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Adopt July 13 As Wole Soyinka Day – Alake Urges Federal Government



Alake Urges FG To Adopt July 13 As Wole Soyinka Day |

The Alake of Egba Land is a traditional ruler in Nigeria. Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo. He has a request for the Nigerian government. The Alake wants July 13 to be made a Wole Soyinka Day in Nigeria. This is to honour Prof. Wole Soyinka, a famous Nigerian writer who won a Nobel Prize.

The Alake thinks Soyinka should be honoured for three main reasons:
  • His work in literature
  • His fight for justice
  • His love for Nigerian culture

The Alake shared this idea at his palace in Abeokuta on Tuesday, July 2, 2024. He also mentioned that New Orleans, a city in the United States, has a Wole Soyinka Day. It’s on November 1 every year. He thinks if a foreign city can do this, Nigeria should do it too.

He said,

“It will be appropriate for the federal government to adopt July 13 as a national day to celebrate Prof Wole Soyinka, given his contribution to literature and humanity globally. It will be good to henceforth adopt his birthday which is July 13 as Wole Soyinka Day. In fact, New Orleans in the United States of America has already adopted a day to celebrate him, so why can’t we do so to honour our own too.”

The Oba also asked the Nigerian government to award Wole Soyinka their second-highest honour, the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON). He believes this prestigious award would be a fitting tribute to Soyinka’s achievements and a way to celebrate his 90th birthday.

Professor Soyinka is a renowned writer who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986.

His educational background is quite impressive. He began his studies at Abeokuta Grammar School but later transferred to Government College in Ibadan in 1954. He continued his education at the University College in Ibadan before travelling to England to attend the University of Leeds.

Oba Gbadebo described the Nobel Laureate as “a literary giant, quintessential essayist, dramatist, playwright and a globally respected elder statesman, who is also the Akinlatun of Egbaland.”

The king of Egba Land has declared July 13th, Wole Soyinka’s birthday, as “Wole Soyinka Day” to celebrate his achievements.

To honour this special occasion, a two-day celebration is planned for July 12th and 13th. The festivities will show a variety of events. This includes art exhibitions by students from schools Soyinka attended, like St Peters Primary School, Abeokuta Grammar School, and others. Local artists from the Ogun State Chapter of the Society of Nigerian Artists will also be participating.

The celebration promises a vibrant mix of cultural performances, displays of books written by or about Soyinka, documentaries exploring his life, and poetry recitals. There will even be a traditional hunting expedition organized by Egba Land’s hunters.

This call to celebrate Soyinka nationally comes shortly after President Tinubu honoured the Nobel laureate by naming a major road in Abuja after him.

Check out more updates here.


Why ‘Isiagu’ Styles Are Becoming Norm At Igbo Ceremonies



Why 'Isiagu' styles are becoming norm at Igbo ceremonies |

The ‘Isiagu’ is a traditional Igbo attire that has been gaining popularity in recent years. It is becoming increasingly common at Igbo ceremonies and events. This trend reflects a growing interest in cultural identity and traditional fashion among the Igbo people of Nigeria.

‘Isiagu’ literally means “lion head” in the Igbo language. The name comes from the design on the fabric, which often features lions’ heads. However, modern Isiagu designs may include other animals or symbols that are significant to Igbo culture.

Traditionally, the Isiagu was worn only by Igbo chiefs and elders. It was a symbol of status and authority. The garment usually consists of a loose-fitting shirt, often paired with trousers made from the same fabric. In the past, it was typically made from a thick, textured material.

Today, the Isiagu has evolved. It is now worn by many Igbo men, not just chiefs and elders. The style has become more diverse, with various colours and designs available. Some modern Isiagu shirts are made from lighter, more comfortable fabrics.

Several factors have contributed to the rising popularity of ‘Isiagu’ styles at Igbo ceremonies:

The vibrant Isiagu fabric with its lion head motif is becoming an increasingly common sight at Igbo ceremonies, and its rise in popularity stems from a confluence of cultural pride, fashion innovation, and a desire for connection.

Celebration of Igbo identity

Younger generations of Igbo people are experiencing a surge in cultural awareness. Wearing Isiagu becomes a way to express this newfound pride and connect with their ancestral roots. It’s a tangible symbol of belonging and a celebration of their unique Igbo heritage.

