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Celebrating Ojude Oba, Durbar, Nigeria's Heritage Amid Musawa's African Grammy Controversy

Last Tuesday, the Ijebu people of Ogun State dazzled the world with their yearly Ojude Oba festival. Translated as the Festival of the King’s Courtyard, this event has been one of Nigeria’s most glamorous cultural and spiritual festivals for over a century. Held on the third day after Eid al-Adha, it showcases the Ijebu’s rich sartorial elegance and communal cohesion, attracting over a million attendees.
The festival traces its origins to the late 19th century when Chief Kuku Oduyingbo and Imam Tunwatoba, recent converts to Islam, gathered friends and family to pay homage to Awujale Oba Fidipote. Today, thanks to Dr. Mike Adenuga’s Globacom sponsorship, Ojude Oba has evolved into a major cultural event that highlights the importance of group associations like the age-grade societies known as Wompari.
Similar in grandeur is the Durbar festival, an annual Hausa cultural and equestrian event dating back to the 14th century. Celebrated in northern Nigerian emirates, it features a colorful mounted parade in homage to the Emir, reflecting Hausa’s historical horsemen traditions.
Nigerian music has also gained global recognition, with artists like Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, and Wizkid showcasing Afrobeat and hip-hop blends to international audiences. Despite Nigeria’s burgeoning music industry, ranked second globally, Minister of Art, Culture, and Creative Economy Hannatu Musawa’s plan to create an African version of the Grammy Awards has sparked controversy. Critics argue that it undermines existing African music award platforms and perpetuates neo-colonialism.
Instead, Musawa should strengthen and collaborate with existing African music awards like the South African Music Awards (SAMA), Trace Awards, and AFRIMA, while promoting Nigeria’s rich cultural festivals like Ojude Oba and Durbar on the world stage.

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Written by Charles Daisi

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