Ojude Oba: Ijebus Honour Monarch at Festival …Historical Background
Ojude Oba festival, an annual celebration by the Ijebus to honour the paramount ruler of Ijebuland, HRM Oba Sikiru Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebuland took place on Thursday in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun state, Nigeria.
Amid a cloudy sky above and a wave of excitements on ground, Ijebu – Ode, the Ogun State royal town of the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, turned aglow with celebrations for the better part of Thursday as the Ijebu sons and daughters celebrated their Ojude Oba annual cultural carnival in glamour and splendour.
Over 35 age grades – Regberegbes – all dressed in colourful and distinguishing attires to showcase their rich cultural heritage, took turn to pay homage to Oba Adetona after series of rhythmic dance steps round the oval shaped arena of the festival arcade.
The regberegbes were closely followed in this rite by the dozens of horse riders (Eleshins) and descendants of the town’s baloguns (Ijebu warlords) by noon during which the carnival peaked with an estimated15, 000 people participating even as Dane guns boomed intermittently.
The Annual Ojude Oba Festival is a spectacular celebration that is synonymous with the Ijebu which has been in existence for over two centuries. The festival is unique and spectacular to the Ijebu of South-West Nigeria. Although this Festival had its origin in Islam, it is now being celebrated by all and sundry, that is, Muslims, Christians, Traditionalists and Non-Believers. The Ojude Oba Festival is indeed a classic example and manifestation of religious tolerance.
History has it that when Islam made incursion into ljebuland, the reigning monarch prevailed on his subjects to give those professing the new religion the latitude to operate according to the dictates of their conscience. In other words, there should be no war nor rancour. Basking on this clement environment, the emerging Moslem community after observing the Eid-el-Kabir (the Greater Beiram), which included the exchange of gifts and the slaughtering of the sacrificial rams on the third day, they (the Muslims, their leaders and the new converts}paid homage to the reigning monarch and thanked him for his kindness, accommodation and the religious liberty he gave them.
As time went by, this tradition metamorphosed into what is now known as Ojude Oba Festival and has been embraced not only by ljebu at home and in the Diaspora, but also by millions of people within and outside Nigeria. The festival is indeed the gift of the Ijebu nation to Nigeria and the rest of the world being a unique case study in religious tolerance and harmony.
The present monarch, Alaiyeluwa, Oba (Dr.) Sikiru Kayode Adetona, CFR, J.P, who has been on the throne since January 1960 has succeeded in giobalising, repackaging and rebranding the festival. Some years ago, it was discovered that the forecourt and lawns of the main palace were getting inadequate for the hosting of the tumultuous annual guests, tourists, age grades, Balogun Eleshin (traditional war lords and the horse riders), their followers and the crowd. After securing the land of the defunct Public Works Department, directly opposite the Aafin Awujale, Oba (Dr.) S. K. Adetona, CFR, LP, mobilised his subjects and their friends to construct in record time, a multi-billion naira monumental edifice now christened Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona Golden Jubilee Centre. The centre boasts of unique facilities comparable to any other similar centre in the world. The centre also houses the ijebu National Museum which is open to the public. We encourage you to visit the museum before you leave Ijebu Ode.
The Festival is not only all about equestrian display, parade of culture and tradition, merry making and funfair. It provides the Ijebu nation the opportunity to supplicate to the Almighty God, take stock, embark on self-help projects, and reunite with family members and acquaintances. The festival also boosts commerce and trade in its entirety as commercial and trading activities are at their peak before, during and after the Festival. The Festival touches every spectrum of life in Ijebuland. All the facilities (hotels, restaurants, etc.), artisans, craftsmen, transporters, professionals, market men and women, among others are fully engaged with several socio-economic multiplier effects. The grand finale of the 2018 edition holds on either Thursday, 23 or Friday, 24 August, 2018 that is, two days after the Eid-el-Kabir Festival
THEME OF THE 2018 EDIT!ON
The theme chosen the for 2018 edition based on our desideratum is: OJUDE OBA: Celebration OF RICHCULTURAL HERITAGE.
Ojude Oba festival is our cultural heritage and it is our gift to the nation that is constantly in search of religious peace and harmony, and socio-economic development. We are convinced that the Ijebu model is worth bequeathing to the nation.
THE BALOGUN/ELESHIN (WARLORDS & HORSE RIDERS) ON EQUESTRIAN PARADE:
About 20 various family warlords will be putting their horse riding prowess on display as it is characteristics of them every year. They are expected to file in for the equestrian display in an organised manner with the Osi Balogun, Otun Balogun and Balogun families taking the rear.
Globacom, the major sponsor for the festival will also be awarding prizes to the first, first runner-up and second runner-up of family warlords.
2018 SPECIAL GUEST OF HONOUR
The Special Guest of Honour for the 2018 Ojude Oba Festival is Senator (Dr.) Bukola Saraki, CON, Wazirin lIorin. He is the President of the 8th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is currently serving a second term as Senator representing Kwara Central in the National Assembly of Nigeria after earlier serving as two terms Governor of Kwara State.