Ojude Oba Festival In Ijebu-Ode
The annual Ojude Oba festival, started some hundred years ago when Imam Tunwatoba in company of his family members, visited his friend, Oba Fidipote, the then Awujale of Ijebuland to pay homage and show appreciation to the king for his efforts in ensuring that Islamic religion blossomed in his province.
Since then, what started as a show of courtesy has snowballed into one of the biggest flagship cultural festivals that attracts tourists from different parts of the world to Nigeria.
Though when it started, it was based on religious sentiments but it has over the years grown into a major socio-cultural activity for all sons and daughters of Ijebu.
Ijebu Ode is a Local Government Area and city located in south-western Nigeria with an estimated population of 222,653 (2007. It is the second largest city in Ogun state after Abeokuta. The city is sited 1io km by road north-east of Lagos and enjoys a warm tropical climate.
Agemo which fore-runs the Ojude-Oba festival is a symbol of unity among the Ijebus. There are a total of 16 Agemos in various parts of the town.
All the Agemos come out every July. The Agemo is a mat-dancer and women are forbidden from seeing the Agemo on their way to Ijebu-Ode where they all meet before moving to Imodi Mosan, where the Agemo Festival takes place .Agemo of Ijebu-Isiwo is the leader of all Agemo in Ijebu land. A public announcement is made on radio and television to inform everyone the exact time Agemo will be moving.
The Ojude Oba festival of Ijebu-Ode is usually held two days after the Ileya festival while the Ojude Oba festival of Ijebu-Isiwo is usually held three days after the Ileya. All indigenes of Ijebu both at home and in the diaspora are expected to come home for the festival, kill a ram, even if they are no longer Moslems. They are also expected to attend the Ojude Oba for them to dance with their age groups before the Awujale.
The introduction of the age group dance was introduced 50 years ago by the then Awujale of Ijebu-Ode. The age groups are classified into a set of five years each. The contest that usually ensues between these age groups from the oldest to the youngest, male versus female while trying to outdo each other in choice of exquisite local attires when displaying before the king is usually one of the high points of the annual festival.
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