Sunday, 31 January 2016

IBEJI TWIN CHILDREN

The Yoruba people of Nigeria look upon the birth of twins as a special blessing; they also have one of the highest rates of twin births in the world. Due to the high mortality rate among twins, Yoruba mothers are frequently faced with the death of a cherished child. In view of this reality, mothers often commission a carver to create a small wooden figure -Ere Ibeji – to serve as a repository for the soul of the deceased. The figures are cared for by the mother as her living children. She believes that twins have the power to bring good fortune, wealth, and blessings; hence, twin surrogate statues are treated with respect and great attention. Statues are ritually oiled and washed in special herbal baths. They are symbolically rubbed with food and occupy a special place in the household. At times of festivals, they are held by the mother and danced.

TWINS: TWO BODIES ON A SOUL

Such care may seem very strange to us from the viewpoint of another culture so further explanation is necessary. Twins are believed to share one soul. Since a surviving twin cannot live with half a soul, the statue may contain the other half soul. Moreover, the line between life and death is not absolute for the Yoruba. There is a close interplay between the world of the spirits and the material world. Spiritual forces are normally called upon to intercede for the living. The care of a twin makes great sense to the Yoruba for a twin can produce blessings; similarly, the neglect of the deceased twin may cause the living to endure its wrath. Hence, an angry deceased twin may cause illness, sterility, still-births, and various misfortunes.

WASHING, FEEDING, RUBBING

The frequent washing, feeding, and rubbing of the statues account for the worn and patined surfaces. In fact, the surface is a sign of its authenticity. Among the favorite embellishments are indigo blue, often rubbed into the coiffure. Blue is a spiritual color (consider the skies) and the head is the source of spiritual transformation. Reddish paste may be rubbed on the body both as a protection from insects and as a way to charge the figure, red being a hot color reflective of power and energy. Beads and beaded cloth may adorn an Ibeji as a sign of prestige. Metal rings and cowries are symbols of wealth.

DEATH IS NOT A BARRIER

Nevertheless, each Ibeji is personal and shows the love and attention of the caregiver, who may be a brother compassion and suffering. Imagine the mother whose child has been lost to death now once more able to hold her infant in the form of the Ibeji, able to wash and feed it, dress it and sing to it. Death is not a barrier to the Yoruba mother; her family is together because of the presence of the Ibeji child.

*Culled from African Arts Museum.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

NOT IN LINE WITH YORUBA CULTURE AND TRADITON.

This is a picture of The Olowu of Owu Ile in Osun State, Oba Muhammad Qozeem Rohji Adekunle Okikiola Ilufemiloye, with his wives at a function. The kabiyesi should be the youngest king in yoruba land (I may be wrong though), he is 38 years.
Those who know me know that I never openly castigate any African king, so I won't say anything other than the fact that being a yoruba king has its requirements, if we can't fulfil those requirements because we are Muslims or Christians, please, let's not put ourselves forward as a contender.
KAABIYESI OOOO.... ( Prostrating flat on my chest as usual)

AMALA, THE SPECIAL YORUBA FOOD BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN

Amala is the popular and best food of Yoruba people from the South west of Nigeria. It is the food that is highly cherished by any full fledged Yoruba man or woman born and breathed in that land. Amala powder is added to already boiled water on the fire and stir till thickened up before wrapping it in a nylon or put in a plate for eating. White Amala is best known to the Egba people from Abeokuta while the brown one is common with the Oyo people. And they are both good, it is just a matter of preference. Amala can be eaten with so many types of soup namely Vegetable soup, which is sometimes called (Efo Riro), Okro soup or Ewedu soup depending on an individual's choice.
Amala is a food that has gone international today as it is being served in most of the hotels in the world with the above named soups as part of their cuisine. Amala is best eaten with one particular soup called Bean soup or (Gbegiri) and anybody who has not tasted this before does not know what he or she is missing. Amala with soup is sometimes recommended for the aged, pregnant women and the sick because it digests easily in the system after eating. Some people prefer to put soup on their Amala before using their hands to eat it. Amala is best enjoyed when it is served hot with soup stocked with fish or meat to go with it. And a visit to any local canteen will show how people eating hot Amala with Ewedu soup sweat profusely on it as a sign of enjoying their meals. Conclusively, whichever way we look at it, Amala is a Yoruba food and it is a delicacy any day and any time. If you want to try your hands on making Amala, the yam powder is locally available at any market that they sell foodstuffs and a trial of it will convince you that it is a food to be reckoned with by those who like to eat good food.

Friday, 29 January 2016

NATURAL GIFTS OF RATS

Rats are extremely social and affectionate animals. They enjoy the company of other rats and domestic rats love being with humans too.

NATURAL GIFTS OF RATS:

Rats take care of injured and sick rats in their group.
Without companionship rats tend to become lonely and depressed.
Rats have excellent memories. Once they learn a navigation route, they won't forget it.
When happy, rats have been observed to chatter or grind their teeth. This is often accompanied by vibrating eyes.
Rats make happy "laughter" sounds when they play.
Rats succumb to peer-pressure, just like humans. Brown rats are prone to disregard personal experiences in order to copy the behaviour of their peers. The urge to conform is so strong that they will even choose to eat unpalatable food if they are in the company of other rats who are eating it.
Although very curious animals, rats are also shy, and prefer to run away than confront a potential threat. Rats are extremely clean animals, spending several hours every day grooming themselves and their group members. They are less likely than cats or dogs to catch and transmit parasites and viruses.
A rat can go longer than a camel without having a drink of water.
Rats' tails help them to balance, communicate and regulate their body temperature.
The rat is the first of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. People born in this year are thought to possess characteristics which are associated with rats, namely: creativity, intelligence, honesty, ambition and generosity.
Rats are recognised as the vehicle of Lord Ganesh in Indian tradition. They are worshipped at the Karni Devi Temple, where priests and pilgrims will feed them grain and milk.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

NATURAL GIFTS OF (AGAMA LIZARD) BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN

Agama is a type of lizard. There are more than 60 species of agama that are native to Africa, Europe and Asia. Agamas are the most dominant type of lizards in Africa. They are very flexible animals that can easily adapt to the changes in their environment.

NATURAL GIFTS:

Agama can reach 15.7 inches in length.Agama Lizards are Omnivores. They eat ants, grasshoppers, beetles, and termites. Though primarily an insectivore, the agama will eat small mammals, reptiles, and vegetation if necessary. Head, neck and thighs of Agamas are covered with scales.
Agamas live in groups that are composed of one dominant male, couple subordinate males and large number of females.
Dominance in the group is accomplished through fights. Dominant male is called "cock". This male enjoys certain privileges: he mates with females and gets the best place for rest.
Color of the agama's body depends on its gender and its position within the group. All females are green or brown. Subordinate males have a body that is brown, gray, red, blue, or yellow in color. Dominant male is brightly colored. It has blue body with red (or yellow) head.
Agama has well developed sense of vision, which is used both for hunting of the prey and for avoiding the predators.
When resting or threatened, the cock will turn brown like the others. However, while basking in the sun, it will again become vibrant, and will occupy the best spot in the area, followed by the subordinate males and then the females.
Female releases between 2 and 20 eggs from June to September. She digs 2-inches deep hole in the moist and sandy ground where eggs will be hidden until the time of hatching.
Agama can survive for a long period of time in the wild. Average lifespan of agama is between 25 and 28 years.

NATURAL GIFTS OF SQUIRRELS BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN

Squirrels are nimble, bushy-tailed rodents. More than 200 squirrel species live all over the world, with the notable exception of Australia. The tiniest squirrel is the aptly named African pygmy squirrel—only five inches (thirteen centimeters) long from nose to tail. The Indian giant squirrel is three feet (almost a meter) long.

NATURAL GIFTS:

Squirrels are very trusting animals, and are of the very few wild animal species which will eat out of a person's hand.
Squirrels are extremely intelligent creatures. They are known to put on squielaborate bogus food burying displays to deceive onlookers. The fake burials are to trick potential thieves, such as other squirrels or birds, into thinking that they have stored their food stock there. Any observers planning on taking the stash will then focus on the bogus burial site, allowing the squirrel to bury the real stash elsewhere safely.
Ground squirrels eat nuts, leaves, roots, seeds, and other plants. They also catch and eat small animals, such as insects and caterpillars. Squirrels tend to run in erratic paths. This is intended to deceive potential predators as to its chosen direction so that it may escape.
Tree squirrels are commonly seen everywhere from woodlands to city parks. Though they are terrific climbers, these squirrels do come to the ground in search of fare such as nuts, acorns, berries, and flowers. They also eat bark, eggs, or baby birds.
There are 44 species of 'flying squirrel'. They live like birds do, in nests or tree holes, and although they do not fly, they can really move across the sky. Rather than actually flying, these species glide using a membrane which stretches from their wrists to their ankles. It allows squirrels to glide naturally like humans do with the aid of a parachute.
Squirrels communicate with each other through various vocalisations and scent marking. They also use their tails as a signalling device, twitching it when uneasy to alert other squirrels of potential danger. A squirrel's front teeth never stop growing. Squirrels are born blind. A newborn squirrel is only about an inch long. Lifespan of a Squirrel depends on it species. Records for maximum life span are 12 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

BADAGRY: A GIMPSE OF LAGOS' TOURIST SITE

The Badagry Festival began its humble beginnings in 1999, as a remembrance for the slave trade era and the significance of the town in the era. In 1999, "Arefo" organized the first Badagry Festival. Since then, Arefo has spent hundreds of hours organizing the festival and has been responsible for transforming it into the festival that we know today.
The Badagry Festival features different acts and performances. These acts and performances include: Liberation Day Celebration, Football Competition (Oba Akran Cup), Arts & Crafts Festival, Nature/Water Sport Activities, Vothun Henwhe Festival, Zangbeto Exotheric Masquerade Festival, Gbenepo Royal Carnival, International Day for the Remembrance of Slave Trade and Its Abolition, Carnival Day and more.
Badagry is a great town for relaxation and new discoveries. Nothing like a historican town with traditional means of living and strong religious virtues.

*Culled from Daily Independent.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

BADAGRY: A GIMPSE OF LAGOS' TOURIST SITE

A tour of the Slave Museum in Badagry shows the shackles the Africans were forced to wear around their necks, chained to the person in front and behind who wore similar devices on their necks. The slaves were brought to Badagry from inland and sold to the French, the British, the Dutch and the Portuguese. Each country had it's own sector of Badagry where it kept goods for trading with local African slave catchers, and where it held those enslaved until the ship arrived.  The slave trade started here in the 1400, but the peak of operations was in the 1770s.
From the 1840s, following the suppression of the slave trade, Badagry declined significantly, but became a major site of Christian mission work. Christianity (as a religion of the so-called white) was first preached in Nigeria at Badagry in 1842 by Rev Bernard Freeman and he celebrated the first Christmas in Nigeria the following year. The site where Christianity was first preached then is now the "Agiya Tree Monument" beside the Badagry Town Hall.
The people of Badagry are OGU commonly referred to as "Egun" and speak Ogugbe(Ogu) language. They are hardworking, full of courage and pain-staking people from; four main stock-namely Whedahs, the Whemes and the Ga/Ewej Ajah respectively. The Yoruba traders and adventurers from the Hinterland later settled in and around Badagry and its environs. About seven decades ago, a group of Hinerant fishermen from the riverine areas of the hinterland-mostly the Lajes, moved into Badagry area and were allowed to fish on the waters and generously accommodated on the riversides.
The "Ogu" people have their family and friends in the Republic of Benin; former Dahomeh, today's Ghana; former Old Coast and the Republic of Togo and in Egbado South area of Ogun state in Nigeria. Many European traders, missionaries, explorers as well as other people of African origin and those within the Country, mainly those from neighbouring Dahomey, Abeokuta, the Egbado area of today's Ogun state and of course, those from Lagos ere attracted into Badagry.
The People of Badagry were noted for their hospitable ways and always resisted attacks from the neighboring Dahomeans(who envied their economic growth and potentials). Traditionally, the occupations of the people are chiefly fishing, farming and animal husbandry.
Cottage industries which from time past engaged the attention of the people ranged from boat building, net making, bamboo furniture industry, food processing mills and raffia works, wine tapping and traditional house building. A salt refining cottage industry flourished at Gberefu on Badagry Island around 1560. Handicrafts such as pottery, mat and basket weaving are most common among the people.
Fishing is carried out along the coast and in the lagoons and creeks. The main catches are the saw fish, tarpon and shark. Due to its nutritional value and economic advantage, the state Government through the State Agricultural Development Project(ADP) constructed a 1.6 hectare fish at Alakotomeji with a supply of 200,000 young fishes for positive breeding.
Through organized and effective security forces, whose superior method of fighting became visible during the raids in the seventeenth century.
Despite their early intercourse with Christianity, traditional religion is very strong in Badagry and its surrounding villages and towns with disciples worshipping regularly at the various temples. In "Ogu" language , God is "Jiwheyewhe" "Mawu-ose" the traditional religious groups communicate with the Supreme Being through lesser gods such as Ogun(god of iron) and hevioso (god of thunder). Apart from the traditional religion, Christianity progressed and became a very important part of the people's culture. The history of Badagry will not be complete without the early history of Christianity in Nigeria.
Islam was also accepted by some of the people.
The first Nigerian storey building was erected by the Reverend Henry Townsend of the church missionary society(CMS) on the Marina in Badagry in 1845. The building which later served as an official residence for St. Thomas Anglican church, Badagry was also used by Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the first African C.M.S Bishop when he undertook the translation of the Holy Bible from English to Yoruba.
Originally built of coconut fibers and located on an area of 1,144 square feet, the more than a century and half old building was recently given a face lift to further preserve it for generations yet unborn. Another place of interest is the Badagry Beach, with its impressive palm trees and wind-blown surf is one of the most beautiful spots in Nigeria.
The people of Badagry are very cultural too. Annually, on the third week in August, hundreds of thousands of people come together at Badagry, Lagos to be part of the action that is The Great Badagry Festival.

