By Sodiq Lawal
Thousands of dignitaries, traditional worshippers, people of the town and others on Wednesday joined Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwunsi in his palace to celebrate new yam festival.
The festival which has not been celebrated for a long period of years in the ancient city was revived back to life by the Ooni.
The festival witnessed display of best traditions and culture and added glamour to the occasion.
The cultural display was on until the Oba Ogunwunsi arrived amid jubilation by the teeming crowd while the cultural troupe hit the stage again to showcase their culture and tradition through cultural dance to mesmerize the audience.
Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, the Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, who was among the dignitaries that witnessed the festival, lauded the monarch for bringing development to the town and the University through promotion of peace and culture.
Ogunbodede said the development witnessed in Ile Ife since his enthronement was made possible as a result of the love, support and cooperation that the monarch enjoyed from his subjects.
He announced that the Ooni has cooperated with the indigenes of Yoruba who are outside Nigeria Like Brazil, Cuba and others to bring them to Ile Ife to learn Yoruba culture and tradition.
According to him, “This festival is done in virtually all over the world. It’s called Odun Ijesu, meaning; New Yam festival. It symbolizes the miraculous fact that it’s only a little yam seedling is planted into the soil but that little one brings out huge tubers.
In his remarks, the Ooni while expressing gratitude to the Creator, said yam is regarded as the king of crops, adding that the festival signifies the beginning of harvesting season.
He said Ile Ife use the festival to show appreciation to God Almighty for keeping them alive throughout the planting season.