On Saturday, August 5th, 2023, the Epe Kayokayo Festival reached a fever pitch as the Oke-Balogun community bowed to the Bado-Isale ward and emerged victorious in a dazzling carnival competition that left the Epe community in awe and ignited fierce rivalry among the participating wards.
(Above are the Bado-Isale Champions)
The highly revered Olu-Epe of Epe Kingdom, His Royal Majesty Oba Dr. Shefiu Adewale, formally inaugurated the event at the iconic First Epe Central Mosque, Oke-Balogun, setting the stage for a dazzling display of unity and tradition. The carnival procession beautified the Epe landscape with astonishing colors of costumes, amazing music, and electrifying dance.
Defying the heavy downpour, five wards vied for the prestigious cash prize in a keenly contested artistic and creative extravaganza, aimed at fostering tranquility, cohesion, communal bonding, and prosperity. The winner’s announcement sent the crowd at King Kosoko Embarkment Center into a frenzy of jubilation, while other contenders grappled with mixed emotions.
The youthful contenders, beautifully adorned and brimming with talent, mesmerized the watching audience with their dramatic, choreographic, and fantastic skills. Representing the wards of Oke-Balogun, Bado-Isale, Bado-Oke, Isale-Agoro, and Oke-Iposu/Lagbade, their performances were a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Epe. However, the absence of Oke-Oba/Popo-Oba was notable, leaving the competition to the remaining five wards.
Kakalistiq.com, your trusted source for all things cultural, reports that the carnival competition was organized by the Kayokayo Planning Committee and deftly coordinated by the Carnival Sub-Committee, led by Mr. Babatunde Mohammed, alongside Mr. Sheriff Kawojue, Mr. Agbadanla, Mr. Abiola Kassim, and Mr. Qassim Edu. The panel of judges, composed of Mr. Kaka Babatunde, Mr. Giwa Moshood, and Mr. Asiwaju, the esteemed team lead of the Fanti carnival group from Lagos, faced the daunting task of selecting a winner.
Amidst anticipation, Bado-Isale emerged as the triumphant ward, taking home the coveted grand prize of 150,000 naira. Hon. Olabode Garbadeen, in his congratulatory speech, emphasized that all the participating communities were champions in their own right. As such, Oke-Balogun was awarded 100,000 naira, Bado-Oke received 75,000 naira, Isale-Agoro claimed 50,000 naira, and Oke-Iposu/Lagbade earned 30,000 naira, all in recognition of their exceptional performances.
Before unveiling the winners, Mr. Giwa Moshood, one of the esteemed judges, urged all ward leaders and members to rally behind their respective groups morally and financially, underscoring that collective support was the key to creating an astonishing display of cultural splendor.
Adding to the excitement, Mr. Kaka Babatunde laid out the criteria used to determine the winner, which included costume, dance, spectacles, uniformity, and audience reaction. These factors were crucial in evaluating the artistic prowess of each carnival procession.
Kakalistiq.com also reports that the festivities reached a zenith with the inclusion of Fanti Carnival groups from Lagos Island, adding an extra layer of vibrancy and cultural diversity to the carnival procession.
The Epe Kayokayo Festival 2023 will undoubtedly be etched in the annals of history as a showcase of cultural pride and artistic brilliance, leaving participants and spectators yearning for more in the years to come.