Oranmiyan Omoluabi Odede the first Alaafin of Oyo

Oranmiyan Omoluabi Odede, Great Prince of Ife, King of the Yoruba was a Yoruba king from the kingdom of Ile-Ife. Although he was the last born, he became the prime heir of Oduduwa upon his return to claim his father’s throne. He founded Oyo as its first Alaafin at around the year 1300 after he had left Benin where he had been crowned the first Oba of Benin.

was a Yoruba king from the kingdom of Ile-Ife. Although he was the last born, he became the prime heir of Oduduwa upon his return to claim his father’s throne. He founded Oyo as its first Alaafin at around the year 1300 after he had left Benin where he had been crowned the first Oba of Benin.

Oranmiyan led an expedition to Benin and subdued the people. Reigned for 13 years and returned to Ife

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He however met opposition from the kindred of the Ogiso, and was refused entrance into the city upon his arrival. Oranmiyan camped at a place called Uselu, meaning “making of a city” and began to rule the Binis. His foreign style of management didn’t go down well with the chiefs, and they sent agents to spy on him.

All this made Oranmiyan declare that only a son of the soil can cope with the attitude of the Igodomigodo people and call the land “Ile – Ibinu”, meaning “Land of Vexation”. On leaving Ile-Ibinu (later Ibini, and corrupted to “Benin” by the Portuguese), he stopped briefly at Ego where he took Erinwide, the daughter of the Enogie (or duke) of Ego, as a wife. Eweka I was the result of this union.

Oranmiyan was never to return to Benin. Oranmiyan is recognized as the first Oba of Benin and founder of the Eweka dynasty, which is still ruling today.

After leaving Benin he moved north with his ever loyal entourage and settled close to the river Moshi. He founded a city there, Oyo-Ile, which his descendants then expanded into the Oyo empire. He engaged in war with the bariba, his immediate neighbors to the north, and subsequently married Torosi, a Tapa princess, who became mother to Sango Akata Yẹri-Yẹri.

. He founded a city there, Oyo-Ile, which his descendants then expanded into the Oyo empire. He engaged in war with the bariba, his immediate neighbors to the north, and subsequently married Torosi, a Tapa princess, who became mother to Sango Akata Yẹri-Yẹri.

Oranmiyan the fouth Ooni of Ife was the youngest of Oduduwa’s sons, the father of Yoruba nation. He grew up to become a popular man endowed with great physical powers and prowess. Initially popular as a great hunter, he later became a universally acknowledged conqueror, in Yoruba land and far beyond. That he was never a mean man,was evidenced by the fact that he conquered and brought under his sovereignty many territories. Oranmiyan Empire was vast, stretching into Ilorin, present Kwara State in the north, the Ogun River in the south and east of Osun and Dahomey present Benin Republic in the west. The empire was divided into kingdoms all of which owed allegiance to him. He was the first Alafin of Oyo and one of the kings of Benin in which his lineage are still ruling the empire up to this present day.

He grew up to become a popular man endowed with great physical powers and prowess. Initially popular as a great hunter, he later became a universally acknowledged conqueror, in Yoruba land and far beyond. That he was never a mean man,was evidenced by the fact that he conquered and brought under his sovereignty many territories. Oranmiyan Empire was vast, stretching into Ilorin, present Kwara State in the north, the Ogun River in the south and east of Osun and Dahomey present Benin Republic in the west. The empire was divided into kingdoms all of which owed allegiance to him. He was the first Alafin of Oyo and one of the kings of Benin in which his lineage are still ruling the empire up to this present day.

892 – Oranmiyan – Oyo-Ile was founded.

Oranmiyan was the first king and the founder of the Oyo empire. He was the son of Oduduwa. Oranmiyan was a very brave and warlike king. He was said to have headed his brothers (other Yoruba kings) on an abortive expedition to the east to avenge the death of their grandfather. After quarrelling at a place called Igangan, the brothers dispersed and Oranmiyan went ahead to found the city of Oyo known as Oyo Alaafin. There are two accounts of his death. Some say he went further East, leaving his son, Ajaka in charge of Oyo, and stopping at a town called Oko, from where he could not proceed and so, died and was buried there. The second account seems more plausible. It says that Oranmiyan left for Ile-Ife, the land of his father, leaving Ajaka to rule as regent at Oyo. Having stayed in Ile Ife longer than necessary, the king makers made Ajaka king in Oyo. On returning, Oramiyan heard the kakaaki at the border(The kakaaki is only played for the king). He immediately returned to Ile Ife, where he eventually died and was buried. An obelisk, called ‘Opa Oranmiyan’ was erected at the place where he was buried and is still there to this day.

1042 – Alaafin Ajaka ascended the throne‎. Ajaka was a calm and gentle king. Unlike his father, he was of a peaceful disposition, loved animal husbandry and encouraged it. Being too mild to be warlike, and with the provincial kings encroaching on Oyo, he was deposed and replaced by his fearless and violent brother, Sango. He went to Igboho where he remained in retirement seven years. After the death of Sango, he returned to the throne.

1077 – Alaafin Sango‎. He was the step brother of Ajaka. Unlike his brother, he was of a wild and warlike disposition and he had a fiery temper. He had a habit of emitting fire and smoke out of his mouth, by which he greatly increased the dread his subjects had of him. His mother was the daughter of Elempe a Nupe king, who formed an alliance with Oranyan by giving him his daughter to wife. Sango defeated many of the other Yoruba kings and expanded the Oyo kingdom. His seven years of reign was marked by his restlessness. He fought many battles and was fond of making charms. He was said to have the knowledge of some preparation by which he could attract lightning. He eventually became tyrannical and was asked to abdicate by the king makers and the senior chiefs. Sango was said to have once slain 160 in a fit of rage. Rather than abdicating, went out of the town to end his own life ; and climbing on a shea butter tree, he hanged himself. His brother Ajaka was summoned to return to the throne.

1137 – Alaafin Ajaka succeeded Sango. Became the only Alaafin to rule twice‎

1177 – Alaafin Aganju Sola succeeded Ajaka. He was Ajaka’s son. He liked taming wild animals and is said to have kept a leopard. His reign was long and prosperous. He liked aesthetics and he greatly beautified the palace. Towards the end of his reign, he waged war on a king close by for refusing to give him his daughter as bride. The king and his allies were defeated and captured by Aganju and the bride, whose name was Iyayun, was forcibly taken. One of the messy scandals of his reign occurred when his son had intercourse with his wife and was summarily executed.

1300 – Alaafin Kori – Osogbo and Ede town were founded. The son of Aganju, by his captured bride, Iyayun. When he was still a child, his mother ruled as regent. It was during Kori’s time that Timi was sent to Ede to fight the Ijeshas. Timi became too powerful for the king and made himself king at Ede(hence the title, Timi of Ede). Gbonka, was sent to Ede to capture Timi. After Timi was defeated, the king, fearing the rise of a more powerful enemy decided to kill Gbonka. After the failure of the assassination, the king committed suicide.

1357 – Alaafin Oluaso ascended the throne. Oluaso, Kori’s son was a handsome prince. His reign was long and peaceful. He was wise and had many wives and children. He was said to have had up to 1, 460 children. He also built 54 palaces for the most influential princes.

