IJEBU REGBEREGBE GROUPS
All over Yoruba land, the Ijebus are noted for their hard work, frugality and sybaritic culture. The latter, a culture of indulgence and celebration is often mistaken for the Ijebu character by outsiders.
But we know the parties do not define the Ijebu. As a hardworking people, they are better known to go the long haul to succeed in life and to be accomplished in their enterprises.
An index of the growth, prosperity and tranquillity of nineteenth century Ijebuland was the organization of citizens according to their ages, the age grades known as Regberegbe. Each group assembled people born within a period of three years, with titles defined by significant events.
The Regberegbe constituted a major instrument of social cohesion and mobilization in ijebuland. The age-grades banded together to help one another in the event of any serious need for concerted efforts. With these groups, the society is further strengthened while community project and facilities were initiated and maintained. A few examples: Egbe Moradegun which embraced all the people born from 1814 to 1816 are referred to the fondness the Ijebus had for fashion, in infinite variety and taste.” Egbe Mafowoku “Never is in dearth of money” is the name assumed by all the people born from 1846 to 1848, at a time prosperity reached a peak in the land.
Naturally, in a society in which the Awujale mirrored the state of the commonwealth most of the names of the age grades centred on the paramount ruler. For instance, Egbe Bobajolu “help the king maintain unity among the people” is a name adopted for those born from 1849 to 1853. Egbe Gbobaniyi, “Honour the king ” is the appellation for those born from 1855 to 1860; and Egbe Arobayo “those who see the king and rejoice” for those born from 1873 to 1876, In historic terms, the Regberegbe had always been the lynchpin of traditional Ijebu democratic forum of government
The present Awujale, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona revived the Regberegbe, after some interregnum, for the continuous rapid development of Ijebu. The re-introduction of the age grades has been yielding results and the Regberegbe are in healthy rivalry to contribute to ijebu upliftment.
Oba Adetona’s resuscitation of the system has surely been a positive move to blend the ancient and the modern to enable Ijebu progress.
The Regberegbe have been an integral part of the annual Obanta Day Celebration. They are also actively involved in the annual Ojude-Oba celebration, which comes up on the third day of Muslim Eldel-Kabir festival. The different age groups of the Regberegbe go to the Awujale Palace to pay homage to the paramount ruler of the Ijebu in their attractive costumes.
Egbe Bobakeye is proud to be in the forefront of the propagation of Ijebu culture outside Nigeria.
Below are the Regberegbe groups in Ijebu Kingdom.