All over Nigeria right now, Owambe parties have been on the increase, as many throw big parties to celebrate their landmark events. And unknown to many, this has become one sector sustaining our Economy in a big way. Below City People’s report explains it all.
Do you know that there are many people who now depend on Owambe parties for their daily survival? Do you know that Owambe parties now form a big chunk of what keeps the economy of Nigeria going, especially across the South-West? Do you also know that Owambe parties have also become a big source of employment opportunities for very many people who will have continued to be unemployed, looking for white-collar jobs?
City People can tell you authoritatively that is what is going on right now. If you haven’t thought about it, just reflect on the huge number of people who Owambe parties are sustaining and how it makes money circulate among small-scale entrepreneurs.
If you are still confused, let’s tell you how and why Owambe parties have become key to our lives. And why Nigerians can no longer do without these social events held on weekends and even weekdays. ‘Owambes’ parties provide a unique opportunity for many to mingle, especially those who are still Single. “They get to show off their colourful Aso Ebi, and spend quality time with friends and family. Interestingly, Owambe has outgrown its original Yoruba connotation to become a cliche for describing weekend social events among Lagosians.”
How do you define what an Owambe party is? According to the same writer, “Owanbe” or “Owambe” has been defined as a grandiose party thrown by Nigerians which involves a lot of food, dancing, loud music and spraying of money on a dancing person as a way of appreciating the celebrator. Owambes come with highly expensive celebration materials, bags, Jewellery shoes to match etc. The Owanbe tradition in which people get stuck and even seems to be spreading like wildfire among Nigerians. What are the major components of a successful Owanbe party? It includes Aso-Ebi, music, different varieties of food and lots of alcohol.
Personally, I think the most important aspect in planning an Owanbe party is the date you pick. Mostly, these parties tend to fall on weekends or as it now, on weekdays. The next thing is the Aso-ebi, which could range from Ankara to lace materials. Ever heard of the popular saying: “o wo Ankara o je semo” i.e. if you are not putting on Ankara, you aren’t going to be served semo.
Another important aspect of Owanbe parties is the Food, and how tasty the Jollof-Rice is. One of the star attractions of Owanbe parties is the variety in the food served at these parties. The food ranges from Local to Continental cuisine. There will most likely be Jollof rice, moin-moin, porridge, Amala etc. Another attraction is the abundance of Alcohol, which goes a long way in helping people lose their inhibitions and produces a jovial and raucous atmosphere expected at Owanbe parties, revealed an observer.
City People has found that over the last few years, Owambe has become the generic name that people used to call all the big parties and ceremonies that our celebrities hold and attend in Nigeria.
It used to happen mostly in the South West. But many Igbos, South/South people and even the Northerners have embraced the trend, with the result of that today, many Nigerians now throw big parties to celebrate weddings, namings, housewarming, burials, chieftaincies.
A few days back Pres. Buhari threw a big Owambe party for his son. For it to be called an Owambe party, there must be a big musician, a D.J. It must hold in a Big hall or marque or open field. There must be Aso-Ebi involved, some now even take what they call Aso-Ijo. Drinks must flow ceaselessly. Food must be in ample quantity. And spraying of local and foreign currencies must be involved.
Though many consider this to be a big waste of money or a show of conspicuous consumption. City People can confirm to you that Owambe parties are now what sustains many young people, as many Nigerians now depend on it for survival. Apart from those it provides full-time jobs for, there are casual staffers who take up casual work on weekends when they are free.
Let’s explain what we mean. A typical Owambe party will cost you anything between N5 million to N20 million to organise if you put together the cost. That is being modest. It could cost more than that.
For you to start planning an Owambe party, you must employ the services of a reputable Event Planner, who will charge over N1 million, as professional fees, to put together competent Vendors to make the party a huge success. Then comes the choice of venue, because you can’t print an I.V. if you don’t have the venue sorted. The cheapest hall or event centre you can get for a good Owambe party is between N1.5 million to N2 million. There are venues that charge N5 million to N10 million.
Then, the musician. The top-rated artistes like K1, KSA, Obey, and Co. will charge between N2 million to N3 million, depending on the location, whether it is Lagos or outside Lagos. Then, the Caterer, many of whose charges come pricey.
Because the prices of foodstuff have gone up, their charges could go as high as N3 million depending on your choice of cuisine. And wait for this! These caterers have those who supply them foodstuff. They are the ones sustaining the Cow market, Rice and other foodstuffs.
And then Drinks. This is divided into 2 parts. The 1st part is soft drinks, beer and Water, while the 2nd part is the more expensive aspect of choice drinks like brandy, whiskey, wine, baileys and champagne.
Those are the basic costs. How about those who will handle small chops, asun cocktails, bouncers, police/security coverage, palm wine? How about Decorators? They usually swag the hall and cover tables and chairs.
The truth of the matter is that all these vendors need many people to cater to Owambe parties. Most Decorators employ both permanent and casual hands to cover tables and chairs and drape the hall.
A band will usually come with about 30 band members. There are packers, those who will mount and pack instruments will be up to 15. Caterers usually come with about 20 hands to set up and arrange tables.
And why do a lot of celebrities storm Owambe parties? It is for many reasons. For Men, it is to show that they are still current and rocking the scene and also to show off their latest wristwatches, accessories, shoes.
For women, to show their latest Gold Jewellery, Shoes and bags.
There are those who attend to kill Depression. They argue that rather than stay indoors and groan over their many challenges like failed marriages or relationships, they will rather go out and merry and dance their hearts out.