By; NIYI OGUNGBOLA, Abeokuta
The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has described the annual Ojude Oba as a festival that metamorphosed from a mere homage event by Ijebu sons and daughters, to a unifying traditional festival, not only among the Ijebus, but the entire people of the state.
Prince Dapo Abiodun who made this known at the 2019 edition of the Ojude Oba Festival, with the theme, ” Ojude Oba: The Uniqueness of the Ijebu Nation”, held in Ijebu-Ode, said the festival had become a major activity that brings about the major development of the Ijebu community and the State at large.
He noted that the festival was a celebration of the uniqueness of the Ijebu heritage, culture and tradition, adding that, no part of the country had been able to replicate the reputable culture and tradition showcased by the Ijebu clan under the leadership of the Awujale and Paramount ruler of Ijebu land.
The Governor said that the fatherly role of the Awujale at preserving the pomp of the festival over the years was highly commendable; adding that, the choice of the theme was apt, considering the fact that Ijebu land occupies an important place in the development agenda of the tate.
Abiodun who also noted that the festival had become one of the most popular socio- cultural event in the South Western part of the country, as well as a global attraction, added that, the festival had brought to fore, the cooperation and collaborative tendency of the rich Yoruba culture.
In his remarks at the event, the Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebu land, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, urged the governor to take care of the people, alleviate their sufferings and ensure that roads within the State are motorable.
The Awujale also charged the kingmakers to always protect the interest of the people and ensure that only viable candidates are appointed by resisting undue interference in their decision, stressing that Ijebu community must continue to prosper, even after his demise.
Earlier in his address, the Special Guest of Honour, Sir Kensington Adebutu, represented by Otunba Kola Oyefeso, described the Awujale as a rallying factor for the people of Ijebu land, appreciating other monarchs in Ijebu land for their trust and loyalty to his leadership over the years.
In her contribution, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Alhaja Salimot Ottun, described the event as a means of exchanging, promoting and displaying cultural values between States and international community, which according to her would promote the economy of the town, state and the country.
She noted that as the coordinating ministry, all observed lapses would be worked on in conjunction with the main committee for improvement in next year’s edition.
Mr Philip Tung, from China and the Atayero of Aramoko Kingdom, HRH Olusegun Aderemi, who had been attending the festival for years, urged the people to continue to cherish their beautiful tradition, applauding the colourful performances, which he noted was an improvement on the previous editions.