Kayo-Kayo festival is a festival that is synonymous with the people of the Epe kingdom of Lagos State. It is a festival that is an annual religious and cultural state festival celebrated by the descendants of Oba Kosoko for the historical arrival of King Kosoko to Epe in the year 1851.
Kayo-Kayo, which literary means “Eating to Satisfaction” is known in the Epe community of Lagos State.
One outstanding feature of the annual festival is it attracts people from far and near.
Kayo-Kayo festival is the only festival that unifies the whole of Epe and the festival that reminds them about their ancestors, especially King Kosoko. He reigned between 1845 and 1851 as Oba of Lagos, and later became the Oloja of Lagos, after returning from Epe.
The festival is usually observed during the first month of Hijrah, Muharram in commemoration of ‘Yaom-al Ashura’ the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar.
As part of the build-up to the festival, Epe is now agog as indigenes of the town are arriving in droves to be part of the 2023 Kayo-kayo festival.
Epe is a town and Local Government Area in Lagos State, Nigeria located on the north side of the Lekki Lagoon and about 90 km from Ibadan. During the 2006 Census, the population of Epe was approximately 181,409.
There is no paramount ruler in the area as there are two major communities with individual monarchs.
However, the organisers of the Kayokayo festival have said that the festival, if properly harnessed capable of improving the revenue generation of the state through tourism.
Economic Benefits Of Kayo-Kayo Carnival
Giwa Moshood Olasupo, Assistant General Secretary, Kayokayo festival planning committee who spoke on the sideline of a press conference to commemorate the commencement of this year’s Kayokayo festival at the Olu of Epe palace in the Epe area of the state affirmed that the festival has a great potential to make Lagos a tourist destination for the crest of the world.
“It will improve the revenue generation in the area of tourism for the Lagos state government. Once Lagos State recognises it as such, then we will only need the Lagos State government to support it more.
“Also the economic potential of Epe will be boosted with Kayokayo festival because during that period people bring their products to sell, we have a job fair, we have exhibitions, at the local markets you see different people come from abroad to come and patronise and the most cheering part is that all the tourists go to the fish market to see what Epe is endowed with.
“So to a large extent, it would boost the social cultural and economic activities in the area,” he said.
Otunba Gbenga Abass, Coordinator of the Epe Kayokayo Festival organising committee described the annual Kayokayo carnival as a veritable platform to promote the rich culture of the Epe community.
“Kayo-Kayo has been a veritable platform to consolidate the socio-economic landscape of our community. It has become a platform to promote the local economy and most importantly to promote the rich culture of our community,” he said.
Abass also said Kayokayo is one of the most iconic festivals celebrated in Epe and most significantly it has a religious, cultural and social undertone.
He noted that the ethos, understanding and perspective of the festival have changed and that Kayokayo has been brought into global reckoning.
Oba Shefiu Olatunji Adewale, Olu Epe of Epe Kingdom called on all sons and daughters of Epe to put the development of the community at heart, saying that the sons and daughters of Epe in Diaspora were also involved and that they are part of the planning for the festival.
The monarch advised Lagos State Government to tap into the nation’s $2.953 billion tourism sector to grow the state’s Internal Generated Revenue (IGR), saying this is capable of driving the state to realise its 2023 projected IGR’s target of N1.04 trillion and likely surpass if the sector is given adequate attention and investment.
However, activities lined up for the weeklong event according to Abass, include an Islamic lecture and quiz and Quranic recitation competition, the annual Kayokayo festival prayer at the Palace of Olu of Epe, a medical mission where free tests will be conducted for people in the community.
According to the organisers, other activities for the event include youth day/ novelty match, children’s party and visitation of historical/royal houses by the Olu- Epe of Epe Kingdom, among others.
The programme will commence on Friday with a special Jumat service with royal fathers and other dignitaries while the grand finale holds tomorrow Saturday, August 5.
Among other prominent carnivals celebrated in Lagos State are, Eyo, Ebi, Kori festivals and Boat Regatta.Follow us on social media