The annual Ojude Oba Festival of the ijebu in Ogun State of Nigeria held on Thursday, October 17, 2013, at the palace of Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona.
The Ojude Oba Festival is the annual revelry of the indigenes of Ijebu-Ode and its environs on the third day of Ileya Festival to pay homage to the oba. The festival has been on for hundred years now.
THEME OF THIS YEAR’S OJUDE-OBA FESTIVAL – The theme of this year was Actualizing the Creation of Ijebu State, Noin! Noin!! (Now Now). The Ijebu have been agitating for the creation of Ijebu State since 1975, before the present Ogun State in which they are located was created in 1976. They have not given up on this agitation. Since the advent of democracy in 1999, they have become a very loud voice in this agitation. This year’s Ojude Oba Festival was also used as an avenue for the Ijebu to drum up support for the creation of Ijebu State.
SPECIAL GUESTS OF HONOUR – The special guests of honour included, Rt. Hon (Dr.) Aminu Waziri Tambuwal CFR, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, the governor of Bayelsa State, who was represented by his SSG.
Other guests of honour present at the festival included, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Hon. Olamilekan Adeola, Hon. (Dr.) Samuel Adejare, Hon. Otunba Yomi Ogunnusi, who is an indigene of Ijebu Ode. Hon. Ogunnusi also played host to Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambawal in his palatial home in Ijebu Ode.
Other dignitaries that graced the occasion were Senator Gbenga Kaka, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Biodun Shobanjo, Chief Bakare of Oluwalogbon Motors, and many others.
THE REGBEREGBES (AGE GROUP) – One major attraction of the Ojude Oba Festival was the parade of the Regberegbe in Ijebu land. Starting from 1854-1848, the age groups are usually within the age group of three years each.
The age groups that paraded this year included, Bobagimo Obinrin, Bobogunte Obinirin, Obafuwaji Obinrin, Obaleke Obinrin, Obalake Okunrin, Bobakeye Okunrin (Double T), Bobagunte Okunrin (Asiwaju), Bobagbimo Okunrin, Bobaloju Okunrin, Bobagbuyi Obinrin, Bobayo Okunrin, and Jagunmolu Obirin.
Among the men, Bobagunte came first in the parade, Mafowoku came second while Arobayo came third.
Among the females Jagunmolu Obinrin came first, Bobakeye Double T came second and Bobakeye Obirin Surakatu came third.
THE BALOGUNS – Another major attraction was the horse parade by the different Balogun families (the past and the present) in the palace before paying homage to the paramount king of Ijebu land, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona.
Among the Balogun families that paraded this year were the Balogun Josi, Balogun Kuku, led by Dr. Sunny Kuku, Balogun Adesoye, Balogun Alatise, Balogun Shote, Balogun Otubu, Balogun Alausa and Balogun Odunuga and many others.
THE SPONSORS – The major sponsors this year was Otunba Mike Adenuga (Jnr.), and his company, Globacom. He has been sponsoring the festival in the last eight years.
Other sponsors FCMB and First City Group, owned by Otunba (Dr.) Michael Subomi Balogun, WEMPCO Group, Nigerian Breweries, Coca-Cola, Julius Berger, Diamond Bank, 7Up Bottling Company Plc, Kessington Adebukunla Adebutu Foundation and Mr. Tunde Folawiyo of Folawiyo Group, who single-handedly provided the public address system at the cost of N20 million.
ATFER OJUDE OBA PARTY – This year’s Ojude Oba started at exactly 9am and came to an end few minutes to 4pm. All the Regberegbes moved from the Awujale’s palace to Itoro Hall where there was a tent for each of the age groups. Others moved to their various homes and parties.
HON. BAYO OSINOWO’S AFTER OJUDE OBA PARTY – Hon. Bayo Osinowo, a member of Lagos House of Assembly, who is also an indigene of Ijebu Ode, hosted his family, friends and political associates to an elaborate after Ojude Oba party at the Prime Event Place, Molipa Expressway, Ijebu Ode. Amongst dignitaries that graced the occasion were Alhaji Sunmola, APC vice chairman in Lagos, Hon. Femi Durosimi, Chairman, Agboyi-Ketu LCDA, Chief Tunde Buraimoh, former chairman, Kosofe LG and many other political leaders and chieftains from Lagos State. At the band stand was Adewale Ayuba aka. Mr. Johnson.
– TOLANI ABATTI