A cultural festival held on the third day after eid el kabir (sallah) celebration in western Nigeria. The famous festival started out in 1892, when the then Oba Adesumbo Tunwase offered landed properties to the Muslims for a Mosque to be built. He also offered the British missionaries the opportunity to preach Christianity in Ijebu Land as well as the land where St Saviours Italupe, the first church in Ijebu was built.
Ojude Oba Festival started as a religious festival, when a small number of adherents and followers of the Islamic religion chose to pay homage and show appreciation to the reigning Monarch for his kind gesture and benevolence to them.
However, the festival has transcended religious lines today and it attracts people of all faiths as well as tourists from within and outside Nigeria. On the day of the event, various peers and age groups come is festive attires to pay tribute to the king after which the festival continues with various forms of entertainment.
It started as a religious festival
Long before the Ojude-Oba festival became an all-encompassing gig, it was a small gathering of adherents and followers of the Islamic religion. Today, however, the festival has transcended religious lines and attracts people of all faiths as well as tourists from within and outside Nigeria.
2. Usually held on the third day of Eid
The two days before the Ojude Oba festival is for Muslims to savour and enjoy the Eid with their families, friends, and well-wishers. On the third day, Muslims, Christians, dignitaries, tourists and even visitors, troop to the Oba Sikiru Adetona Golden Jubilee Centre to witness and experience the glamour of the festival. It is a spectacle you shouldn’t miss if you find yourself in Ijebu-Ode.
3. Extravagant display of culture and heritage
The aim of the Ojude-Oba is to celebrate the rich culture and heritage of the people of Ijebu Ode. This is showcased via resplendent traditional attires, deft hairstyles, cuisine (ifokore) and the reenactment of rare cultural dances which can only be watched at a festival of such magnitude.
4. Homage is paid to the paramount
The 100-year-old festival welcomes over 45,000 visitors amidst heavy, singing, dancing and drumming also pay homage to the paramount ruler of Ijebu-land, HRH Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, Ogbagba 11. Again the age-grades and the Oba’s subjects take turns to pay homage to the Awujale of Ijebu-land by presenting different foodstuffs and other items.
5. Horse-riding, gunshots and dance competitions
Horse-riding among the various horse riding families and male/female dance groups are the two things you shouldn’t miss during the festival. The different horse riding families dress their horses and exhibit their horse-riding skill to the admiration of spectators. Meanwhile, for the dance competition, men and women belonging to different age-groups called regberegbe will display their dancing prowess. The best-dressed regberegbe and horse-riding family will be rewarded with cash prizes. During the celebrations, there are intermittent gunshots.
HIGHLIGHTS OF OJUDE OBA FESTIVAL
At the event’s main arena, peers of different ages seat in groups as they observe and take part in the festive proceedings which kicks off with so much pomp and pageantry. Peers of various age group then take turns to pay their respect to the king. Several groups of men and women also come out to display to dance amidst singing and drumming.
The festival is a display of the culture and heritage of the Ijebu people. It is celebrated with great cuisine options, spectacular cultural dances and horsemanship.
MAJOR ATTRACTIONS AT OJUDE OBA FESTIVAL
There are several side attractions at the Ojude Oba Festival that tourist should look forward to:
- The display of matching colourful cultural attires by people of various age groups.
- Horsemanship display by warriors on beautifully adorned horses.
- Various display musical and cultural display by people of Ijebu Land.
- Competitions and prizes to be presented.