Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
Ogidi, a rustic community tucked in a greenery hithertland surrounded by rocks is an agrarian settlement. It is where nature is at its best — the topography, the climate, the warmth of the people, the tradition and culture of the people are magnetic delights that draw tourists to the town especially during the Yuletide periods, special festivals or celebration of the Ogidi Day
The community located in ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi sytate and some few minutes drive from Kabba, is noted for its deep cultural and artistic heritage. It is the country home of renown batik artist and cultural plenipotentiary Nike Davies Okunaiye , Olympic Gold splinters medalist, late Sunday Bada and a host of notable Nigerians.
Of all the socio- cultural festivals in the community, the celebration of of Ogidi Day in June every year stands out. The day is meant to celebrate the eating of the new yam and to show case the cultural heritage of the community to the outside world
It is a day that people look up to as it draws the low and mighty in the society including ambassadors and citizens of other nations to the area.
This year’s Ogidi Day was indeed great and exceptionally filled with frills and thrills.
It started about 12 noon when the community chiefs- the Igemos, the Orotas- filed out in their different colourful attires to dance round the venue to pay obeisance to the Ologidi, Oba Rabiu Oladimeji Sule, and to greet invited traditional rulers and dignitaries.
This cultural procession was closely followed by the community hunters’ group, the “Gbarufu’ – the untitled youth groups, market women group and various associations/ clubs in the community followed by cultural troupes from different states
In turn the “Agidigbos” – traditional singers joined the procession with the Agbo masqurade leading other masqurades (some of which are dreadful looking) dance round the community playground closely followed by Oba Oladimeji.
As soon as the monarch settled down at the podium,the president of Ogidi Development Association (PDA), Kayode Eniolorunda, delivered his welcome address
He said the Ogidi Day celebration which started 12 years ago was a rallying point and s symbol of unity for all sons and daughters of the community who he said usually pool their resources together to provide social amenities to better the lots of their people.
He called on the state government to rehabilitate the major road linking the town and provide portable water , good health facilities and other social amenities for the people of the area.
The presentation of the new yam by Yeyeoba of Ogidi and the proprietor of Nike gallery, Okundaiye, to the Ologidi was heralded by acrobatic display and fearsome dance from ‘ Sango’ the god of thunder with fire oozing from its mouth.
The Ologidi collected the new yam and prayed for increase in the land – good rains, bountiful harvests and then presented the new yams to the community signifing that the people are free to eat and sell the new yams. The Oba got some of the sizeable new yams and distributed to visiting traditional rulers and dignitaries with great funfares and loud ovation.
The Ologidi said the community decided to celebrate the new yam to appreciate God’s numerous blessings and kindness and to seek for bountiful harvest in the years to come. He said the new yam was the first fruit of the community, used as thanksgiving seed to God who has been gracious to the farmers.
Mr Tunde Ipinmisho, former Editor, Sunday Times and immediate past president of ODA, appreciated government for upgrading the Ologidi stool from third class to second class status and called on the state government to still do more for the community.
The Ohimege of Kotonkarfe , Alhaji Isa Koto, who was the father of the day praised the community for separating a day to showcase their culture and urged other communities in the state to emulate them.
Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Marion Kappeyne, promised her country’s support for the development of agriculture in the community. She said the Netherlands being a specialist in agriculture, desires to invest in the development of agriculture in the community to boost food security, create wealth and employment opportunities for the Nigerian youths.
She said another area of interest to the Netherlands, would be the development of a Wind Mill to utilise the wind, which is abundant in the community, just like the Netherlands. The ambassador thereafter declared the art and exhibition at the ceremony opened.
The ceremony attracted nationals from Poland,China, Thailand and other Asian and African countries. Some prominent individuals like Mr Jiang Sediqian a Chinese national and Alhaja Misturah Ajoke Adamu, CEO Missi T Restaurant, Lokoja, were honored under the chairmanship of former Minister of Industry, Chief Kola Jamodu.
Cultural troupes including a dance group from Benin, Edo State, Owo ctultural Troupeh Igbehin Adun Cultural Troupe, Ijowa, both from Ondo State, Bassa Cultural Troupe from Plateau State and Tapa Dance Troupe from Niger State, performed at the event.