Ojude Oba is a festive gathering of indigenes of Ijebuland. It is held in Ijebu Ode, a town in Ogun state, southwestern Nigeria. It is held annually the third day after Eid al-Kabir where the indigenes of Ijebuland gather at the Awujale palace to pay homage to the Royal majesty, the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona.
The festival started in 1890 as Ita Oba festival and later renamed as Ojude Oba. The festival is a cultural heritage that is woven from threads of diversity, history, legend and conquest. The festival came into existence when the earliest Muslim converts in Ijebu Ode paid homage to the Awujale of Ijebuland to thank him for granting them freedom to practice their religion. Today, however the festival has broken past religious boundaries and now attracts people of all faith as well as tourists from within and outside Nigeria.
Several activities highlight the festival, activities such as;
- Parades by different age grades (Regberegbes). Different age grades both male and female sides show off their colorful attires to the Awujale. Both genders belonging to different age grades will attempt to outwit each other employing different tactics to be declared the best. The winners of the display are awarded cash prizes.
- Different horse riding families led by the Balogun come out to display and entertain the King and the audience with their skills. The Balogun is the descendants of Ijebu war heroes who led warriors to battle during war. Some of the horse riding families includes Balogun Odunuga, Balogun Bello Odueyungbo kuku, Balogun Agboola Alausa, Balogun Alatishe, Balogun Otubu, Balogun Adesoye Onasanya, Balogun Odejayi, Balogun Aragbesola, Balogun Towobola, and Balogun Ajinike Odebina. Their entry is announced by intermittent gunshots which send almost everyone into frenzy.
- Corporate organizations, telecommunication companies such as Globacom telecommunication hold beauty pageants or other form of competition for the youths with several cash prizes.
- Parades, traditional songs, equestrian skill displays and lots more are also on the menu for entertainment.
The festival attracts over two hundred thousand attendees from across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria and abroad. The festivities attract all Ijebus from home and abroad. International tourists also come to witness the colorful festival. The festival is often sponsored by the seating Awujale, the people of Ijebu-ode, individuals and corporate organizations, who also use the opportunity to advertise their products and also give back to the community. The festival which serves as a tourist attraction in Nigeria helps pull in foreign investors interested in Nigeria.
It is important to note that when attending Ojude Oba festival, if coming from distance book a hotel in Ijebu ode as early as possible before it gets booked out, attendees should try to arrive as early as possible, have a pouch or purse to keep all your essentials and gadgets in, leave kids at home as they might wander off into the crowd at the slightest distraction and ensure to stay together as due to the massive turn out of people at the festival, it may be difficult to locate anyone who strays.