Odogbolu Day: The Music and History of the Annual Yoruba Festival

festivalBy Babatunde Odubanwo

Historically, the town is an amalgamation of eight old communities who voluntarily decided to come together in order to wade off incessant war attacks.

The name ODOGBOLU in the Yoruba parlance means settlement of Ogolu, having her siblings in Akure North Local Government Area in Ondo State, this place is known as ita-ogbolu meaning the gathering of points of Ogbolu; because of the different sources of these various settlements, they maintained up-to-date the origin of their ancestors’ base coming under the leadership of three different crown heads in Odo-ogbolu- each of them maintaining undisputed sovereignty of his area of domain sprawling through the sphere.

The rulers are known by their titles as follows:

Each royal stool is fully backed by all judiciary cognition, a feat so maintained since the colonial era; the recent title for the royal head being;Alaye of Odogbolu. The town Odogbolu cannot be exempted from the spiritual stratosphere, as she maintains an irrepressible stance and scepter of autonomy of the highly reverent cults of the land known as Agemo ofiwoyoyo.

It should be noted that three communities namely: Ibefun, Eyinwa and Odogbolu do maintain cordial blood relationship till date as accentuated by a unifying panegyrics, popularly known in the Yoruba mythology as Oriki- an item of such says:

“Ope oyinbo fu dudu sewa”
“Egun re nara elewa”
“Le nura now

Literally meaning:

The Outer beauty of the pineapple,
Is a mere cover-up;
Underlaid thorns are numerous.

The Efiyan community is marked for commerce and trade, a unifying profession of the entire Ijebu race. To this end, there exists a market known to be the second biggest after the Odogbolu market. The market, located along the Dipo Diya road, is popularly known as “OJA EFIYAN and directly behind the market place is a one-stop rendezvous for revellers -Channels Restaurant. It includes in its repertoire of culinary essence- Continental and Local Dishes. The ambiance is airy and accommodating aided by strict adherence of hygiene as the building is painted in whited color.

Geographically, Ikenne and Odogbolu forms the heart center of the entire Ijebuland.

Women dancing at the festival. Photo/AuthorProvided

The social sphere of this ancient community has not lagged thus far it plays host to different activities, one of which is the ODOGOLU DAY as christened by all. Caked with jamboree, flavored by the indigenes’ commendable sense of hospitality and unrivaled goodwill.

The yearly festival held in December brings together the sons and daughters of the soil far and near, each year is marked by innovation, creativity and nativity. It is an all-embracing end-of-the-year convergence which is solely aimed at promoting the true spirit of affableness which is the hue that has upheld these trio-clan as one for decades.

The festival began in the early 1970s and is a heritage aptly laid down by the founding fathers of this laudable occasion, which has since grown over the years with stereotypes of civilities as a welcome idea to both local and foreign audiences.

Albeit, a one-day fun fair, the chains of ceremonies is a cynosure to behold, a wonder that makes for a long drooling gape. Both young and old are cited in various spots settled to watch different rituals and ceremonies like Igbekere Night. Adults share wines and food, deep gulps of friendship and smiling faces.

The organizers of this annual event have succinctly raised the bar of cultural renaissance, a step in the right direction coming at a time when the world reeks with the pandemonium of self-identification and discovery with its attendant effects evident in some national clamoring for a need to search for true ancestral sources.

The event is a challenge in all ramifications to both state governments as well as the center of the federal administration in contributing their own quota in realizing the formal result of a true cultural development.

Babatunde Odubanwo is a Lagos based freelance journalist and poet. He is a lover and fan of all things travel, art and Nigeria.