BADAGRY: A GIMPSE OF LAGOS' FAMOUS TOURIST SITE

By kimberley Okonkwo
Badagry has been proved to be one of the fascinating tourist sites in Lagos.
It also has one the best scenery that serves as good location for music video shoots.
One of the attractions is that it is a town bordering on a coast between Seme and Benin Republic.
Tourists who have had the opportunity to visit the town, which is a home to a decent part of Lagos population say the neighboring countries are just a few kilometers away.
The border town to Republic of Benin and Seme is often described as a potent as it generates the highest Nigeria Customs duties income till date.
Badagry residents survives largely on fishing and agriculture, and maintains a small museum of slavery. The town consists of dwellers from all over the country, living through various means in the town. Some trade in clothing, food items, used cars from overseas and other imported goods.
Interestingly, the first educational system of Nigeria as a British colony started in Badagry where the first primary school was built and named "St. Thomas(Anglican) Primary school in 1845. The first secondary school in Badagry was built over one hundred years later called Badagry Grammar School in 1955. In 1863, the town was added as an extension by the United Kingdom and introduced as a part of the Lagos colony. It became a part of Nigeria in 1901.
The name Badagry, originated from the people's means of livelihood which is farming, fishing and salt making due to the availability of trees and presence of ocean water respectively. The natives believed that Badagry was founded by a famous farmer called "Agbedeh" who maintained a farm which became popular it was named after him. The word Greme meant farm in "Ogu" language and a visit to Agbedeh's farm brought about the word and "Agbedegreme" and its usage meaning Agbedeh's farm. It was then coined to "Agbadagari" by the Yoruba inhabitants and later corrupted to Badagry by the European slave merchants before the end of the seventeenth century.

