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How Aare KOLA AREGBE Dazzled On Horse Back At 2022 Ojude Oba In IJEBU-ODE

This is the story of a handsome Ijebu businessman who loves horse riding. Every year, he is one horse rider very many Ijebu people and guests are eager to see him at Ojude Oba in Ijebu Ode. That is the aura he oozes. Whenever you see him on horseback, you will like how he switches around. And his horses are so used to him, and they twist and turn when he gives them orders.

At the last Ojude Oba, all the 21 horse riders from the Balogun & Horse riding families filed in one after the other,  and Kola Aregbe, fully kitted, led the Aregbesola family into the main bowl of the Awujale Pavillion, on horseback, as his admirers cheered him on.

City People met with him recently and we wanted to know how his love for horses and horse riding started. What was his experience like at the last Ojude Oba festival? “It was fun. It was nice,” he replied. “Firstly, I must begin by saying I am grateful to the Almighty, that I was able to witness this day. And many of us did witness the Ojude Oba. We give thanks to almighty God, for his protection over us all who attended the event. It was a great joy that Ojude Oba has come back after a break of 2 years due to COVID-19. You can see that despite the downpour, people still turned out, en masse. It was good to see old friends both at home and abroad. For me, it was a joyous occasion”.

What was the difference in his involvement in this year's Ojude Oba? “It did not differ greatly, other than people were just excited to have Ojude Oba back. The turn out was huge. It was nice to see Kabiyeesi there for hours”.

How does he normally prepare for his participation in the Ojude Oba, annually? “The bit that has to do with horse-riding is in the family. You may have noticed my stable when you came in here. My horses are here in Ijebu. Even though I lost 1 or 2 during the years, I quickly replaced them. If you were to ask my Maiguard, he will tell you that the most important thing in this house is my Horse. Nothing happens to my horse. At the moment I have just one. I lost one recently. He is from Minna, Niger State. I love horses. I feed the horse well. I take care of my horses. When sometimes you create a reputation for yourself, it comes back to hunt you. Why? One or two years in the past, I had ridden what would have been regarded as standard, big and good horses. And later on, I heard guys telling me on the field that Baba, eshin yin ma n ju eleyi lo., simply saying when he looks at my horses now, they are not as big as the ones I had before. They just feel any horse I ride should be even bigger than the ones I rode in those 2 years. So, my horses are very important to me and people know the kind of horses they will see me ride. So, there is that expectation. So, it helps me in putting my horses in top shape, when I do ride.”

What is the name of his horse? “: My horse's name is Niger. If you ask anybody in Ijebu-Ode for about a horse named Niger they will tell you they know my horse”

How did he feel when he rode into the Awujale Pavillion? "I feel happy with the drums, dancing, people saying hello to you left, right and centre well-wishers and of course, family members. I feel good. It was quite exciting. If you may recall, my dad used to be the one that will come behind me. I will be in front, and of course, younger family members will be in front of me. Of course, my dad stepped down about 3 to 4 years ago and I took over. My dad is 84. He actually stepped down when he clocked 80. It is like his father who also stepped down when he clocked 80 and he then took over."

"Is there a particular age that horse riders reach when they have to step down? Does age affect your ability to ride? “There is none. It’s whether you are fit to ride. And I must say that I haven’t seen any other family, and I challenged anybody to contradict me, at least in my own lifetime, that has ridden horses the way my grandfather rode up till he was 80. His last ride is on YouTube. He rode like a young, 15-year-old, riding. He was 80 and he rode and people couldn’t believe what he was doing with the horse. He didn’t wait until he couldn’t ride at that level, before stepping down. Ok. Until the time my grandfather stepped down he was still the top rider, likewise my dad. So, I challenge any other Balogun family to contradict my claim that at that age they will ride like that.”

At what age did Aare Kola Aregbe start to ride horses? "If it is just riding, I can’t even remember. Maybe from age 2 or 3, they were already putting me on horses. My grandfather was still alive then. But in terms of riding in front of my dad at Ojude Oba, it was when my grandfather was still alive.  It's over a decade. I like to ride. And I like to do some display, manoeuvring, the way I stretch my hand. People know that my style of riding at Ojude Oba is different. People have different styles of riding.”

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