OJUDE OBA: My tattoos have significant meanings to me – Farooq Oreagba

By Nudoiba Ojen

* Preparations for 2025 Ojude Oba have begun

Farooq Oreagba, the man who stole the show and have been the talk even after last week’s Ojude Oba Festival at Ijebu Ode, the Ogun State capital, said that he was not deliberately out to create any show during the event.

Oreagba, who is the Managing Director of NG Clearing and former Member of the Derivatives Product Advisory Committee of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, said that he had been into the horse stuff for the past 15 years.

He made the disclosure while speaking on the Morning Show on Arise TV on Sunday, saying Ojude Oba has evolved over the years.

* My tattoos were not curated for Ojude Oba

Speaking about his tattoos, he stated that they held significant meaning to him and that he had had them for years; hence, they were not curated for the Ojude Oba event.

“People talk about my tattoos; I’ve had tats for years, and I’m very particular about them. I try to make sure that I don’t have a tattoo on my face and that my sleeves are down when I’m in corporate mode”.

While showing the tattoos on his arms, he said, “Here’s the famous tattoo. It says, ‘I live each day as if it were my last. So don’t judge me.’ That says, ‘Only God can judge me’.

He further explained that he has other tattoos for his kids, some indicating the moment when he had lots of friends. “I’ve got ‘Ride or die.’ These were not curated; they’ve been there for years.”

* Ojude Oba showcases heritage, identity, has evolved

Oreagba described the yearly Ojude Oba as a family tradition spanning generations that showcases their heritage and identity.

“Ojude Oba has evolved over the years; I’ve been doing it for 15 years. Within my family, the Oreagba family, my grandfather was the main rider going back to the 1960s; he died in 1967, so we only had one rider. My uncle took over, and he was the main rider from ’67 to ’84.

“It’s a family affair; it’s not about one individual, and it’s a very expensive venture,” he said.

He noted that he sees it as a unifying activity that brings families together, adding that preparations have begun for next year’s edition of the event.

He said that Ojude Oba “also brings families together because you could have one cousin who wants to ride, but can’t afford a horse, and you are all going to wear the same outfit. You have to be considerate of other people, or you must support them.

* Family already preparing cloths for 2025 Ojude Oba

“But for me, it’s just an expression of who I am. I didn’t choose the clothes; the family did. They’ve started arranging clothes now for what we will wear next year.”

At the event, different groups of people wore matching attire, showcasing that they belonged to the same association. However, Oreagba stated that he doesn’t belong to any group and that the only association he belongs to pertaining to the festivity is the one created by the paramount ruler and the Awujale of Ijebuland.

He said, “The only group that I’m a member of is called the Heritage Group, and it’s a group that was formed by Kabiyesi Awujale.

“I’m not a member of any ‘Egbe’; it is a heavy thing; you have to be back in Ijebu every weekend for meetings; and I have a primary job, which is important to me because that allows me to afford the medication that I have been using.”

* Credit to the photographer

He also gave credit to the photographers for how his pictures from the event went viral, stating that it wasn’t planned that way.

“This is a total shock to me. I didn’t nail it; the cameraman nailed it,” he said.

Oreagba added, “The only thing that was curated is that it used to be two men at the front, and this time it was three. I was at the front.

“The outfits are chosen by family members. The entrance: I am one of my grandfather’s oldest grandchildren, and if you look closely, I’m one of the two light-skinned guys as well, but I look exactly like my grandfather. When we leave the palace, we go around town. It’s usually a great feeling when people see me they don’t know who I am, but by looking at me, they just know that I’m an Oreagba.

“My cousins and nephews want to throw horses up and down, but I’m too old for that; if I fall off, my cancer is bone cancer, and if I break a bone, it will never set properly.”

He also described his unconventional living arrangement on the beach in Lagos for four years, highlighting his commitment to living life to the fullest despite challenges.

“What I did in my spare time up until last year was that I lived on the beach for four years. I lived in Lagos, on a beach, as my primary home for four years. I did not have a home in Lagos at all. I did not worry about security; I just lived my life,” he added.

* How cancer changed my views about life

Although brimming with life, lively and healthy, Oreagba, said that being diagnosed of having cancer changed many things about him, saying, “I think from the moment I was diagnosed with cancer in February 2014—it’s an incurable form of cancer—priorities changed”.

“I’ll say this to somebody, and it’s going to sound ridiculous. I’m 58, and if I could live another 20 years, I’ll say being diagnosed with cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me. It changes my perspective on life. What I’m there for. I’m there for it”.

He said that since then, he had been “counselling cancer patients, trying to improve access to better healthcare, I’ll do that all day long,” adding that he runs marathons to raise money for cancer charities, just to give people hope.

“I got hope from places I least expected, and from some of those I expected, I got nothing. That’s life, and you learn your lessons,” he said.

According to him, he has been able to find fulfilment and stay happy despite his health status, saying, “You don’t know how much time you’ve got; you line up your priorities.

“For me, it is family first because I don’t know how long I’m going to be around, but by God’s grace, I’m 10 years and counting, and since I’ve been crowned ‘king of steeze’, I’m not about to just go like that anytime soon.

“I’ve been counselling cancer patients for a while. I was diagnosed in February 2014. I had a bone marrow transplant in August 2014. I did chemotherapy every day, 21 days a month, for eight years. I don’t do chemotherapy anymore.

“I’m living my best life; I’m back working. That gives me a sense of fulfilment because people ask me why I am so happy. ‘I’m alive!’ And as long as you’re in the game, you can win the game; each day is a blessing.

* About Oreagba

Oreagba was born in July 1966 in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria and attended Ijebu Ode Grammar School and Kings’ College, Lagos, before pursuing higher education in the United Kingdom.

He earned degrees in Combined Engineering Studies from Coventry University and Business and Finance from the University of East London.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *