For the first time in 35 years, the popular Lisabi festival, arguably one of the most notable festivals in Nigeria will not hold.
Lisabi festival is held annually by the Egba people in remembrance of their hero, Lisabi Agbongbo Akala.
Lisabi is known as a great warrior who fought assiduously for the peaceful settlement of the Egba people during the intertribal wars around the 1930.
History has revealed that Lisabi, the great Egba hero, did not die but intentionally vanished into the earth in a forest between Maroko and Abatan villages in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area; the place is now known as Lisabi forest.
The forest is bounded in the west of the Ogun River and in the south of Tegbelu stream. Lisabi festival is an annual event held in the month of March amidst pomp and pageantry. The festival attracts visitors and tourists from far and near.
Parts of activities for the week long annual festival includes a walk by Egba descendants to the Lisabi F0rest led by the Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, mounting the Olumo rock, display by different indigenous Egba groups amongst others.
The 35th Lisabi Festival initially scheduled between 5th and 11th of April, 2021 is said to have been postponed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic ravaging the world.
Announcing the postponement, the the Chairman of Lisabi Festival Committee Chief Rasheed Raji said the Alake had directed that all plans be placed on hold till next year, 2022.
A statement signed by Raji reads, “The 35th Lisabi Festival scheduled for Monday, 5th April to Sunday 11th April 2021 has been put off till next year.
“The chief host of the annual Egba national fiesta, His Majesty, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo,CFR, the Alake and Paramount ruler of Egbaland had directed that this year’s edition of the festival be postponed till next year when the public health and national economic atmosphere would be more conducive to hold the biggest all Egba get-together.
“The Alake regretted the putting off of the programme in spite of the great amount of preparation expended. The Egba Apex Monarch however reiterated that individual and collective health and safety of the people are more important than any such activity.
“The Alake directed that all stakeholders be contacted with a view to re-directing all energies towards the 2022 edition of Lisabi festival in the first quarter of 2022.”
Egba sons and daughters at home and in diaspora will have to wait another year for this annual unifying festival.