Ojude oba festival:  Model of religious tolerance

ONE major message which the Ojude Oba Festival has been passing to Nigerians every year is that of tolerance between religions. Despite the fact that the festival is celebrated two days after the Muslim festival of Id el Kabir, Christians and traditionalists unite to jointly celebrate Ojude Oba Festival during which Ijebu sons and daughters all over the world converge on Ijebu Ode to pay homage to the Paramount Ruler, Oba Dr. Sikiru Kayode Adetona.

This development has been fostering peaceful co-existence amongst all residents of Ijebu Ode and environs thus giving the Ojude Oba festival its secular status.

The festival, sponsored by the grand masters of data, Globacom, consecutively for fourteen years was second to none in scope, scale, execution and attendance.

Empowerment, which is the forte of the Grand Masters of data, Globacom, was palpably on display throughout the 2019 Ojude Oba Festival. From the world press conference that teed off the event two weeks before D-day to the “Otunba Day” held at the Banquet Hall of the Awujale’s palace to the procession by over 50 age groups and Balogun families, it was vintage Ijebu – a touch of class, colour and panache poignantly depicting the theme of this year’s festival “Ojude Oba: the uniqueness of the Ijebu nation”. Three prominent Ijebu icons were honoured at the” Otunba Day” for their sterling contributions. The trio included the Apesin of Ijebuland and Globacom Chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga, FCMB Chairman, Otunba Subomi Balogun and former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, the Obalofin of Ijebuland.

On the festival day, the pavilion was bursting at the seams with gaily dressed indigenes and guests who started arriving as early as 7 in the morning with drummers, photographers and video men. The official musician, Musiliu Haruna Ishola sang the praises of various groups as they march to pay homage to the Awujale. Members of the age grade called “regberegbe” genuflected on the track while their representatives will climb the terrace where they were given microphone to formally greet the Awujale.

“Egbe Bobamayegun Okunrin Asiwaju” emerged victorious for their unique style of dressing while “Egbe Bobamayegun Okunrin” emerged second and “Egbe Tobalase Okunrin” came third. In the female category, “Bobamayegun Obirin Aremo” came first, “Jagunmolu Obirin Original” came second while “Jagunmolu Stainless” emerged third. In the Balogun category involving the horse-riders, the Committee assessed the families’ mode of presentation and dressing as they raised the temperature of the Festival with their unique procession. This year, Balogun Odunuga Family came first, Balogun Shote emerged second and Balogun Alausa Family was adjudged third. All the winners got graduated cheques from the major sponsor, Globacom for their efforts.

Next was the draw for the 10 star prizes of tricycles that had generated a loud buzz amongst residents of Ijebu Ode since the tricycles were displayed at the frontage of the Awujale’s palace. The Special Guest, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi picked the draws for the winners who were all physically present and ushered to the front by loud applause and congratulatory messages. Earlier, the Alaafin gave the Ijebu a special gift in “Danafojura” masquerade who sort of re-enacted the mosaic incident of bush burning and not being consumed when he was roasted in a bon-fire but not scorched or burnt.

Winners of the star prizes who danced, jumped and laughed as they collected their keys included Isaac Olawale, Johnson Olakitan, Michael Adeniyi, Henry Olayemi, Julius Agofure and Daniel Adebambo. Others were Kazeem Mustapha, Shola Gbilesanmi, Monsurat Sebiotimo, and  Asiwaju Adebowale. One of the winners, 37-year old civil servant with the Ogun State Hospital Management Board, Mr. Asiwaju Adebowale commended Globacom for the kind gesture, adding “I feel great. I will start a transportation business to augment my salary. In the same vein, another tricycle winner, 40-year old Olayemi Henry, a social worker with the Justice Development and Peace Commission who lives in the Obalende area of Ijebu Ode said the tricycle will further endear his Commission to the Globacom brand while a panel beater, Julius Agofure who also won the tricycle announced, “I will use it for business. I like Glo well well”. Another winner, 32 year-old poultry farmer, Kassim Moshafabu said the tricycle would assist him in his poultry business.

Similarly, Madam Monsurat Sebiotimo, a petty trader, said she purchased a device worth N5,000 and recharge card worth N50,000 from Glo while Isaac Olawale said he simply bought a phone for N32,000 and recharge cards worth N1,800 from Gloworld, the network’s sales and service   outlet in Ijebu Ode. Olawale, a secondary school biology teacher in Ijebu Ode said he will use the tricycle for transportation. Another winner, Shola Gbilesanmi said she would use the vehicle to transport her goods.

On her part, Sebiotimo narrated how she almost missed her prize as she was about leaving the Awujale’s Palace square, venue of the Ojude Oba, before the raffle draw winners were announced. Another winner Johnson Olakitan, a building materials seller, explained that he used his last N5,000 to buy the phone that qualified him for the raffle. While winner Adeniyi Michael who works with the Centre for Grassroots Economic Empowerment (CGEE) got empowered after purchasing a tecno phone with N3,000 and some recharge cards. Similarly, some of the winners of the 10 LED TVs commended Globacom for giving back to the society. Mrs Obafunmiloye Ogunniyi, an Events Planner said “Glo is the best. I was aiming for the tricycle but I got the LED TV.”

The festival was rounded off with a musical show held at Equity Hotel, Ijebu Ode where a Political Science graduate of the Olabisi Onabanjo University currently undergoing the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in Ibadan, Mosunmola Omotayo, emerged as the 2019 Miss Ojude Oba. She defeated eight other contestants in a competition where all the participants made three appearances in traditional, casual and dinner wears. They were rated for their elocution, poise and comportment in the keenly contested beauty pageant. The dark and tall 25 year-old queen is an entrepreneur in catering and event planning. A 300-level student of English Education at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Imisioluwa Jesutofunmi Jinadu, emerged as first runner-up while 20 year-old Funmilade Fanadez Osoteku was adjudged as the second runner-up.

Earlier, up and coming artistes raised the curtain with scintillating performances directed by resourceful MC Bash complemented by melodious tunes mixed by DJ Tops. Ola Flow won the rap battle while Tunde Olorioko and Teju Adeyemi won smartphones in the Dance Competition for male and female categories respectively.

Lady drummer, Ayanfola and her 15-person ensemble, serenaded the audience with delightful tunes from the talking drum (gangan). She meandered from folklore Ijebu songs to contemporary tracks, compelling the audience to bring out their phone cameras to record the unique performance.  Lil’Kesh revved up the musical show with sundry popular tunes enthusiastically chorused by the lively crowd of attendees who came to round off their Sallah festivities with sublime fun. His performance was a master class as he engaged the audience intermittently and indulged the people with his rich repertoire of songs including “Shoki” and “Able God”. The Asiwaju of Fuji popularly addressed as “African Michael Jackson”, Alhaji Abass Akande Obesere and his beautiful dancers closed the musical show with a big bang. He spent considerable time to remind the crowd that Glo is the best network as he dished out melodious and ‘funkified’ songs that sent the crowd into frenzy.

Dressed in green and white attire to show his affinity for Globacom’s colours which tallies with the national colours, Obesere and his Glo-branded band members sent the crowd into an ecstasy of musical pleasure. Some of the attendees commended Globacom for the well choreographed musical show, adding that the event beautifully wrapped up the Festival which they will remember for a long time to come.

Comments