The man, Ilori Tunde Elerewe


                                                                                                                       Dressed  in an embroidered     immaculate white   guinea     brocade,   and  a  cap     to    match. In order to make the regalia complete   for his  status ,  he  adorned on his neck , hands and feet  with  special  royal coral beads . As he stood up  and  beckoned at his visitors to come around  him, his intimidating  stature showed he is a man of  more than six feet tall . His  dark- skin glitter. With total humility the High Chief not  minding  his height and status  bowed  and  greeted the  elders who came to felicitate with  him. To the young and the old he gives them respect and one keeps wondering  of his noble character.

     He is a man of few words and well -cultured . He  speaks flawless  English  and back  it up with his  noble character  and dignified  mien. He is witty and richly  blessed with  choice of words laced with Owo proverbs, idiomatic expressions   and songs . Infact he is an encyclopaedia of the History of Elerewe and  Owo . He is humility personified. These are the reasons all the natives , His Imperial Majesty  and those who did not even get close to him love him.


  An High  Chief who does not want his name in print said :”for this man who occupies the throne of his forefathers , it is a blessing to the  Elerewe family, to Owo and  Yoruba land at large  ”. 

The Olunaun of Unaun, Prince Olanrewaju Abegunde said” I am always very proud of Olowo of Owo in any decision he takes, he is a lawyer ,a traditional  ruler and a wiseacre. He is gifted with wisdom . I give him kudos for choosing a good man like Ilori who is loved by everybody. Before Kabiyesi does something he would  exercise patience and do a thorough  research very well .Above all he would pray and consult God. He is a visioner  and a prophet , whatever he says always come to pass. We all love Ilori, he is a good  listener, Ilori is a lover of  Owo people , he is very obedient and respectful”.

Another High Chief who is versatile in  the Elerewe  family history said ”Ilori’s destiny was eventually fulfilled as he assumed his ancestor’s  throne .  It  has been predicted long ago   that he would be the right man to ascend the throne before he was born. I remember it has been predicted for a long time that this boy will be on his forefather’s throne .He shied away from roughnecks, destructive criticisms and gangsterism”.

     Call him Elerewe Ojo he would smile, if you like call him Elerewe  Olakunori, he will still answer you because, according to  strong  and old members of the family Ilori is gifted  with  these ancestors’  physique and he possessed multilateral combinations of  character,  talents and traces of the late Elerewes …he is peaceful and  humble, you can easily described him.

Professor emeritus, Robin Poynor, an American Professor  (who retired from the  University of Florida) who was in Owo in 1973  doing research on Owo   and knew the late Elerewe Ojo very well.  In his message to this reporter , he  wrote ”Ahh! I really liked Elerewe Ojo…. And my recent contact with Elerewe Ilori tells me that he has his father’s good traits…He is tall like his father and his grandmother ”.

 To the family of Elerewe, he is the expected image builder and the bridge between the old and the young Elerewes to come and repair and put in place many things that had been destroyed and had gone wrong in the family. ” Ilori has the spirit of love, kindness and his humility is high as he respects everybody”, Babasegun said.

       The Olunaun of Unaun, Prince Olanrewaju Abegunde said” I am always very proud of Olowo of Owo in any decision he takes, he is a lawyer ,a traditional  ruler and a wiseacre. He is gifted with wisdom . I give him kudos for choosing a good man like Ilori who is loved by everybody. Before Kabiyesi does something he would  exercise patience and do a through  research very well above all he would pray and consult God. He is a visioner  and a prophet , whatever he says always come to pass. We all love Ilori, he is a good  listener, Ilori is a lover of  Owo people , he is very obedient and respectful”.

    Mr.   Adepoju  Peter gave a graphic description of the man ”He is the  man that can rebuild  and unite the family because of his Solomonic wisdom, sense of humour , loyalty, levelheadedness,  high quality of his social interaction, gentle-manliness, courage and integrity   he is endowed with”.

