bar of egungun festival this year.
This is just as he also appealed to other stakeholders to cooperate with law enforcement agents by operating within the armbit of law.
In attendance at the meeting were ACP A. O Abimbola who represented Oyo Police Commissioner; ACP Dan Miller, CIID, Iyaganku; Mrs. B. T Agboola who represented the State Director of SSS and five Divisional Police Officers of Mokola, Yemetu, Mapo, Idi Aro and Agugu.
All the leaders of masquerades’ association in Ibadan land which included the Alagbaa, Baale Labala and others were also present at the meeting.