1471 – Portugal made first contact with Yoruba cities

1472 – Eko was named LAGOS by the Portuguese

1530 – 1542 Alaafin Onigbogi. He was the son of an Ota woman. His mother tried to introduce Ifa (oracle) to the Oyo people. The Oyo people rejected her advice and she left the town. She eventually settled in a town called Ado, where the people accepted her ideas. During Onigbogi’s reign, a war broke out and the king of Nupe invaded Oyo and sacked the capital. The king fled to the land of the Ibariba and died there.

1542 – Alaafin Ofinran – Saki was founded‎. His mother was an Ibariba woman. The Ibaribas started ill treating the refugees and the king set out for Oyo. Ifa spread to the Oyo people at this time. The refugees camped at a place called Kusu. There the king died before they could move. The next four kings ruled from a town called Igboho.

1542 – Alaafin Egungun Oju – Igboho was founded, Nupe occupied Oyo- Ile. He built Igboho, known as Oyo Igboho, and made it the new capital. Besides that, nothing remarkable happened in his reign.

1554 – Alaafin Ajiun Orompotoniyun. She was Egnugunoju’s sister. the first female king of Oyo Empire, Orompotoniyun had to do this to secure the rightful place on the throne after her father’s death, as a woman was never allowed to become an Alaafin (supreme overlord) to rule over men. Her late father, Alaafin Ofinran was then living in a strange land, called Bariba. He and his people decided to return to Oyo after his father, Alaafin Onigbogi passed away. Ofinran began the journey with his daughter, Orompotoniyun and his sons, Ajiboyede and Eguguoju. When Ofinran died, Prince Eguguoju became the Alaafin. They settled in Oyo-Igboho, where Alaafin Ofinran was buried. Prince Eguguoju, however, passed away. With his demise, the next to take over the throne was Prince Ajiboyede but he was too young to become a king. Prince Tella, who was also born on the way to Oyo, was just a toddler so he was not considered. Princess Orompotoniyun was the only link to the Alaafin dynasty, but since it was forbidden for a woman to rule the empire, the chiefs and elders started making plots on how to install themselves as kings. The strong-willed Orompotoniyun was, however, not going to let that happen. She proved herself to be a skillful commander and a tactical leader. She was brave and won many battles. During her reign, Oyo regained its military prestige. She died at the battle of Ilayi.

1562 – Alaafin Ajiboyede. He was a successful and brave king but he was a tyrant. During his reign the Tapas from Nupe invaded the country again but the king was victorious. The king’s favourite son, Osemolu died. Shortly after, king also died.

1570 – Alaafin Abipa – Oyo-Ile rebuilt after the destruction by the Nupe marauders‎. He decided to carry the seat of government back to Oyo Ile, even though the nobles were against it. The was successful and the king buried charms in strategic places in the city, so that it may not be destroyed again. Abipa was succeeded by a series of despotic, short-lived kings

1588 – Alaafin Obalokun – salt (Sodium Chloride) introduced in domestic use into Yoruba Land. Alaafin sent envoys to court in Portugal. His mother was the daughter of the Alake, king of the Egbas. Salt was introduced to the kingdom during his time. He is said to have been a friend to a European king (probably the king of Portugal). He sent 800 messengers to the European king but none of them came back.

1600 – Alaafin Ajagbo. His reign was very long, up to 140 years. He had a friend at Iwoye called Kokoro-igangan, whom he made the first Kankafo (Generalissimo). He was a warlike king and he conquered many people in the West, including the Popos and the Sabes(in Benin republic). He destroyed Iweme in Popo country. He is said to have sent four expeditions out at once; under the Basorun, Agbakin, Kankafo, and Asipa

1658 – Alaafin Odarawu. His reign was very short. He had a bad temper. He ordered for the destruction of a town called Ojosegi. He was eventually rejected by the noblemen and ended up commiting suicide.

1660 – Alaafin Karan. He was a tyrant. He was cruel and harsh. He tortured and killed many of his subjects for slight offences. He was so wicked that the proverb ‘as cruel as Kanran’ is being used by the Yoruba to describe anyone perceived of extreme cruelty. The people eventually rebelled against him. He was killed in a coup by the army, backed by the noble men. He fought fearlessly and perished in the inferno that engulfed the palace.

1665 – Alaafin Jayin – 1st Awujale of Ijebu crowned. Jayin was Kanran’s son and was made king after his father’s horrible death. He was of a gentler disposition than his father but he was effeminate and his son fell in love with one of his wives. In rage, he killed the boy. He was eventually deposed and tragically committed suicide. The Awujale was sent to the ijebus during his reign.

1676 – Alaafin Ayibi – Oyo Empire spanned 150.00 km2. He was the late king’s grandson and the son of the beloved prince whom the king killed. Unfortunately he proved unworthy of the honour and respect done him ; he greatly disappointed the hopes of the nation. He was a tyrant and took pleasure in shedding blood. Like his grandfather, he was deposed and he committed suicide.

1690 – Alaafin Osiyago. Like his immediate predecessor, he was equally worthless. He was excessive in actions, amassing wealth that he did not live to enjoy. His children fought each other and his foster son, whom he had adopted as the Aremo(heir) was killed by his daughter. The king was eventually poisoned. For a long time after Osinyago, the throne was vacant and the country was ruled by the Basoruns (Prime ministers)

1728 – Alaafin Ojigi. Oyo invaded Dahomey. He was elected to a vacant throne. He was warlike, extending his domain to Dahomean territory in present day Benin republic. He was nevertheless, a good king. He sent out a large expedition to bring all the Yoruba under his control. The expedition is said to have reached the Northern part of the River Niger. Despite the king’s stern disposition, he was too indulgent of his son. The Aremo’s cruelty and excesses eventually caused his father’s rejection. The king was deposed by the noble men and he committed suicide.

1732 – Alaafin Gberu‎. He was a wicked king, who liked making charms. He fought a bitter conflict with his Basorun who was his friend and both of them were deposed. Just like his predecessor he committed suicide.

1738 – Alaafin Amuniwaye. He was a good king initially but soon became weak because of his low morals. He had a affair with the wife of his medicine man. He died of magun while having intercourse with the woman.

1742 – Alaafin Onisile. He was a great warrior and of great courage. He was brave and warlike, and he was also very artistic. His rashness was the cause of his death. He was struck by lightning and was incapacitated, before being deposed and allowed to die peacefully.

1748 – Oyo subjugated the Dahomey

1750 – Alaafin Labisi – spent only 15 days on the throne. committed suicide because of pressure from Basorun Gaha‎. This unfortunate king was elected to the throne but not allowed to be crowned. His Basorun, Gaa became very powerful, conspired against him and killed all his friends. Labisi eventually committed suicide when he could not rule. Gaa remained powerful, long after him; installing kings as he pleases.

1750 – Alaafin Awonbioju – spent 130 days in the throne. Installed by Gaa after Labisi, Awonbioju was killed by Gaa when he refused to prostrate for him. He reigned for only 130 days.

1750 – Alaafin Agboluaje‎. He was a very handsome prince installed by Gaa. His reign was peaceful and long. His kingdom was big and prosperous. Basorun gaa made him fight the king of Popo who was his friend and destroy his kingdom. In frustration, the king committed suicide before the expedition arrived.

