By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA-The Awujale and paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona has said that the invitaton of the Senate President ,Dr. Bukola Saraki as a Special guest of honour at the 2018 Ojude-Oba festival has nothing to do with politics.
Awujale said ,despite the recent defection of Senator Saraki from All Progressives Congress to the Peoples Democratic Party,his present status as Senate President was enough reason for his invitation to this year Ojude-Oba festival that comes up two days after eid Kabir (muslim festival).
The monarch who was represented by Chairman Planning Committee of the 2018 Ojude -Oba festival, Otunba Wahab Osinusi stated this,yesterday, at the palace hall, Ijebu Ode.
Awujale however, commended the Chairman and founder of Globacom,Otunba Mike Adenuga who he described as the main sponsor of the annual festival.
The monarch said the annual festival which had existed for over two centuries, was being sustained by major sponsors of the festival such as Globacom, First City Monument Bank Plc among others.
The Monarch said ” Ojude- Oba has nothing to do with the politics on ground, APC government had been invited, PDP members from Federal to the state have also been invited . If you will recall , former Senate President , Senator David Mark was here. Governor Aminu Tambuwal was here and they were not the only people we invited.
” We don’t do with politics with Ojude-Oba . The choice was made before the Senate President defected and events were unfolding. And you cannot at this time said no. He was invited as a Nigerian like traditional rulers from Oyo who had been here . At this year festival, Emirs will also be here.
“We had also invited the governor of Bayelsa state governor Seriake Dickson . The invitation has nothing to do with what is going on. Saraki is coming to Ojude-Oba as the Special guest of honour this year”,he said.
Awujale however,said it is erroneous to refer to the festival as an avenue only for fashion and cultural display, but, described it as a veritable platform to transform Ijebuland in terms of infrastructural development.
He noted that the age grades popularly known as the ‘Regberegbe’ all conceive and execute various projects annually aimed at further developing Ijebuland.
Osinusi, who said for example, one of the age grade societies, known as ‘Egbe
Bobagbeye’has constructed a maternity centre and eye clinic, due for inauguration soon.
He said some others among the age grade groups had awarded scholarship to indigent but brilliant students of Ijebu origin in different levels of education.
He noted that the festival though had its origin in Islam, it was now being celebrated by Muslims, Christians, and traditionalists, adding that it was also a rallying for Ijebu sons and daughters.
He said, “The festival is not only about equestrian display, parade of culture and tradition, merry-making and fun fair.
“It provides the Ijebu nation the opportunity to supplicate to the almighty God, take stock, embark on self-help projects and reunite with family members and acquaintances.”