Monday, 25 January 2016

YoruByte: SUPERIORTY BETWEEN THE ALAAFIN AND THE OONI, FACT OF THE MATTER BY OTUNBA OLUFEMI FADAIRO

From the days of Oduduwa, the king always had a chief priest who performs the daily worship of the gods of Yoruba land, the title of the priest was Oonirisa (a compressed form of Olorisha) which means the custodian of the gods. The chief priest was never from the royal family! They never had any royal blood in them. Just like in the Bible where you have the kings and the priests. (This lends credence to the fact that the yorubas must have migrated from Egypt and not Mecca. Again, this is a story for another day).
Up till this very day, ALL the gods in Ife must be worshipped DAILY, so Oranmiyan, during his days, was not going to risk the gods not being worshipped because he wanted to go expand his coast. As a matter of fact, he required the assistance of the gods to make his mission successful. In view of this, he didn't go on his sojourn with the chief priest, he left him at home to worship the gods and be the one to give guidance to the populace he left in Ife. Oranmiyan went ahead to establish the great Oyo empire from the bank of river Niger all the way to the tip of Popo town in the now Benin Republic. The Ooni was left as the leader of the Ife people by Oranmiyan, while Oranmiyan himself remained as Alaafin of Oyo empire. Whenever the Ooni required direction on crucial matters of state, he sent messages to the Alaafin who gave INSTRUCTIONS on what to be done. As time went on, the sons of the chief priests (Oonis) started taking leadership after the demise of their fathers and they also started being kings, but they all deferred to the Alaafins in Oyo from generation to generation. As a matter of fact, there was NEVER any Ooni who challenged the authority or the superiority of the Alaafin before the immediate past Ooni, Oba Sijuade who recently ascended to the realm of the spirits. But always, the Alaafins give special recognition to two kings. One, anyone who is an Ooni, because he sits on the stool sat on by Oduduwa. Secondly, anyone who is an Oba of Benin, because he is the eldest brother. But respect and recognition does not mean we don't know who actually owns the authority.
This is the reason why ONLY the Alaafin can give a title that cuts across all Yoruba lands. All other kings can only give a title for their lands. E.g, the king of Owu can only bestow on you the title of Balogun of OWU KINGDOM, while Alaafin can bestow on you the title of Are Ona Kakanfo of YORUBA LAND.
The prominence of the kings who are Oduduwa's grandsons come into perspective when you hear of the story of the current Oba of benin's visit to the Ooni. When the Oba of benin visited the OOni Sijuade and the Ooni welcomed the Oba of benin by saying "welcome my son", the Oba of Benin, Oba Omo N'oba, gave the response to Ooni Sijuade by saying "The father can't be the son" and they both laughed about it. But the Oba of benin indeed passed a message there.
I would like to close by giving two analogies. Very few people know that the Headquarters of the Redeemed Christian church of God is not the one along Lagos-Ibadan express way, the headquarters is in Yaba in Lagos state. Now, there is a pastor in charge of the headquarters of the church but Pastor Adeboye stays at the Redeemed camp. Does this fact make the pastor at the headquarters greater than Pastor Adeboye?
If I am the Only son of my father, and my father marries a wife after the demise of my mother, In African culture, if my father dies, who has the authority to control the home and decide how the inheritance would be shared, Me or my father's wife? But one thing is certain, no matter what a heir does, he still has to always give respect to his father's widow. This does not mean the widow would not know who has the ultimate authority.
Now you know the history, now you can decide who the greater king is.
Ooni Ogunwusi, may your reign be peaceful and may your days be long. Alaafin Adeyemi, may your wisdom guide the Yoruba race aright and may your days not end in shame. To both of you my fathers, again I say KABIYEESI o (Now rolling to the right and rolling to the left while still postrating flat on my chest)
- Till some other time.

YoruByte: SUPERIORITY BETWEEN THE ALAAFIN AND THE OONI, FACT OF THE MATTER

First of all I am immensely grateful to the two most prominent royal fathers Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamide Adeyemi III and Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi for their display of maturity and bringing together the whole Yoruba race again. I say to both revered fathers, KABIYEESI O!!! (As usual, with my chest flat on the floor). Both of them are great kings of Yoruba land and none should ever be disparaged!.
That being said, we need to clear the air on this superiority issue being bandied around by a lot of people without the sense of history. Some say The Alaafin is the supreme-most king in Yoruba land, while others say it is the Ooni. I would try to give an abridged version of the history of the two and let you, the YoruByte reader make your own decision.
So, it is an agreed fact that the progenitor of the Yoruba race is Oduduwa. Fact undisputed! It also known that Oduduwa had only one child, Okanbi. Fact Unchallenged! Furthermore, It is universally agreed that Okanbi had seven children, Fact Uncontroverted! 5 boys and 2 girls. His first-born was a princess who married his chief priest (the Onirisa) and the first male child of that union became the Olowu of Owu. The second child was also a princess, who became the mother of the Alaketu, the progenitor of the Ketu people (how these two boys [Olowu and Alaketu] who were children of princesses became kings is a story for another time). The third, a prince, became king of the Benin people. The fourth, Orangun, became the king of Ila. The fifth, the Onisabe (king of the Sabes [In Benin republic]). The sixth, Olupopo (king of the popos [Also in Benin Republic]). And the last prince was Oranmiyan. All these princes became Kings who wore crowns as distinguished from vassals who did not dare wear crowns but used coronets called Akoro. You can read up the full story of Oranmiyan from a previous post I made. I strongly advise that you read the post because it lays the foundation for this post.
Where the argument starts is with Oranmiyan. Infact, the benin people have their own arguments too with Oranmiyan but that is a story for another day. As you would have noticed from the geanealogy, the first of the Okanbi princes is the King of Benin and people have wondered why he is not said to be the most important Yoruba king. The issue is that, it is the first prince born AFTER ascension to the throne that is the crowned prince, irrespective of the existence of an elder brother.
Oranmiyan was the only son born after Okanbi ascended the throne, therefore, Oranmiyan became the crowned prince. None of his brothers contested this with him. Oranmiyan was a hunter/warrior, so he was given to expedition. After he became king in Ife (please note that up till Oranmiyan, no ife king used the title Ooni), Oranmiyan decided to expand his territories and so he set forth with some of his men to "enlarge his coast".

