The grand finale of the annual Osun-Osogbo festival ended on Friday with low turnout of people to the grove as the annual cultural fiesta was observed in strict compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state government had on Tuesday announced a ban on social activities and gatherings at the Osun-Osogbo festival and restricted visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage site to worshippers only.
The state government, however, approved the observance of traditional rites and routines associated with the festival (in strict compliance with COVID-19 guidelines) and that only authorised persons and worshippers were allowed into the Grove.
However, at the Grove on Friday, the Gov. Gboyega Oyetola, represented by the state Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Obawale Adebisi, pleaded with the worshippers and Osogbo monarch, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun, to bear with the state, assuring that next year’s celebration would bring more tourists.
“I appreciated the monarch and the worshipers of Osun-Osogbo for their cooperation with the state government.
“The purpose of the restriction is not punitive but to ensure safety of the entire state.
“People should know how fast COVID-19 is spreading, particularly in our state and one of the protocols minimum number of people gathering together and this festival is an international festival.
“People who are coming for the festival, no one knows what they may be bringing in.
“Osun Osogbo is strategic to the state because it is an international festival and our plan was that people from outside should join the festival, but because of the COVID-19 we could not do that.
“We plead with the King to bear with the state and we assure him that by next year we will bring many people as many as possible to celebrate with him.
“We wish the Oba well and also the people of Osun. We wish them happy celebration,” the governor said
The Ataoja of Osogbo land, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun, Larooye II, host of the Osun-Osogbo festival, thanked the state government for its usual support for the festival.
The royal father stated that worshippers of the Osun deity equally understood why social gathering was restricted for the festival.
Oba Olanipekun, however, prayed for the pandemic to be over soonest, just as he equally prayed for peace and unity in the state and country at large, with security of lives and property.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Edo 2020: Voters observe social distancing
Voters in Gov. Godwin Obaseki’s polling unit, Oredo Ward 4, Emokpae Model Primary School, Benin City, were seen observing physical distancing, washing hands and wearing face masks to curtail the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
News Agency of Nigeria , reports that aside security check points provided at the centre of the community, residents moved around freely with their face masks.
Miss Esosa Igbinegin, a voter in Oredo Ward 1(unit 3), said that voters were observing the COVID-19 guidelines.
“Voting is going on well here and no issues at all.
“We are all on our face masks as directed,” she said.
Miss Ehi Osagie, another voter in Oredo Ward 1 (unit 3), said that security personnel were working hard to ensure a hitch-free election.
“Security teams are working well, voting is ongoing peacefully in this Ward,” she said.
Meanwhile, voters in Oredo Ward 12 with 6 units in Oba market were wearing face masks but not observing physical distancing.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Felix Ajide
Ember Months: FRSC urges motorists to drive patiently, apply controlled-speed
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has advised motorists to be patient and apply controlled-speed on the highways during this Ember-months period.
The FRSC Sector Commander in Enugu State, Mr Ogbonnaya Kalu, gave the advice while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu on Saturday.
NAN reports that the Ember-months included the months of September, October, November and December.
According to Kalu, the insinuation that blood sucking demons take over roads during Ember-months period is never true.
“It is human negative attitude that most times lead to increase in crashes and even deaths,’’ he said.
“The major causes of possible increase in road crashes in this period remained human impatient and negligence.
“The human deficiencies stem from impatience and anxiety to meet up personal or group target before the year runs out.
“With impatience and anxiety to meet up target; most motorists care less about other road users and even their own health and body system during this period.
“Another is the negligence of pushing out mechanically deficient vehicles during this time to make more money or returns even at the detriment of passengers and other road users as well,’’ he said.
The sector commander noted that due to the perceived human deficiencies leading to crashes; the command had already embarked on massive road safety education in parks, churches, mosques and public gatherings in the state.
According tp him, as the lead agency on road traffic management and safety; we are all out this season to ensure our people are educated and they are very cautious driving in the not friendly weathers such as rain and harmattan seasons during the Ember-months period.
“Our education also covers the need for motorists and transporters to adhere to the guidelines on COVID-19 prevention as far as vehicular movement of humans and goods are concerned,’’ he said.
He noted that the command would also carry out road audit; vehicular logistic repairs and maintenance for special end of the year and festive operation and improve on joint patrols with sister security agencies.
He said that the corps was determined to reduce crashes in the state to zero level at the end of the Ember Months this year.
Edited By: Felix Ajide
Edo Polls: Ize-Iyamu votes at Ugboko ward 4, commends conduct of Election
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Edo Governorship election on Saturday, Sept. 19 cast his vote at Ugboko ward 4, unit 26, Orhionmwon Local Government Council of the state at about 9: 25 a.m.
The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that Ize-Iyamu joined the queue at his polling unit located at Iguododo Primary school at about 9:20a.m. before casting his vote at about 9: 25a.m.
Speaking to journalists after exercising his franchise, Ize-Iyamu commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the peaceful and smooth electoral process.
“The process is good and going on smoothly; there is no thuggery and violence, the place is peaceful and calm.
“I am happy that INEC has a thermometer to check temperature and they also give out face masks to our people.
“We encourage our people to come out in batches so they can strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocols of social distances”.
He said he had not been able to get information about the conduct of the election across the state due to the poor network at his voting community.
He expressed optimism that he would emerge victorious in the election saying, “I am confident of victory across the 18 LGAs of the State”.
NAN reports that accreditation and voting commenced simultaneously at Ugboko ward 5, unit 26 at about 8: 46 a.m. amidst the presence of security personnel.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Maharazu Ahmed
Edo election: Presiding officers insist on no face masks, no voting
Presiding Officers in the Edo governorship election have said that no electorate will be allowed to vote without wearing a face mask in compliance with the COVID-19 safety protocols.
They also insist on adherence to social distancing as provided in the guidelines for the conduct of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Mr Oyesanmi Ezekiel, the presiding officer at Central Primary School, Iruekpen, told the eligible voters to wear face masks before voting in units 3, 4 and 5 at Iruekpen.
As part of efforts to ensure compliance with social distancing, Ezekiel marked out areas that the electorate could stand before being allowed to vote.
“The medicated spirit will be used to clean the card reader as well as fingers of each voters before voting,” he said.
The situation, however, was not the same at Ward 5 Uniit 2, where voters did not observe INEC guidelines on social distancing for the poll.
But in Emaudo Ward 4, Unit 14, Esan West Local Government, both voters and INEC officials complied with the protocols.
Hawkers of face masks used the no face masks no voting to make quick money across the various polling units visited.
The face masks sellers who sell each mask for N100, witnessed high patronage from voters who came without one.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Kayode Olaitan