By Magnanimous A. Omawumi
Ologbo town was a beehive of activities on Friday 30th of June following the celebration of the traditional remembrance of Ikaye and Ijeyo, the ancestors of Ologbo Town.
Tsitse Ebura Ikaye Biri Ijeyo meaning traditional remembrance of Ikaye And Ijeyo took place in the ancient Itsekiri town of Ologbo, which is a part of the prestigious Warri Kingdom, situated in present-day Edo State, Nigeria.
The Importance/Significance of the Ceremony
The people believe that their ancestors never die and are very much active in the protection of their descendants that are alive, as their ancestors were powerful warlords in their days on Earth and have seen it manifest like they were alive even in their demise. Chief Ikaye Ibranadu Egharegbemi was a powerful warlord, and a dibia, whose lifetime was a blessing to many kingdoms and clans. He embarked on several battles and conquests, among which was the Akure expedition in the year 1818 AD.
Ikaye went to Akure on the instruction of the then Oba of Benin, Oba Osemwende as the Akures were almost taking over Edo Land and their King. Ikaye transformed into a pretty damsel selling Ikara. Ikaye through the power of his charm was attracted to the Deji of Akure, Oba Arakale, who decided to have Ikaye as a wife, not knowing he was dealing with a fellow man. Ikaye took advantage of this and at the dead of the night when all must have slept deep, he transformed into his original being, beheaded the Deji, Oba Arakale and deep the head of the Deji and all other royal apparels that befits a king in the palace into his magical bag called Agbado-ajemayo (The unsatisfied bag).
Thus the Oba of Benin upon Ikaye’s return expanded the land from Ologbo where Ikaye’s grandfather Chief Egharegbemi Imi, The then Iyatsere of Warri Kingdom first founded in 1740AD to the present day Iyanomo as a reward for helping Him (Oba Osemwende) to conquer the Akures.
Ologbo community usually celebrate Ikaye and Ijeyo on the 1st of January yearly, but there are different times in the year when Ologbo town decides to celebrate. This is sometimes due to certain situations and occurrences which could lead to the community needing to consult Ifa/Ife (Oracle). The result of this most times is a direction from the oracle for Ologbo town to celebrate Ikaye. Following these celebrations are unprecedented results of answered prayers for the descendants of Ikaye and Ologbo town.
Who Can Participate In The Event?
Every member of the Ikaye descendants including well-wishers can participate in the celebrations. There are no restrictions to participation. The traditional rites like in most Itsekiri celebrations are performed by key actors. They are as follows:-
- Okparan: The one who represents Ikaye physically.
- Orieni-ewoton: Representative of male descendants, he seats adjacent right of the Okparan.
- Orieni-ewosin: Representative of female descendants, she seats adjacent left of the Okparan.
- Oke: He seats by the left-hand side of the Orieni-ewosin. His duty is to always fill the keg of palm wine for the Oghareguare.
- Oghareguare: He directs the proceedings during the celebration. He serves all other actors during the traditional process, from using native chalk to praying with native kola nut, pouring libation with London dry gin, and finally the killing of he-goat in the ancestral breakable flat plate called Uleje.
The feasting goes along with singing Agbala Iyatsere/ Ikaye songs, with all descendants present beautifully and traditionally dressed and dancing as the celebration lingers, with able-bodied men playing the local drums to the tune of the songs that were raised.
Notable Attendees at the event
Notable members of the Ikaye descendants were present, amongst whom were;
- Amb. High Chief Johnson Ibranadu Amatsereuleghe (JP) Alpha, The Iyatsere Of Warri Kingdom.
- Pa. Johnson Obubu, Deputy Olare-Aja Of Ologbo.
- Pa. Omawumi Kaka Edema, Olori-Ebi Ameyi Family Stock Ologbo.
- Comr. Shuwa Oyemami, The Ikaye Atariumogun Designate
- Mr Clifford Mene, President, Ologbo Community Management Trustee
- Prince Johnbull Amatsereuleghe, PRO, Ologbo Community Management Trustee
- Chief O. A. Bobi, The Olokun Of Oghara Kingdom
Amongst other notable sons and daughters of Ologbo town.