By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
Unlike the usual fun and pageantry that annually characterise the grand finale of Osun Osogbo Festival in Osun state, southwest Nigeria, there was low turn out of devotees following the announcement by the state government barring foreigners from attending the festival in order to prevent spread of Ebola Virus Disease to the state.
The celebration was in low tone as Osun devotees and traditionalists from within the state took part in all the programmes of the festival that took place at the Osun groove located in Osogbo .
But this development did not affect the exercise of all usual activities as traditional rites associated with the festival were carried out by the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun who led other traditionalists including renowned Ifa priests: Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon and Dr Adetoyese Olakisan to the Osun groove.
The state government had through the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Sunday Akeren ordered that foreigners should be restricted from attending this year’s Osun Osogbo festival to avoid outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in the state.
Also, a cross section of medical experts in the state had called for the postponement of the festival to avoid spread of Ebola virus to the state.
Nevertheless, the Osun Osogbo 2014 Advisory Committee had insisted that the festival would hold at the scheduled date in accordance with the tradition and culture of Osogbo land.
Meanwhile, Osun devotees who went to the groove on Friday, August 22, 2014 were subjected to thorough medical scrutiny as medical experts stationed at the main entrance of the groove carried series of tests on the devotees.
Led by the Chief Medical Director, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, Prof. Olufemi Fadiora, the medical experts provided drugs and other vaccines for tourists and other devotees at the grove.