Sunday, 24 January 2016

YORU-BYTE BY OTUNBA OLUFEMI FADAIRO

Yoru-Byte:

Oduduwa, the founder of the yoruba kingdom had a son called Okanbi. okanbi in turn had 5 sons and 2 daugthers. His first-born was a princess who married his chief priest (the Onirisa) and the first male child of that union became the Olowu of Owu. The second child was also a princess, who became the mother of the Alaketu, the progenitor of the Ketu people (how these two boys [Olowu and Alaketu] who were children of princesses became kings is a story for another time). The third, a prince, became king of the Benin people. The fourth, Orangun, became the king of Ila. The fifth, the Onisabe (king of the Sabes). The sixth, Olupopo (king of the popos). And the last prince was Oranmiyan. All these princes became Kings who wore crowns as distinguished from vassals who did not dare wear crowns but used coronets called Akoro.
the name Oranmiyan was actually a nick name for the prince. his actual name was Odede. A narration has it that the nickname Oranmiyan was gotten from an incident that happened to the young prince after the death of his father.
At the death of Okanbi, Odede was not around in the ife kingdom as he loved to go on long term hunting of 3 months to 6 months in the jungles. So, when the properties of the dead Okanbi was being shared amongst the children, Odede was not around. Of course, the siblings that were around took all the juicy part of the properties. The king of Benin got all the money (cowry shells), the Orangun of Ila got all the wives, the king of Sabe got all his cattle, the Olupopo got the beads, the Olowu, the garments and the Alaketu, the crowns. They all had forgoteen about Odede, they left nothing for him! And by custom, he was supposed to become the next king as he was the only son that was born after his father ascended the throne.
When he came back and demanded for his own share of his father's properties, being a renowned great hunter already, every one knew that this is a big issue (oran nla)! All the siblings came together and explained to Odede that he would have an issue as there is no property left to give him. Oranmiyan accepted with equanimity and was going away before the eldest daughter said well, he could have the land as land was not useful to anyone then.
Oranmiyan said thank you to his siblings and left with only the rejected useless land. He went into deep thoughts and on the 7th day he summoned his sibblings and informed them that since he owned the land, and the siblings kingdoms are on his land, he has decided to collect annual rent on the land on which the siblings kingdoms are. For rent, he received cattle, women, beads, money and crowns. Thereby, he became the first recorded African to collect tenement rate! And with this rent, he became rich and resolved the big issue of having nothing of wealth from his father's estate. And he proclaimed to the world that ORANMIYAN (My case/issue is settled). Thereafter, everyone referred to him as Oranmiyan, Alaafin of Ife (yes, the title in ife was Alaafin from the beginning. How the title changed to Oni is a story for another time). That is why its said in yoruba land that "Alaafin lo ni ile" (The Alaafin is the lord of the Lands).
Oranmiyan the emperor later founded the great Oyo empire (which spanned 2 countries), Oranmiyan the war General reformed the warfare tactics of the yorubas, Oranmiyan the statesman established the parliamentary government that the british met when they came, and for anyone who has ever eaten gbegiri (bean soup), Oranmiyan the chef gave the world the gbegiri recipe.
Oranmiyan's exploits can't be enumerated in one edition.
Oranmiyan was neither a god nor was he a mere mortal, he was a great king!