1754 – decline in the Empire with intrigues of Basorun Gaha

1772 – Alaafin Majeogbe‎. He tried to defend himself against Gaa and his sons who were now too powerful. They collected all the tributes and were cruel. The king eventually died, but not before he caused Gaa to be paralyzed by poison.

1774-1789 Alaafin Abiodun. He had a long and peaceful reign. He was handsome, wise and dignified. His reign was so significant that it has since passed into proverbs. The Yoruba believed that Oyo actually started declining after his death. He defeated Basorun Gaa and his children. Gaa eventually died. Abiodun fathered over 660 children. One of his sons killed him by poison.

1789-1796 Alaafin Awole Arogangan. He was Abiodun’s cousin. Under him, the kingdom disintegrated as the provinces became tired of Oyo’s tyranny and slavery was rife. He was probably too mild and weak, and had an enemy in Afonja, the Kakanfo who was very powerful. Afonja was stationed at Ilorin with the major part of Oyo’s calvary. Afonja, the Basorun and the Onikoyi eventually led a rebellion against him. As their forces surrounded the city, Aole committed suicide, after cursing Afonja and his co-conspirators. The Oyo empire, and indeed the Yoruba nation, never recovered from this tragedy.

1796-1797 Alaafin Adebo. The next king after Aole ruled for only a year, between 1796 and 1797. He became king nominally, but never really had powers. The whole land rebelled during his reign and the chiefs clamoured for territories. Afonja declared independence first, and many provinces followed. Afonja won a great victory against the Oyo armies with the help of Alimi, a Fulani and Solagberu, a Yoruba Moslem. He fought several battles in which he subjugated and destroyed many Yoruba cities. Ilorin later became part of the Sokoto Caliphate when the Fulani took over.

1797-1798 Alaafin Maku. His reign was short and tragic. He reigned for only 2 months in 1797. He led an expedition against Iworo and was defeated. He committed suicide in Oyo. The period that followed was the Yoruba civil wars of the 19th century. Between 1800 and 1897, the Yoruba fought a series of wars that decimated huge portions of the country and caused a considerable amount of internal migration. Many large cities were destroyed completely, never to be rebuilt. New cities sprang up, from refugee camps or military bases.

1801-1827 Alaafin Majeotu – Fulani marauders seized Ilorin. After a period when the throne was vacant, Majotu was elected to the throne. He reigned from 1802 to 1830. His reign was full of wars and rebellions. In 1823, Dahomey rebelled, defeated the Oyo army and gained complete independence. Ilorin became a formidable force and started a conquest of Yorubaland, destroying and looting cities in its campaign. The Owu war(1821-1826) also occurred in which the town of Owu was completely destroyed. The Owu are settled in Abeokuta

1827 Dahomey revolt

1830-1833 Alaafin Amodo. His reign lasted for three years. He was initially weak, but later proved himself to be a wise and decisive king, despite being unfortunate. He came to the throne at a time when the kingdom was distracted by anarchy and confusion. The Fulanis were having an eye on the capital of Yoruba-land. None of the provincial kings now paid tribute to Oyo or acknowledged the authority of the King. He was virtually King of the capital only. The Ilorin army plundered Oyo for the first time in his reign, but did not destroy the city. Amodo later united some of the Yoruba chiefs who had turned their backs on the empire. They raised an army and besieged Ilorin but they were betrayed by the Edun of Gbogan, who was the Kakanfo and the army dispersed. Gbongan was later besieged by Ilorin and the Edun defeated. After defeating both the Kankafo and the Onikoyi, and rendering the Alaafin powerless, the Ilorin cavalry easily captured most of the northern Yoruba towns. After that, they turned their conquest southwards, towards the Ijesha tribes, where they faced stiff resistance. At this time, the remnant of the Oyo and Egba armies began to attack the Ijebus, because of their participation in the Owu war. The whole Yorubaland again became embroiled in civil war.

1833-1835 Alaafin Oluewu. He lasted for 2 years, between 1833 and 1835. During his reign, the Fulani empire had already captured Ilorin after an internal coup and transformed it into a Fulani emirate. Oluewu was then bound to Shita, the Emir of Ilorin. However, he refused to embrace the Islamic religion and sought help from Borgu to defeat the Fulanis. Initially, he recorded some success in battle, but a final putsch to recover the northern part of Yorubaland from the Fulanis led to his death and that of many of Oyo’s leading nobles. Ilorin (under the Fulani) eventually destroyed Oyo.

1835 – Empire collapse, razed by the Fulani Jihadist. Are-Ona Kakanfo Afonja, the Yoruba Generallisimo and the head of Illorin, invited a Fulani scholar of Islam called Alim al Salih into his ranks. He hoped to secure the support of Yoruba Muslims and volunteers from the Hausa-Fulani north in keeping Ilorin independent, but with no success, Oyo Empire collapsed.

1838-1858 Alaafin Atiba Atobatele‎. He moved the capital from Oyo to Ago Oja(present Oyo). During his reign, the remnant of the Yoruba army moved South and camped in an area that belonged to the Egba of Gbagura clan. The war camp later became the city of Ibadan and it emerged as the new power centre in Yorubaland. Oba Atiba sought to preserve what remained of Oyo Empire by placing on Ibadan duty of protecting the capital from the Ilorin in the north. Atiba was a great leader but he came at a time of crises. Yoruba had lost Igbomina. Ijesha, Ekiti and Akoko at this time were under threat. Ogbomọṣọ, Ẹdẹ, Iwo, axis were under attack-even Oṣogbo had been defeated, occupied by Fulani. In fact, the entire Yoruba land was under Ilorin-Fulani siege. Ibadan would not allow the onslaught to continue, by 1840, Ibadan soldiers defeated and pushed Fulani warriors back to Ilọrin but could not take the city. Atiba died in 1859. He was the last really great king Oyo had. He tried to restore Oyo’s glory, but the decline was bound to happen as all the tribes were fighting one another.

1838 – Ago d’Oyo – New Oyo founded. The center of Yoruba power moved to Ibadan , a Yoruba war camp settled by Ife and Oyo commanders in 1830.

1859-1875 Alaafin Adelu Agunloye. King Adelu was Atiba’s son. He became king in 1859. The Ijaye war(1860-?) was fought during his period. Kurunmi, the Are Ona Kankafo, who was the ruler of Ijaiye refused to recognize Adelu as the Alaafin. The war started with Ijaiye declaring war on Oyo in 1860. The Ibadan war machine under Ogunmọla came in support of Ọyọ, routed Kurunmi-Ijaiye/Egba alliance and killed all his sons. Kurunmi committed suicide and Ijaiye was destroyed. The Ijaiye war was one of the several wars Ibadan engaged in to assert supremacy in Yorubaland.

