One of Nigeria’s foremost events on its annual culture calendar is the Ovia Osese Maiden festival among the Ogori people. Tucked luxuriously in a rocky paradise in central Nigeria, the Ogori people share with the world the blessings of a rich cultural heritage. The Ovia Osese festival is a celebration of womanhood, and all of the beauty therein. A practice dating centuries back, the festival celebrates with much ado and pageantry, as young girls at the twilight of girlish innocence are welcomed to the world of virtuous womanhood.
Each year, as a theme song, the girls chant the moving story of an Ogori maiden who in her quest to beautify herself for the annual event as tradition mandated, went to a neighboring village to borrow coral beads from a relative with which to adorn herself. On her return journey, her route had become impassable due to a flooded river. Knowing the consequence of a failure to appear at the festival, which implied that the maiden was not a virgin, and would thus be the subject of much shame and mockery; she braved it all to swim home, losing her borrowed beads in the process. Lacking adornment, dirty and wet; the tongues were sure to wag. They would tell their tales, but she would have a say and the chance to clear the air, by herself. Among other things, her determination to protect her integrity is celebrated till this day. We seem to care too little about what people think of us. We throw caution to the winds, and say that let the world say what it pleases of us.
The world has been negative since time immemorial. At the quickest opportunity, it will accuse and judge you guilty of all wrongs. Each person is saddled with the responsibility of portraying the right image, and defending his own reputation. You may not be in control of what will be said behind your back, but seize the chance at every opportunity to reinforce what it is you know to be true about yourself. Let the world see from your actions, that like that Ogori maiden, you will leave no room for a question over your character.