Nike Art Gallery at 2019 Ogidi Day Cultural Fiesta

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Justina Uzo

The  stand of Nike Art Gallery was a major attraction at the recently concluded Ogidi Day held at Agegbe ground Ogidi-Ijumu, Kogi State, as hundreds of people visited to have a good look at its latest works, enjoy the scenery and other tourism products.

Ogidi, a Yoruba town, is known for its igneous rock mountain formations, a traditional art industry and hospitality. The best of Dr. Mrs. Nike Okundaye’s works, as well as those of other famous Nigerian visual artists were on display at the art exhibition, which has become a major part of Ogidi festival.

The community also used the Ogidi Day as an occasion to recognise their sons and daughters, as well as friends of Ogidi-Ijumu who have contributed to the development of the community. Those honoured included, Marion S. Kappeyne van de Coppello, Ambassador, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands; Mr. Wale Ojo-Lanre, the Director General, Ekiti State Arts and Culture, and Chief Jiang Zeqian, Chairman of Wfor Industry Nigeria Limited. The Chinese man was conferred with the title of Asoludero of Ogidi Kingdom by the Ologidi of Ogidi, Oba Rabiu Oladimeji Sule.

The icing on the cake was the presentation of 2019 New Yam by the Proprietor, Nike Art Gallery, Chief Mrs. Nike Okundaye, Yeyeoba Ogidi. Mama Nike rose from her corner where she was surrounded by art lovers, family and friends and joined a band with new yam wrapped beautifully in adire cloth. All the cultural troupes in attendance accompanied her to the dais where the dignitaries were seated amid music and dance. She now bowed and did the needful. The presentation was greeted by ululation among the women. The Oba received it and prayed for his people for long life, prosperity and general wellness. The royal father announced that they can consume the new yam, as well as bring it to the market for sale.

Adjudged one of Nigeria’s cultural events, ‘Nigeria’s biggest culture event in June,’ Ogidi Day is when many Ogidi sons and daughters come home to celebrate their new yam. They cultivated yam through irrigation in early January and were obviously lucky to harvest their yam before other communities. It was therefore an opportunity to celebrate the new yam which signalled the beginning of harvest and gave the indigenes of the town the nod to eat the new yam.

It was indeed a time of celebration and thanksgiving to their creator for the miracle of creation as seen in the turning of slices of yam buried in mounds of earth.

During this year’s edition, activities like medical outreach and mountaineering featured during the 3-day festival. The medical outreach was laudable, as Ogidi indigenes in the Diaspora were said to be in touch with their people at home to ensure people got free medicare. Groups were in procession to pay homage to Ologidi just as Sisi Asa Ogidi was crowned. Even the invited communities had a chance to receive the new yam.

Food and beverage companies distinguished themselves during the festival, which climaxed on Saturday June 15. Maltina, Seaman Schnapps and Eagle Aromatic Schnapps used the opportunity to rub minds with consumers so as to sell their consumer-friendly products.

It was entertainment galore as cultural troupes drawn from neighbouring states rendered interesting tunes to the audience’s enjoyment. The list included Bini Cultural Troupe, Nupe Troupe, Ondo Cultural Troupe and Esan Cultural Dancers.

Van de Coppello described the festival as colorful. “You have a super culture. You certainly have a lot to present. You have so much to be proud of and you are expressing it. I had the highest welcome of my life,” she said.

Why praising Okundaye who she said is doing a lot to promote Nigerian culture, the envoy urged the Ogidi community to ensure the inclusion of more women in Ogidi affairs.

The royal father expressed pleasure in the interest shown by the society in his community. He prayed that the Ogidi Day 2019 will “usher in progress, unity and peace in our land.”

Ogidi is situated near Kabba Town, Kogi State about three hours by road from the nation’s capital Abuja.