1857 – Britain abolish slavery

1864 – Alaafin stopped Batedo War in the name of Sango between Ijebu and the Egbas

1876-1905 Alaafin Adeyemi I. He ruled from 1876 to 1905. After the emergence of Ibadan, the Fulani ceased to be a threat to Yoruba but bitter civil war among the tribes made peace impossible. Between 1860 and 1885 Ibadan engaged in five different wars simultaneously. In 1877, Ibadan went to war against Ẹgba/Ijẹbu for attacking Ibadan traders, when coming from Port-Novo. The Ijẹṣa/Ekiti seized the moment, in 1878, attacked despotic Ibadan Ajẹlẹs (viceroys) in their territories; Ibadan declared war on Ijẹṣa and Ekiti. The conflict between Ibadan/Ijẹṣa & Ekiti went on for sixteen years, the worst war in Yorubaland. Ogedengbe-the Seriki of Ijẹṣa army, Fabunmi of Oke-Imesi, and Aduloju of Ado-Ekiti held Ibadan down as Ibadan engaged in other wars with the Ẹgba, Ijẹbu, Ilọrin and the Ifẹ. The Ibadan/Ijesa & Ekiti parapọ war got to its peak at Kiriji, near Ikirun. The Egba were also being attacked by Dahomey. The Alaafin was helpless as his people decimated themselves. He therefore invited the British colonial Governor of Lagos to help settled the dispute. Through negotiations undertaken by the Church, which was spearheaded by Samuel Johnson, Charles Phillips, and Lagos Governor Maloney in 1886, peace gradually returned to Yorubaland as the warring groups sheathed their swords. The entire Yorubaland later came under the dominion of the British and the Alaafin became a Vassal of the colonial government.

1888 – Oyo became a protectorate of Great Britain

1905-1911 Alaafin Agogo Ija Amubieya Lawani. He was a vassal of the British empire. He reigned from 1905 to 1911

1911-1944 Alaafin Ladigbolu I. He became king after Lawani. He ruled from 1911 to 1944. He was also a vassal king. The amalgamation of Nigeria happened during his time.

1914 – Amalgamation: Frederick Lugard united north and south as a single colony called Protectorate of Nigeria. The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River . Given by Flora Shaw who later married Lugard.

1945-1954 Alaafin Adeyemi II. He was sent on exile with Aremo. They both died in exile

1956-1968 Alaafin Ladigbolu II. He was the Alaafin when Nigeria gained independence

1971 Alaafin Adeyemi III

WHAT IS IFA? – by Prof Idowu Odeyemi.

“It is a very curious phenomenon that Yoruba scholars are reluctant to come to terms with Yoruba (lfa) religion.

The worst part of it is that those fellows who speak about “false consciousness” … are all totally preconditioned. Even when they are trying to ‘be objective about ‘African religion’ in general, they are totally incapable of relating to it. They say it is a contemporary world. What use is Traditional Religion today? … and I feel tempted to say to them What use is a system of beliefs like Islam or Christianity in the contemporary world?

And they cannot see that they have totally failed to make the leap: to take Yoruba (Ifa) religion on the same level as any system of belief in the world; that they are committing a serious scholarship lapse. In other words they are totally brainwashed by what I call these “elaborate structures superstition” – Islam and Christianity particularly. They have accepted these as absolute facts of life which cannot be questioned.

They lack the comparative sense of being able to see Yoruba (lfa) religion as just another system – superstition, belief, world view, cosmogony or whatever. You have to do it on the same level with any other system. Once you do that, many questions which have been asked become totally redundant because they have not been asked about other religions. But when our scholars come up against their own religion, their faculty of comparison completely disappears!”

So, rather than take that giant leap of faith (so to speak!), Yoruba (and African) “scholars” on African religion are too timid to accept their very Africanness as an inexorable fact. The liquid of TRUTH (IFA) being too bitter and unsavoury to swallow, they thus become hardened alcoholics of illogically and unabashed peevishness.

For instance, if Olodumare is God in Yoruba belief, with attributes which are universal, non-tribal, and non-partial, with no chosen race, with fundamental laws which have universal and pan-ontological applicability, why run away from such an Almighty Megaforce and cling to a sectional Jewish Deity who abandoned his own creation and chose a small desert race as his “chosen people”?
This unfortunate oversight and crass self-abnegation has led to the absence of a Holy Book and instead, a proliferation of magazines, pamphlets, treatises, commercial books and so on.

Yet, although such proliferation serves to keep Ifa perpetually on the table of universal religious discourse, Ifa is not merely a collection of verses, proverbs, parables and anecdotes. Ifa is God’s sacred message to mankind. It is the embodiment of the totality of human existence. It is.

As Orunmila (BA) told us in Ejiogbe 1:36, the basis for understanding the beginning and end of all things:

Orunmila ni hunhun un un
Ifa mo ni ki lo se o ti o nkun si Bara Elesin Oyan?
Orunmila ki lo se o ti o nkun si Bara Adagba Ojomu?
lfa ki lo se o ti o nkun si Baara Agbonnin!igun,
Okinkin tii j’eyin erin o fon?
O l’oro lo po ninu oun
Oun o r’eni t’a a M a so ni
Ogun ni oun nko?
Meebi ore ni wa?
Orunmila ni t’oran ore ko
Eni to mo iwaju oro to meyin oro loun o ri
Ogun loun moo, 0 mooti
Gbogbo okookanlenu /runmole l’awon moo
Won mooti
Won ni Orunmila, iwo nko?
Orunmila ni oun o mo iwaju oro at’eyin oro
O ni Ifa lo mo iwaju oro to meyin oro
Ifa, Olodumare, Atenilegelege, fori sapeji!

Through Ifa is revealed the Great Mysteries of life. Only Ifa explains the reasons for the existence of life, living, death, sickness, success, failure, poverty, wealth, life before birth and life after death. Only IFA reveals the spiritual basis for reincarnative experience; why no living thing, having sucked from the, breasts of mother Nature, will fail to taste the bitter truth of death (Ogbe Tomopon, 27:6), Why ORI is more important than religion, why we all chart different courses during our sojourn on planet Earth, and why sacrifice is pivotal to the lives of men of all races and all religions (Okanran-Osa, 130:12).

Only Ifa tells it exactly as it is. In short, only Ifa guides the life of man from cradle to grave! Although, as a result of close association through the several millennia, Orunmila has been regarded as being synonymous with Ifa (the two names are actually frequently interchanged in the Sacred Verses) this, in realitv is not so. Ifa as the embodiment of Olodumare is the ultimate level of esoteric consciousness, a level attained only by Orunmila. Presumably anyone can reach that level, but so far, it is not achievable by mere mortals. According to Osa Meji 10:18, we all live a live of perpetual struggle (to reach the level of Ifa).

Orunmila is not Ifa just as for instance, OGUN is not Iron, Mohammed is not the Quoran, Moses is not the Bible, Orunmila is the harbinger and interpreter of the Divine Message of Olodumare. That message is Ifa. Clearly, Orunmila hears and understands the message, but he is different and detached from it. Orunmila, as the Deputy of Olodumare in all things pertaining to omniscience, wisdom and spiritual salvation knows the secrets of man’s being He was with Olodumare is the beginning and knows how creation was begun and completed.

He is endowed with the extraordinary wisdom and foreknowledge, an attribute, which allows Him to perceive the beginning and end of all things. He is present when each individual is created and when each individual’s Destiny is sealed. Thus, Orunmila can predict what will come to pass and prescribe remedies to effect or avert eventualities. Ifa, as the Divine Message is the Word, which was with Olodumare in the beginning. The Word is Olodumare, in as much as the Word (Ifa) cannot be divorced from its owner (Olodumare).

