Governors of Ogun Bayelsa and Kaduna states, Ibikunle Amosun, Seriake Dickson and Nasir el-Rufai, respectively have rated the annual Ojude Oba festival in Ijebuland, as a world-class cultural and historical festival that should be listed on the global tourism calendar.
They spoke on Wednesday at the celebration of the event, which holds every third day after the yearly Eid-el-Kabir festival.
Amosun said the cultural festival had become a rallying point for not only the sons and daughters of Ijebuland, but the whole country.
He commended the paramount ruler and Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, for sustaining the festival, describing it as “a marriage of culture and tradition.”
He said his administration would ensure that the festival was listed on the global tourism platform.
He said Ojude Oba could help the nation’s economy by generating billions of naira, if eventually listed on the global tourism map.
Amosun appealed to politicians to always put the people first in everything they were doing.
He said, “It does not matter whether it is party A or party B, that is in government, what should matter should be the welfare of the masses.”
Dickson, on his part, described Ojude Oba as a comprehensive cultural and historical display.
He said the festival was one cultural event that could be exported to the world.
He said, “Ojude Oba is not only for Ijebuland or the people of Ogun State, we need to showcase it to the rest of the world.”
Dickson, who linked his maternal grandmother to the Fidipote family in Ijebu Ode, said “there is unity and strength in diversity.”
El-Rufai, who said he was attending the festival as the ‘son’ of the Awujale, described the monarch as a man of great wisdom, unparallelled courage and integrity.
He also commended the festival as colourful and highly entertaining.
The event witnessed parades by the different age grades popularly referred to as ‘regberegbe’, and the horse riders (Baloguns), who turned out in colourful attires to pay homage to the Awujale one after the other.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman, Globacom, Dr. Mike Adenuga, emphasised the need for parents to pass the cultural values of the Nigerian ethnic nations to their wards in order to preserve the tradition of unity and social cohesion taught by cultural events like the Ojude Oba festival.
Adenuga, whose company, Globacom, has sponsored the event for 10 years as part of its Glo Heritage Series, argued that unless parents took it upon themselves to propagate the values behind the cultural event, the next generation might consider the festival fetish and abandoned it.
He noted that the theme of this year’s celebration, Ojude Oba: Our Culture, Our Pride, captured the societal relevance of the festival as a source of pride and honour for the Ijebu race.
Adenuga, who was represented at the event by the Commercial Coordinator, Business Enterprise, Mr. Folu Aderibigbe, said, “Over the years, Ojude Oba has remained not only a point of crystallisation and social re-engineering; it is as well an avenue for the constellation of ideas and initiatives that are geared towards prompting the growth of the society and the wellness of its people.”
He, however, declared that unless the next generation understood the essence of the festival, it would soon become moribund especially in the event of the growing penchant for Western cultures by the Nigerian youth.
According to him, Ojude Oba is also an exhibition platform to display the cultural wealth of the people and the values that unite them.
Oba Adetona, gave kudos to Globacom for its commitment to the promotion of culture and tradition in Nigeria through its Heritage Series.