The Oke ‘Badan Festival has been described as a non-fetish or religious, but a socio-cultural and tourism event organised annually by Olubadan-in-Council and the indigenes of Ibadan to mark the day and celebrate the glorious feat of Lagelu at berthing in Ibadan. Chief Lekan Alabi, Are Alasa of Ibadan, made this assertion while playing host to tourism and cultural journalists at Ibadan, Oyo State. He said that the people of Ibadan were not ready to relegate this festival to the background or allow its theme to be killed because of the allegation that it is fetish or religious. He said; “I am glad to tell you that today, which is March 17, 2015, has a historical linkage with March 17, 1988 when the people of Ibadan held a symposium at Mapo Hall, where it was clarified and made public that Oke’Badan is not a fetish or religious festival.
“The discussants of the day were the late Olubadan Operinde 1, late High Chief J A Ayorinde, who was the Ashipa of Ibadanland, Professor Bolanle Awe, late Chief Justice Emmanuel Fakayode and Mrs Kemi Morgan. This was about 25 years ago. It was made clear by these distinguished Nigerians that Oke’Badan festival is a historical, socio-cultural and tourism festival, which must be held according to tradition with no fetish content because it has none ab initio.”
Chief Alabi pointed out “every Ibadan indigene is always happy that the city has a solid festival rooted in history and sustained all these years, reminding us that we have a glorious past, with seasoned progenitors who stamped their imprints on the sand of time by founding this great city which the indigenes and visitors are proud of.”
He revealed: “This media parley is a post-event evaluation and review of one of the best Oke ‘Badan Festivals ever held. We are happy with the turnout of this year’s festival and elated by the singular involvement of the telecommunication network provider in Nigeria, GLOBACOM, which did not only sponsor the festival, but actively participated in the packaging, promotion and marketing of the event.
“On behalf of Olubadan-in-Council, the indigenes of Ibadan, we hereby display our sense of gratitude to Otunba Mike Adenuga, President, GLOBACOM and his entire staff for their enthusiastic participation at this year’s Oke’Badan Festival.
“We also thank other companies who supported and made the dream festival of the sons and daughters of Lagelu a landmark success this year.”
The 2015 Oke’Badan came with veritable innovations, which included the book launch, seminar and symposium where distinguished Nigerians like the Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs Sally Mbanefo, delivered a paper on cultural tourism.
Other speakers included Chief Yemi Elebuibon, who spoke on the Imperative of Culture to development of Nigeria while Chief Alabi reminded the guests of the evolution and value of Oke ‘Badan Festival.
The event also featured quiz competition, celebration of youths at Trans Amusement Park, where Saheed Osupa entertained thousands of youth with songs which emphasised the importance of imbibing the culture and values of the society, a carnival float, exhibition of traditional foods.
Chief Alabi, who pointed out that the festival is hosted in March every year, specially commended the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, for not only supporting the festival, but also adding value to it.
“Governor Ajimobi promised to allocate a portion of land at the Agodi Parks and Garden where to build Oke ‘badan Grotto, an information centre for the festival.”
Speaking at the festival, the Aboke, Chief Ifatola Ifamapowa, who dressed like a woman, prayed extensively for peace and stability in Oyo State and Nigeria in general. In his supplication for prosperity for Ibadan indigenes, residents and visitors, the Aboke said, “Oke ’badan Festival symbolises the acknowledgement of our heroes past and their efforts at ensuring the evolution of today’s Ibadan as a people and as a city. We cannot forget them. We have the singular duty of passing their feats from this generation to others.”
Mr Lanre Alabi, President, King Size Entertainment, the consultant to Aboke, who has been packaging the Oke’badan for years, commended the media for sustaining their interest in the festival of life.
“The media deserves a special mention in the evolution of Oke’Badan Festival. This is one festival to which the media has shown immeasurable understanding and support. I promise that the 2016 Oke ‘Badan festival will be the best celebrated festival in Nigeria.”