Some residents of Ikorodu, Lagos State, are apprehensive over the Oro festival expected to accompany the burial of the traditional ruler of the town, Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Salaudeen Oyefusi (Oguntade II), who died in London on Saturday
The festival they say will hinder their movement and disrupt the economy of the area.
Women are not to be seen in public during the festival. Those who ran afoul of the restriction order in the past were molested.
Some men also report that they were harassed by adherent of the tradition, with many rushing home before it is dark to ensure safety.
Critics of the tradition say it is a violation of the fundamental human right of the residents. Most families are forced to stay at home during the festival.
A trader along the TOS Benson Road expressed his frustration saying, “not only are we forced to restrict our movement, the markets are shut whenever the festival is on. With the death of the monarch, business activities will come to a standstill in Ikorodu for days.”
Banks and other businesses in major areas in the town are shut during the period
Residents say miscreants take advantage of the celebration to harass and rob people.
Oba Oyefusi was declared dead at the age of 83 over the weekend after months of battling an unnamed ailment believed to be age related.
The Ayangburen, who died in London on Saturday, August 2 at about 7:30pm, had travelled abroad not long to seek medical attention.
Reports say Oba Oyefusi had been ill since May and was unable to perform his duties including attending to visitors or go out for functions outside his palace effectively.
Reacting to the monarch’s death, Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola, who expressed shock over the Oba’s passage, described him “as an epitome of discipline and integrity who loved his people and the State” in a condolence message through his special adviser on Media, Hakeem Bello.
“The death of the paramount ruler, coming at this particular time, would surely rob the state of the great contributions and wisdom of the very humane monarch, who carried the interest of the state above all other considerations till he breathed his last,” Fashola said while saying the state would miss the royal father who was also a national merit award winner having contributed immensely to the development of the country, the state and indeed the Ikorodu community in particular.
According to the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Ademorin Kuye, details regarding burial will be announced later.
In a statement, Kuye said “On behalf of the state government With gratitude to God for a life well spent and in meritorious service to his people, Lagos State Government regrets to announce the passing on to glory of the Ayangburen of Ikorodu and Vice Chairman of the Lagos State Council of Obas and Chiefs, Oba Salaudeen Afolabi Oyefusi, OON, which sad event occurred 2nd August, 2014. He was aged 83. Funeral arrangement will be announced later.”
On his own, speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, said “The news of the sudden demise of our most revered royal father, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, H.R.M. Oba Oyetade Oyefusi is like a thunder strike at a time like this. It is sad, most unfortunate and very hard to believe.
“For us in Lagos State, Oba Oyefusi was one Oba that effectively blended the ancient cultures of our people with modernity in order to positively impact on the lives of our people.”
The late Oba was born on July 8, 1931 and ascended the throne of Ikorodu in 1971 and ruled the Ikorodu kingdom for 43 years.