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HomeExecutive BriefOjude Oba: Beyond the glamours and steeze

Ojude Oba: Beyond the glamours and steeze

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By Oludare Mayowa

The Ojude Oba festival, held annually in Ijebu Ode, the ancestral capital of Ijebu land in Ogun State, south-west Nigeria, has come and gone for this year, but the revibrating effect continues to generate many reactions on both social and traditional media.

The festival, which was preliminarily held three days after the Islamic Eld Molud by the Muslim faithful to appreciate the Monarch of Ijebuland for allowing them to practice their faith, has snowballed into an interfaith, intertribal, and international festival.

The event has continued to attract visitors from across cultural and tribal divides and has equally attracted corporate sponsorship from notable brands that decided to tap into the publicity attracted by the colourful programme.

Ijebuland is notable for its indigene’s industriousness and their shrewdness, coupled with their flamboyant lifestyle, which has gained prominence globally.

Ijebu people are reputed to be enterprising, flourishing in trade and commerce while also known to have a tight hold on their finances, which led to misrepresentation among some people that they are stingy.

By and large, one of the well-established characteristics of Ijebu people is their love for elaborate social events and stylish gear, which often showcase their love for culture and display of wealth.

All these and more were on display during the recently concluded Ojude Oba festival and the entire social media space remains agog with the fallout of the event.

The Monarch, the Awujale of Ijebu Land, Oba Sikiru Adetona, who has reigned over the land for the past 64 years, has equally gained the respect and admiration of many Nigerians, dating back the dark and notorious reign of late dictator Sani Abacha regime.

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He was the only monarch who stood his ground to defend one of his subjects, Oladipo Diya, the then chief of staff who was indicted by the brutish regime of Abacha over a fathom coup.
Since then, his reputation has soared, and he has become a reference point for honesty, integrity, and civility.

The growth in popularity and attendance at the Ojude Oba carnival over the years has been attributed to the personae of the King; he is said to be well-loved by his people, admired by others, and politicians who want to gain from his social capital to elevate their profile for election purposes.

The coming together by indigenes of the town from all walks of life to participate in the events is also said to have been a derivative of the expression of love to the monarch; who has lifted the Ijebu land image and profile in the country and south-west in particular.

This year’s event in particular has attracted significant publicity as a result of the level of glamourization of the festival by participants, particularly the elevation of class by one of the participants whose deliberate branding prowess has gained significant attention in both social and traditional media.

Ex-stock exchange executive Farooq Oreagba has since the event become a social media celebrity and gained tremendous exposure for the panacea he displayed at the forum, which caught the attention of many folks in the media.

There are other participants whose level of glamour attracted attention, thereby lifting the profile of the event and leading to calls from various people for the organisers to enlarge the event in scope and tradition.

While it was imperative that the event gain significant attention and attract major brands to sponsor it in a bid to expose their brand to the large audience that hocked up to the event both online and offline, it seems there are more to be achieved by the organisers of the programme.

For instance, beyond the one-day impact of the festival on trade and commerce within the town, there should be some long-term approach to deploy the popularity of the event to further attract development to the town in the areas of tourism, industry, and physical development.

Many expect the government, specifically the Ogun State, to take the event to a higher notch to boost tourism by expanding physical infrastructure such as roads and hospitality facilities in the town.

The government, through its ministry of tourism, could decide to curate the history of the town and the yearly event by establishing a museum where traditional gear worn by the previous monarch of the town is put on display to  further showcase the historical heritage of the town.

Those politicians who take delight in thronging into the town only during the Ojude Oba festival could collaborate with the indigenes to immortalise the current Awujale through the establishment of a leadership institute in his honour.

This is to also ensure that many tourists from abroad who would want to take advantage of participating in the Ojude Oba are also provided other opportunity within the town to find other places of heritage to visit.

Equally, the indigenes could use the opportunity of their yearly visit to the town during the Ojude Oba festival to establish local industry that could process the local food and package them for export to further boost the economy of the town.

The clothing industry can also benefit from the event, while major foreign and local designers should be invited to hold a runway either a day preceding the event or a day after to further provide more opportunity for visitors to enjoy their stay in the town.

More importantly, the traditional clothing, outfits, and accessories used during the show should be locally produced, thereby creating opportunities for employment and expanding the local culture.
It’s not enough to hold such a glamorous event, attracting personalities from all walks of life with lavish displays of wealth, and yet the large number of people in the city are not able to feel the impact on their well-being.

A more creative approach to organising the event would ensure that more indigenes would be able to feel the impact of the event through the promotion of the cultural heritage of the town and the attraction of more participants who will surely come to spend money in the town to purchase traditional wear and accessories.

Such an event could be replicated across the country to further boost the country’s rich cultural heritage and increase visitors to the country during the festive period. Every part of the country is blessed with cultural heritage they can put on display to enable them to attract visitors and thereby boost their local economy.

For Farouq Oreagba, this year’s showstopper, his profile has suddenly shot up, and he has also been able to communicate to the world his cancer story, gaining some momentum about his campaign against cancer.

We also hope by next year, many more people will have learned from the intentionality of Oreagba to position his brand for free exposure and gain some leverage and social capital.

It’s also an opportunity for major brands in the country to take advantage of the Ojude Oba festival to further position themselves for customers’ attention and patronage, further providing the opportunity for brand experts to promote their professional prowess.

(Contact; omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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