Residents of Akure, the capital of Ondo State, disregarded the state government’s order and declined to open their businesses in honour of the traditional Aheregbe holiday.
They followed the Deji of Akure, Oba Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo, in ordering that marketplaces be closed in observance of the event.
The Deji, the Paramount Ruler, and his chiefs are the main participants in the Aheregbe celebration. Prayers are said during the festival for the welfare of the country and its peace.
The king, through his Chief Press Secretary, Micheal Adeyeye, issued an order to close all marketplaces in the historic town in advance of this year’s Aheregbe festival.
However, the state administration quickly complied with the request by issuing a statement that was ratified by Mrs. Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, the commissioner for information.
The government requested that all businesses resume operations since it claimed it had not authorised the shutdown of markets and stores.
Despite the government’s position, the people of Akure decided to abide by the Deji’s directive and held off on opening their shops and establishments.
There was tension in Akure due to conflicting orders from the Deji and the state administration, and there was uncertainty as to how things would turn out.
On Aheregbe Day, it became clear during a visit to Erekesan Market that the locals had disobeyed the government’s decision and totally followed the Deji’s instruction. The market’s shops and stalls were all closed, and the vendors weren’t there.
Even the cash-hold market behind the new Deji’s palace remained shut down, and there was no activity at Adedeji Market on Arakale Road.
However, the NEPA Neighbourhood Market did partially open.
In accordance with the king’s order, businesses along the Arakale, Adesida, Hospital, Alagbaka, Ondo, and Oyemekun roads were shut down.
The shutdown of the market resulted in the well-known Arakale Motor Park being converted into a football pitch.
Isolo and Isinkan marketplaces, on the other hand, were humming with activity as buying and selling went on as usual.
Security officers, especially the Amotekun Corps, were diligently patrolling the city to avoid any looting or hooliganism that had occurred during previous Aheregbe festivals.