City of Ibadan awaits Agesinkole Festival in December 2022
Ibadan, a city notable for its historical significance in Yorubaland, is about to experience a cultural renaissance by way of reviving old cultural norms and practices that have been jettisoned over the years because of the exigencies of modernity. To begin this renewal, Ibadan will in December 2022 play host to a Festival of Horses, which is known in the local parlance as Ageshinkólé. This rebirth of a people’s way of life is given momentum by the Olubadan, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Olalekan Balogun, Alli Okunmade II.
Historiographically, horses are considered instruments of European imperialism and external aggression but, in Ibadan, horses are a symbol of valor. In a chat with TNR, Princess Olayinka Balogun Gbadamosi, the Oba’s daughter, says: “Horses have always played and will continue to play a significant role in our lives as the people of Ibadanland. Ibadan was founded by warlords, refugees, artisans, and merchants from different parts of old Yorubaland. The warlords went on their war campaigns and expeditions across Yorubaland on horseback and they would ride back majestically, into the ancient city, retreating to their stables within their family compound or Agbooles. Hence the saying, “Ibadan Agesin Jagun” and “Ibadan Agesin ko sinu Ile.”
The Festival of Horses is, therefore, a tribute to the progenitors of Ibadan, and it a heritage that is treasured. Balogun-Gbadamosi, again, stresses their import, “Horses have always played a significant role in our history and in the way we do things in Ibadan.”
Ibadan Ageshinkólé – the festival – aims at fostering and promoting “unity amongst Ibadan families, bring back the glory days and revive pride of identity and purpose, that will last a lifetime for every son and daughter of the soil,” says the princess.
This fervent advocacy is the consequence of the realization that there is a shift in the socio-economic values of Ibadanland and in Yorubaland, in general. “I am hoping this cultural revival will renew the omoluabi in us all and remind us of the sons and daughters of whom we are. A reminder of the bravery and courage of our forefathers will create a shift in mindset and no doubt start to set our coming generations on the right path.”