Stories by Abel Orukpe,
Ayo Olopon is one of the oldest local games among the Yorubas and has been in existence since time immemorial. It is usually played by old people in the past, which only two persons sitting face to face could play at a time with the game at the center.
Old people usually prevented younger ones from participating in the game because different types of jokes usually arise during the game, most of which may lead to fight.
But for the wisdom and perseverance of elders, fighting would be prevented by them with a common saying that “Ere lanfomo ayo se” (the game is meant just for entertainment)
However, with the advent of technologies in modern days, Ayo Olopon has been designed to suit the purpose of entertainment for both the young and the old.
The old game has also been modernized that it can apparently be played at any time by even one person.
One of the sponsors of this year’s Osun Osogbo Festival, the Grand Oak Limited, however, unveiled the introduction of Ayo Olopon on mobile phone. Prizes worth million of naira were also doled out in the Ayo Olopon competition, organised by Grand Oak.
Mr. Olayinka Amuwo, who represented Seaman’s Schnapps at the palace of Ataoja of Osogbo, chided the neglect of culture by Nigerian youths, urging parents to value culture and encourage their children to promote culture.
He disclosed that his company has perfected plan on a package where youths would be able to download Ayo Olopon on their mobile phone and enjoy it at any time of the day.
Speaking on behalf of the company, the Senior Brand Manager, Grand Oak Limited and Regal Dry Gin, Mr. Olufemi Afolabi Falomo, said there is the need to fuse culture and tradition with the introduction of modern technology.
He noted that Seaman’s has been supporting culture while Regal is about enjoyment and satisfaction, adding that “Ayo Olopon has been a game that we have been sponsoring over some years now. We realized that we are entering a digital age and we noticed that Ayo Olopon is no more applicable to the youths. That’s why we came up with what seems to be an appeal to attract the youths, we created an online game in which a person can download the application and learn how to play the game on mobile phones. By that, we hope that Ayo Olopon will not be boring to the youths.
“Especially, it affords the opportunity to play it at any time of the day contrary to the earlier belief that it is a game that belongs only to the elders,” he said.
The representative of Goldberg, Mr. Tayo Adelaja, noted that the company has been progressing since 23 years ago that it has been participating in Osun festival, noting that the festival reflects the true culture of Yoruba land.
Adelaja said Goldberg would continue to promote culture.
Responding to the gesture, the winner of this year Ayo Olopon Competition, Adebayo Ademola, lauded the programme organised by Seaman’s, urging the company not to relent in its effort at uplifting the culture of the Yoruba race.
Also, Mrs. Olajide Omolade, who won the female set of the game, described her emergence as accidental and unexpected, praying that God would continue to bless the organisers of the competition.
“I have never participated in the competition and I don’t think I can win any price, let alone the first price. May God continue to bless Seaman’s company,” she prayed.
Ademola and Omolade were given mini refrigerator each, while the second winners, Adesoji Adedire and Adeniyi Aisat, were given portable gasoline generators, while the thirds were given rechargeable fan.
The company also distributed iron, umbrella, T-Shirt, pen, and different sizes of Seaman’s drink to the people, with a view to add fun to the fanfare.
In his remarks, Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun, Larooye 11, prayed for Seaman’s company, assuring that their company would continue to grow whenever they are supporting Osun festival.
Also, as part of efforts to promote culture, the Grand Oak Limited, producers of the old dry gin, Seaman’s, had staged a canopy on the road to the grove of Osun, with musicians providing fun for visitors.
They were seen at the right hand side of the road, distributing sachets of Regal to the passersby with dancing competition.
Also, visitors from various states were not absent despite the cash crunch that is bedeviling the nation.
Source : Independent