There are about 70 eyo groups in Lagos but there are 5 major ones to be listed below in their hierarchical order:
- EYO ADIMU (Adimu)
- EYO OKOLABA (Laba Ekun)
- EYO ONIKO (Oniko)
- EYO OLOGEDE (Ologede)
- EYO ALAGERE ( Agere)
The lower ranked eyo pays tribute to the higher ranked by giving them the right of way, and by lowering their OPA in recognition of their higher authority.
CONSULTATIONS & PREPARATION
The Oba of Lagos has the final authority on all rituals, rites and cultural displays performed in Lagos and as such, a request is made to him for the Eyo play to be staged. Once consultations between him and other stakeholders have been made, the date of the colorful festival is fixed and all the eyo houses begin to make preparations. One week to the main event, each of the big five Eyo groups visits a number of dignitaries and institutions. This is when the OPA (staff) is revealed in public to communicate the reasons for the staging of the play and its importance.
The Adamu are the paramount Eyo group and around midnight, the deity Adamu Orisa pay homage to the king among-st others. This process signals the opening of the festival.
The festival begins early before the sun rises, beginning with the wake-up drumming of the 'Gbedu' and 'Koranga', These are the official drum mainly for the Eyo festival,
The Eyo groups begin the first procession to the "Para" then to the Oba's Palace, and then around Lagos island, through Tinubu Square and idumota to end up where dignitaries and guests would be waiting. The day is characterized by a theatrical performance of dancing, drumming and singing of the colorful eyo through the streets of Lagos, and as they proceed, their 'AROPALE' symbolically sweeps away evil, diseases and death away from the streets of Lagos . As the crowd greets the Eyo's, they respond with "Mo yo fun e, mo yo fun'ra mi" which means "i rejoice with you and i rejoice for myself". Eyo would often tap members of the public with the Opa, to pronounce a blessing or to chastise in correction of a mis-step.
Once the procession is over the Eyo's return to the 'Para' at sunset, where they will receive instructions to break the 'Para down. This signifies the end of that edition of the festival.
The Do's And Don'ts of Eyo:
- Members of the public must remove their shoes, caps or headties in the presence of Eyo.
- Cigarettes, Cigars and Pipes must be put away.
- Members of the public must fold their umbrella if they are carrying them.
- Members of the public must dismount their bicycles or motorcycle, and clear to the side of the road.
- Members of the public are not allowed to establish Eyo groups without the express consent and authority of the Oba of Lagos, The council of the Adamu Orisa play, the elders of the Adamu cult and the chief Akinshiku of Lagos.