Business activities at the ever-busy Oba Adesida Market (Oja-Oba) in Akure, the capital city of Ondo State, was on Wednesday, 21 August, 2013, closed as the people held this year’s Aeregbe festival, an annual festival jointly celebrated by the Akure and Oba-Ile communities.
The Aeregbe festival, also popularly called, “Dududu,” has become a popular festival in Akure, and it entails the frying of Bean-cake (Akara), which, to the festival, is referred to as, “Akara Aeregbe.”
A most noticeable mark of the festival is that there is no buying and selling in Akure, just as it is in Oba-ile; rather, all buying and selling are done a day before the celebration; if any one opens his store or chooses to sell, his goods would be confiscated and shared by the masses.
Mrs. Omotola Omowale, a palace worker, said the festival is very important to the people of Akure, because during the festival, the king (Oba) would pray for the youths, all pregnant women, and indigenes of Akure, both at home and abroad for prosperity, adding: “During this period, all shops are closed and nobody would ask their debtors for money owed them for the sake of peace.”
However, an Igbo trader, Prince Victor Chiekwe Akaraka, was of the view that the closure of shops during the festival usually causes serious setback to businessmen, adding, “Since it is part of the culture of Akure people, we have to comply. But as businessmen, it is really affecting our businesses. However, announcement was made before the commencement of the festival.”
According to Chief Ikpe Osin, the Aeregbe festival originated from Oba-Ile and later brought to Akure by the Obagbeyi, the 11th in the line of the Obas of Akure, now known as the Deji; and that Obagbeyi, who was a prince of Oba-Ile was sent to rule Akure by his father, the then Oloba Oodaye of Oba, on the request of the kingmakers of Akure, to stop rapid succession owing to high mortality rate of the monarchs.
However, for the prince not to be left out of Oba-Ile and its festivals in totality, the Oloba authorized his son, the Deji of Akure, to replicate amongst other festivals, the Aeregbe festival in Akure, and that it should be celebrated the same way and at the same period.
Eustace Nwokorie and Peresine Watchman