Facts behind Ojude Oba festival outing

From left, Olori Abimbola Balogun; Olori Omo-oba Akile Ijebu, Otunba Subomi Balogun; Sanate President, Bukola Saraki and Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, at the 2018 Ojude Oba festival, in Ijebu Ode, recently.

The 2018 Ojude Oba festival came as usual with its pageantry, leaving the Ijebuland with many stories, memories and thanksgiving for the blessing it brings annually in terms of reunion of friends and families, social upstanding as well as gainful business activities.

These are some of the many fortunes of tourism development and promotion, communities across the world enjoy for their genuine and passionate commitments to sustain a brand like Ojude Oba.

No doubt, the Ojude Oba festival, a revere sociocultural heritage of the ijebu people has come to stay and nothing in the nearest future can reduce it vibrancy as a brand tourism product, but have you ever thought of the amount of efforts and preparations invested by the Ijebus (the Regberegbe) to make the event exclusively resounding every year.

Curious to know the secret behind the drive and commitment of participants that thronged the venue annually, was the reasons Travelpulse&MICE went all out to feel the pulses of some of the leaders of the Regberegbe (Age-grades), who in all honesty divulge some incredulous secrets that has and will continue to strengthen the Ojude Oba festival for generation to come.

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It was also gathered that through contributions by the different age-grade, the Ijebus invest millions of naira in the attires of each regberegbe yearly to sustain the colourful outing that thrill audience during the Ojude Oba festival.

The Ojude Oba has an encouraging number of indigenous participants, which is a good omen for the survival of the socio-cultural festival of the Ijebu people. Also the festival is a people’s driven even which shows that the custodians got it right and they have been able to carry the people along in sustaining the brand.

 

Sponsorship

Most world class events and festival have not been able to stand the test of time because they are either not sponsors’ friendly or lack the content that attract sponsorship, But for the Ojude Oba festival, this is, however an area of strength as they have illustrious sons and daughters as well as friends from different corporate organisations that are passionately committed to the brand.

One of those is the First City Monument Bank (FCMB), which has made it an annual ritual to add glamour to the event through different promotional and sponsorship bids.

Year-in-year-out, the bank has repeatedly demonstrated its uncommon support towards the successful outing recorded at every edition, and the 2018 edition was another remarkable feat in the anal of the festival.

The bank as a family participate in a unique cultural tune of the festival as they also dressed up to the event with an attractive and branded aso ebi.

“This is a way of giving back of giving back to the people and also as a person that is passionate about the culture of the Ijebu people. And as an illustrious son and prince of Ijebuland, I see my support for the event as a cultural obligation,” said the Founder of FCMB Group, Otunba Subomi Balogun who addressed journalists, same period last year.

Balogun who is also the Olori Omooba of Ijebuland believed that culture is what binds and preserves the true identity of any people and must be celebrated and promoted because it is the pride of future generation.

“I am embedded in the celebration of Ojude Oba and this has been on for over five decades. I see it as a period of reunion and merriment with friends and family.” He added.

 

Regberegbe leadership commitment

Each regberegbes has patrons that support the group in sustaining the age-grade financially and otherwise. Among this prominent personalities are the Iya and Baba egbe, who all function as patrons to the group as well as the Akeweje okunrin and obinrin to support them. Also we have female and male advisers to support the patrons (baba and iya egbe).

According to the Balogun of Egbe Mayegun Akile Ijebu, Mrs Oladunni Okela, “The leadership of our group includes the Iyalode, Otun Iyalode, Eta Iyalode, Asiwajus and the Baloguns who are the first top five among other title chief in the leadership hierarchy of the group, which the Awujale recognised on the day of our initiation into the regberegbe fold.

The Balogun of Egbe Maiyegun obinrin, who said they were initiated in 2016, disclosed that some of their members live abroad, adding that one of the unique things about them is that they also participant in whatever the group do during the annual festival even when they are not around.

According to her, “the Eta Iyalode normally stays abroad and her duty is to coordinate our members in Island, UK, America and other part of the world.

This leadership positions are compulsory procedures for every group named by the Awujale. And that is one of the chains of command that make each of the age-grades unique, not only to lead, advise and see to the planning of every year’s event, but also to financially support and keep the vibrancy of the group.

“Every Egbe has the female and the male wings which also have all the leaderships positions earlier mentioned just like want is obtainable in other associations and clubs you know of. We have all the key leaders of each group in attendance and another thing is that just as we have this female group (Maiyegun Obinrin), we also have the male group (Maiyegun Okunrin) and everything I have just mentioned applied to them too.

For Princess Adebukola Osibajo, the Iyalode of Egbe Bobaniyi Obinrin, Asiwaju Akile, the group have been participating in Ojude Oba for 20 years now and for the last two decades we have never repeated group attire for twice we have made it a standard to see that we stand unique in other to be one of the winners of the Ojude Oba festival. For this outing we have all invested N45,000 each to look as radiant as we all turned out today.

When Travelpulse&MICE asked if the prices of the attire are fixed, princess Osibajo said the price of the attire depends on what the group agreed upon and also the quality of the materials picked.

“Like the one we use last two years was N35,000, previous one was N45,000 depending on what we selected for members.

The prices of our yearly outing changes according to the selection of Aso Egbe, last year, it was about N50,000 and we have 50 people in the group, which did not include the men group, because every Egbe has the female and the men wings.

“One unique aspect of the regberegbe is that we have some of our members abroad and they also participate in the annual Ojude Oba festival. Even when they are not physically present, they buy all the festival accessories which include the attire, shoe, jewelries and other additional accessories chosen to complete the outing.”

Corroborating other submissions on the preparation by the regberegbe, the Babalaje of Egbe Bobamaiyegun, Akile Ijebu, Okunrin, Mr Adekunle Balogun Odunuga said “we have a long list of egbes in this group. We have the female group which has three different groups and two male groups. So, my group is the Akile while the other one is the Asiwaju. And the Akiles are the first in the group that the Awujale gave name to. One unique thing about the regberegbe is that the name given to each group is done only by the paramount rule of Ijebuland, the Awujale. Without the royal recognition, no one can assign name to itself. This year, we here to celebrate with our King, the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona and the Ojude Oba is an age long festival that has transformed into a unique crowd pulling festival with global recognition. Every year we have participants from different part of the world (from the US, England and among other places.

“The Ojude Oba is an event that we all carefully prepared for and it takes a lot of group planning to make it a success. For the festival to be successful, the preparation goes beyond a two-month planning. It takes us eight months to a year to bring out the beauty and display that thrill people at this arena annual. We start saving money and doing our consultation with members for about one year to come out good.

“As you can see we are putting on the same attire; from our cap, agbade to our customised shoes. Our attire and other accessories for this event today cost N100,000. We have been doing it for over four years now. We are newly inaugurated into the age grade fraternity and we are over 150 in the group.”

For another group which the 2018 edition of the Ojude Oba marks their 20th anniversary, the Giwa Egbe, Mr Mufutau Owolabi Oseni disclosed that“our attires are affordable. We make it easy for everyone to buy. It only cost us N25,000 and even last year, we repeat previous attire for another year’s Ojude Oba festival.

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