Akure the capital Ondo State, residents have chosen to disregard the instruction from the state government, opting not to open their shops and stores during the customary Aheregbe festival.
Instead, they have heeded the directive of the Deji of Akure, Oba Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo, to close the markets as part of the festival’s observance.
The Aheregbe festival holds significance as a traditional occasion primarily attended by the Paramount Ruler, the Deji, alongside his council of chiefs. The festival involves the offering of prayers aimed at invoking blessings for the prosperity and tranquility of the region.
In anticipation of the upcoming Aheregbe festival this year, the monarch, communicated via his Chief Press Secretary, Micheal Adeyeye, issued an instruction to shut down all markets within the historic town.
Promptly responding to this directive, the state government issued a statement via the Commissioner for Information, Mrs. Bamidele Ademola-Olateju. The government firmly stated that it had not granted approval for the closure of markets and shops. Consequently, the government maintained its position that all business activities should resume as usual.
In spite of the government’s position, the inhabitants of Akure opted to adhere to the Deji’s instruction and abstained from opening their shops and stores.
The opposing directives from the Deji and the state government generated an atmosphere of tension in Akure, leaving uncertainty regarding the eventual resolution. A visit to Erekesan Market on Aheregbe Day revealed that the residents had chosen to overlook the government’s directive and instead fully followed the Deji’s guidance. All the shops and stalls in the market were securely closed, and the traders were noticeably absent.
The market behind the new Deji’s palace, usually reserved for cash transactions, remained shut, and the Adedeji Market along Arakale Road did not conduct any business activities.
However, there was a partial resumption of trading at the NEPA Neighbourhood Market.
Shops along Arakale, Adesida, Hospital, Alagbaka, Ondo, and Oyemekun roads were closed as a mark of compliance with the monarch’s instructions.
The well-known Arakale Motor Park was repurposed as a football field due to the suspension of market operations. Conversely, the Isinkan and Isolo markets bustled with trade as buying and selling proceeded without hindrance.
To prevent any instances of looting or disorderliness that had taken place during previous Aheregbe festivals, security personnel, with a particular emphasis on the Amotekun Corps, actively patrolled the city.