 An High Chief said” Quote me , we all love this young man of peace and integrity.  Kabiyesi loves peace and the man that fears God. This Elerewe is richly endowed with wisdom, he always sat at his father’s feet and that means he has been tutored, had gone to school of Elders .If a child knows how to wash his hands he will definitely dine with the elders”

 Olakoli Peter said  he did a research on the new Elerewe very well and found him to be unrivaled in character and simplicity. 

      The question on everybody’s mouth is whether the new Elerewe has done well, Tunde Onibode who is also the President of Tunde Onibode Foundation and Owo Ambassador of Culture  beat his chest in defence of the new Chief and declared  ” Since his installation , he has never disappointed us .His loyalty to the crown and the entire kingdom is unquestionable and he has been playing his  traditional role to the best of his ability as tradition dictates”.

   The soft- spoken man is rich in history, according to Jide Tububo,  ”he is simple and peaceful.In fact he is  talented  and has the magic wand to turn things around  above all he has the fear of God in him. I remember when I met him and a  man was raining insults on him in order for him to retaliate but the High Chief did not utter a word. I respect him a lot. He is too humble , full of humility.” 


  Throughout the interview with this reporter he  referred  to God several times and once told this reporter  four years ago that   ” I have no money , I have no connection but I have the Almighty God behind me .The Alpha and Omega   who knows the beginning and the end .  While I relied on God to perfect things for me”. That is the  nature and manner of the man called High Chief Ilori Tunde Elerewe who was installed as the new High Chief  two years ago.


Watch out for his  interview tomorrow


Igogo festival is not fetish

This year’s Igogo Festival has come and gone but the frills and thrills of new things that happened cannot be easily forgotten. Taiwo Abiodun writes

…………..New Chief Priest performed role

…………..Rumour mongers shamed

…………..Festival not fetish




The big palace was full with visitors , natives, well wishers, friends and lovers of Culture from far and near . Most of them came to watch the popular annual and most celebrated festival in Owo and Yoruba land while few ones who are rumor mongers, religious fanatics and those who never believed in good tidings were there to confirm whether the Monarch would come out to observe the annual festival or not.

Ears were on the ground. Eyes were fixed at the palace. Rumors were spread. Doubts filled some people’s minds. Some said the Monarch had traveled. Tension filled the air. Who will be proved right and who will be proved wrong?.

Suddenly, a crowd came out from the inner chamber . Who could that be?. Is he the one or not?. Many surged forward to have a glance and be proved wrong or right. Many were pushed aside , struggling to catch a glimpse at the chief Celebrant and the Custodian of Culture and Tradition . Some Thomases who doubted the festival would hold hurriedly left in shame as they were disappointed and covered their faces with shame while well wishers and those who love the ancient town went wild in jubilation.

Chief Famulagun

Then came the Monarch in high spirits in gaiety and in his royal splendor -he was full of smile and appreciation.He was surrounded by his well wishers, family members, loved ones, princes and princesses and important personalities .

With his plaited hair that made him looked like a female ,and in his dressing as he wore his ornamental Ewu Okun , a royal customized beaded attire dress. To shield him from the scorching sun, he was protected by a specially -built giant umbrella .

His skin glitter while the three white feathers called Urere Okin , special white feathers attached on his head ”danced” in the air . Attached to his white ”skirt” was the Uda Omalore (royal symbol of authority ) that appeared beneath.

Dangling on his neck , wrists and ankles were special royal coral beads glittering and making sound as he walked along .The traditional ruler who doubled as the Chief celebrant was the cynosure of all. He rested his stretched beaded hands on two of his chiefs and would once in a while bring out his own special iron metal gong and beat it. Then start a new song while others would join in chorus.

Olori Ololade

His wife Olori Yeye Ololade, all Chiefs, princes, princesses , family members and well wishers followed him while showering praises and pouring panegyrics.

