1. I want to begin on a note of gratitude to Almighty God for allowing us to see another edition of the renowned Ojude Oba Festival. Once upon a time in Ijebuland, this occasion would have been the most significant marker of the passing year. It is, therefore, a joyous thing to witness the 2018 Annual Ojude Oba Festival and its display of bounteous blessings.

2. I congratulate most heartily the Kabiyesi Alaiyeluwa, Oba (Dr.) S. K. Adetona, CFR, Ogbagba II, Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland on this festival of pageantry, pomp and circumstance. Long may Kabiyesi preside over these glorious proceedings on the venerated throne of his Fathers. I commend the Ojude Oba Festival Committee for the meticulous planning and preparation that made possible the colourful canvas of culture spread out before us.

3. It is instructive to note the historical significance of this event, which is today among the top on the country’s festival calendar. This is, and has always been, a colourful feast of return that brings sons and daughters of Ijebuland home to celebrate and pay homage to our revered Kabiyesi, and to pray for continued progress in the land.

4. When we talk about the resilience and dynamism of culture, Ojude Oba is a case in point. It is always wonderful to see this proud display of culture that you have consistently showcased for over a hundred years. I expect that memories of today will linger on in the minds of all who are here, or see the images. The visual feast of the Regberegbes (Age Grades) is already well known and iconic, as they present themselves before Kabiyesi in colourful uniform attires made with creativity and flair, and pray for his continued health and long life. Also famous is the equestrian parade by the Baloguns of the Ruling Houses, memorable for its display of a noble tradition. I must admit that this part of the festival holds a special appeal for me, due to its similarity to the Durbar in my part of the country, the latest of which we held in Ilorin just yesterday.

5.  In the array of sartorial tradition of this festival, as evident in the impressive attires worn by the various groups, Ojude Oba promotes and reinforces the culture of the people. Indeed, there is much assurance in the knowledge that these activities are in a continuum with the past; they show that we can always draw the best from that glorious past to shore us up for the challenges of today.

6. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, while Ojude Oba provides a platform for the Ijebus to meet, interact and showcase their cultural heritage, we also know that the significance of the festival goes much deeper. Typically held on the third day after Eid el Kabir, this is a festival that unites the faiths. Despite its origins in Islam, the festival does not exclude any religious groups. I would like to say, with some emphasis, that our dear country, Nigeria, would do well to draw important lessons from an event such as this. We are one. Religion should not constitute a wedge or barrier between us. This is what illustrious Ijebu people demonstrate to us yearly with this festival. Muslims, Christians and others can be found among us here today, and I understand that this is how it has been since the very beginning. This is salutary, and worthy of commendation to Nigeria and the world.  

7. In addition, Ojude Oba affirms that Nigeria’s cultures are veritable sources of revenue, if well packaged. With the return of thousands of people to their ancestral homes for this festival, and thousands more attending as visitors, the local economy will, without a doubt, get a boost. This is tourism in action. Essentially, domestic tourism is being promoted here, and this is how it should be all over the country. It is therefore necessary for more parts of Nigeria to follow this worthy example, in order to showcase the beauty of our culture to the larger world.

8. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is heartening that Ojude Oba is already setting the pace in this regard. As we all can see, international visitors are already a fixture at the Awujale Palace Extension, sampling the delights of the spectacular displays. The tourists send the captivating images out to the world, proving that Africa is also a place of joy, glamour and dance.

9. Importantly, the organisers are also ensuring the festival’s sustainability with the participation of youths at these events. Culture is an expression of the heart and soul of the people, it is emblematic of their identity. Culture carries the template of who we are, as a projection to the outer world, and the future. Children are inheritors of that future. The engagement of youths at the Ojude Oba Festival is therefore commendable indeed.

10. Ojude Oba fosters unity among all Ijebu people, and this is another way in which we as a nation could take a leaf from this festival. Unity is paramount; unity is key. When we are united, we achieve more. When we are united, we record monumental progress. I urge us all, therefore, to pursue more activities that will unite our various peoples.

11. Our diversity is our strength. We must, therefore, continue to initiate programmes that will bring us together and further highlight the fact that we are one and the same. In over a century of Ojude Oba, Ijebu citizens have shown us that unity will always lead to progress, and that there is strength in unity. This is a shining example for us all.

12. Kabiyesi Alaiyeluwa, Your Royal Majesties and Highnesses, Eminent Chiefs, Distinguished Guests and illustrious Ijebu indigenes, I congratulate you all, once again, for this unique and historical celebration. Indeed, the longevity of Ojude Oba is further proof that ancient culture can thrive in modernity as a living tradition.

13. The festival’s continuing success and growth is a testament to the vibrancy and cosmopolitanism of the people of Ijebuland, and we celebrate it with you. It is my hope that everyone – indigenes as well as visitors from near and far – will enjoy this year’s festival. Long live the Ojude Oba Festival.


Abubakar Bukola Saraki MBBS CON (pronunciationⓘ; born on 19 December 1962) is a Nigerian politician who served as the 13th president of the Nigerian Senate from 2015 to 2019.[1][2] He previously served as the governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011; and was elected to the Senate in 2011, under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing the Kwara Central Senatorial District, and then re-elected in the 2015 general elections