It is still baffling how a lot of twins are born in Igbo-Ora, a community in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State.
Igbo-Ora, the headquarters of Ibarapa Central Local Government Area of the state, is about 70 kilometres from Ibadan, the state capital, and 80 kilometres north of Lagos State.
The major occupation of about 92,000 residents of the community, according to 2006 census, is agriculture.
What is unique about the community, which plays host to many local and international researchers, is the large number of births there.
His Royal Majesty, Oba Jamiu Ademola Badomus, the chairman of the 2020 organising committee of twin festival, confirmed to our correspondent that the researchers proved that the rate at which the people of Igboora give birth to twins surpassed the towns of Kodinji in India and Candido Godoi in Brazil.
The town, nicknamed, “Twin Capital of the World,’’ has 30 times more twins than the whole of Europe.
According to a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) article on twins, there are about 158 twins per 1,000 newborns in Igboora, compared to five twins per 1,000 newborns in Europe.
The report further indicates that Europe boasts of about 16 twins in every 1,000 births and the United States has about 33 twins for every 1,000 births. It also shows that 45 sets of twins per 1,000 births are recorded in the South-West of Nigeria. The research affirms that even within the South-West, Igbo-Ora alone can boast of 158 sets of twins for every 1,000 births.
Speaking on the 2020 celebration of the event, which is usually scheduled in the second Saturday of every October, Oba Badomus said that of this year was in low key because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said although there were supposed to be over 10,000 sets this year, the organisers decided to make it a mini celebration with a selected set of births due to the global pandemic and in honour of those who lost their lives and properties in the recent #EndSARS protest.
In his welcome address, the chairman, Igbo-Ora Community Foundation, Mr Adebisi Adeniran, appreciated God and expressed gratitude to royal fathers, leaders, elders, sons and daughters of Igbo-Ora who attended the third edition of World Twins Festival.
“Since 2018, the festival has been held during the second weekend of October. This year’s event would have been held between Thursday, October 8 and Saturday, October 10, 2020, but for COVID-19, which has been ravaging the world since March,” he stated.
In his goodwill message, the member representing Ibarapa Central/North federal constituency in the National Assembly, Ajibola Muraina, who is the chairman of this year’s festival, said it was a defining feature of the Twins Capital of the World. He said twins were wonderful children and Yoruba culture recognised them as such.
“They bring joy and prosperity to their families and the whole community. Through this celebration, twins can also bring prosperity and progress to our town, state and country,” he said.
He described the initiators of the festival, Taiwo and Kehinde Oguntoye of Twins World Creations as true cultural ambassadors.
“Your vision of using the festival to showcase the tourism and cultural potentials of Igbo-Ora is laudable and worthy of every support,” he said.
Ajibola further called on government at all levels and corporate organisations to support this great initiative as a tourism booster for the country.
In his remark, the Asoro-Olu Ayinla IV, Olu of Igbo-Ora, His Royal Majesty, Oba Jimoh Olajide Titiloye, implored the Oyo State Government to invest in the event for tourism benefits.
In their joint address, the initiators of the festival, Taiwo and Kehinde Oguntoye, said it was unfortunate that twins are still seen as abomination in some places.
“The festival is also creating awareness for people who are still involved in the barbaric act of regarding twins as taboo. They should see how we are celebrating the uniqueness of twins in this part of the world. Twins are to be celebrated, not killed,” they stated.
They called on the government to see the opportunity the festival presents as an avenue to jerk up the revenue of the state and the country through tourism.
Some of the twins interviewed at the event expressed joy for the opportunity to be part of this year’s festival. Akanji Taiwo, who said he and his brother had been attending the rebranded series since 2018, said, “The standard of the festival has not dropped. We have been able to meet other twins, know more about the culture of twins and have plenty of photographs with others.”
The Kalejaiye twin sisters also said they were always willing to attend the festival. “We feel delighted to attend this annual festival, which brings unity. It gives us the opportunity to see and interact with other unique beings like us. May God continue to help the organisers,’’ they said.
This year’s event featured a cultural performance by the Oyo State Council of Arts and Culture, Oriki Ibeji, among other activities.
The Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism in the state, Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun, was represented by Mrs Olayinka Adedeji, the general manager, Oyo State Council of Arts and Culture, while the director of culture, Mr G.A Alade, represented Dr Bunmi Babalola, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism. (Daily Trust)