2024 Ilorin Durbar Festival Aims to Revive Unique Cultural Heritage

Date: 2024-06-14

Chairman of the Ilorin Emirate Durbar Committee, Engineer Suleiman Alapasanpa, has stated that the 2024 Durbar festival aims to revive the unique aspects of the Ilorin emirate, setting it apart from other ancient towns in Nigeria, according to a news report from the Nigerian Tribune.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin during the festival preparations, Engineer Alapasanpa highlighted that Westernisation and civilisation have gradually distanced the youth and children of the ancient town from its distinctive culture and traditions.

“So, we want to drive them back, showcase our unique nature and historical background of the state capital with the durbar festival.

“Ilorin has cultures of diverse forms from tribes such as Kanuri, Gobir, Nupe, Fulani, and Yoruba of many parts, languages. That’s unity in diversity. There’s heritage and character. The way we do our marriage is unique and different from what is obtained in any other place. Our costumes, our dresses are unique.

Alapansanpa said that the 2024 Ilorin Emirate Durbar will hold on Tuesday, two days after Eid- el- Kabir festival.

“This year’s Durbar activities shall run for seven different days with different programmes. The first of the events is the Health Day that would take place on Thursday (today) at the Emir’s Palace. This is done to enable indigenes and residents of Ilorin Emirate know their health status. Drugs and medications would be provided for patients with minor ailments while those with more serious ones would be referred to relevant hospitals. This event shall be handled by experienced medical experts of Ilorin Emirate origin as their own contributions to the wellbeing of the people of the community.

“On Friday, June 14, 2024, a special Jumaat service would be conducted at the magnificent Ilorin Central Juma’at Mosque. The session would be presided over by the Chief Imam of Ilorin, Shaykh Muhammad Bashir Salihu. It shall be attended by the Emir and other dignitaries from far and near. This shall however be preceded at 6:30 am by an endurance trek across the city that would create additional awareness for the programme.

“Saturday, June 15, 2024, would also be dedicated to specific prayer for the all-round success of the entire Durbar programme. This would be held at the Madrasat Sheikh Alimi at the Emir’s palace beginning at 9:00am. Roadshows with well decorated horses to be mounted by expert horse riders would also be conducted round the city of Ilorin as the day would also witness the Ilorin Emirate Exhibition at the Emir’s palace.

“Sunday (June 16,2024), which is the main day of the Id el Kabir festival, would witness the Emir leading the people and residents of Ilorin Emirate to Ilorin Eid praying ground for the observance of special two rakaat prayers. The prayers shall equally be led by the Chief Imam of Ilorin, Shaykh Muhammad Bashir Salihu”

“Immediately after the prayers, the Emir would host Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to a traditional sallah homage. The venue shall be at this palace and the time shall be 11:00a.m.

“Immediately after the visit, members of the community would, thereafter, go to their various homes to conduct the sacrifice of their various sacrificial animals as mandated by the Almighty Allah.

“On Monday, June 17, 2024, the Emir would pay the Executive Governor of Kwara State a sallah homage at the Government House, Ilorin. This event is shifted to the second day of the sallah instead of the usual third day because of the need to hold the main Durbar activities on the third day as against the previous second day it had been held since inception.

“The Grand Durbar festival would be staged at the forecourt of this ancient palace and across Ilorin between 9a.m and 4:00pm on Tuesday, June 17, 2024. The horse procession, which would consists of over 500 horsemen, shall be led by the Emir himself. He would be accompanied by the Executive Governor of Kwara State, the High Chiefs of the Emirate and members of the royal family as well as honourary title holders”.

Alapansanpa said that large TV screens would be placed in different strategic locations across the city of Ilorin to decongest the palace that is usually overcrowded.

He expressed delight that the festival has become a programme of unity, which unifies the people of Ilorin Emirate from the various persuasions.

“It has promoted fraternity and cordial relationships among our people. It serves as a relaxation point for our people who come home from far and near. It has also boosted local economy as more sales are recorded by traders all over Ilorin during the festival. What about the hospitality industry? The owners and operators of hotels within and around Ilorin, which provide accommodation for tourists, have gained more. The same can be said of the printing, media and transportation sub-sectors. They have gained tremendously as a result of the huge patronage of their businesses during successive Durbar festivals.

“The fame of Ilorin has also been boosted as the emirate has secured a quality space in the tourism map of Nigeria as a result of the increasingly successful and successive Durbar festivals.

Alapansanpa thanked Governor AbdulRazaq for the support he has been rendering the Committee towards organising befitting successive Durbar festivals.

“His Royal Highness particularly appreciated the exciting participations of the Governor and members of his family in the last two editions of the festival. While the Committee notes that the participation of the Governor, which was widely reported by the media, added colour to the event, the Emir expects a repeat of that feat this year”, he added.


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