Ibadan Insider History: Okebadan festival
Okebadan festival is part of our cultural heritage which is very important and cherished by the people of Ibadan. The festival is one of the many colourful and glamorous festivals celebrated in the city of Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State and the third largest city in Africa. Oke’badan festival is held annually in the Month of March to celebrate the founding of Ibadan and show gratitude to its founders as well; and also to unite the sons and daughters of Ibadan at home and in the diaspora.
The Annual 2018 edition of the annual Ibadan Cultural Festival week already commenced on Friday, March 2, 2018, with a Jumat service at Ibadan central mosque, Oja’ba, Ibadan and other mosques in Ibadanland.
According to The President General, Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, CCII, Chief Yemi Soladoye noted that the week-long festival will run between Friday, March 2 to Saturday, March 10, 2018.
I was able to dig more information on what the Okebadan festival is all about. Our culture is our pride
According to history, it was Lagelu who founded Ibadan. There was a particular hill, in which he hid himself during the war, that hill favoured him. Whenever he went to war he conquered. The Aboke would present him with rituals or sacrifice before going to war.
In this present time, no one prays for war, we want a peaceful co-existence and unity. Aboke is the chief priest of the Okebadan festive who is charged with the responsibility to offer sacrifice to gods. Ibadan Insider discovered that “Isin Oba” is always celebrated few weeks before Oke-Badan festival. It serves as the opener for other festivals like Egungun and Oro.
Aboke belongs to the Lagelu family Whenever any Aboke Chief dies, Ifa priest has to be consulted. Whoever Ifa chooses becomes the next Aboke.
It was by Odu Ose Meji divination of Ifa oracle that Ibadan was founded by Lagelu. Ose Meji festival is celebrated annually. During this celebration, the Aboke is expected to plait his hair and must not put on shoes.
Back in the olden days, forefathers made use of the slaves they captured during wars for Oke Ibadan sacrifice. But this idea was halted since there is no more war or slave trade. History has it that Lagelu appealed to the hill through Ifa to accept something else instead of human beings. This led to the use of cow. The issue of strangers or human beings does not arise. Oke Ibadan ritual is not placed in just anywhere, it has a target, it is strictly meant for that hill. It takes place in the afternoon Osan gangan.
The least among the wives in the family who hasn’t got any sibling will carry the rituals with a life goat. Someone will carry other ingredients for sacrifice to the market. Once the Aboke gets there, he uses kola nut as a mark of honour to ask question from the oracle before serving the rituals to all targeted areas. Other relevant ingredients are goats, dogs, bulls, fowls, docks, snails, pigeons, etc.
Role of Aboja
Aboja directs the movement and other related activities performed by Aboke. Aboja is the only person assigned the duty of performing the ritual, by cutting dog as well as cutting goat at Oke-Badan Shrine at Oja-Oba, in Ibadan. It is spiritually mandatory to cut each one. He uses cutlass to perform this action. He cuts each within a twinkle of an eye, without missing his target. The sacrifice has to be placed in 16 strategic places in Ibadan, among which are Gege, Lagelu, Kudeti andAwotan.
Ekuru is a type of food made from beans. It is an interesting night, it is to inform the people that Oke-Badan festival is around the corner. The Olubadan of Ibadan and his chiefs are presented with Ekuru. The second day, this food is presented to the Governor of Oyo State and the local government chairman concerned. This is part of the preparation for Oke-Badan Day.
On the Oke Ibadan day, food must not be cooked, no fire whatsoever. Any food intended to be eaten must be prepared on the eve of Oke-badan until the early morning of that day. People are always warned to follow the instructions.
It is believed that anyone who cooks or makes fire on Oke-badan day, would provoke the gods and would be visited with high fever in that family. Okebadan festival is of peace, joy and blessing.
It is a family made soap. Ose Aboke is strictly meant for the family of Aboke. Sons and daughters of Aboke are trained on how to prepare this special soap. This special soup training is strictly for the Aboke family, so no one from the outside should have the knowledge as it is not meant to be sold. Anyone who needs it, only need to ask for it for healing purposes. The soup is believed to have the ability to cure measles or smallpox. The infected person only needs to apply this soap to their palm with little water and rub it on their body. Having done that, the person is served a glass cup of water with the soap already diluted in it to drink.
Why Aboke walks barefooted with Plaited hair
Aboke must plait his hair and must not wear shoes. He walks around barefooted as chief Aboke anywhere he goes. Since Aboke’s forefathers had a covenant with Lagelu who then plaited his hairs and walked barefooted, it is paramount for all Abokes to follow suit