In the many aspects which comprise human existence on earth, Yorubas and other Africans consult Ifa in order to know the wishes of Olodumare. Ifa, throughout the history of Yorubas over the past several millennia, has always been an essential part of life. The real key to the life of the Yorubas lies in Ifa. It forms the foundation of the all-governing principle of life for them.
Before a betrothal, before a marriage, before a child is born, at the birth of the child, at successive stages in one’s life, before an Oba is enthroned, before a chief is installed, before anyone is appointed to civic office, before a war is prosecuted, before a journey is made, in times of crises, in times of sickness, at any and all times, Ifa is consulted for guidance and assurance.

Because Orunmila is the Great Interpreter of Ifa and Witness to Destiny, both He and Ifa are held by Yorubas of whatever religious persuasion with awe, respect and reverence. Even the Catholic Priest respect Ifa and now quotes freely from the Sacred Verses. So does the Anglican Bishop and the Muslim Scholar. Orunmila himself seeks guidance from Olodumare through Ifa. Ifa is not a message for Yorubas alone.

It is the Divine Message of Olodumare to mankind and for all those who seek to receive it. Ifa’s universal relevance lies in the fact that, when an individual from any race, colour or creed approaches an Ifa Priest for a personal message, Ifa may reveal a message national, continental or even global importance. For instance, the message may be a warning of an approaching war, famine, or pestilence, although the message – seeker may be concerned only about marriage! As a result of the spread of Ifa over the millennia, it has assumed different names in different countries and among different races.

Thus, it is called Ifa among the Edos of Nigeria, Fa among the Fon of Republic of Benin. Eva BY Nupes, Ifa in Cuba, USA, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Surinarm and Haiti, Afa by the Ewe of Togo, Ephod by Jews, Geomancy by Europeans and Malagasy, as well as Ramal or Hati by Arabs. Ifa is also widespread in Africa… It is practiced among the Igbos of Eastern Nigeria, the Kamuku and Gwari of Northern Nigeria, the Igbirra in South Central Nigeria like Jukun of Eastern Nigeria, and all the tribes in the region around the Cross Rivers. Among the Siwah people in the Sahara, Ifa is known as “Derb el’raml” or “Derb el fu” It is also widely practiced in Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Sierra Leone as well as in Liberia. The Napoleon Book of Fate is based entirely on Ifa. The Jewish Kabbala is based on Ifa. Indeed since Ifa is coexistent with Olodumare, the actual title of Ifa is Ifa Olodumare. Others call Him Orisa Agbaye (Lord of the Universe), Olorun (Owner of Heaven), Oodua (creator of Character and Destiny).

Orunmila, in order to make access to the retrieval of the Divine Message (Ifa) easy, devised the computer compatible binary coding system, thousands of years before the emergence of computer consciousness in so-called modern man! So, Ifa is preserved in binary coded format and is output Parable – Format.
Ifa is coded within 256 Odus or Corpus, each Odu representing an esoteric pigeonhole, itself divisible into 256 sub-holes. Within each of the 256 Odus, there are 1,680 Sacred Verses all presented in Parable – Format. Thus, the body of Ifa consists of 430,080 messages for mankind.

That is why one cf Orunmila’s appellations is “Oluwa mi, amoomotan” (My Lord, unfathomable!) This compendium constitutes the AKASHA, kept by Olodumare (the Omnipotent God), from which revelations are made to man throughout the entire length and breadth of the universe. These revelations are made through the medium of selected individuals called “Orisa”, “Prophets”, “Messengers”, “Apostles”, “Saviours”, “Avatars”, “Messiahs” etc.
Ifa does therefore represent the Greatest Unwritten Holy Book on Earth, a perennial fountain of esoteric knowledge from which all Orisas, Prophets, Messengers, Messiahs, Apostles past, present and future sip and which message they spread at different times in human history to diverse peoples in their respective habitats. The Holy Quran puts it very clearly in Suratul AI Nahl (The Bee) Chapter 16:36

“Among every nation, we raise a Messenger with the message: serve God and eschew the Devil”
It is from this theme that the “Law of the Prophets” was formulated. Ifa is thus the source of the keynote to all Religions on Earth. To this aspect, we shall return later.
THE EIGHT ESSENCES OF IFA:

A thorough study of the ramifications of Ifa shows that it comprises eight basic essences, listed as follows:
i. The Spiritual Essence: This relates to the place of man (as a spirit) in the cosmos, the powers of matter and all aspects of ontological evolution and development.
ii. The Religious Essence: This relates to faith, catechism and Ifagelism (Preaching)
iii. The Divine Essence: This relates to the methods of Divination and accessing of esoteric information; the mechanics of Divination and the systematics of Divine Message collection, processing and interpretation.
iv. The Worship and Sacrificial Essence: This relates to the basis and meaning of worship and sacrifice.
v. The Medicinal Essence: This deals with both magical and materialist medicine
vi. The Historical Essence: This deals with the history of all creation, including the creation of materialist, non-materialist and spirit worlds.

vii. The Scientific Essence: This deals with the power of observation, axiomatic, astronomy, cosmology, cognitive and pre-cognitive experience, astral science, physical and biological sciences, logic, philosophy mathematics, statistics and computer science.
viii. The Cultural Essence: This relates to rites, rituals, politics, socio-economics, language dress and normative value systems.

As it is obvious, these eight essences of Ifa are also in the main, coincident with the human essences, of planet earth and the non-human essences in the entire universe. It is also clear that Religion, Worship and Sacrifice are but few aspects of what constitutes the Divine Message known as Ifa. It constitutes what is also known as the Great Mystery System. Thus, while Ifa Religion represents the transcendental and Evangelical (Ifagelical) dimension of Ifa worldview, Worship and Sacrifice epitomize the corrective and restorative facets of that worldview.

Oloolu Masquerade

oloolu

Recalling the history and importance of one of the greatest masquerades in Ibadan and Yorubaland as a whole, the head of Aje family where the Oloolu masquerade originated, Chief Raheem Oyerinde, disclosed that their great fore father, Ayorinde Aje, who was a warrior along with Ogunmola, Ogbori-efon, Ibikunle, Oderinde, Oderinlo went to fight in Ogbagi in Akoko, Ondo State and Oloolu was a great war masquerade in that town and was so powerful such that no one could confront him during the war.

”Nobody could defeat Oloolu during that war but it was our father, Ayorinde Aje that fought him and removed his regalia and costumes, before he was brought to Ibadan as a slave. His eyes caught the Egungun’s outfit and were attracted towards it. But as he moved towards the shrine where the outfit was kept, the war captive warned Aje Ayorinde not to go near it because it could put his life in jeopardy. Hence the name Oloolu, that is, O-LU-NKAN, meaning ‘you will put your life in peril. Ayorinde took the advice but ordered his captive to take the outfit along with him back to Ibadan. He also ordered the wife of the captive to accompany her husband to Ibadan. The woman refused. In his annoyance, Ayorinde beheaded her and ordered the captured husband to carry the woman’s head along to Ibadan in addition to the Oloolu outfit. That woman’s head is what is permanently placed on the masquerade. It is the original one. It is because of the head that every woman is barred from setting eyes on the Oloolu. Any woman who sees the real Oloolu – not his pictures – will surely die. It is also true that the first person the Ololu sees on his first day will die. The Olubadan usually warns the populace to take precautions.

