Ogbomoso is an ancient town with historical and political relevance in Yorubaland. Apart from being a land of warriors, it is also one of the Yoruba towns which place high value on Yoruba foods, dressing and language.
Amala and Gbegiri is a couple meal and one of the major foods of the people. Though it’s a common food in Yorubaland, it is more common to communities like Oyo and Ogbomoso than other places in Yorubaland.
Ogbomoso’s amala is unique because its flour is prepared with yam flour instead of cassava, which is common in other Yoruba towns.
As Ikokokore and ebiripo are for Ijebu, Amala lanfun (white Amala) is for Egba and Ibadan, Ogbomoso is known for Amala dudu. It is one of their identities even recognised and ascribed to them in their cognomen “ Ogbomoso Ajilete, Ibi ti won ti nje oka ki won to mu eko yanga (where they eat oka before taking corn pap).
As a way of escaping the ongoing cultural erosion foisted on the world by globalization, some groups of people are making frantic efforts at celebrating and venerating Gbegiri Day as a cultural identity and means of promoting its traditional value.
Ogbomoso Ajilete group, a socio-cultural organization composed of Ogbomoso indigenes in Ibadan on Sunday, 26 August held its annual Gbegiri Day at the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, and Oyo State House in Ibadan to celebrate their cultural identity and discuss Ogbomosho’s issues while venerating the value that binds the people together.
The pure cultural event was also used to discuss the challenges being faced in the town and how to unite Ogbomoso indigenes in Diaspora and pursue a common goal
At the event, Amala and Gbegiri were served with goat meat, palm wine and beers were at hand to send the amala and gbegiri down the throats
The chairman of the association, Dr Tayo Alayande in his opening remark said the 2018 Gbegiri Day is a day to identify and celebrate the cultural identity of the people of Ogbomoso with and discuss issues relating to the development of the town
“Our culture is what binds us together as a people, and at a cultural event like this, we have the opportunity of assessing the situation at home and our members in the Diaspora to discuss on how we can make meaningful contributions to the advancement of our ancient city.”
Mrs Ruth Adeyinka, chairman Planning Committee, in her brief remark about the event, said the event was to showcase and promote the cultural heritage of Ogbomoso people and expose the younger ones to the tradition of the land.
The guest lecturer, Honourable Joshua Olagunju Ojo, Speaker Oyo State House of Assembly, who was represented by his personal assistant, Mr Adeniyi Adeyeye, in his keynote address harped on the need to appreciate Yoruba value system as well as engage more in trading and agriculture, which is the predominant business of Ogbomoso people.
“While the ingenuity of Ogbomoso sons and daughters in commerce is well-acclaimed worldwide, it has to be stated that developing and orientating ourselves, particularly the youths, in needed modern skills and involvements in viable areas of commerce are crucial to helping to benefit from our past glory in commerce. For example, everywhere people talk about entrepreneurial skills for development in higher institutions. So for us, we need to sharpen the entrepreneurial skills of our youths in such a way that they will maximise their potential within our community.”
The chairman of the occasion, General Oladayo Popoola (rtd), while briefing the house on efforts on Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Ogbomoso (LAUTECH) said they had gone far as meeting Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, while who has also written letters to the two state governors, other stakeholders are also being contacted for a final solution on the institution.
While lamenting the slow phase of work on Ogbomoso-Oyo new roads, Gen. Popoola said efforts to make sure that the Ogbomoso -Oyo is completed without further delay
Other speakers at the event including Dr. Akin Onigbinde (SAN), Professor Ajiboye, harped on the need to be united politically and support responsible candidates that will represent the interest of the people of the town, rather than pursuing a selfish interest and personal aggrandizement.
The event also featured traditional dance and presentation of awards to six octogenarians for their support and encouragement.
Dignitaries at the event include Mrs. Kikelomo Alao, and Sector Commander Road Safety of Nigeria, Retired Police CP Sheu Babalola; Professor Alex Gboyega, among others.