Fashion with heritage

Nigerian fashion designers are playing a key role in this trend. They’re taking inspiration from tradition and reinterpreting the classic Isiagu fabric for a modern audience. This translates into fresh silhouettes, cuts, and even colour variations that weren’t typically seen before.

This innovative approach makes the fabric more appealing to a wider range of people, introducing them to the rich cultural significance of Isiagu.

Celebrity influence and diaspora connection

Igbo celebrities and public figures sporting Isiagu at high-profile events further fuel the trend. Their visibility puts the spotlight on this unique garment, making it desirable and emblematic of Igbo style.

Similarly, Igbo people living abroad often wear Isiagu at cultural gatherings. Also, it’s a way for them to feel connected to their heritage and express their identity even across vast distances.

Versatility for modern life

The beauty of modern Isiagu styles lies in their adaptability. Unlike the traditional use of the fabric for specific occasions, contemporary designs can be dressed up or down. This versatility makes them suitable for a variety of occasions, from weddings and formal ceremonies to casual gatherings. This functionality allows people to incorporate their cultural background into their everyday lives.

Beyond Isiagu: a pan-African movement

The growing popularity of Isiagu isn’t an isolated phenomenon. It’s part of a wider movement across Africa where many ethnic groups are rediscovering and reclaiming their traditional attire.

This cultural awakening is a form of expression, allowing them to showcase their unique heritage and resist being dominated by Western fashion trends. Isiagu’s rise is a microcosm of this broader movement towards cultural self-affirmation through fashion.

A balancing act: tradition vs. accessibility

However, the trend isn’t without debate. Some Igbo traditionalists argue that the widespread use of Isiagu diminishes its significance as a symbol of authority and exclusivity. They believe that the fabric held a special weight when reserved for certain occasions or social statuses.

Others welcome the “democratization” of Isiagu, seeing it as a way to keep Igbo culture alive and relevant for future generations. They believe that wider adoption fosters cultural appreciation and ensures the traditions don’t fade away.

A blend of past and present

As Isiagu styles continue to evolve, they are likely to remain a prominent feature of Igbo ceremonies. The fabric serves as a powerful symbol of Igbo identity, seamlessly blending tradition with modern fashion sensibilities.

Its increasing popularity reflects the dynamic nature of cultural practices and the enduring importance of traditional dress in contemporary African societies.

Ultimately, the rise of Isiagu showcases how cultures can adapt and evolve, while still holding onto the threads of their heritage. Indeed, it’s a testament to the enduring power of tradition and the human desire to celebrate our unique identities.

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FG To List Ojude Oba As UNESCO Approved Festival



FG to list Ojude Oba as UNESCO approved festival |

On Tuesday, the Minister of Culture, Art, and Creative Economy, Barrister Hannatu Musa-Musawa, shared exciting news. He said the Federal Government is considering listing the annual Ojude Oba Festival of the Ijebu people in Ogun State as a festival supported by UNESCO.

Dr. Ben Ugo Anama, Director of Cultural Agencies and Heritage, who represented the minister, announced the 2024 Ojude Oba festival in Ijebu-Ode.

The minister stated that the festival aligns with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda. This aims to boost revenue from tourism to over $100 billion by 2030.

She described the Ojude Oba Festival as a key event that promotes national unity. Also, it has the potential to diversify the economy from oil, generating more revenue through tourism.

According to her, “Following President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, our ministry will work with stakeholders to promote, preserve, and protect our rich cultural heritage. This is part of our vision, Destination 2030, which aims to harness the potential of arts, culture, and the creative economy to drive economic growth, targeting over $100 billion and an increase in GDP by 2030.”

The minister emphasised that the agenda reflects a strong commitment to diversify the economy away from dependence on oil revenue.

While celebrating the people of Ijebuland for the success of the Ojude Oba festival and its positive impact on Nigeria’s image, Barrister Musa-Musawa noted that the festival has not yet received UNESCO approval.

She believes the Ojude Oba Festival, given its significant impact on tourism, deserves international recognition. Furthermore, she pledged to take all necessary steps to get it listed by UNESCO without delay.

What is the Ojude Oba Festival?

Deep in southwestern Nigeria, the Yoruba people of Ijebu-Ode celebrate a time-honoured tradition called the Ojude Oba Festival. This “King’s Forecourt” festival is an annual event steeped in history.

The celebration falls on a specific date each year. It happens on the third day after another major holiday, Eid al-Kabir, also known as Sallah or Ileya. This positioning creates a powerful link between the Ojude Oba and a widely observed religious holiday.

