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This year’s, Ojude Oba Festival in Ijebu-Ode was held amidst pomp & pageantry. It was a colourful event held at the Pavillion across Awujale’s Palace, as all the 60 Regberegbe groups filed out one after the other to pay homage to the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona who sat majestically on his royal chair, flanked by Ogun Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun and Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was the Special Guest of Honour.
What happened at this year’s Ojude Oba? It was exciting all the way. The Pavillion across the palace began to fill up as from 8 am, as the various age grade groups began to take their seats, one after the other. On the bandstand was Apala music maestro, Musiliu Haruna Ishola who dazzled all the guests with his repertoire of tunes. He was the Official band of the event. He was ably assisted by Saheed Ligali Mukaiba, the son of the legend.
The venue was riddled with the flex banners of the major sponsors like Glo, FCMB, Goldberg and Bigi.
The Awujale was the centre of attraction at the event. Being the first Ojude Oba after the 2- year break, all eyes were on him as the Chief Host. He is very revered across the length and breadth of Ijebuland. He was 88 last May, and he has spent 62 years on the throne, making him the longest-serving King in the country.
At this year’s Ojude Oba, the Awujale shocked many people who had assumed that he will most likely not make it to the festival. At first, for months, there were speculations that this year’s Ojude Oba may not hold since it didn’t hold in 2020, and 2021. And confirmation came that it will hold on Monday, 11th July 2022. Then came another rumour that the revered monarch will most likely not make it, on account of old age, because he might not be able to sit all through the almost 9 hours programme. They had assumed that he would simply send a representative.
That was the thinking of many when the take-off time of this year’s parade got delayed a bit. Some again saw this as a confirmation of their speculation.
But alas, Awujale proved them wrong. Kabiyesi stormed the venue in a white agbada with his Abeti a ja cap to match. Once the Awujale arrived at the arena, the tempo changed and the whole event went into a frenzy.
Kabiyesi Awujale looked radiant and happy all through the 9-hour festivity and all the sons and daughters of Ijebu at the VIP wing of the Royal Pavillion came to greet him. All his Otunbas and Chiefs also came to pay homage. He was flanked to the right and left by the governors of Ogun & Lagos. He felt at home in the midst of his favourite friends and associates who sat around him. Many of them are Ijebu indigenes.
Otunba Subomi Balogun dazzled everyone as he drove into the main bowl of the Pavillion in his sparkling white Rolls Royce which has a customised number. That was his 85th birthday gift. He was driven in by his Chauffeur of many years. Of course, the Olori Omoba looked resplendent in his all-white Agbada and customised shoes. At 88, he is still stylish. He didn’t come with his wife, Olori Abimbola.
Aremo Olusegun Osoba also stood out. He came in a Black Jeep. As he stepped down, he unfolded his wrapper. He has his own unique fashion style. He didn’t come with his wife, Beere Aderinsola. We caught his expensive pair of shoes. He is Awujale’s Aremo. He is forever trendy.
Former Ogun Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel also caught our attention. He looked royal in his white Agbada and glittering designer shoes which was studded. He went around the regberegbe to greet them.
Of course, Ogun Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun arrived to a tumultuous welcome, as he went round to greet the Regberegbes. He took his time. He danced with his age grade group, Egbe Bobagunte Okunrin Akile Ijebu. He arrived into the hands of his Deputy, and Commissioners.
Lagos Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu was the Special Guest of Honour. Each edition of Ojude Oba has a Special Guest of Honour and in the recent past, a lot of top personalities have been invited to play that role, like Gen. Obasanjo, Senator David Mark and others. He also went round to greet the Regberegbes. During his speech, he greeted and eulogised the Egbas in the Ijebu dialect.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was very visible despite his absence. His name rent the air from time to time. Musiliu Haruna Ishola won the hearts of many with his Apala music. He has become the most creative musician on the scene right now. He dished out a lot of new trendy songs. He was the artiste of the event. He was ably assisted by Saheed Ligali Mukaiba. As each guest arrived, he created a unique song of each of them.
Hon. Babatunde Emilola Gazal, the Executive Chairman of Ijebu Ode Local government was the M.C of the event. He has been involved in the Ojude Oba festival for decades. He speaks well. He anchors well.