They hailed the Monarch as he appeared from inner chamber of the palace .Yes!, His Imperial Majesty , the Olowo of Owo, Oba David Victor Folagbade Olateru -Olagbegi III (CFR) was a sight to behold as he took the spectators and admirers aback by his dancing skills , dexterity and agility despite his age.

Greetings flowed, panegyrics (Oriki) were rendered and Traditional songs flowed freely as the Monarch responded with smiles and satisfaction. Many went on their knees to pay obeisance to him. Then followed by a thunderous of ‘‘Ologho, Baba O, Untunkan nii se , Tu wa ko wa pee! , Leeji, waa gbo, wa to waaa je ju bare, Orisa Oke ma dunhun S’Ologho” (Our revered Monarch you shall live longer than your forefathers, you will lead us for long . The Almighty will protect you) .

Elerewe during the festival

At the Oja Oba ( King’s Market) , the monarch danced to and fro nine times, according to custom. Each time the Monarch dances with High Chiefs Osuporu and Akowaloja and rendered native songs while the whole multitude would join him to sing, and added footsteps; it was a different song and also showing more of the stuff in him as he takes better dance steps on each occasion.

At the end of the last dance the Monarch headed back to the palace.

In the evening the new Chief Priest of the town, Ajana who replaced his late father ( the late Michael Adelanke Ajana) took the role of the Chief Priest , prayed for the town,the monarch and well wishers.He performed other necessary rites as the town’s chief priest and the festival continued.

Some participants during the festival


The Igogo celebration always make the town interesting as market women have many souvenirs to sell and business boom. Not only this the Chiefs participate fully and in accordance to its custom wore women apparel by mimicking the female counterpart with their plaited hair and their dressing . Some of these male chiefs had their hair braids even those who preferred wigs put them on their heads and interestingly many could erroneously be taken for a woman while the men padded their chests with foams and earrings as they all danced round the town all in honor of the Monarch’s wife, Oronsen who ruled in the ancient town over 600 years ago. Children were not left out as they sang songs and used sticks as drums .It was all fun. Some of the chiefs who participated are High Chief Tunde Elerewe who is the Elerewe of Owo, High Chief Osuporu ,Chief Ogwatowose, High Chief Oshere, High Chief Ojumu and host of others.

Those who are old and can no longer dance round the town like Chief Madam Fehintola Famulagun (97), who was also a participant stayed at home where she received visitors and entertained them. She said ” I am old and cannot dance round the town again but I received visitors and participated in the festival”

Throughout the 30days of the festival (September to October) the palace was in a festive mood as people, indigenes and non-indigenes alike all trooped out to have fun. Gifts were exchanged, as the royal father as usual entertained guests and gave out gifts.

Igogo as some will call it, is a festival of love, others say it is a festival of unity while others call it the festival of the maidens, but above all, it is a festival that serves a a unifying factor for the people of the ancient town because during the festival, the people usually forget their differences . Owo is always agog during the festival with old and young, males and females coming together as one and exchanging gifts, smile and happiness.

The Owo Cultural Ambassador in person of Mr.Tunde Onibode who was the brain behind some of the social activities for the festival and has been supporting the festival said ” it is high time we cooperated the more to the festival. We should not leave everything for the Monarch alone, we should support him , that is why I am contributing my own quota to the festival”.


The story of Igogo festival started over 600 years ago ,according to Chief Niyi Adewale the Iminiken of Owo, the story of Oronshen started ”when the then Monarch , Olowo Rengenjen who reigned and unknowingly married a goddess called Moore Oronshen .The Queen, Oronsen was suspected to have a supernatural power. The Monarch was so much in love with this strange woman that she became an envy of other wives in the palace .The woman’s behavior was strange to everybody and the king loved her more than other wives , when this was known to other wives then there was jealousy as Oronsen became the envy of others .”The story continued that she was loved by the Monarch because she made the town be more prosperous as she would be excreting expensive coral beads ,thus she demanded for a special room of which the Monarch happily gave her.

