It was a day to remember as the 2016 Ojude Oba festival was held in Ijebu Ode on Wednesday. Though the heavens opened with torrents of rain, it was not enough to stop the merriment that pervaded the entire landscape as sons, daughters, well-wishers and tourists from across Nigeria and the Diaspora thronged the Ojude Oba pavilion contiguous to the Palace of the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona.
The festival again received the backing of foremost telecommunications company, Globacom. The ancient town wore the luscious green colour of the brand in varying shades and sizes of brand equity collaterals. This year’s edition was all the more indelible as three state executives were in attendance. Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State led the governors’ guild at the festival with Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa as Special guest while Mallam Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna came as first time witness of the convivial gathering.
One of Nigeria’s foremost entrepreneurs and Chairman of Globacom Limited, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr whose company was the main sponsor of the festival in his address to the event enjoined parents to instil cultural values in their children to enable them appreciate their origins and preserve Nigeria’s cultures and traditions.
The revered entrepreneur, who was represented by the Commercial Coordinator, Business Enterprise, Globacom, Mr. Folu Aderibigbe, said in order to preserve the cultural values of the people of Nigeria, there was an urgent need for parents to take it upon themselves to propagate the values behind cultural events. He said unless this was done, the next generation might not see any value in the festivals and ultimately abandon them.
He said the theme of this year’s edition, OJUDE OBA: OUR CULTURE, OUR PRIDE, was particularly appropriate as it captured the societal relevance of the festival, emphasising its place as a thing of pride to the Ijebus.
“Over the years, Ojude Oba has remained not only a point of crystallization and social re-engineering; it is as well an avenue for the constellation of ideas and initiatives that are geared towards prompting the growth of the society and the wellness of its people” he said.
Adenuga said Ojude Oba is also an exhibition platform to display the cultural wealth of the people and the values that unite them and has assumed the role of a social melting pot where all divergent issues affecting the lives of the people are processed, congealed and digested. He said it also provided a platform where the sons and daughters of Ijebuland both at home and abroad are reminded of their collective responsibility as active players in the socio-economic growth of the geographical space known as Ijebuland.
Also speaking at the event, the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona commended Globacom for its commitment to the promotion of cultures and traditions in Nigeria through its Heritage Series. Globacom has sponsored Ojude Oba for the past ten years as part of its Glo Heritage Series.
One of the high points of the event was the Regberegbe Competition, also sponsored by Globacom, to reward the best dressed and best coordinated age grades in the male and female categories.
In the male category, Egbe Bobagbimo Akile Ijebu was adjudged the best, while Egbe Bobagunte and Egbe Jagunmolu came second and third respectively. In the female category, Egbe Gbobaniyi came tops while Egbe Bobagunte and Egbe Bobamayegun came second and third respectively.
The three state governors, admonished Nigerians to consider their country’s diversity as a source of strength and greatness.
In separate speeches at the annual Ojude-Oba festival in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, they dissuaded Nigerians from preaching disunity, but utilize the country’s diversity “for the good and progress of Nigeria. It is not where one comes from or religion that should count but one’s diligent service. We should emulate Kabiyesi’s ability to forge unity among his people, despite different religions. We should live in togetherness, love and harmony not only in Ogun State but also in Nigeria,” he opined.
Mr. El-Rufai described the festival as an “incredible event” and lauded the Awujale for his leadership in sustaining it as an annual event.
“I came here not as governor, not as guest of Governor Amosun or as a member of All Progressives Congress. I’m here because Awujale is my father, a man of great wisdom, unparalleled courage and integrity.
“Throughout my public service and exile, he was a true father to me. He advised and even supported me financially. I know the dream of Ijebu State is close to your heart and one can pray for your long life to see Ijebu State come to pass,” he said.
Governor Dickson, in the same vein urged Nigerians to find a way to export the Ojude Oba to the rest of the world through cultural tourism.
Over 40 age grades known as Regberegbes who were gaily dressed were part of a parade during which they each paid obeisance to the Paramount ruler before an estimated 20,000-strlng crowd.
Globacom also organized a music carnival where Katapot exponent, Reekardo Banks, Jude Abaga widely known as MI and Small Doctor, a new rave in Fuji genre of music serenaded the fun-loving crowd.