The core purpose of the Ojude Oba Festival is to pay respect to a revered figure: the Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona. It’s a day dedicated to honouring his majesty and showcasing the loyalty of the Ijebu people.

How is the festival celebrated?

The Ojude Oba Festival is a display of everything Ijebuland has to offer—its rich culture, traditions, and the talents of its people.

Yoruba Women at the Ojude Oba festival 2024.

Different age groups within the Ijebu community, known as “Regberegbe,” take centre stage. These groups are not limited to just the indigenous people of Ijebuland. Friends and associates from near and far are also welcome to join the festivities. Each Regberegbe group gets to proudly showcase themselves in the king’s court, parading in front of the palace.

The highlight for each Regberegbe group is receiving a special blessing from the king himself, the Awujale of Ijebuland. It’s a moment of deep respect and signifies the king’s recognition of their contribution to the community.

Also, horse riding is a major feature of the Ojude Oba Festival. Riders dressed in their finest attire add a touch of majesty and pageantry to the celebration.

Eleshin Family at the 2024 Ojude Oba.

The festival is a visual treat, with people adorned in gorgeous Yoruba attire. Expect to see a dazzling display of colours, fabrics, and traditional accessories. It’s a celebration of artistic expression and cultural pride.

Ojude Oba 2024

Following tradition, the 2024 Ojude Oba festival was held on Tuesday, June 18th, at the Awujale’s pavilion in Ijebu-Ode. This is how it has been for years. But this year’s celebration embraced the theme “Ojude Oba: Unity and Harmony, Our Gift.”

Indeed, the festival was a dazzling display of fashion, culture, and beauty. People of all ages came out in their finest attire, adding to the glitz and glamour of the event.

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Putting Tribal Marks On A Child Without Consent Is Evil – Toke Makinwa



Putting tribal marks on a child without consent is evil |

Hold on a minute; let’s unpack this about tribal markings. Popular Nigerian media personality Toke Makinwa sparked a debate on social media on June 16, 2024. She isn’t a fan of the tradition, calling it unfair. Here’s why: tribal markings are permanent marks placed on children who are too young to understand or agree to the procedure.

Makinwa’s thoughts on the practice seem to be linked to a recent encounter. She mentioned meeting an influencer who had tribal markings.

She wrote,

“Today I saw a beautiful beauty influencer with tribal marks and it made me think about the cruelty that culture brought upon us. Marking a child without his/her consent as a means of identification is Evil, I know our parents didn’t know any better but damnnnn!!!!”

This interaction was the trigger for her to speak out against this long-standing custom in some African cultures. Tribal markings have traditionally served to identify ethnicity or social status. But Makinwa’s perspective challenges this tradition. Her concern raised an important question: Is it okay to permanently alter a child’s body without their consent?

Whether Makinwa’s stance will lead to a bigger conversation about tribal markings remains to be seen.

Indeed, the tradition holds deep cultural significance for many, and it’s tied to identity and heritage. However, Makinwa’s criticism has opened the door to discussing individual rights and control over one’s body, especially when it comes to cultural practices.

Makinwa wasn’t done there. In a series of follow-up posts, she made it clear that her criticism wasn’t about the aesthetics of tribal markings themselves. Also, she mentioned finding people with tribal marks beautiful. The core of her issue was the complete lack of consent involved.

These permanent marks are placed on children who are simply too young to understand or have a say in the matter. They are literally being marked for identification purposes before they can even grasp the concept.

“Thank God it’s abolished now. My grandma had tribal marks too. Some on her face and her arms, I wonder what life was like when she was younger walking around with it, though I’m sure a lot of people around her had the same but thank God it’s cancelled now,” she stated in another post.

Not everyone agreed with Makinwa’s stance.

Some users on her social media platform (X isn’t specified) criticised her perspective. However, Makinwa wouldn’t back down.

Furthermore, she doubled down on her position with another post, clearly stating that her disapproval wasn’t about the markings themselves or their beauty. She reiterated that her concern was the complete lack of say young children have in getting these permanent markings.

“It’s not the beauty or lack of but the lack of consent. But yeah, I’ve seen a couple of beautiful people with tribal marks,” the media personality explained.

An X user disagreed with Makinwa, arguing that tribal markings are similar to tattoos. She responded, “Tattoos are a choice, marking a child without their consent is not the same. You rest, weirdo.”

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