At least 500,000 persons are expected to participate at the 39th edition of the Irepa/Aba Drum Festival scheduled for Aug. 18.
The Otaru of Igarra, HRH, Emmanuel Adeche Saiki 11 (JP),disclosed this at a news conference, held in Igarra, Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo, on Monday.
Adeche said the festival is celebrated every seven years of lunar calendar and six years of gregorian calendar.
He added that the festival is to foster peace, love, harmony, preservation of the cultural heritage of the people and to nurture the values they uphold.
“It brings me immense joy to witness our united celebration of this day filled with peace, love and happiness as we collectively uphold our shared strength and cultural heritage.
“I am aware of the meticulous preparations that have gone into making the day extraordinary and memorable for each individuals.
“The revered custodians of Aba drum, an integral part of Irepa/Aba rituals, hold a sacred place I tapestry of the drum festival’s legacy,” he said.
Adeche said ” The 39th edition of the Irepa/Aba festival is a grand culmination of tradition and cultural observances deeply rooted in the history of Igarra people.
“As it is customary, this media briefing serves to extend our warm embrace to our sons, daughters, visitors, tourists and well wishers who have chosen to join us in this celebration.
“We extend our heartfelt wishes for an experience filled with joy festivities, shared love and a convivial atmosphere.”
The traditional ruler congratulated the Opozes ( Opa Osiewundo) who are graduating to Opirepa (council of elders) and urged them to continue to thrive in good health and serve the community with dedication.
“I hope that we shall persist in coexisting harmoniously and forging ahead as a united community destined for greater accomplishments and the elevation of our values and heritage for the generation to come,” he said.
He thanked the Edo Government for its readiness to provide adequate security during the festival and solicit the cooperation of the community with security agencies during the period.
“It is important to mention that security agencies with collaborations from our people are working round the clock to ensure a safer society, especially during this festival.
“To this end, I reiterate that all hands must be on deck to ensure our community is a safe haven during the festival,” he said.
Mr Daniel Ojo, Elder of the Onubeji Household of Igarra said the Eziakuta Opoporiku family is the custodian of the Aba drum festival.
Ojo said the beating of Aba drum is a pivotal moment of the Irepa festival activities, adding that the celebration upholds a sacred legacy of the Igarra Kingdom.
“We are the real owners of the Aba drum and its custody has been a reflection of our family’s ingenuity, strength and relevance from time immemorial.
“We didn’t come by this heritage by our making but by sheer dignity which has been a sacred endowment by God and our ancestors.
“We are here together to join the paramount ruler of Igarra/Akuku clan in celebration of the 39th edition of Irepa/Aba festival,” Ojo said. (NAN)