Ojude Oba Festival: Counting The Economic And Social Cost

Ojude Oba Festival: Counting The Economic And Social Cost

Witnessing the Ojude Oba festival 2024 was enthralling for most Nigerians – even for those that only had the luxury of viewing it on their phones via social media. We were mesmerized by the display of culture, the colour, the optics, and more than anything the magnitude of ostentatious wealth on display.

 

The Ojude Oba festival, also known as the King’s Forecourt, is a festival celebrated by Yoruba’s hailing from the prestigious town of Ijebu-Ode & By Extension the Entire Ijebu-Land in Ogun State. The festival which lasts for three days following the Eid al-Kabir holidays is held to reverence and pay homage to the Royal Majesty, the Awujale of Ijebuland.

From the parade of the ‘Regberegbe,’ various age groups – about 90 different ones coming out in droves to express their loyalty and respect for the monarch, to cultural performances, affluent horse riding, and so much more, Ojude Oba festival will hold your attention. The festival is graced by various dignitaries from far and wide, various top industry leaders, and tourists.

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Ojude Oba Festival: Counting The Economic And Social Cost

As an Ijebu man through and through, the Balogun of Egbe Bobasete Akile Ijebu, an investment Banker turned entrepreneur, and an active participant of the festival, I could see the vast level of economic activity that unfolded right before me – as well as the economic velocity of such financial contributions to the economy of Ijebu Ode.

I can also confirm that if there’s any one thing you should know about the Ijebu’s, it is that they party just as hard as they work – and when it comes to planning our generation’s old festival, we spare no expense. We see the beauty of our matching attire by groups with lavish adornments, head to toe. We see the designer glasses, the expensive accessories, and can only fathom the momentous influx of economic power of this event to an erstwhile quiet city.

 

While many have come to associate this with waste or flamboyancy, suggesting that the money be put to more important use like building roads or factories, I beg to differ. For one, what cultural festival in the world does contribution towards social infrastructure? In a world of dying traditions and culture, any form of cultural preservation must be embraced with open arms. For many, the annual festival is the only time they visit home and connect with families from all over the world. Ijebu’s from across the world converge in their hometown physically every year for this celebration.

 

It is pertinent to note that value must not only be assessed quantitatively. The colourful celebration of the festival showcasing the rich heritage of the Ijebu’s, is a tourist’s dream. How about the esprit de corps of families coming in their numbers, and happy to use their resources to make the festival monumental? A good example is the involvement of Dr. Mike Adenuga, Alhaji.Sulaimon Adebola Adegunwa, Aare Emmanuel King sponsoring the event annually through their company, Globacom, Rite-Foods Ltd & Adron Homes Respectively. What about the high-quality networking that could birth newer opportunities for many? These and more are qualitative benefits that must also be factored in.

Yet, quantitatively, the numbers are evident. What does it mean when around a million people from all over the world return home for a festival? By my accounts, the event contributed at least 40 billion Naira to the economy of Ijebu Land. The festival, I dare say, is one of the largest economic activities of Ogun State, especially given that Nigeria is a service driven economy. For an event of this magnitude to have been pulled, think of the halls, hotels, food, drinks, etc sourced for it.

 

Special thanks of course, has to be given the Ogun State Governor, H.E Prince Dapo Abiodun, CON for his continuous dedicated support to the Royal family, as well as for being part of an Egbe himself. The festival breaths life into Nigeria’s under-appreciated tourism landscape, with potential for even more value.

Ojude Oba Festival: Counting The Economic And Social Cost

The Ojude Oba festival is certainly deserving of a UNESCO recognition, and more than anything, Nigerians of different cultures should be proud of the achievements of the festival and look to emulate this significant cultural and economic event for the common good of the nation.

 

 

Bankole Habeeb Olugbile (BHO)

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