By Akeem Abas
Sango Festival in Oyo Town is aimed at celebrating the heroic values of Telaoko, the third Alaafin of Oyo, Retired Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu of Methodist Church Nigeria, has said.
Ladigbolu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Oyo, that the festival was also targeted at promoting Yoruba cultural values and traditions.
NAN reports that the annual festival is held among Yoruba people in honour of Telaoko, popularly known as Sango, a thunder and fire deity.
Sango was a warrior and the third king of the Oyo Empire after succeeding Ajaka, his elder brother.
NAN reports that the festival, which was renamed World Sango Festival in 2013 by Oyo State Government, to be held in August at the palace of Alaafin of Oyo, and also observed in over 40 countries around the world.
Ladigbolu said that the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, had inaugurated the World Sango Festival as part of the efforts to celebrate the heroic values of his progenitors.
“The Alaafin Sango was the king, who expanded the Oyo Empire beyond what we now know as Yoruba Territories of Nigeria to far away land of the world.
“And whose lineage as a deitified king rules over more than 29 countries in the world today.
“The people ranked Sango as the next to the Almighty in terms of his impact, in terms of his influence, in terms of his mercy, justice and personal carriage,” he said.
The retired cleric described the celebration of Sango as an enhancer of peace and the builder of community harmony.
He said essence of the celebration was to showcase the rich culture of the Yorubas, adding it attracted influx of foreigners from across the world.
“When we celebrate this royalty, these our progenitors, we assure that it will enhance the pride of all Yoruba people, particularly the Oyos that we have produced heroes worthy of veneration.
“Heroes worthy of celebration by the entire global community, that is the best local value that could be added to this celebration. It will expand the boundaries of knowledge,” the community leader said.
Ladigbolu said that fairly large crowd were being expected at the grand finale of the event scheduled to hold on Saturday due to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
He advised Sango priests, devotees and visitors to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols reeled out by the government and other related authorities. (NAN)