During his stay in Ibadan, there was famine, ill-health and crisis in the land and all the elders and chiefs were looking for a way out, that was how Ayorinde Aje suggested that Oloolu should be used to carry the ritual to appease the gods, so immediately he carried the ritual, there was rain and everything got back to normal in Ibadan. Oloolu helped Ibadan to be what it is today. Since then anybody that is the head of the Aje family becomes the custodian of Oloolu masquerade.

No other Egungun must be seen on the streets whenever the Oloolu is out. That Egungun will certainly perish. During the reign of Olubadan Dada, and Egungun called Iponri-Iku tried it. I was then a small boy. Iponri-Iku came out on the same day the Oloolu was out. He challenged the Oloolu to do his worst. Oloolu then dropped a special cowry on the ground and challenged Iponri-Iku to pick it up. Iponri-Iku bent down to pick the cowry. He could not. His backbone was broken instantly. Iponri-Iku could no longer stand up. His followers had to carry him home. Iponri-Iku died on the same day. Since that day, no other Egungun has dared to challenge the Oloolu.

According to Chief Oyerinde, ”any area in Ibadan where the people try to fight the Oloolu anytime he is out, such areas will continue to experience bloodshed, and that is what is happening in Opopoyeosa area till date, because they tried to beat Oloolu there sometimes ago. Oloolu is so great that he gives the barren children, he provides for the needy, he prospers business among other good things he can give to an individual who is ready to serve him”

The Oloolu masquerade is an individual masquerade. It has its unique attire which looks like an elongated pyramid made from different pieces of clothes and a net. The most bizarre piece of the Oloolu masquerade is that it has the skull of a woman as its crown. As the Oloolu dances round the city in its strange rhythm with a female skull dangling on its head, the bearer proudly displays the human bone while accompanying the dreaded cult figure.

The bearer of Oloolu must not wear shoes nor carry any kind of load on his head. Also, he must not go to bed with any of his wives 30 days before coming out. In fact, a few days before the festival opens, all females must vacate his compound and return after the Oloolu festival is over. Besides, he must not carry a child on his shoulders with his feet slung round his neck.‎

Of all the egunguns worshipped in Ibadan and probably in all of Yorubaland, none is as dreaded as the Egungun Oloolu (Oloolu Masquerade). This cult figure is believed to have immense supernatural powers and one of these is the ability to mysteriously kill the first person man or woman who sets his or her eyes on the Oloolu (in his weird costume which is usually kept inside its own special shrine).

He further revealed that in time past and presently many politicians seeking elective positions have started coming to seek Oloolu’s assistance for victory at the polls, adding that their wishes are always granted once they can also fulfill their promises.

Oloolu still maintains its prestige and every year around July, its colourful festival is carried out with many Ibadan sons and daughters trooping out for the celebrations.

Credit: Tayo Johnson and Lazyeditor

Brief History Of Susan Adunni Olorisa Wenger: An Austrian Olorisa Priestess 

Birth And Early Days: Born in the middle of the First World War (4th July, 1915) in Graz, southern Austria to Christian Swiss-Austrian parents, she had always been strongly attracted to nature. Even as a child, she spent a great she fell in love with the high intellectual society and gladly started to really express herself with her paintbrush. Risking her life during the Second World War, she supported the masses and the Nazis who had occupied her country of Austria and pounded her nation with bombs. She even went as far as hiding Jewish friends and others branded as enemies by the Nazis.

For four harrowing years and under constant Nazi threats, she was at the Academy of Art in Vienna. The Nazi regime banned her works, describing her art as ‘degenerate’ and she was forbidden to paint (what is it with dictators and expression of creative thinking). Then, she turned to reading books about Oriental religions and faiths in other places of the world. Today, the works of art she made during those dark periods have been acclaimed as ‘the first surreal works of art by an Austrian painter.’ She started out as an artist at the College for Arts and Crafts in Graz, Austria.

It was there she learnt and practiced with pencil, ink and crayon drawing, alongside ceramics and clay sculptures. She was one of the artists who struggled against Hitler and his cohorts (never mind the fact that he himself was born in Austria) In 2001, she was specially honoured in Graz, Austria for her efforts during the war days with exhibitions titled Moderne in dunkler Zeit (Modern art in dark times).

Coming To Africa And Devoting Her Life To The Deities: In 1949, she came down to Africa with her then-husband, Ulli Beier. In 1950, they moved to Ede, now in Osun State to have a change from the ‘unnatural’ compound of the university. They wanted a more natural surrounding. While he continued as a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, she proceeded as an artist. It was at Ede that she met the powerful Ajagemo, one of the very last priests of Obatala worship, an ancient orisha-based religion which had almost gone extinct. Then she became friends with him and took great interest in all the rituals and activities even though she understood not even a single word of Yoruba at that time. She said to a French documentary maker in 2005: “He took me by the hand and led me into the spirit world.. “I did not speak Yoruba and he did not speak English. Our only intercourse was the language of the trees.’

They later moved to Osogbo but over time, she and Beier would separate. While he left for Europe, she remained in Osogbo and while Beier was training a group of local artists (he also founded the Mbari Mbayo Cultural Movement which has been described as the precursor of modern Nigerian art and literature), Susanne got even deeper in her training as a priestess of an ancient religion. The real turning point came in 1950 when she was seriously ill with tuberculosis. As at that time, Nigeria was under British colonialism and there was no doctor on ground to help her from the disease that was slowly killing her from the inside. After various attempts to cure her tuberculosis, they gave up on her and expected her to die until help came from an unlikely source: from the Yorubas. She was given herbal mixtures provided by Yoruba medicine men and in no time, she was well. She recovered and decided to ‘give her life’ to the Yoruba orishas who saved her from the gripping jaws of death. And until she died, she never looked back. The only time she visited her country was for short visits, her real home was in the heart of southwestern Nigeria, surrounded by warm and hospitable Yorubas.

Susanne The Writer, Artist And Environmentalist:

While in Yorubaland, she also displayed her artistic skills, making countless murals and a series of sculptures and carvings. She took her time to understand the deepest mysteries of Yoruba traditional beliefs and tried to interpret them through art (see pictures below). From the mid-80s, her works were exhibited in Europe with the premiere in 1985 when she turned 70. That same year, she took her art to Vienna, Austria for the first time in 30 years. As an artist, she distinguished herself, making use of various media, such as oil painting on plywood panels from old tea chests.

It is important to mention that she was one of the most influential Austrian artists, with some of those inspired by her being an entire generation of Vienne artists like Bertoni, Brauer, Lehmden and Fuchs. Some of the themes of her artworks spanned various areas: global literature, Yoruba mythology, Christianity, history of man, nature and the rest. She described her artistic representations like cloth paintings (see picture below) of Yoruba mythologies as representing ‘a sort of metaphysical snapshot.’ An ingenious artist, she later created a method which fused wax batik, textile painting and indigo dye. With this style, she was able to make paintings of immense proportions, some measuring up to 7 by 3.5 metres.

In the period between 1952 and 1970, she made illustrations for and designed Yoruba books. She also wrote children books in Yoruba and English and was a regular contributor to the popular Black Orpheus founded by her then-husband, Ulli Beier. In addition to this, she also ensured that the pristine rainforest was preserved. She had to cross paths with loggers and farmers who wanted to cut down the trees for other uses and destroy the environment in the process. Over her over fifty years of living among the Yorubas, she also teamed up with the locals to restore numerous shrines, many of which were already falling into disuse and lack of repairs before she came.

