The Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr) Sikiru Adetona, has cancelled the 2021 edition of the annual Ojude Oba Festival scheduled to hold next week after Eid-el Kabir celebrations.

In a statement released on Thursday and signed by the coordinator of the festival and Baagbimo of Ijebu, Chief Fassy Yusuf, the monarch attributed the cancellation of the annual fiesta to the detection of lethal COVID-19 Delta variant in Nigeria “and the negligible number of people that had taken the anti-COVID 19 vaccine”.

The statement titled, ‘2021 Ojude Oba Festival Cancelled’, partly read, “Rather than expose peoples who will converge in Ijebu Ode from all over the world to participate in the ancient and unique socio-cultural and religious festival of the Ijebu nation, with its parade of traditional-age groups and the spectacular durbar with unsurpassable equestrian display, to avoidable and preventable health hazards, the monarch directed that the 2021 edition be cancelled.

“This is the second time in its known history of more than one Century that the festival that unites Muslims, Christians, and adherents of other faiths will be cancelled. The Ojude Oba Festival is normally held two days after the Eid-el Kabir

(Ileya).”The monarch, however, thanked his subjects for the peace and progress in Ijebuland and prayed for more economic and social prosperity.

Oba Adetona further charged his subjects as well as visitors to Ijebuland “to ensure they wear their nose masks, wash their hands regularly with soap, keep social and physical distances at public places, get vaccinated against the pandemic, and adhere to other medical protocols as directed by the federal, state, and local government authorities”.

Adetona also prayed for the return of peace and prosperity to all troubled areas of Nigeria.

The Ojude Oba Festival is one of the biggest culture fiestas celebrated in the South-West region, attracting top multinationals as sponsors with culture enthusiasts attending from different parts of the world.