Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Senators Dino Melaye and Ben Murray-Bruce were among dignitaries, indigenes and tourists that braced the early morning rains to grace the annual Ojude Oba festival in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the 2018 edition, celebrated on the third day after the Muslims’ Eid-el-Kabir festival, was held at the Oba Sikiru Adetona Golden Jubilee Centre, on Thursday.
The 100-year-old festival brings together sons and daughters of Ijebuland for an elaborate display of culture and heritage in honour of the town’s monarch.
Although originally a small gathering of adherents of the Islamic religion every third day after the Muslim festival, the Ojude Oba has transcended religious lines.
Prince Adekunle Babatunde, the General Secretary of the Egbe Obabuwaji Okunrin of Ijebuland (the Club of men born between 1950 and 1952), told the NAN that the festival has been in existence for over 100 years.
Babatunde said: “Ojude Oba, celebrated every third day after Ileya, is meant to pay homage to the Awujale by the indigenes, the Baloguns, the Regberegbes and the horse riders.
“To the people of Ijebuland, Ojude Oba is a cultural Day that attracts eminent sons and daughters of Ijebuland as well as people from foreign countries.”
Also, Aremo Adewale Abdul, the Giwa (Head) Jagunmolu Fehintade Akile Ijebuland age-group (1965-67), said the names of various age group (Regberegbe) were coined out of events that are happening in Ijebuland.
Abdul said: “The Regberegbe thing has been a yearly festival that most of us look up to in the last couple of years.
“Our own Egbe, Fehintade, will be about 19 years now that we’ve been in existence, so we’re looking forward to doing our 20th anniversary.
“The various age groups’ names are coined out of events that are happening in Ijebuland.
“For example, the Bobagunte age group: that was the year the Awujale became the Oba in 1960.
“Our own Fehintade age group was coined out of our Iyalode, who happened to be Yeye Fehintade at Okun Owa.”
The event attracts people of all faiths and tourists, who come to witness the festival celebrated amidst pomp and pageantry.
Other side attractions are the mock wars and horse display by various warlord families, who dress their horses and exhibit their horse riding skills to the admiration of spectators.
During the dance competition, different age groups, known as Regberegbe, display their dancing prowess.
The best-dressed Regberegbe and horse-riding family are rewarded with cash prizes.