Otunba Mike Adenuga’s image loomed large at the festival. His company, Globacom was the main Sponsor. And he has been sponsoring Ojude Oba for years. The Awujale of Ijebu likes him. He too likes the Awujale. Many don’t know that the GLO Founder is one of Awujale’s Chiefs. He is the Otunba Apesin of Ijebuland. He is a member of the Council of Otunbas of Ijebuland and a member of the Royal Court.
Many do not know that Chief Oluneye Okuboyejo, the respected retired Super Permanent Secretary and a high-ranking Ijebu Chief now has a new assignment. Since Papa retired, he has been actively involved in cultural and community affairs. He is the Obasewa of Ijebu and the Secretary of the Council of Awujale Chiefs. He also has a new role. He is the Giwa Egbe of Egbe Mafowoku Ijebu (Egbe Oba). He stepped into Oba Shafi Sule of Odonselu’s shoes after he passed on. That is the Age grade group that Oba Sikiru Adetona, the Awujale belongs to.
Chief (Dr.) Sonny Kuku, OFR is usually a constant star at Ojude Oba. Don’t forget that he is close to the Awujale and he is the Olorogun of Ijebu. He is also the Chairman of the Council of Awujale Chiefs. He was at this year’s Ojude Oba looking regal. He is a horse rider (Eleshin). He is very popular in Ijebu. He is from the popular Kuku family in Ijebu. His great-grandfather is Balogun Odueyungbo Bello Kuku, one of the past Baloguns of Ijebu land. At the Ojude Oba this year, the popular Kuku song rend the air: Owo melo lo ni to n fi omo Kuku sere.
One accomplished businessman who stood out distinctly at the event was Alhaji Dr. Sulaiman Adegunwa (OFR) who is the Chairman of Rite Foods Limited. He is a close friend of the Awujale and he hardly misses Ojude Oba in Ijebu-Ode. His products were all over the venue and it was given out free, from BIGI to Rite Gala, to Fearless Energy drink to Sosa fruit drink.
Hon. Ladi Adebutu stormed this year’s, Ojude Oba. He arrived a bit late, but still went round the Pavillion to greet the various Regberegbe groups before he went to sit down with his group. He the Agbaakin Egbe Gbobaniyi Okunrin Akile-Ijebu. He is also the Ogun PDP Guber candidate. As he made his way to sit with his members, the shouts of Lado rent the air. Let us also tell you about one woman who supports Ojude Oba year in, year out. Her name is Cash Madam, whose real name is Princess Khadijat Kuburat Adebisi Edionseri. Though she is from Egbaland, she is quite close to Ijebu. She is the first Iya Suna of Ogun State, Iya Suna of Egbaland, Iya Suna of Yewaland, Iyalaje of Egbaland and Iyalaje of Yewaland. She is the matron of one of the Regberegbes in Ijebu.
She has great links with Ijebu. She is one of the widows of late Aiyepe Industrialist, Alhaji Shafi Shittu who died a few months back.
One of the Giwas that dazzled at the festival was Deji Osibogun. He dressed like the Arabians. His tall physique made him tower over others. He is the Giwa of Egbe Bobagbimo.
The Ashiru Brothers also stood out. Both of them are Awujale’s Otunbas. One is Otunba Prof. Oluwatoyin Ashiru (the Otunba Moyegeso) and the other brother is Otunba Bimbola Ashiru (the Otunba Adeona Fusigboye). The 3rd brother is Otunba Prof. Oladapo Ashiru (the Otunba Orodujoye). He is the world renowned Fertility Specialist and the IVF guru.
Also at this years Ojude Oba was Kabiyesi’s eldest son Adedire Adetona who recently turned 60. He doesn’t look that far gone in age. He looked his bubbly self.
Let’s also tell you about the 2 Odunowo Brothers who are Cash Madam’s son. They are Otunbas and they are very popular in Ijebu. One of them is Otunba Engr. Abdulfalil Abayomi Odunowo (the Obalewu of Ijebuland), his younger brother is Otunba Alhaji Abdulrahman Abiola Odunowo. (the Olotuneso of Ijebuland).