Love, Romance And Marriage

Her first husband was the world-renowned Ulli Beier, a German researcher and linguist whom she met in Paris while he was working with handicapped children in 1949. At that time, Beier had just accepted a post at the University of Ibadan to teach Phonetics. The pair got married using two curtain rings for wedding rings. While doing the wedding at a London registry office and presented the curtain rings, the registrar looked at them and said: ‘A wedding is not a silly joke.’ And they responded: ‘How do you know?’. After the marriage (which was quickly done so she could follow him), they set off to Nigeria. No, wait. They did not fly to Nigeria. They actually drove all the way across North Africa, past the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, through the stifling heat and chilly cold of the Sahara Desert. Finally, they reached in early 1950.

After separating with Beier, she would later fall in love with a local drummer, the late Chief Ayansola Oniru Alarape and they got married in 1959. They would later separate when he was maltreating her and remained single for the rest of her life, married only to the deities. She says of the experience in the book, Susanne Wenger: Artist and Priestess by Paola Caboara Luzatto:

She adopted over 12 Yoruba kids and one of them is the well-known Yinka Davies-Okundaye, who is now one of the most renowned contemporary painters in Nigeria.She adopted Nike at the age of six when she became an orphan. Susanne Wenger then formed a cooperative society for the benefit of the community and to raise her many kids. With time, she became an inspiration for an entire generation of artists and the focal point of the Osun Grove, especially when people congregate there every August for the annual Osun Osogbo festival.

Religious Orientation:

It is imperative to clarify that Susanne Wenger (Adunni Olorisha) was a very religious and spiritual person. But talking of religion, she did not follow any specific doctrine or text. Rather, she accepted and tolerated the concept of a ‘different, mystical dimension that is inherent in all that exists.’ She said: ‘creative thinking and art are not measurable since they are testimony of the truth, and this truth, the only truth has many faces. Who can count the faces of truth? All religions are ultimately ”the religion of mankind”. Art is ritual.’ Based on that, I will regard her as a pantheist.

Criticism:

As expected, Adunni Olorisha became the focus of criticism, with her most vociferous critics being some Christians and Muslims who felt all she was doing was reviving paganism, heathen faiths and idol worship. Well, she disagreed with her opponents and never wasted time in firing back her own salvos. She always rejected their arguments by insisting that there was a lot in common with all the religions, including Islam and Christianity, the two principal religions in Nigeria. She said: ‘Orisha (spirit or deity) is merely a name which represents the supernatural forces which are basic expressions of life. It does not matter what you call it. It is a sacred force that represents the experience of life that informs human beingness. As with all religions, there is no true way to explain it along rational lines without leeching it of its meaning and intensely personal quality. You are a part of it and it is a part of you. You may, as so many have done, push it aside, but it remains in you, in all of us.” ‘ Until she died, she tried her best to make people understand this.

Her Last Days:

Her last day on earth was a Monday. On the 12th of January, 2009, she died at the Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Hospital in Osogbo. On her death bed, she was surrounded by some of the 15 children she adopted and asked them: ‘What day of the week is it.? What time of the day is it.?’ When they answered her, she said: ‘It is time to go. It is good. It is ok.’ And those were to be her very last words. By her side was her first adopted son, Chief Sangodare Gbadegesin Ajala and Chief Doyin Faniyi, an adopted daughter. After her demise, one of her fellow olorishas and artists, Chief Muraina Oyelami, released a statement saying: ‘Our beloved colleague, mentor and Adunni Olorisha, responded to the call of Olodumare (God) some hours ago’. One of her followers said: “She is not dead. She lives through her works. She only has become an Orisha. She only slept, she didn’t die.” Before her death, she left standing instructions to be buried the same day she died without being kept in the mortuary or any elaborate fanfare.

According to her adopted daughter, no part of her body was removed and the burial rites were performed in one of the sacred shrines in the forest grove that night by worshippers of Oro and Osun. Her adopted daughter would later add: ‘She doesn’t want any tomb to be erected for her. She doesn’t want anyone to know where she is buried (so that it will not be turned into a tourist site). She just wants to be buried without fanfare.

Source: http://ooduarere.com/news-from-nigeria/breaking-news/susan-wenger-adunni-olorisha/

Olojo Festival: Celebration Of Deities In The Ancient City Of Ile-Ife

Gbajure! Gbajure!! Gbajure!!!  Ebo re a fin, etutu re a da………………….

These were sacred enchantments that often prelude the commencement of Olojo festival, as women from Eredunmi’s Compound enter into Ile Oduduwa to herald the arrival of Olojo festival, which can be described as the pot pourri festival of all deities in the ancient city of Ile-Ife.

Gbajure enchantment is often followed by Ikale, a week-long of non-drumming of any kind of traditional drums, because, Ooni, Arole Oduduwa, the progenitor of Yoruba race has gone incommunicado with the four hundred and one deities, who resided in the ancient city of Ile-Ife.
According to Ife myth, Olojo festival started with the third Ooni of Ife, Ogun and it is done in honouring Olodumare, the “owner of the day” it is to thank the’ supreme being’ for his abundance over the entire Yoruba nation and also seek his blessing ,peace, fruitfulness and longevity of the people.

No one determines the date when the festival should hold in the month of October, but Ooni himself will hear the sound of unseen drums wherever he may be and that it is time for him to enter into seclusion, so as to communicate with the deities in fasting and prayers without receiving any visitor or attending to the immediate family members as well.
During his seclusion as the representative of the living and link between the gods and the people, he supplicates, atones, and presents the needs of the people to the gods. This act made him the priest to his people, as well as the mouthpiece of Olodumare to his people. The seclusion of Ooni can be likened to that being observed by Benin monarch in celebration of Ague festival, this only reflects the link between Benin and Ile-Ife, as Oranmiyan was partly the son of both Oduduwa and Ogun who was also Oba of Benin.

The Thursday presiding the first Oke-Mogun, is Ilagun day and it is always a vigil affair with the chief host, Osogun, the priest in charge of Ogun, the god of Iron, whom other deities in Yoruba mythology believe paved way for other deities to have their ways to the earth, with other traditional chiefs offering sacrifices at Oke-Mogun shrine.
Friday, which is the first Oke-Mogun day, as early as morning, people throng into Ooni’s palace with Arole Oduduwa, sitting on the throne of his ancestors dishing out prayers to whosoever that visits the palace. It is often time of merriment and celebration for the opportunity of being alive that the Supreme Being bestowed on individuals to be alive, and celebrate the commencement of another calendar year, especially for the people of the ancient city of Ile-Ife. It is time of renewal as kiths and kins renew their love for each other.

