Jamiu Yisa

OAU students mimicking the Oro festival

OAU students mimicking the Oro festival

It was drama galore on the campus of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife on Wednesday, 12 August as students mimicked the Oro festival.

There was a curfew imposed by the management of the school asking students to remain indoors on Wednesday in compliance with the directive of the council of Chiefs of the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade.

The Awara of Iwara-Ife, Oba Layi Adereti on Monday, 10th August, 2015 said the Oro festival is the final rite of passage for the late monarch stating that Wednesday between the hours of 9:00am and 4:00pm have been fixed for the final pronouncement of the demise of Ooni.

Oba Adereti who is also the head of Oro Cult in Ile-Ife said that all residents of the ancient town whether male or female would remain indoor during the Oro rite.

He declared that after the Oro rite and proclamation, subsequent rites will follow, appealing to all residents to heed to the restriction order from the palace.

The monarch added that though only female are normally barred when Oro festival is being carried out but this time around, it has no respect for any gender.

On Wednesday around 7:00 am, the entire OAU community had appeared desolated as there was no human and vehicular movement on campus.

There was no class while banks that operated on campus were also shut down. Business outfits around the student Union Building closed down in an unusual manner.

But the male undergraduates residing in Awolowo Hall, one of the eight halls of residence on campus brought back the life that had fled the university environment.

Awo boys as they are fondly called made a prototype of the Oro Festival which they described as part of their rite for the passage of the late Oba Sijuade.

Some Awo boys had assembled themselves around 8:00am and dressed in white gown and marched it with red veil, armed with bells and kong while chanting occultic songs in a ritualistic manner.

In what they termed ‘aro’ – a funny way of saying jokes, playing pranks using Yoruba and English Language, the students carried objects like carton, wood and teddy bear that served as fetish ingridients for the “rites.”

With a large crowd, the “Oro worshipers” visited all the halls of residence on campus while students took photograph of them amid excitement.

One of the male students was rapped in red cloth and laid on the floor like a corpse as rituals were performed on him in a comical manner.

Lecturers and workers on campus laughed to stupor on sighting the students when they got to the academic areas.

Meanwhile, residents of Ife have refused to move around even after the rituals.

It was announced that the Oro festival would end by 4:00pm on Wednesday but checks by our correspondent revealed that residents remained indoor.