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Why ILARA, EPE People Don't Joke With KILAJOLU Festival – Oba Dr. OGUNSANWO Alara Of ILARA-EPE

The glamorous and enthralling Ebi festival in Ilara, Epe was tagged Kilajolu 2021 and it held at the palace of Alara of Ilara Epe, HRM Oba Olufolarin Olulayode Ogunsanwo, in Eredo LCDA, Epe division of Lagos State. It was a remarkable celebration where the cultural richness and beautiful customs of Lagos State was profoundly exhibited. The festival is undoubtedly a veritable avenue for deepening and strengthening the significance of traditional institutions in an enclave where many believe their importance is being eroded and their existence somewhat threatened owing to the largely cosmopolitan and urban nature of the state.

The Ebi Festival is part of our culture and tradition in Epe. It started a long time ago, about the 13th century. “We celebrate it within the nooks and crannies of Ilara and even as far as Ijebu”, Oba Ogunsanwo explained. Since his enthronement, Oba Ogunsanwo has made harnessing the tourist potential of Alara his priority, this underscores the premium and importance placed on this year’s Ebi festival as an avenue to showcase the tremendous and exceptional beauty nature has endowed the town with.

At this year’s edition, many sons of Ilara Epe both home and abroad had a wild celebration across the community. There was more than enough to eat and drink but beyond that, there was a unity of purpose.

After the festival, City People’s DAMILARE SALAMI 08155134152 had a brief chat with the Alara of Ilara Epe, Oba Dr Ogunsanwo who explained the significance of the festival and where Ilara children will always come home to celebrate. Below are excerpts from the chat, enjoy.


Kabiyesi, congratulations on your first Ebi festival tagged Kilajolu 2021. Can you explain to us what this festival is all about?

The festival is a period of purification for the land, it is a time to pray for all my subjects for progress, for good health, for promotion and so on… It is also a time we pray for those that are looking for the fruit of the womb and there have been testimonies regarding this. You will hear people say that this time last year, they had no children but after the prayers at the festival, they are here with the babies. You can see that the one we celebrated this year, it is my first time on the throne as the Alara of Ilara. The festival hosted a lot of high personalities like the Ooni of Ife, HIM Oba Adeyeye Babatunde Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II as well as very senior royal fathers from the southwest. We even had a roral father from Anambra State, Igwe Godwin Ezeadisionu. That shows you the kind of love that people have for Ilara and the Epe division in general. We couldn’t hold that of last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and as of then, I had not become the Alara. I became the Alara in August 2020 and we shall mark one year on the throne soon. One of the reasons we are holding this festival is to pray against the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic so that such things will not happen in our land anymore. So that’s what this festival is all about.

In the cause of this festival, we noticed something very significant. There was a change in the weather. From a very sunny day, it became cloudy all of a sudden and eventually rained. Can you tell us the significance of this?

Yes, whenever we are holding this festival, it must rain. It is a sign that the gods are happy with us and that the festival is a success. It is a sign of peace and a sign that all the prayers we offered have been answered. One of the major occupations of the Epe people is fishing and farming and when rain falls, that tells you that there is going to be abundance, farmers are bound to have good harvests, there will be a lot of food in circulation and the people will be happy for it.

Kabiyesi, very quickly sir, can you tell us the socio-cultural significance of this festival?

Culturally, the festival is an opportunity to promote tourism in Lagos State. Just as I mentioned in my speech during the programme, we are going to collaborate and partner with the Lagos state government to upgrade it; particularly the spiritual aspect of it where people’s prayers are being answered. More so, for the tourism part of it, we want to showcase Ilara to the whole world. We have a very rich culture and tradition which we want others to come and benefit from. So we want to upgrade it to an international standard where people can come from anywhere in the world to felicitate with us. Economically, it also opens up our own area and community to foreign investors. We have so many potentials here apart from tourism, we are also very hospitable, and we also have vast land that can be used for agriculture, schools, factories and so many other things. So, there are so many opportunities that abound here that people can take advantage of. So spiritually, culturally and economically, the festival has been very advantageous to our community here.

Finally sir, I know of some other Ilara Kingdom like that of Ilaramokin close to Akure and another one in Ekiti. Is there any relationship among all of them with Ilara Epe?

Oh, most definitely, if you heard what the Oonirisa said, you would have known surely that we are all one. Ilaramokin, Aramoko and Ilara Epe are all children of the same mother, we all came out from the same womb. Each of those children after growing up went his own way and founded all the three kingdoms that we have today. That is the relationship between us, thank you.



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