Ijebu indigenes raised chants of praise to acknowledge the presence of the gods as a baby girl was delivered at the basement of the arena where the festival held yesterday at the Awujale’s Courtyard in Ijebu Ode.
Vanguard gathered that the new mother, in her late ’30s, was said to be a member of the Regberegbe age group in Ijebuland. According to Janet Adekemi, a cleaner at the courtyard, in the heat of the Ojude-Oba celebration, a lady screamed in pain and knelt down at the basement of the arena. She recalled that onlookers had no idea about what she was going through until she raised her wrapper and the head of a baby could be seen.
“It was a few minutes to 1:00 p.m. when I heard a lady shouting not too far away but many ignored her.
“No one knew the magnitude of what the woman was going through until she started crying with all of her strength.
“All I saw was the head of her baby and other women immediately rallied around her to help.
“A few skilled traditional birth attendants came to her aid and assisted her to deliver the baby, just as onlookers prayed in their mother tongue, while some traditionalists chanted incantations,” she said.
Adekemi told newsmen that both mother and baby were immediately moved to the Ijebu-Ode General hospital for proper medical attention. Abayomi Oke, younger brother to the Head Queen, told newsmen that the new baby was a gift from the gods to mark the celebration of 2017 Ojude-Oba festival. “Only special children are born at such events and of a truth, I know that the 16 Alagemos (gods that protect the land) will always be with that baby.
“We will do everything possible to send words across to Gov. Ibikunle Amosun and the Awujale, that a child was born during the 2017 celebration,” he added. The Ojude Oba is a Yoruba festival held in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State. The festival started over 100 years ago, is held annually on the third day after the Eid el-Kabir.
Yesterday, the festival was attended by over 250, 000 people from across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria and it involves the parade of age grades in Ijebuland and some horse riding before the Awujale of Ijebu-Ode, Oba Sikiru Adetona.