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EPE STANDS STILL AS GRAND MOTHER FESTIVAL HOLDS TODAY (PICTURES)


BEING THE TEXT OF SPEECH DELIVERED BY OTUNBA (DR) GANI ADAMS, CHIEF PROMOTER, OLOKUN FESTIVAL FOUNDATION, AT THE 2016 EDITION OF GRANDMOTHERS FESTIVAL, HELD AT SALAMI STADIUM RECREATION , EPE LAGOS STATE
I welcome you all to yet another edition of Grandmothers festival. 
I am particularly very happy that we are gathered again to celebrate together. 
Many waters have passed under the bridge since the last edition of this festival. 
Some of them were good, while some were bad. But God, in His infinite mercy, has made it possible for all of us to be here today.
I therefore wish to say a big thank you to Olodumare, the creator of heaven and earth on behalf of all of us.
But before I continue, I want to pay the necessary compliments to those that matter. A popular Yoruba proverb says, ‘Ewure to wole ti ko kago, o deran a mu so. 
Aguntan to wole ti ko kago, o deran a muso’. Awa ti kago loni, ki enikeni ninu wa ma di eran amuso.
This festival is held to celebrate our women; they are our mothers and have been empowered by the Almighty with special spiritual authority to oversee the affairs of men in the world.
Though, as a result of ignorance, some people have wrongly labeled women as the weaker sex. 
But nothing can be farther from the truth this shallow argument. The truth is that women are stronger than their men counterpart, especially in spiritual matters.
If you look very well, you would see that most successful societies in the world are those that give women a special preference in the order of importance. 
It is therefore not surprising that there is visible prosperity in countries like the USA and UK, where women are treated with much respect.
Unknown to ignorant people, women form part of the instruments God uses in carrying out his plans for humanity.
For example, if you see anybody that is tormented by witches, it is because God allows it to happen, either as a punishment for that person or to teach some lessons which may never have been learnt if that thing did not happen.
It is surprising that those who condemn witches and relate them with evil have continued to celebrate the Halloween festival in Europe and America.
It is funny that these people have failed to realize that the Halloween festival is celebrated in honour of women with spiritual powers.
We have carefully chosen a topic to discuss the role of women in traditional Yoruba religion, which I believe the guest speaker will do justice to.
But before the guest speaker takes the Microphone to educate us better on this important topic, let me take you on a short excursion on the role of women in our society.
The special place women occupy in our society cannot be overemphasized.
In those days, women were generally regarded as wives whose only roles were to cook, clean, and take care of the kids. 
They were not accorded any better role, simply because the world was seen as a ‘Man’s world’.
But you will agree with me that, perhaps the most difficult job to do in the home is to raise a child.
And for me, raising a child is not an ordinary task. Look around you, any successful man you see around you is the product of a hardworking woman and mother. 
Please, join me to give a loud ovation to our women and mothers.
In medieval Yoruba society, we stories of women who contributed a great deal to the development of their communities. 
The exploits of Moremi Ajasoro, Madam Tinubu, Efunsetan Aniwura and several others continue to evoke great feelings from us. 
I want to challenge our women to take a cue from these great women and stand up and take up the challenge to contribute to the development of their communities.
And back to the issue of Grandmothers. Researchers have shown that they are capable of doing good things. 
We have heard stories about some mothers who deliberately become witches in order to offer protection and prosperity to their children.
Witches can be very benevolent and helpful to humanity if they find very good reason to be. 
While it is true that there are bad witches, but the truth is that there are also good witches who carry out assignments given to them by the almighty. 
Their being good or bad to you depends on what you have done and what you deserve.
Witches work with the spirits and air. And that is why most of what they do cannot be physically seen or attributed. 
You will agree with me that it is same with science and technology.
In several ways, witches and technology work in similar ways. And the only reason why we continue to see their bad side is because we have failed to realize their beautiful powers and accord them their due respect.
Be that as it may. Whatever treatment we give to women, who are our mothers, is part of the larger negligence that our culture suffers today.
Many people are suffering today simply because they have neglected the culture and traditions of their fathers. 
To the best of my knowledge, every Yoruba son and daughter come from a particular home that has some form of traditional rites that are performed for new born babies. 
But because of civilization, they have forgotten about these things, and making such children suffer from the sins of their parents.
The Yoruba is a race that puts high premium on culture. Unlike many other races of the world, the Yoruba has kept their culture alive in every aspect of their daily lives.
At this point, I think it is important to know what culture is and its importance to man. 
Culture is defined as the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. 
These patterns, traits, and products are considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community or population.
Culture is the unique possession of man. Man is born and brought up in a cultural environment. Man is not only a social animal but also a cultural being. 
Man cannot survive as a man without culture, Culture fulfils our needs and represents the entire achievements of mankind.
It is with these constantly at the back of our minds that we have constantly rededicated ourselves to the promotion of Yoruba culture anywhere in the world. 
Our children must know their heritage, speak our language, eat our foods and wear our clothes.
As a very good student of history, I have taken the time to study Yoruba history. 
And I stand here without any fear of contradiction that the Yoruba are not as intellectually poor or backward as some people may want us to believe. 
The African, particularly the Yoruba, possess a unique and robust understanding of the world long before the Whiteman stepped on our soil.
From now on, I implore you, Yoruba sons and daughters to carry yourselves with pride and hold your heads very high anywhere you go because you are noble children of the great Oduduwa.
As we gather here today to honour our mothers, I pray that they begin to smile on us and bring us good fortunes. 
May we continue to experience peace and development in Epe, the entire Yoruba land and Nigeria in general.
I want to say a big thank you to all our members who have remained committed to the heavy task of promoting and preserving the great heritage of Yoruba race. 
From members of the National Coordinating Council, to state, local government coordinators and every other member, I say a big thank you to you all.
And finally, I want to use this opportunity to once again call on our governments at all levels to begin to see culture as a veritable tool to drive the people and the economy. 
More than any natural resources, human resources is the best of all the resources a people can be blessed with. 
It is the human that will make every other natural resource work in the best interest of the nation.
It is in this light that I want to plead with our governments at all levels to begin to promote and invest in the culture of the Nigerian people.
Thank you all.
Otunba (Dr.) Gani Adams,
National Coordinator Oodua People’s Congress
Chief Promoter, Olokun Festival Foundation
Chairman Gani Adams Foundation
Convener Oodua Progr

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