The traditional ruler of the Ikate-Elegushi Kingdom, Saheed Ademola (Kusenla III), has declared a three-day Oro rite on non-indigenes and women from midnight to 5:30 a.m., including on Saturday’s governorship and state assembly election day.
In a memo issued to the residents of Ikate-Elegushi, the monarch announced that there would be a restriction of movement to perform the Oro rite in the community from Wednesday to Saturday.
Residents of the community alleged there is a political motive for the curfew which will further disenfranchise women and non-indigenes from voting on election day. Others complained that it would paralysed commercial activities in the community.
Temitope Oyefeso, the special assistant on media affairs to the Ikate Kingdom’s monarch, confirmed that an Oro rite is happening in the Ikate-Elegushi Kingdom.
“Yes, there is an Oro rite happening in the Ikate kingdom. So, the Elegushi community council decided that residents and visitors should be in their houses from midnight to morning on Wednesday to Saturday,” Mr Oyefeso told Peoples Gazette.
Mr Oyefeso debunked the allegation that it will affect election activities on Saturday, declaring, “We are not saying people should sit at home during the day like they have in other places.”
He added, “Elections are held during the day, and by morning we will open the roads for people to come. It is a traditional rite. But unfortunately, it has come at this time. It is an annual event, and this is not the first time. We are not disrupting any process.”
According to him, the Oro rite will bring peace to the community, adding that it happens in all communities within Lagos.
He explained that non-indigenes registered to vote in Elegushi will partake in the voting process, reiterating that “they will not leave the house to vote by 2:00 a.m., so they ought to be in their house.”
“Voting starts by 8:00 a.m., and there is a police curfew for midnight on election day. We are not doing anything different from what the police have done. It will just commence two days earlier,” the monarch’s spokesman explained. “People should stop speculating rumours or being mischievous about Oro rites; it is not interfering with the process of the election. Residents can move about from morning till 11:30 p.m.”
The Gazette contacted Benjamin Hundeyin, the police spokesman in Lagos, on the matter.
“Do you want to talk about rumour or you want to talk about facts? I am not engaging in hearsay. They have the freedom to say whatever they want to say. I will not engage in speculation,” Mr Hundeyin said.
The spokesperson for the State Security Service, Peter Afunanya, did not immediately respond to requests for comments on the matter.
Meanwhile, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has intensified his campaign a few days before the governorship election.
Mr Sanwo-Olu, alongside Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party, Funso Doherty of the Africa Democratic Congress, and Abdulazeez Adediran of the Peoples Democratic Party, are among the candidates contesting the governorship election.