THE SAYINGS OF OUR ELDERS BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN.

*Even an ant can hurt an elephant.
*Do not forget what is to be a sailor because of being a captain yourself.
*A joyful leader is not ignored.
*What you cannot see during the day, you will not see at night.
*A toad does not jump around in the daytime for nothing.
*What forgets is the axe, but the tree that has been axed will never forget.
*What has horns must not be hidden in a sack.
*He who asks questions cannot avoid the answers.
*Home affairs are not talked about on the public square.
*A proverb is the mirror of the community.
*A man that does not lie shall never marry.
*Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten.
*Be glad you are unknown, for when you are known, you would wish you weren't.
*The mouse is silent while labouring, but when the baby is conceived, she cried.
*If two wise men always agree, then there is no need for one of them.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

OYEKU PAIRING WITH OTHER CORPUSES OF IFA BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN

In conclusion of our Ifa lessons so far; we shall pair the corpus of Oyeku again with the remaining four Ifa corpuses left to be treated. And they are Otura, Ika, Ose and Ofun. Just like i have always been emphasizing that it is an Ifa priest that will use his divining chains to divine and bring the messages forth to comprehend.
If Oyeku is paired with Otura, the two are referred to as Oyeku Otura while if Oyeku is paired with Ika, the two will be referred to as Oyeku Ika. If Oyeku is paired with Ose, the two be called Oyeku Ose. But conclusively, if Oyeku is paired with Ofun, the two corpuses are referred to as Oyeku Ofun.
When the above corpuses come out for anybody, there are sacrifices attached to them to enable things to go on smoothly for anybody in question.
Also, there are positive and negative messages attached to all the corpuses that we have treated so far that will be passed across to the clients for their day to day life. On that note, i am ending the review on this subject matter. I shall bring another corpus to pair other corpuses of Ifa next time.

©2016.

Friday, 22 January 2016

OYEKU PAIRING WITH OTHER CORPUSES OF IFA BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN

In continuation of pairing Oyeku with other corpuses of Ifa, we shall pair six corpuses again with Oyeku today. And they are Irosun, Owonrin, Ogunda, Osa, Irete and Oturupon.
If Oyeku is paired with Irosun, the two become Oyeku Irosun. But if Oyeku is paired with Owonrin, the two become Oyeku Owonrin. If Oyeku is paired with Ogunda, the two become Oyeku Ogunda. If paired with Osa, they are pronounced Oyeku Osa. But if it is paired with Irete, the two become Oyeku Irete. And lastly, if Oyeku is paired with Oturupon, the two are referred to as Oyeku Oturupon.
It should be noted that only a knowledgeable and gifted Ifa priest can bring the above corpuses to the fore from his divining chains or Opele . Also, he is the only one in the position to interpret and give the messages from the above corpuses to his clients. He will also give the rules and regulation attached the corpuses to guide his clients.
Next time, we shall look at the remaining corpuses of Ifa pairing with Oyeku to coclude this particular subject matter. Thank you.

