Agemo festival begins in Ijebu Ode
The annual Agemo festival began yesterday in Ijebu Ode with the arrival to the town of all the Alagemos (Agemo priests) based outside Ijebu Ode.
All Agemos, except Ogi (of Idogi, Ijebu Ode) are based outside Ijebu Ode.
Each Alagemo usually follows a permanent festival route to Ijebu Ode. There are some points along this route where they stop and perform some rites.
During the Agemo Festival movement of all females, young and old are highly restricted because no female must see the deity loads and instruments of power. The restriction applies to all females (indigenes, residents, and visitors) no any exception.
Agemo is a foremost deity among the deities in Ijebu. It is jointly celebrated by Ijebu communities in June/July of every year. The Agemo is a rallying factor among the communities that make up Ijebu state.
The Agemo is believed to have been initiated by the Obanta (the first paramount king of Ijebuland) himself as an annual assembly of his priests (Alagemos) at Imosan to curb an unusual incidence of recalcitrance during the dispersal of townships. He was said to have summoned the Agemo priests from 16 different locations to Ijebu-Ode for heart-to-heart (frank) discussion.
The Obanta prepared well for his visitors whom he feted and had. discussion (oro awo) with. These priests too, as it was normal with them, came with their instruments of power (and defense). And to prevent a possible attack on the people, Obanta made the meeting more business-like so that none of their powers could filter to the people.
The Agemos (in the order of dancing at Agbala Imosan & Ijebu Ode) are:
Tami (Odogbolu), Olumoro (Imoro), Serefusi (Igbile), Posa (Imosan), Moko (Okun), Alofe (Ijesa-Ijebu), Onugbo (Okenugbo), Iju (Imosan), Lapen (Oru), Magodo (Aiyepe), Bajelu (Imuku), Lubamisan (Ago-lwoye), Petu (Isiwo), Ogegbo (Ibonwon), ldobi (Ago-Iwoye), Nopa (Imushin).
Other fetish Agemo Priests that do not perform dancing rites are:
Onijagbori (Imosan), Adie (Ago-Iwoye), Ogi (Idogi, Ijebu-Ode).
The Agemo festival has since followed the format with people celebrating it with pomp and pageantry. The Awujale is the one that now receives the Alagemos through their head (Tami) whom he (Awujale will receive at Ipebi before the usual “e e ke e e” is chanted to signify the arrival of the other Alagemos.
From Ijebu Ode, they will all now proceed to Imosan for first festival rites and dance at the Agbala (groove) in Imosan.