By Damilola Faustino
One of the biggest festivals in Nigeria is the Ojude-Oba festival which usually takes place in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun, South-West, Nigeria on the third day of the Sallah celebration. This year’s festival will take place on Sunday, 3rd September 2017. As such, we share the important things tourists and visitors need to know about the festival.
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.
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.
Features 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
Excessive display of culture and tradition
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.
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.
Experience the festival in the slides above.