The Oke’badan Cultural Festival is an important festival cherished by the people of Ibadan, Oyo State; it is celebrated annually to serve as a reminder of the historical antecedent of Ibadan people; and it is a festival that brings together sons and daughters Ibadanland to advance ideas for its rapid development.
The festival’s name, Oke’badan, translates to “Hill of Ibadan” legends about the original site of Ibadan, which was located on a hill. Settlers from the east and north congregated on the hill during the 18th century; and it was gathered that from their resolution in that gathering, Ibadan was formed; but the hill has been deserted since then.
However, the legacy bequeathed to the people on that historic day remains till date. Oke’badan is believed to facilitate fertility for the barren, who participate in the festival; and it is also an occasion to honour the founders of Ibadan as well as the goddess of the hill.
The Oke’badan festival is organized annually by the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), which is an umbrella body for all the socio-cultural societies/clubs of Ibadan extraction, both at home and in the Diaspora.
One of the main objectives of the formation of CCII is to provide a forum for the coordination and harmonization of development efforts of the constituent societies towards the promotion of economic, social, educational and cultural interests of Ibadanland, with a view to achieving the fullest measure of effectiveness.
On this occasion of the grand finale, according to the President-General of Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), Chief Wole Akinwande, in his welcome address, the festival started in the year 1990, and had always been taking place in the month of November each year.
He disclosed that the event was shifted from November to every third Thursday of March in order to integrate Oke’badan festival with Aboke Day, as part of their celebration, so as to add more cultural contents to the annual re-union activities, thus reflecting the socio-cultural nature of the people.
Akinwande emphasized on the need to focus mainly on some critical challenges through the festival, which include, steadily dwindling size of financial members, youth empowerment and upgrading office equipment, ICT and sustainability of cultural activities in Ibadanland.
Speaking an exclusive interview with NICO Ibadan Corporate Affairs crew, the 2nd Assistant Secretary-General of Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, Alhaja Romoke Badmos, stated that the Council has the objectives of identifying and pursuing measures in all sectors including politics and culture that are conducive to the promotion of the welfare and progress of Ibadanland and its people, adding that the membership strength of the Council is over 230 clubs.
As part of the activities of this year’s festival, the Aboke, Chief Ifatola Ifamapowa, prayed for peace and stability in Ibadanland and Nigeria in general; while there were Egungun dances, warlords families’ displays, and recognition of many prominent Ibadan sons and daughters, who have contributed significantly to the development of Ibadanland.
This year’s event held at Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan; and NICO staffers that graced the occasion were Shola Aina, Abdulrazaq Mohammed, Bola Adedoyin and Sunday Ijasan.