LIKE OSUN OSOGBO FIESTA Oba Emuren kicks start Arobi, Atori festival… plans tourism centre

The modest town of Emuren community in Remo area of Ogun State came alive on Thursday, November 25, 2021, with the celebration of the ancient Arobi Atori festival.
The celebration of the festival which is the most important cultural festival in Emuren, according to the report gathered, dated back to when Emuren was found around 1850 (in the middle of the 19th century).
The festival was named after the two major rivers in Emuren called, ‘Arobi’ and Atori’, both of which have been in existence for many centuries.
Oriwu Sun gathered that while the Arobi River is drinkable, the Atori River is not but that both, like the Osun River in Osogbo, Osun State, have spiritual power to cure ailments, turn barren women to mothers and fulfil other requests of the people.

However, the festival was said to not have been celebrated for few years back due to some circumstances while attempt to hold it last year was hindered by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s edition of the Arobi Atori festival was the first to be held under the reign of His Royal Majesty, Oba Adesegun Alonwole, the Elemuren of Emuren who was installed last year.
The monarch, who is a lover of culture and tradition, was said to have given his approval and support for this year’s festival after meeting with the custodians of the Arobi Atori Rivers and other key traditionalists in Emuren.
Although, the ancient town is geographically located in Sagamu area of Ogun State but the town shares boundary and close affinity with Ikorodu while many across lkorodu division also have their roots ancestral in Emuren.
No wonder several personalities from Isiu, Imota, lkorodu, ljede and other parts of lkorodu division were in Emuren to partake in the festival due to their ancestral connections to the town.
Notable among these personalities were Otunba Ganiyu Abiru, the former Clerk of the Lagos State House of Assembly and immediate past Chairman of Ikorodu-Oga Development Association (IKODASS) and Mr. Olanrewaju Kuye, the Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Polytechnic.

There were many other sons and daughters of the town who had travelled from far and near to also partake in the festival.
According to the report gathered, the weeklong event kicked off on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, as traditionalists moved round the Emuren town to perform rites and offer prayers to cleanse the town.
The celebration climaxed on the morning of Thursday, November 25, 2021, as Oba Alowonle visited the Arobi Atori rivers to perform rites and offer prayers for the peace, development and progress of Emuren town and its people.
As required by tradition, the monarch, who was dressed in white Agbada attire and accompanied by a crowd which included his olori, traditionalists, residents, guests and well-wishers, had trekked to the rivers which are several miles away from the palace.
Few metres away from the Arobi Atori Rivers, the monarch and those in the crowd removed their shoes and other footwears they were having on as tradition only allow people to walk bare footed into the arena.
Others who came in later, including dignitaries and Oriwu Sun crew, were asked to remove their shoes before walking down to the rivers.
At the Arobi Atori rivers, Oba Alowonle and the traditionalists took turns to offer prayers for the peace and development of Emuren town and for the progress of the indigenes and residents of the town as well as those who have come to celebrate with them.

After that, the monarch was led by the traditionalists into the Arobi Atori shrine to perform other rites inside a secluded inner chamber and later came out and sat with his olori, chiefs and guests as various groups of traditionalists and residents came into the shrine to pay homage while he also prayed for them in return.
Also, a group of young girls, who were cladded in white attires, were led by the Yeye Oluweri of Emuren and Chief female custodian of the Arobi Atori rivers, High Chief Abibat Fasasi Olowoyalumo, to collect some water from the rivers with small clay pots and took them inside the shrine for another round of rites. A black cow was also slaughtered by the rivers side as part of the rites for the festival.
The atmosphere at the rivers cut the picture of the popular Osun Osogbo festival as residents, visitors and guests were seen gathered at the Arobi Atori rivers to also offer prayers with the belief that such would be answered while some even collected some water from the river for use.
The event at the Arobi Atori rivers was rounded off with the energetic performances by the Gbedu drummers (royal drummers) and the Agemo custodians who brought in Agemo masquerades to entertain Oba Alowonle and his guests which included the Ologijo of Ogijo, Oba Kazeeem Gbadamosi, the Odofin of lkorodu, High Chief Adewunmi Ogunsanya, SAN, High Chief Olabanji Oreagba, the Olumale Eluku of Ikorodu, and Chief Ogunneye Jokotex, Baale of Idafa Odoguloye.
After the completion of the rites at the rivers, Oba Alowonle and his guests and chiefs left in a convoy to his palace where he entertained them while indigenes and residents as well as other guests stayed back to merry and have fun as there was a Disc Jockey (DJ) on ground to entertain them.
Meanwhile, Oba Alowonle, while speaking with Oriwu Sun at the event, said that he felt delighted for the organisation of the first Arobi Atori festival under his reign.
He described the festival as very important to Emuren, stating that it offers the indigenes and residents the rare opportunity to come together and celebrate the culture and traditions of the town and discuss its development.
He said that the community intend to rebrand the Arobi Atori festival and brings it to the standard of the Osun Osogbo festival in Osun State, as a way of attracting the attention of the government, tourists and others towards the growth of the economy and development of the town.
Oba Alowonle disclosed that there’s plan to choose a date when the festival would be celebrated annually.
While commending the sons and daughters (home and in diaspora) as well as residents who contributed towards the success of the festival, he charged others who are yet to do so and participate fully in subsequent editions.
He prayed that Arobi deity would continue to guard and protect the residents and sons and daughters of Emuren home and abroad and also makes the town peaceful and great.
Otunba Ganiyu Abiru, while also speaking with our reporters, corroborated Oba Alowonle’s statements by stating that the aspiration of the people of Emuren is to make the festival a tourist attraction and destination like the Osun Osogbo festival, stating that the Arobi Atori rivers are as spiritual and powerful as the Osun river.
He also added that there’s need to rebrand the festival so that people will know that Emuren has something worthy of celebration.
The former Clerk of the Lagos Assembly, who said that Emuren is his ancestral home and that he is proud and honoured to be part of the town, expressed his joy over the Arobi Atori festival and urged sons and daughters of Emuren within and outside Nigeria to also be proud of their roots and culture.
He equally commended Oba Alowonle’s efforts towards engendering development in Emuren and stated that his enthronement has brought positive changes to the town.
Also, Otunba Oyebola Taiwo, Olotu (Head) Omoba Emuren and one of the Kingmakers of the town, in a brief interview, explained that the celebration of the Arobi Atori festival dates back to the time of their forefathers.
He said that the festival is very important because the Arobi Atori rivers are benevolent to the people of Emuren due to there powerful and spiritual dispositions.
Also, Chief Joshua Adeniyi Abiora, the Alashe Oluweri of Emuren and Chief Custodian of the Arobi Atori festival, while speaking on the process of the festival, said that it’s a weeklong event which features rites and sacrifices to appease the Arobi Atori deities, engender development and make the town peaceful for its residents.
According to him, among things used for the festival are kolanuts, beans, yams, snails and many others.

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