Indeed, the Epe KayoKayo Festival, has come and gone but its memories still lingers among the people and indigenes of Epe Community, a foremost fishing town in Lagos state, Nigeria.
The one week long event, was drawn to an end with fun, glamour, glitz, and excitement from all the notable sons and daughters of the kingdom.
Meanwhile, the journey to the community was indeed a remarkable one, with everywhere around the land having a feeling of the festival which had started a week earlier, thus drawing the curtain on Saturday.
The festival being a celebration of the religious, cultures and social aspects of the Epe people, had majority of the inhabitants predominantly Muslims and such calls for the union of having the festival.
The religious aspect of the festival is as weighty as its history. Kayokayo is celebrated in the Muslim month of Muharram, the first month of the Islmamic Hijra calendar. Therefore, it is the New Year celebration of the Muslim populace of Epe.
During the royal procession, which was a major part of the event had the young and old moved to the Marina waterfront for Al-Kaosara Bath (cold bath). Nevertheless, the carnival competition also speaks of the grand finale.
Speaking with the Alhaji (Chief) Soliu Alade -Okulu, the Chairman and Coordinator, Planning Committee, on the significance of the festival, he said it is as a result of three dimensions, which are culture, social and religious purposes.
“The significance is in three dimensional, we use Kayokayo festival to celebrate, the religion, social and the cultural. Religion, in the sense that it marks the beginning of the new Islamic year, which starts in the month of Muharrah, secondly, the social aspect is that our people all people in Epe, in occasion like this get and come together, share in the joy of the occasion, eat, wine and dine, the cultural aspect, it also denotes to celebrate the arrival of king Kosoko in 1851, when he left Lagos for Epe with his followers and warships” he said.
The Baameto of Epe land, was also of the belief that the festival would not and cannot go into exinction, irrespective of whatever development may enter the Epe land.
He said, “It can never go. It is part of our tradition, in fact, we are improving every year in, year out, we are improving, if you are here last year, you will know that it isn’t as galmourous as we are having it here today”
While calling on the youths to contribute to the preservation of the festival, Alhaji Okulu said, the youths should aim to be part and parcel of the whole preparation of the festival.
Also, when speaking with the Otunba Gbenga TJ Abass, the Aremo of Epe land, he said, “and my advice to the youths is to embrace this, because this is a culture that must be embraced nothing stops us from having a festival like the Brazil carnival, that is what we want and as each year passes, we want to improve on it, we want it to be bigger and its better”
Otunba Abass, also used the opportunity to appeal to all warring parties in the state leadership to create space for peace in the state for the purpose of development.
“But most importantly, it is also an opportunity for us to promote our local economy, over 50,000 people came to Epe last one week pumping millions, you can see there are traders, taking up bounties, also we also want to use the cultural benefits to drive the tourism potentials that we have in Epe, like you can see, we have a very beautiful land and it is the way of the Excellency to make Epe and every part of Lagos State, a final destination of tourist attraction, and we would do that, our hospitality business is booming in Epe, before Ambode came into power, we had two hotels but right now, we have 20 hotels, so we want a continuation of what he has done and that is why I am using this opportunity to appeal to all political class to resolve the issues at hand, lets resolve it amicably for the progress and peace of the state, that is all we want. It is no doubt a misunderstanding between a father and a son, and I am sure it will be resolved amicably”
In her own contribution, Mrs Amidat Anifowose, a former Permanent Secetary of the Ministry of Education and the Yeye Okanlomo of Epe land, urged the youths and the women to also be part of the festival and contribute to it.
“My advice to the youths is to be more religious, and to learn more about this festival, and also to be more involved in the community activities and be more responsible. On the women, I will advice the women to educate their children, to train them to be responsible and also the women also to be encouraged for acquisition of skills, and also to learn how to fish and not to just sit down and be expecting people to give them fish”
Mrs Anifowose, also make known why the festival was more significant
“What makes this event to be more significant in the sense that, we usually do this in the night, but this time around, we want to celebrate it during the day time, so that everybody, responsible people would be able to join us, because so many people, their excuses would be they are not ready to leave their homes and be somewhere in the night, and also to encourage people to be more active and involve in the community service”
Awards were also given to some notable sons and daughters of the land, whom have achieved meritiously and promoted the name of the community.
Beneficiaries of such honours were: Alhaji (Chief) Alade Saliu-Okulu, Alhaji Tunde Bello, Aremo Walee Olatunde Balogun, Alhaji Adéwálé Sikiru Awe, Alhaja Chief (Mrs) Wasiat Abioye Ayanbajo, Alhaja (Chief) Alade-Raji Olushola Kehinde and Harun Wasiu Adekunle.
In adding more fun to the festival, was the empowerment raffle draws, presence of top artistes and disc jockeys (DJs), such Queen Salawa Abeni, DJ Humility, among others.