”However, she revealed her taboos to the Monarch which must be kept secret and not be broken ,these are : One must not throw firewood before her, water should not be splashed before her and okra spices must not be cut in her presence”, said Iminiken.


”The secrets were kept by the Olowo Rengenjen until when other wives of the Monarch grew jealous and got him drunk into a stupor and made him revealed Orosen’s secrets to them. One day the Monarch went for hunting expedition , and the other wives planned against Oronsen and broke her taboos. They did the unthinkable as they plotted against her . The three taboos of her were broken as they ganged up and threw firewood ,splashed water and cut spices before her eyes!. She felt betrayed and grew annoyed then in tears she ran away from the palace into a forest called Igbo Ujala (Ujala forest)” .

The story went on that when the King arrived and was informed of what happened , he was angry and he sent some palace guards (Ayoyo) to go and look for her .While searching for her , her head gear was found and her bitter voice was heard crying of betrayal from the Ujala Forest!. The palace guards begged the woman to return home but she was adamant. She instead instructed them to inform the King of her love , but in remembering her she should be celebrated yearly as a sign of love and honor. In tears she told them that men and women must be plaiting their head, coral beads to be used while the booming of guns and beating of leather drum should be stopped . In addition, caps and head gears must not be worn during the festival. On their return the Palace guards brought canes to discipline the wives , since then we have been seen the Ayoyos with their long sticks during the festival. Since over 600 years the rules are carried out to the letter . During this period no booming of guns, caps must not be worn by men and women must not put on head gears while leather drums are forbidden in honour of the woman , Oronsen.

Before the festival the print and electronic media cum the town criers would announce the festival and implore natives and non natives , all religious organizations to obey all these rules at all functions and ceremonies .


On whether the festival is fetish, Prince Olanrewaju Abegunde , debunked the erroneous ”sermon” being preached by some religious fanatics that the festival is worshiping of idol, he said ” I thank God that the festival went well and well attended. Many who rumoured that it will not hold were put to shame”. He continued ” the religious fanatics who called it fetish should go and read Bible where tradition was honored and respected. The festival is not fetish at all, and it is Culture , there is a difference between Culture and Religion. There is Osun Oshogbo festival , Olojo festival and many others and nobody ever said they are fetish”, Abegunde added ”the Monarch’s role is not of that Chief Priest, it is the job of the Chief Priest of the town to perform his role as the chief priest” . He continued ” it is true that in the olden days human being was being used for sacrifice but this is no longer the case now as animal is now used”, he said with confidence .


And the question boggling many people’s minds are ; is the festival compulsory? According to Chief Famulagun in one of her interviews , ”the festival is compulsory for it is the culture and tradition of our forefathers, they had been celebrating for centuries . We should praise Kabiyesi for his contribution to it, he is trying his best and should be praised and supported”.

Mrs. Morenike Ogunseitan said the festival is a must as there is evil omen to it if not observed , she said ” I remember a time when the festival was not held for about two years, some young men were beating cow’s horns as drum instead of that of a buffalo as it should be . Then a buffalo appeared from nowhere and passed through the town. The strange animal was shot at but the pellets missed it. The animal stopped, looked back but continued going. The photographers who took its picture said it did not show and only the legs were shown. It later disappeared into a bush around Imade College”, she said . Ogunseitan continued ”some said it could be the woman, Oronshen who appeared in animal form because the festival was not held. But since then we have not heard or seen any strange thing again since it is observed annually”.

Chief Tola Ogwatowose who praised the Monarch for upholding the tradition said ” kudos should be given to the royal father who always make sure it is fully done, he said ” adding ” It is called celebration of love when we exchange gifts and love.In the olden days ladies and young men find their lovers and could be likened to Valentine.It is always interesting as people came all the way to witness it”

Although the 2018 edition of the annual Igogo festival has come and gone, but its frills and memories will continue to linger on.