By Biyi Akinnodi
As the kabiyesi takes a special seat made for him, High Chiefs, Lisa and Jomu will dance towards the venue of the celebration in a zig-zag movement. As soon as they entered the venue, they will stop intermittently and with a clenched hand, they will point towards the Osemawe pay obeisance and pray for him. They will do this three times before they finally take their exit by going to the special seats designed for them.
Consequently, the Idijo ceremony starts with the performance of traditional rites by the Odunwo. As soon as the rite is completed, another chief, Eseja will come forward and perform another rite.
At the completion of this, Chief Sagwe will come forward with a ruler like object in his hand and he will stand to recite the names of all the past and the incumbent Osemawe in order of their reigns.
At the end of this brief activity, the leader of the king drummers will move towards the Osemawe with his talking drum. He will place it in his palms and pray for him. Subsequently, he would recite the names of all past and the incumbent Osemawe. In return, the Osemawe would present gifts to him.
As soon as this process is completed, all the six high chiefs will gather together at a spot on the venue of the idijo ceremony for a brief consultation while spectators await the result of their deliberation. High Chief Jomu will later come to the centre of the venue of the idijo ceremony; he will greet the Osemawe and the people and announce the date of the festival. The announcement will spark wild jubilation and dancing.
The Osemawe and the high chiefs as well as others will later leave for their different homes. However, the Osemawe will retire into the palace for the continuation of other rites to be performed by Chief Ayadi.
This traditional ceremony is the exclusive function of Chief Egbedi and it is meant to herald the beginning of Ogun festival proper. The Egbedi would go round the town in company of traditional drummers.
As part of the glamour associated with the festival, two special gongs joined at the tail with chain called “Lahalogho” in local parlance would be heard all over the town while the indigenes who are verse in Ogun history would chant his praise.
This activity which is called “Kiki ogun” will always attract gifts in form of cash and native kola presentation. Similarly, those who are proficient in the blowing of locally made flute called “Upe” would be applauded and in return get rewarded with crisps of naira notes pasted on their foreheads.
However, one of the most significant activities that also marks Ogun festival out of others in Ondo town is the eating of pounded yam popularly called “Iyan Ogun” in Ondo parlance, which is prepared specially with delicious okro soup spiced with local condiments.
This age-long traditional practice and the practice of using dog for sacrifice during Ogun festival for which the Ondos are erroneously referred to as ” Ondo Ajaja” were meant to show the strong attachment the people of the town has towards ogun who is said to have assisted the people of the town in the time of their needs, particularly in the olden days when the town was said to been invaded by warriors from other towns.