Culture, as a powerful human tool for survival and a constantly changing phenomenon, can easily be lost if not properly preserved; and it is in the light of this that the Olofa and the people of Offa Kingdom have revived the kingdom’s 14th century cultural festival, “Ijakadi,” to promote and preserve the genuineness of the people’s culture for economic gains.
“Ijakadi loro Offa,” a Yoruba phrase, meaning, “wrestling is Offa game,” was marked on 26th December, 2012, and it is a festival, which reinforces a tradition that abhors laziness and docility but encourages strength and determination, showcasing a culture that addresses the notion of equality among the indigenes and between the Olofa and his subjects.
Speaking at the event, which took place at the Offa Township Stadium, the culture-loving monarch of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Okikiola EsuWoye II, said his firm support for the festival was informed by the desire to renew the rich culture of his people and to further open Offa town to visitors and investors, as well as enhance tourism for the town and the state at large.
According to the traditional ruler, efforts were being put in place to keep the cultural heritage of the Offa people alive and that new activities were being introduced to make the festival bigger in scope and more attractive to potential tourists.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Offa Local Government Council, Alhaji Saheed Popoola, said the festival was a holistic event, which would not only open Offa for investment, but also develop and promote the socio-economic well-being of the people.
He assured that the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, is a lover of culture and that his administration is putting all mechanisms in place to see that culture and tourism in the state get the desired attention to attract patronage and investment to boost economic activities.
Activities that featured in this year’s festival include a Road Show parading the five districts of Offa in their dazzling colours, the Arewa Offa Beauty Pageant, which is a competition in search of the traditional Offa woman, a Food Expo to showcase different dishes and produce of sweet potato (Offa main food produce), and Traditional Wrestling.
Some of the high points to mark the end of 2012 Ijakadi festival were performances by various cultural groups, paying of homage by district heads and their subordinates to the Olofa, as well as the presentation of trophies with cash awards to the participating districts.