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For sons and daughters of Ijebu-Ode and culture enthusiasts, the Ojude-Oba festival is the place to be. In this report, SAMUEL ABULUDE writes on the attraction of this year’s Ojude-Oba.
This year’s Ojude-Oba will linger in the memories of those that attended. The colourful atmosphere at the venue afforded any attendee much to cherish. The Ojude-Oba brings a potpourri of fashion, tradition, royalty poised by a sense of identity by the regbe regbes. The regbe regbe is an age long institution assigned to shape the society into age groups, male and female. By their activities, these groups help to bring development and progress to the community.
Despite a heavy downpour that day on Wednesday September 14, the venue witnessed a massive crowd as the indigenes and visitors had a full day witnessing the procession of different age-group societies adorned in colourful and different attires. The Bobayo Asiwaju Obinrin, Egbe Bobaniyi Mayegun led by Professor OluwDickson shola and scores of other age-groups danced as they proceeded to pay their homage to the Awujale. Egbe Mafowoku, the 1932-1934 age group was about the oldest group that came out to present themselves. Being the Oba’s age group himself and also had former Senator Olabisi Durojaiye, all dressed in Aso Oke.
Apala singer, Musuliu Ishola was on the band stand entertaining with his music and adding to the bata drummers and talking drummers that accompany each procession. Each group particularly the female tried to outwit one another in their colourful attires. A prize gift of a trophy and cash gift goes to the winner of both male and female groups and also the 1st runner-up and 2nd runner-up. At the end of the parade and homage, Gbobaniyi Obinrin (Olori-Olori) which has Chief (Mrs) Yemisi Fasawe came tops while Bobakeye Okunrin Akile Ijebu with former governor, Gbenga Daniel as member won the male counterpart.
The Ojude-Oba holds three days after the ileya festival and it has brought the people together across different religion. It was the Ijebu monarch, Oba Adesunmbo Tunwase who in 1892 signed the treaty of the British queen and allowed the British to preach Christianity in the land. He also allowed Muslim religion to be practiced and it was this gesture that led to the Muslim faithfuls to acknowledge the Awujale and pay homage to him as well as praying for his reign after the Eid- el- Kabir celebration. Ojude- Oba is a homecoming for indigenes of Ijebu kingdom all across the globe.
Dignitaries Laud Tourism Gains Of Ojude Oba Festival
Dignitaries who were seated with the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona include Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, prestigious son of Ijebuland, Otunba Subomi Balogun and Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun who said at the Golden Jubilee Centre, “It also makes me proud that everyone, even the world can come and see as showcase our culture and tradition in all its grandeur. I don’t know of any state that has been able to marry religion with culture and tradition successfully”. Chief guest of event, Seriake Dickson said, “Festivals like this should be encouraged in all parts of Nigeria to facilitate tourism, development and to promote our diverse traditions”.
Even as the event wore on, the rain continued to pour and yet people kept coming inside the venue as beads, caps made with aso oke and other artifacts were being sold within and outside the premises. The balogun dodondawa began their entry into the centre as they were being called one by one. These were descendants of war heroes that fought for the ijebu kingdom. The Erin Jogunola Oyewole Families, Balogun Alatise and Kuku families among others thronged to the centre stage and danced with their horses intermittently shooting into the air with their Dane guns. It was a spetackle and sight to behold as the Kukus marched other families with their attires and pageantry.
Otunba Subomi Balogun said that the annual Ojude-Oba is such that every Ijebu person looks forward to the festival. “Ojude Oba highlights the ethos and values of the ijebus. It started way back long ago and I used to climb the horse when I was younger and I used to herald my grandfather. You can see my younger cousin, Sunny Kuku dancing and cheering on the Balogun Kuku family. Indeed, Ojude-Oba is a world-rated carnival. We used to go yo the Rio de Janeiro carnival, you can’t compare it to the Ojude-Oba,” says the Asiwaju of Ijebu Christian Association.
FCMB: A Worthy Sponsor
It was fun, excitement and an exhilarating celebration of culture at this year’s Ojude Oba Festival, as sponsors of the event, leading lender First City Monument Bank (FCMB) was expectedly highly visible. Beginning with an imposing billboard welcoming attendees to Ojude Oba 2016, to branding across the entire Ijebu-Ode town and the exclusive Ankara worn by the FCMB delegates, the Bank truly added colour to this year’s festival in a unique way. FCMB has explained that it’s continuous support of the Ojude Oba Festival is borne out of its commitment to celebrate and preserve Nigeria’s cultural heritage, while also boosting the tourism sector, in line with the government’s ongoing drive to diversify the country’s economy.
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