It is also time of sharing as families exchange gifts. Among others, it is time to visit relations and make resolutions on issues bordering on individuals and the family at large. It is also a time to settle quarrels, so that families could forge ahead. Before the advent of Christianity, even till early 70’s, no true son or daughter of Ile-Ife would not come home for the festival, because of the opportunity it avail individualsto re-unite with his kins in order to deliberate on the progress of individuals and the community at large.
It is time when young ladies were betrothed to their spouses, to many it is time to report the oppressor to the deities. It also serves as time to plead with gods in supplication for those that seek for the fruit of the womb, good jobs and fortunes, because most of the sacred grooves were opened for whoever that needs their intervention, as the priests of those deities were often at hand ready for the people.
In the afternoon,towards the going down of the sun, Ooni will enter into Ileegbo and come out with AdeAare, the beaded crown believe to be won  by Oduduwa, after which the princes from all the ruling houses known as Sooko will pay obeisance to Ooni. So, also the traditional chiefs in order of their seniority will as well pay obeisance to Ooni.
At Ilenla, the Lokoloko’s who are the palace aides, but cladded in half camwood and white –chalk with canes in their hands pave way for the movement of Ooni to Oke-Mogun, followed by gun shots. Immediately, Aare crown is being sighted, prayers are often said by the people for whatever they desire, while Ooni would lead the procession of traditional chiefs and the people to Oke-Mogun, passing through specific routes.
At the shrine, the Ooni would perform a ritual dance with Osogun and at the end, they would both perform a ritual of sword-crossing, apparently an oath of comradeship. Thereafter, the Osogun performs with chalk and camwood the traditional marking of all chiefs present, as this would mark the renewal of the chiefs’ allegiance to constituted authority represented by Ooni   himself. Next, the   Ooni   and Osogun descended to another shrine called Ogun Ereja shrine for another round of rituals. From there, Ooni would lead the procession to Oja-Ife, where he would perform another ritual at Aje shrine and prayers are offerred for the economic and prosperity  of the people, before returning to the palace.
On the second day of the festival, the Ooni is kept busy with various entertainments by the Emese, king courtiers in the minor courtyards located within the expansive palace.
The next day, which happens to be the third day of the celebration and the second Oke-Mogun day, the repetition of the event of the first day would hold but Ooni do not wear Aare crown, in addition Ooni visit Oke-Itase to pay homage to Orunmila and his family quarter which signify the end of the festival.

The significance of Olojo festival cannot be over-emphasised, as it is the festival that unites the people together. It is also a celebration of the deities and celebration of the God of the Universe, the owner of the day, for preservation of the Yoruba race with abundance of blessing creator have bequeathed on them.
REFENCE: OSUN DEFENDERS 2016

The human alarm clock that wakes Oonirisa up everyday.

Omisore Lateef Oyewale Oderinde has the privilege of always being the first and the last person that sees the Ooni of Ife after his wife. 


Ooni’s praise singer Omisore Lateef Oyewale Oderinde goes to wake the Ooni up between 7.30 am and 8.30 am daily. He also announces the monarch’s arrival at any event he attends chanting his oriki (eulogy) using ijala ode (Yoruba hunter’s chant) style. In his eulogy of Ooni, he praises the king as the husband of Otiti, the Olori.
Traditionally, this is how a typical Yoruba king should be woken up and praised at intervals but with civilization many kings have done away with this aspect of the culture. Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi going by the fact that he is a first class Yoruba king, a custodian of the Yoruba culture and tradition has continue to show through his lifestyle despite being young, well educated and well travelled that he is out to bring back the lost glory of the Yoruba culture and keep the culture alive.

Olubadan Breaks 17 Years Jinx, Visits Alaafin Of Oyo

The Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji Aje Ogunguniso 1 Paid his first official visit to the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi in his palace. 

The Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi (right), Olubadan of Ibadan, Saliu Adetunji, and Agbaakin Olubadan, Lekan Alabi, at the Olubadan’s visit to the Alaafin at his palace in Oyo.
The visit of Oba Adetunji, who arrived at the palace alongside the Olubadan-in-Council and senior chiefs from Ibadan is the first in 17 years between the Ibadan monarch and his counterpart in Oyo. It was learnt that the last visit of a sitting Olubadan to Alaafin was during the reign of Oba Yinusa Bankole Ogundipe Arapasowu 1 in 1999.

It was learnt that Oba Adetunji in his efforts to appreciate those who graced his coronation on March 4 and to foster unity among Yoruba traditional rulers had recently visited the monarch of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akinolu. Oba Adetunji said the reason for the visit was to thank those who attended his coronation and to foster unity among traditional rulers in Yorubaland. He used the occasion to pledge his support for the continuous peaceful relationship between the people of Ibadan and Oyo.
The Ibadan monarch who recalled his relationship with Oba Adeyemi before and after his coronation in 1971, described his host as a man of honour. The royal father also prayed for more fruitful years for the Alaafin and himself on the throne.While welcoming the Olubadan, Oba Adeyemi assured that he would continue to maintain the cordial relationship existing between them.

The Alaafin implored Nigerians to continue to pray and work hard for the resuscitation of the economy. He urged those involved in social vices such as kidnapping, vandalism and terrorism to desist from them and allow peace to reign.

Bamidele Areogun

Bamidele Areogun was the son of Yoruba master carver, Dada Areogun of Osi-Ilorin, Ekiti, Nigeria.  According to Father Kevin Carroll (who lived in the  Ekiti area and diligently documented the life and times of Bamidele),  Bamidele did not possess the same level of talent as his father at the beginning of his career. Indeed, Bamidele was never trained by his father. Bamidele instead, did his apprenticeship under Osamuko, who in turn had trained under Bamidele’s father, Dada Areogun.

After his apprenticeship under Osamuko, Bamidele became an itinerant carver, accepting odd jobs and commissions wherever he could find work in Yorubaland. The rapidly declining demand for traditional Yoruba carving forced Bamidele to supplement his income by felling trees, sawing planks and supplying timber, carving odds and ends from surplus wood.

Bamidele’s first serious commission came from the Ogboni cult, in Opin, Ekiti, where he was commissioned to carve drums, doors and pillars for the Ogboni houses from 1940 to 1943. There was a lull of a few years after the Ogboni cult commission, during which Father Carroll theorized that Bamidele’s skills declined from underemployment.

Bamidele met Father Carroll in 1947, at about the time Father Carroll was experimenting with the idea of developing a school for carvers. The experiment, known as the Oye (Ekiti) Project, sought to develop the artistic talents of local artists, but rechanneled the artists’ talents from traditional “pagan” carvings, to Christian (Catholic) icons and subjects.

To gain Father Carroll’s acceptance, Bamidele adopted a Christian name, and introduced himself to Father Carroll as “George”. Father Carroll, in his notes, observed even then that “George” Bamidele had a very high degree of technical talent, even though his skills had suffered rust from the lack of constant “suitable work that was necessary for the full development of a carver’s abilities.” Bamidele was also noted to be proficiently ambidextrous, to a degree Father Carroll observed as “uncanny”.

Bamidele concieved his work in four stages: Each stage has a name
1) ona lile – blocking out the main forms with an axe or adze
2) aletunle – working over the main forms and breaking them to smaller precise masses with an adze or a chisel, e.g. forms of ears, hands, eyes, etc.
3) didan – smoothing the forms, chiefly with a knife or chisel.
4) fifin – cutting sharp details such as hair, eyelids, and pattern work; this is chiefly the work of the knife.

The Father Carroll/George Bamidele collaboration became wildly successful, and Bamidele went on to become one of the most successful, acclaimed, and  documented in African art history.  

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