Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, will be the Special Guest of Honour at the next week’s 2018 edition of the annual Ojude Oba Festival scheduled to hold at the Awujale of Ijebu’s palace in Ijebu-Ode.
Saraki is expected to make major pronouncements at that event. He holds Kabiyesi Alaiyeluwa, Oba (Dr.) S.K. Adetona, in high esteem. He also has a huge regard for the Ojude Oba Festival. The Awujale also likes Dr. Bukola Saraki who is like a son to him.
City People can authoritatively reveal details of what the Senate President will likely say at the festival, having been privy to his views on Ojude Oba and Kabiyeesi.
Those around him say he is going to start his goodwill message on a note of Gratitude to God for allowing Ijebus to see another edition of the renowned Ojude Oba Festival. He feels, once upon a time in Ijebuland, this occasion would have been the most significant marker of the passing year. It is, therefore, a joyous thing to witness the 2018 Annual Ojude Oba Festival and its display of bounteous blessings and splendour.
It is instructive to note the historical significance of this event, which is today among the top in the country’s festival calendar. This is, and has always been, a colourful feast of return that brings sons and daughters of Ijebuland home to celebrate and pay homage to their revered Kabiyesi, and to pray for continued progress in the land.
When we talk about the resilience and dynamism of culture, Ojude Oba is a case in point. It is always wonderful to see this proud display of culture that the Ijebus have consistently showcased for over a hundred years. Dr. Saraki expects that memories of this year’s Ojude Oba will linger on in the minds of all who will be attending, or see the images. The visual feast of the Regberegbes (Age Grades) is already well known and iconic, as they present themselves before Kabiyesi in colourful uniform attires made with creativity and flair, and pray for his continued health and long life. Also famous is the equestrian parade by the Baloguns of the ruling houses, memorable for its display of a noble tradition. He is likely to admit that this kind of festival holds in his part of the country, the latest of which will be held in Ilorin, the day before Ojude Oba.
The Senate President likes the array of sartorial tradition of Ojude Oba festival, as evident in the impressive attire to be worn by the various groups. He believes Ojude Oba promotes and reinforces the culture of the people. Indeed, there is much assurance in the knowledge that these activities are in a continuum from the past. They show that we can always draw the best from that glorious past to shore us up for the challenges of today.
He will remind the Ijebus about the significance of Ojude Oba, which he feels provides a platform for the Ijebus to meet, interact and showcase their cultural heritage, we also know that the significance of the festival goes much deeper. Typically held on the 3rd day after Eid el Kabir, this is a festival that unites the faithful. Despite its origins in Islam, the festival does not exclude any religious groups. The Senate President would like to say, with some emphasis, that Nigeria, would do well to draw important lessons from an event such as this. We are one. Religion should not constitute a wedge or barrier among us. This is what illustrious Ijebu people demonstrate to us yearly with this festival, as Muslims, Christians and others can be found celebrating Ojude Oba and this is how it has been since the very beginning.
In addition Dr Saraki believes Ojude Oba affirms that Nigeria’s cultures are veritable sources of revenue, if well packaged. With the return of thousands of people to their ancestral homes for this festival, and thousands more attending as visitors, the local economy will, without a doubt, get a boost. This is Tourism in action. Essentially, domestic tourism is being promoted here, and this is how it should be all over the country. He feels it is, therefore, necessary for more parts of Nigeria to emulate this worthy example, to showcase the beauty of our culture to the larger world.
Saraki feels happy that Ojude Oba is already setting the pace in this regard.
He is happy that international visitors are already a feature at the Awujale Palace Extension, sampling the delights of the spectacular display. The tourists send the captivating images out to the world, proving that Africa is also a place of joy, glamour and dance.
He is happy that the organisers have ensured the festival’s sustainability with the participation of youths at these events because Culture is an expression of the heart and soul of the people, it is emblematic of their identity.
He feels Culture carries the template of who we are, as a projection to the outer world, and the future. Children are inheritors of that future. So, he feels the engagement of youths at the Ojude Oba Festival is, therefore, commendable.
Since Ojude Oba fosters unity among all Ijebu people, Saraki feels this is another way in which we as a nation could take a leaf from this festival. he believes Unity is paramount; Unity is key.
When we are united, we achieve more. When we are united, we record monumental progress. I urge us all, therefore, to pursue more activities that will unite our various peoples.
He believes Our diversity is our strength. So, we must, therefore, continue to initiate programmes that will bring us together and further highlight the fact that we are one and the same. In over a century of Ojude Oba, Ijebu citizens have shown us that unity will always lead to progress, and that there is strength in unity. This is a shining example for us all.
He believes the longevity of Ojude Oba is a further proof that ancient culture can thrive in modernity as a living tradition.
The festival’s continuing success and growth is a testament to the vibrancy and cosmopolitanism of the people of Ijebuland, and we celebrate it with you.