Otunba Yomi Odunowo is the National Chairman of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Support Group. One Ijebu Chief who looked radiant at the just concluded Ojude Oba is Otunba Lekan Osifeso, the popular Lagos businessman who recently stepped into his father’s shoes. Chief Oluwaranti Lekan Osifeso is the Olotu-Olowa/Madasa of Ijebuland. He is a man of great sartorial elegance and he stood out at the festival on account of his dressing. He is the Baba Egbe of one of the age-grade groups.
Many don’t know why Chief (Alhaji) Agboola Alausa, the Balogun of Ijebu-Ode and Chief Alade Shote, the Otun Balogun of Ijebu-Ode are very close. They are always together and they sit together at parties. They are the current Balogun and Otun of Ijebu-Ode.
Otunba (Barr) Wahab Osinusi is always involved in every Ojude Oba. The reason is simple. He is the Chairman, Ojude Oba Festival Planning Committee. There was one company that was visible at the Festival. It’s called JohnVents Nigeria. It came to advertise its JV Pure Cocoa Powder.
Have you heard how Aare Kola Aregbe dazzled them at the last Ojude Oba in Ijebu Ode on horse back? He is from one of the horse-riding families (Eleshins). He is from the Aregbesola Family (Gesin-kese). He led his family members on horses into the Pavillion and he played with his horse before he rode out after paying homage to the Awujale.
From the famous Aregbesola family of the Olowa clan in Idele, Ijebu-Ode, he is the son of Alhaji Bisi Akanni Aregbe (Gesin-Kese) and Alhaja Abibat Abiola Aregbe (nee Alobo-Bakare) of blessed memory. He is a celebrated management and project consultant of international repute, having won a national award in the UK. He is an Accountancy graduate with a Masters degree in Strategic Management, with expertise in turning around struggling public and private sector organisations both in Nigeria and abroad.
He is also a peak performance coach and learning & Performance Institute trainer assessor, who has overseen transformation programmes for organisations of various sizes, commissioned and worked with world class organisations like PWC, Deloitte, Accenture (when they were Arthur Anderson) on Organisational improvement assignments. He is referred to as ‘Mr Fix it’ by many clients, having developed a reputation for turning around in record time, poorly performing government departments in the Uk. He once ran in Nigeria and some West African states, the capacity building and development business of Crown Agents – an international development organisation with presence in over 100 countries. He is also a political strategist who is comfortable discussing government policy issues with technocrats in the morning and very much at home and at a K1 show in the evening.
One Giwa who also dazzled at Ojude Oba was Giwa, Akogun Wale Raji, the Giwa Egbe Obayori Okunrin (Asiwaju) Akile Ijebu. He is also the Executive Chairman, Ikosi-Ejinrin LCDA, Epe, Lagos State. He has a supportive wife, Yeye Sijuade Anomo.
Many do not know why Oba (Giwa) Adewale Abdul, the Olofin Ajaiye Orugbo Iddo does not miss Ojude Oba. We can tell you. He is the Giwa of Egbe Jagunmolu Fehintade Akile Ijebu (Okunrin), which represents, Ijebu sons born between 1st Jan. 1965 to 31st December 1967. The group has a lot of big boys as members like Otun Awosanya Owolabi, Basorun Olusola Dawodu, Seriki Prince Tayo Adumati, Akogun Bisi Ariyo, Balogun Prince Yemi Odusote, Asiwaju Olanrewaju Jamiu Shittu, Aare Henrysiriake Dickson (former Bayelsa Governor), Otun Balogun Adeniyi Jaji, Lord Mayor Yinka Komolafe and Social Lookman Bolaji Adeleye (Amuludun).
There are others like Jagun Omoba Bosun Aroyewum (Treasurer), Jagun Lekan Abiodun (Gen. Secretary), Jagun Wale Quadri (Asst. Gen. Secretary), Jagun Abiodun Yusuf (Financial Secretary), Jagun Kayode Badejo (PRO), Jagun Wale Adelaja (Asst. PRO), Jagun Muyiwa Lekuti (Director of Social Media), Jagun Femi Odulaja (Cheif Whip) Jagun Olasubomi Olanlege (Social Secretary).