“Aheregbe is a solemn ceremony for the Akure and oba Ile. Isinkan had never been a community in Akure.”
The Ondo State Government on Monday ordered the closure of Isinkan market after the town’s traditional ruler was set to defy the order of the Deji of Akure in respect of the Aheregbe Festival.
Only pharmaceutical businesses were allowed to open while the festival was ongoing.
However, there were tensions and a likelihood of violent clashes when the Isinkan monarch, the Iralepo of Isinkan, Oluwagbemiga Olofin-Adimula, declared that the Isikan main market would open for business as Isikan was not subject to the traditions of Akure.
In line with his announcement, traders at the market reported for business on Monday morning and commenced their usual activities.
But later in the day, security operatives appeared at the market and ordered the closure of business.
It was gathered that the operatives came in on the order of the Ondo State Government.
Markets in most parts of Akure were in full compliance with the Deji’s order, even though some shops had opened in the outskirts such as Oda town and Ilekun.
The spokesperson for the Ondo State Police Command, Funmi Odunlami, said it was not the duty of the police to enforce market closure during traditional festivals.
She, however, said the duty of the policemen who were in Isinkan area was to maintain law and order as well as prevent the breakdown of the peace.
The Iralepo of Isinkan later denied that the closure was in compliance with the order of the Deji of Akure in respect of the festival.
He said the market was closed for the purpose of security, and not because of the Aheregbe Festival as was rumoured in some quarters.
“We had actually given the directive that shops at Isikan Markets be open today, for trading and buying but yesterday, the Ondo state government called an emergency meeting and we narrated the whole issue to them,” the traditional ruler said.
“The government gave the directive that for security reason, and not for the festival of aheregbe, for security reasons and for peace to be maintained in the local government, that we should allow our people to stay home and that was why we asked market women to close and go home, not for the festival, on the advice of the state government.”
The Iralepo of Isinkan noted that the best way out of the perennial conflict between the two communities is to respect the culture and tradition of his forefathers.
“Aheregbe is a solemn ceremony for the Akure and oba Ile. Isikan had never been a community in Akure,” he asserted.
“We are both in the same local government and Isikan is a distinct town from Akure because we have our own customs and traditions different from the Akures.
“We are Isinkans and our own oba is called Iralepo. Our forefathers founded this place called Isinkan and we are never on Akure soil and we don’t have anything in common.
“We are neighbours and we give respect to the Deji of Akure as the first-class Oba in the local government.
“However Iralepo is the oba of Isikan and he is the only one who can order the closure of Isikan markets on ceremonial days.
“So the only way to maintain peace forever is for us to adhere to the customs of our forefathers and not by rewriting history.”