Yoruba Hometowns: Community, Identity, and Development in Nigeria

By Lillian Trager | Go to book overview
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2
Community-Day Celebrations:
A New Tradition at Home

Iloko Day, 1993

The narrow, partially paved road led out of Ijebu-Jesa toward Iloko, past the large cement-block building housing the headquarters of the Oriade local government offices. On the outskirts of Iloko, a large banner was strung over the road, announcing “Welcome to Iloko Day. At the crossroads in the center of the town, next to the palace, Mercedes and Peugeot 504 cars were turning to enter the grounds of the primary school. Talking drummers welcomed the visiting officials and other guests as they left their cars, while the local Boys Brigade band played on their trumpets and other instruments, creating a cacophony of disparate sounds. At one end of the primary school grounds, viewing stands were set up, with two rows of large upholstered chairs for the most important guests. The governor of Osun State, Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke, arrived in his car with sirens sounding, and stepped out, resplendent in a flowing turquoise agbada. Several ministers of the federal government followed, as well as the deputy governor of the state and the wives of both the governor and deputy governor. They were joined by obas from surrounding communities, all in white or brightly colored agbadas and with long necklaces of coralcolored beads and beaded walking sticks signifying their status as traditional rulers. All were seated on the upholstered chairs, under the brightly colored canopy.

Moving among the crowd of arriving dignitaries was a leading son of the soil—Omo Oba (Prince) Oladele Olashore, the son of the late oba of the town and, at the time of this ceremony, minister of finance in the federal government of Nigeria. He exchanged words of greeting with all, chatting briefly, helping them find their seats. As the guests sat down and greeted one another, the two masters of ceremonies announced each new arrival, encouraging the growing crowd to welcome them with applause. Young girls mixed in the crowd, providing

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