The day started with light showers of rain that went on to become a heavy shower in the morning of Sunday, September 3rd. This however did not deterred the sons and daughters of Ijebu Ode to be gaily dressed and head out for this year's Ojude Oba festival.
Ojude Oba is a festival which takes place annually the third day of the Eid-al-Adha or Sallah. Sons and daughters of Ijebuland with their family and friends gather at the pavilion opposite the palace to pay homage to the Awujale of Ijebuland. This year's theme is Ojude Oba: A Rich Heritage For Ijebu Unity.
They converge in their different age group also known as 'Regberegbe' in their colourful attires from head to toe. The beautiful colours all over the arena makes it a carnival like festival.
The 'Regberegbes' was revived by the present Awujale, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, Ogbagba II, for the continuous growth and development of Ijebuland.
The 'Regberegbe' Concept
The Ijebus are known for the sociable lifestyle throughout the Yoruba Kingdom. They are enterprising, self-reliant, innovative and hardworking and they play hard as well.
'Regberegbe' is the systematic organisation of age grades with different titles reflecting significant events in their years. The group work jointly to help each other in times of dire need and jointly build community projects and empower their communities with facilities.
Examples of the 'Regberegbe' group with the significant events during their age range are
a) Egbe Moradegun, for people born (1813-1816). They refer to the high taste and pleasing popularity for high fashion
b) Egbe Mafowoku, for people born (1845-1848). The name means "Never be in dearth of money" because prosperity reached its peak during their birth period.
Most of the age group names are centered around the Paramount ruler, the Awujale,
c) Egbe Bobaloju, for those born (1849-1852) are to "help the king maintain unity among the town people."
d) Egbe Gbobaniyi, for those born (1857-1860) are to "Honour the king in all they do"
e) Egbe Arobayo, for those born (1873-1876) are those who rejoice in the presence of the king.
Some of the most recent 'Regberegbe' groups are
f) Egbe Jagunmolu, for those born (1965-1967)
g) Egbe Arobayo, for those born (1968-1970)
h) Egbe Tobalase, for those born (1971-1973)
i) Egbe Bobamaiyegun, for those born (1974-1976)
There are different highlights for the festival starting with
The different age group dance from their seats to the front of the Awujale and other dignitaries. The older version of the group with their representative in the regberegbe council goes up to pay homage to the Awujale.
Each group display their planned choreography on which they are judged as well as their whole attires from head to toes. This is same for both the male and female group. For this year, Egbe Bobamaiyegun won the first prize of 500,000, while the female category was won by Egbe Arobayo.
These are beautifully dressed horses with their riders. These display is led by the Balogun, Chief Agboola Alusa, who is an Ijebu war hero descendant. The horse riders are from the Balogun families. Some of the families includes Balogun Kuku, Balogun Adesoye, Balogun Otubu amd Balogun Towobola.
The horse riders are announced into the pavilion with gun shots. This is a bit similar to the Durbar festival in the North, though the Durbar is mainly about the horses and their riders.
Each parade is more of a fashion parade, from the artistic gele to the beautiful clothes and the foot wear for the ladies. The embroidery cap with different patterns, emblems and colours for the males. It is a complete fashion runway with so many array of colours all over the place.
There were many side shows at different parts of the town. After the parades at the pavilion, each age group will move the party to different designated points in town.
It is all fun and party till night fall. Make it a date next year. For more pictures from the event, click here