Tuesday, 16 February 2016

LISABI FESTIVAL- A CULTURAL REVOLUTION IN ABEOKUTA (Part 1)

Lisabi festival is usually held annually by the Egba people in remembrance of Lisabi Agbongbo Akala. Lisabi, an Egba warrior, is venerated for his heroic exploits during those turbulent days of inter-tribal wars and he is thus identified by all Egba people as the strength of their togetherness.
According to the history of Abeokuta, Lisabi forest houses the remains of the legendary farmer turned warrior.

LISABI'S EXPLOITS
Lisabi, a native of Itoku in the ancient town of Abeokuta, lived at Igbein area of the city, and because of his prowess in warfare, the people of Igbein, till date, have the exclusive right to the war title of Balogun of Egbaland.
According to history, when the other Egba leaders had resigned to fate under the unbearable servitude they were consigned to by the Oloyo, Lisabi was preoccupied with the thought of how his land of birth would be freed from the shackles of slavery. Towards uniting the people for an onslaught against Oloyo's formidable force which was an amalgam of many towns and villages which were similarly consigned to servitude, Lisabi reportedly formed a cooperative society which had able-bodied men who were farmers as members.
Abeokuta's history points to the fact that Lisabi proved to be an energetic leader as he
worked harder than others whenever they went to work on a member's farm, so much that every member promised to do his best when it was time to work on Lisabi's farm.
When his (Lisabi's) time came, instead of asking members to work on his farm, he declared war on Oyo. His cooperative society members were amazed and afraid, but accepted to go to war because they did not want to disappoint him by reneging on their promises.
With supreme war tactics, Lisabi's army, whose numerical strength was far less than that of the Oloyo, won the battle, consequently obtaining freedom for the Egbas.

JOURNEY TO LISABI FOREST
Egba sons and daughters who were decked out in white attires, boarded their respective vehicles, and in a long convoy, headed for the sacred Lisabi forest, travelling on a dusty road that changed the colours of their vehicles.
At the entrance to the forest were a set of canopies and white plastic chairs neatly arranged to accommodate womenfolk as, according to the Nigerian Tribune's findings, they are traditionally forbidden to enter the main Lisabi forest because of the presence of Oro cultists, since it is forbidden for women to witness the Oro cult activities as this could lead to death.
Alake of Egbaland, Oba Michael Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, who is the paramount ruler of Egbaland, and his high chiefs were seated with the womenfolk for about half an hour before proceeding to the main forest.
*Culled from Travelscope Magazine

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