The Agemo festival has been with Ijebu people long time ago, history had it that the 16 Agemo priest accopanied the Awujale from his sojourn to Ijebu land many centuries ago, It is one of the traditional festivals the Ijebus are noted for and also one of the rich cultural heritages the Ijebu people are endowed with thus the appellation “Ijebu Omo Alagemo merindinlogun”. The Agemo Deity is one of the traditional institutions that united the Ijebu annually. It is celebrated between the month of July and August when the Agemo priests converged at Ijebu-Ode to offer prayers, sacrifice and feliciate with one another for witnessing another year. The Agemos are from different settlements in Ijebu-Ode celebration they perform the same feat in their respective domains amid jubilations dancing and praying to usher in peace and prosperity in the land. That has been the situation over the years, an avenue of spiritual revival in our traditional settings. But, suffice to note that in other lands like Brazil,Cuba and the Americans. The Yoruba who migrated to these countries often observes some Yoruba deities in a modernize way annually like YEMOJA, OGUN, IFA, OBATALA etc, apart from the traditional inclination it serves as a tourist attraction in an atmosphere of peace, decorum and funfare, unlike the present day Agemo festival which used to be mark with crisis, blood-shed due to the affairs of the celebration.
The present day Agemo festival has lost its dignity and glory partly because of the neglect of participation by the incumbent Awujale which paved way for the social miscreants to take over the Agemo festivity. Right from the time the Agemos entered Ijebu-Ode through their say at Imosan groove and performance at Isasa groove activites were often characterzed by violence, thuggery and hooliganism. A source close to the palace reveals that the incumbent Awujale has delegated some of his palace chiefs to represent him at the festival. Hitherto, the Awujale is the chief celebrant of the Agemo festival to delegate his duty to the palace chief is a sort of concern to the generality of Ijebu people. If the chief celebrant is not interested in festival for now. It is beter the Agemo priest preforms their festival in their respective domain rather than be subject to violence and blood bath both Ijebu-Ode and Imosan. the festival is closely associate with farming activities especially harvest. it si their new yam that can be available in the market. it siginfies the triumph over famine. When Ogboroganda was searching for the kindom of OLU-IWA, the Agemo was in his entourage as a means of identification. some siad he met the Agemo at Ile Ife as part of previous migrants and they decided to join his part in their sojourn in the jungle and to the cost. when he Obanta group arrived at Ijebu-Ode, the Agemo was in his entourage. This group greatly influenced in Ijebu today. It is a probabilty from this group that the phrase “Agemo merindinlogun” sixteen Agemos emerged. Others siad it signifies the sixteen routes that enter Ijebu-Ode Although tey blended into the existing traditions, they brought new ideas of their own. iron was said to be widely introduced to the society after their arrival. They brought seasoned blacksmith. Their military capability should not be under estimated.
There are three very improtant priests of Agemo. the most prominent could be siad to be Oliwo Agbadagbodo. it was suggested that these priests represent major influences on the Agemo cult. Agemo reprencents continuity, and surval within the Ijebu community. it is highly revered by all and sundry. It is the ceases in Ijebu Theology. Monolithic religious parctitioners are warned to avoid confortation with Agemo. Since it is a male dominated clud, its military potential is high. A learned gentleman opined that the Imagbon defeat of bIjebu resistance to colonial invasion was a defeat by the Agemos. They were supposed to protect the community from invation, the Agemo and Osugbos are different sides of the same coin. They are obviously the muscles of the society. Moreover of Ijebu traditional medicine power.
Women are not allowed full participation, this could change if circmstances arise because of the modern world since the Ijebu threat their women as equals none the less. Many politicians found the Agemo useful in furthering their ambitions. any person condemned by the Agemos is finished with the Ijebu community. The relecance of Agemo inIjebu society at the moment and in the future is indisputable. Apart from merriment and jamboree which brings failies and friends together, It settles communal and private disputes. It brings harmony and peace to the society, it cchampions collective interests and map out the path to be trodden by the society in its interaction with other communities . as its militaritic aspect becomes less emphasized. Its disciplinary aspect remains intact. the vigilante activities are easy to organise using the Ageno model.
The tourists potential of the Agemo clut is limitless. Even in this present from of female exclusion in some of its activities, it still pull large crowd outside Ijebu borders. The exhibition of tradition medicine cloud be organised in a modern from at different center from Agbala. Other notable medicinal men from other communties could be invited to participate. Seminars and lectures especially on Ijebu culture could be organised.
All local government in Ijebuland could be encouraged to contribute to the week long event. Musical concerts could be held outside the tranditional route of the Agemos during the festival. Traditional music and dances could be promoted. Fashion show and Art exhibition could enhanced patronage. prices could be introduced to encourage competion. the Agemo as a means of identification would help preserve Ijebu culture and history. An Agemo Museum could be built with a library for historical research.The festival is a showcase of Ijebu resilience and the collective ability to master the environment.