The Glitz, the glamour of Ojude Oba 2022
• Globacom, FCMB continue support for Ijebu cultural heritage
This year’s Ojude Oba may have come and gone, but the beats still pulsate. With the theme, The return of Ojude Oba, the glitz associated with this culture fiesta made it one of the most celebrated events post COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in Nigeria.
Beyond the razzmatazz, the festival was an avenue for both Ijebu indigenes at home and in the diaspora to celebrate their cultural heritage.
It was another opportunity for both sons and daughters to see themselves and exchange pleasantries after many years of togetherness/absence.
Despite the heavy downpour, participants at the fiesta defied the rain to celebrate its essence amid pomp and pageantry.
The special guest of honour, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and his Ogun State counterpart, Prince Dapo Abiodun, in fact, came in on white agbada, just like the Awujale.
Events began at about 10:05 am with the national anthem, and thereafter, the Ogun State anthem, as well as paeans for the Awujale, Oba Sikiru Adetona.
Clothed in the latest fashion, the different regberebe entered from different directions, singing, dancing and exchanging pleasantries. They entered the main bowl of the palace square, paying homage to the Awujale.
Besides the age groups, prominent politicians, captains of industries and business communities.
The high point of the event was the parade by regberegbe (the age group) and the Baloguns’ warriors, the horse riders, who came in to pay homage to the Awujale.
It was a spectacle to behold, as each Balogun and Eleshin family took turns to display their equestrian skill.
IN his goodwill message, the chief executive of FCMB Group, Ladi Balogun, one of the major sponsors of the festival, stated that the company has been a major supporter of the festival for almost two decades. “We understand that culture is an essential component of sustainable development,” he said.
He noted that the display of the rich heritage of Ijebuland as showcased by the various age groups and family groups, as well as other cultural activities, embody the spirit of the festival.
“For over a century, this festival has amplified and promoted our rich cultural legacy,” he said.
He further pointed out that the festival is more than an event for all true sons and daughters of Ijebuland with a long-standing yearly tradition that people look forward to as a unifying factor, as well as, contributing significantly to economic growth and development of the land.
The founder of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and the Olori Omoba of Ijebuland, Otunba Olasubomi Balogun, disclosed that his long relationship and involvement in the yearly festival is because of an in-born patriotism and love for his people.
He said the bank has been a major sponsor of the festival for almost two decades. According to him, “there is an in-born patriotism… I don’t want anybody to forget that I am originally from Ijebu; that’s where FCMB comes from. The only way we can show appreciation to the founders and progenitors is to participate in all the traditional undertakings that bring to the fore the traditions and origins of the Ijebu. It is a unique event and I am very much involved.
“If I created an institution, it is only natural that it benefits my people. As a patriotic Ijebu, as soon as we started building branches, I brought FCMB here and the people have been patronising the bank.”
The founder noted that he is proud of the heritage of the Ijebu, which means much to him. He, however, lamented the absence of his age group at the festival arena. His words: “Unfortunately only a few of my age group are in attendance. Maybe this is due to old age syndrome.”
Her, however, promised that the 2023 edition would be more colourful and memorable.
In the same vein, the presence and contributions of Globacom were equally noticeable. From the entrance of the town to the streets and main bowl of the event, Glo banners, flags and stickers enveloped the arena to give colour to the festival.
In his goodwill message, Globacom Chairman, Dr Mike Adenuga, stated that the firm has continued its collaboration with the festival committee as well as sponsorship of other festivals in Nigeria.
This is rooted in the company’s passionate commitment to being in the forefront of major initiatives aimed at celebrating the best of Nigeria’s cultures and traditions with a view to conserving them for posterity.
Adenuga noted that for more than a century, the festival has consistently attracted a large pool of tourists from different parts of Nigeria and beyond.
During regberegbe competition, a key feature of the company’s sponsorship, the Egbe Obayori Okunrin Asiwaju came top as the best-dressed age grade, which won N500, 000 while Egbe Tobalase Okunrin and Egbe Bobamayegun won N300, 000 and N200, 000 respectively, as first and second runners-up in the male category, while Egbe Bobamayegun Obinrin Asiwaju came first in the female category. Egbe Arobayo Obinrin and Egbe Tobalase Obinrin were runners up.
In the Balogun contest, Balogun Kuku was adjudged the best in skills and dexterity on their horses while Balogun Odunuga and Balogun Gamugasa came second and third winning N500,000, N300,000 and N200,000 respectively.