First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited has urged Nigerians to sustain the country’s cultural heritage in order to boost tourism and its associated benefits. According to the Bank, this will go a long way to educate and inspire generations about the history of Nigeria, the people and values, while also fast-tracking the ongoing efforts of the government to diversify the economy. FCMB stated this at a press conference in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State on August 6, 2018 to flag-off activities to celebrate this year’s Ojude-Oba Festival, scheduled to hold on August 24, 2018. The Bank has over the years been a major sponsor of the Festival and has continued to play a significant role in ensuring its success. For this year’s Festival, FCMB has assured its stakeholders of an exciting and rewarding experience, including excellent products and services on offer, for the thousands of people within and outside the country that would grace the fiesta.
The Ojude Oba (which in Ijebu dialect means, the king’s fore-court or frontage) is a major festival in Nigeria that began over 100 years ago. It brings together all sons and daughters of Ijebuland in Nigeria and diaspora for a carnival-like celebration of the traditional, cultural, spiritual accomplishments and other values of the Ijebu nation. During the Festival, various age groups (popularly known as the Regberegbes), indigenes, their friends and associates from far and near – all in their colourful costumes and riding on horses – throng the palace of the Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland to pay homage to him amidst prayers and other fun-filled activities. In a goodwill message to the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr.) Sikiru Adetona on the occasion of this year’s Festival, the Founder of FCMB Group who is also the the Olori Omo-Oba Akile Ijebu, Otunba (Dr) Olasubomi Balogun, expressed his gratitude to the Awujale of Ijebuland, especially considering the paramount ruler’s selflessness in attending to the different requests and yearnings of the people of Ijebuland. In a message delivered on his behalf by the Group Head, Corporate Affairs of the Bank, Mr. Diran Olojo, Otunba Balogun commended Oba Adetona for his, ‘’distinguished and exemplary leadership over the years which has continued to endear you to all of us’’. He stated that, ‘’I sincerely appreciate the amazing grace of the same Almighty God we share together, much more for sparing our lives to celebrate yet another Ojude Oba Festival. The Festival provides us- all your children and subjects, the period when we gather to pay you homage and demonstrate our affection for a very unique monarch, an exceptional father figure and the Paramount Ruler who has continued to endear himself to his people. Apart from being the Olori Ebi (the head of the family, by the grace of Almighty God and interestingly not in contest by all who admire the grace of our God), as your Olori Omo-Oba (the head of princes and princesses), I will continue to lead the way in showing our appreciation by being very close to you and showing my total loyalty to you’’.
While congratulating the entire indigenes of Ijebuland, the FCMB Founder also prayed that the monarch’s reign would, ‘’continue to be filled with many more years of joy, good health and satisfaction in all that you endeavour to do for your people both at home and in the diaspora’’. In the same vein, the Group Chief Executive of FCMB Group Plc, Mr. Ladi Balogun, congratulated the monarch for upholding the values of Ijebuland and raising the status of the event over the years. He reiterated the commitment of the financial institution to the longevity of the Ojude Oba Festival. ‘’For all true sons and daughters of Ijebuland, the Ojude Oba Festival is more than an event for us. It has become a long-standing yearly tradition we look forward to as a unifying platform and a tourist attraction. For over a century, the Festival has become an internationally acclaimed event that has gone a long way to promote our cultural heritage and further unify humanity. As a socially responsible corporate citizen, we recognise that respect for our heritage is important as a catalyst of cultural diversity and a guarantee of sustainable development’’, he said. Mr. Balogun added that, ‘’the Ojude Oba Festival, for us at FCMB, is not just another event. It is a pride to us; being a major platform through which we connect with the community and promote our nation’s diversity through purposeful partnership. The annual display of rich cultural heritage via the Festival attracts tourists from across the globe and Ijebu indigenes in the diaspora, boosting trade and the hospitality sector in the region. It is time to begin to see the Ojude Oba Festival as a fulcrum to inspire individuals, awaken their entrepreneurial spirit and encourage the birthing of other endeavours that stimulate development in a sustainable manner’’.
First City Monument Bank (FCMB) is a member of FCMB Group Plc, which is one of the leading financial services institutions in Nigeria with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments. Having successfully transformed to a retail and commercial banking-led group, FCMB expects to continue to distinguish itself by delivering exceptional services, while enhancing the growth and achievement of the personal and business aspirations of its customers.