©2016.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

HOW AFONJA (YORUBAS) LOST THE ILORIN THRONE


THE rivalry between the Fulani and Afonja descendants over the throne of Ilorin is rooted in history.
While the Fulani rest the case of their claim to the kingship of the ancient town on the fact that the monarch had from the time immemorial been produced by them, the Afonja descendants, who like majority of the people of the town are Yoruba, say since their ancestor founded Ilorin, their claim to the throne ought not to be disputed.
History appears in support of the former's position although the progenitor of the Fulani indigenes of Ilorin, Alimi, was actually a tenant to Afonja.
The death of Afonja and Alimi, however, saw the eldest son of the latter emerging as the first monarch of what was then known as Ilorin.
Historical sources, tracing the story to the 19th Century, said Ilorin of today was founded by Afonja, the then Aare Ona Kakanfo (Generalisimo) to Alaafin of old Oyo (Oyo Ile), who used the town as his military outpost. It was this outpost that he carried out his war expeditions for the Alaafin. In the usual nomadic wandering, Alimi arrived Ilorin and was hosted by Afonja. Soon after Alimi took Ilorin as his place of abode, a rift broke out between Alaafin and Afonja. When the disagreement reached the climax and the two had to take up arms, Afonja, out of regard for Alimi's spiritual and military prowess, sought his support. Alimi helped in mobilising an army in support of Afonja leading to victory over Alaafin. The defeat led the then Alaafin migrating from old Oyo to the site now called Oyo.
After the war, Alimi became a teacher to Afonja's children as the latter wanted his offsprings to learn the secret of power. When both died, Alimi's son, Abdulsalami, inherited his father's duty of teaching Afonja's children.
When the idea of appointing somebody to head the village came, the eldest child of Afonja wanted to have the position but met opposition from Abdulsalami who had military support from his fellow Fulani kinsmen. Abdulsalami ultimately became the ruler of what is now called Ilorin around 1831.
The issue now is that Afonja's descendants believe that their forefathers were cheated and want a redress. But the Alimi people are claiming that the Afonja people never ruled Ilorin and, as such, no precedent exists to back their position.
Penultimate week's incident was not the first time the Afonja and the Yoruba would attempt to assert their right to Ilorin kingship.
Historical sources said in 1895, the Yoruba rose against the then emir, burnt his palace and killed him. But the revolt did not result in enthronement of a Yoruba king. In 1913, when Lord Lugard administered the northern and southern Nigeria, Yoruba were said to have spearheaded a riot over tax to bring the rulership of the then emir to ridicule. In 1936, the Yoruba, according to sources, also moved to oust Emir Abdulkadir who was banished to Kaduna but got reinstated by the colonial administration.
In 1978, the George Innih administration of Kwara State raised a judicial panel of inquiry to look into the Yoruba agitation.
The Yoruba people reportedly made a case for the merging of Kwara State with the Southwest before the commission while also laying claim to the Ilorin throne. It was said they even claimed antecedent to the throne as they allegedly said Yoruba had produced four obas in Ilorin before the advent of the Fulani. But the Alimi people, in a counter position, claimed there was no known Yoruba king in the town before their forefather mounted the throne.
The report of the panel never saw the light of day while there was also no white paper from government.
A twist to the tussle was the recent petition by three of the six Yoruba chiefs (mogajis) in Ilorin to the State House of Assembly complaining that they had been classified as ungraded by government allegedly at the behest of the emir. Their non-grading, according to the chiefs, suited the emir, so that there would be no rivalry of any sort from the Yoruba to his authority. Ilorin Descendants Progressive Union (IDPU), formed to protect the interest Ilorin indigenes who are of Fulani extraction, once in its opposition to the upgrading of the chiefs, said dong so would bring them at par with Gambari. But the Afonja Descendants Union (ADU) which came on stream in 1978 to advance the cause of the Yoruba in the town and with Kasumu as its leader would hear none of that. The group is allegedly pressuring the legislature to grade the chiefs.
Another angle to the agitation is the demand for Oya State that will comprise the Yoruba speaking areas of Kwara and Kogi States. The move, it was said, is to pull the rug from under the feet of the emir and end the Fulani rulership of Ilorin.
The Yoruba people of Ilorin are not alone in the struggle. The pan-Yoruba meeting which took place in Ibadan last year demanded restructuring of Kwara State such that Ilorin would be grouped with the Southwest. Analysts interpreted this to mean that the parley did not believe that any emir had any business on Ilorin throne.

*Culled from Vanguard Newspaper.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

OYEKU PAIRING OTHER CORPUSES OF IFA BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN.

Just like our previous lessons concerning pairing one corpus of Ifa with other corpuses which will give different meanings and messages from the divining chains or Opele of an Ifa priest. The corpus that i am treating today is called Oyeku. And i will be pairing it with other corpuses to illustrate the meanings as well the pronunciation. They (the corpuses) are the following :The first is Oyeku Ogbe while the one next to it is called Oyeku Meji. The corpus next to this s called Oyeku Iwori while the fourth one is called Oyeku Odi. The fifth corpus is being referred to as Oyeku Okanran while the one next to it is referred to as Oyeku Obara.
Like i said from the beginning of this teaching, Oyeku is the dominant corpus today and i have paired it with six other corpses today. It must be emphasized that meanings and interpretation can only occur when the corpuses come out from the divinig chains or Opele of an Ifa priest who is a knowledgeable, gifted interpreter and teacher.
Next time, we shall look at Oyeku Meji again, pairing with other remaining corpuses of Ifa. Thank you.

©2016.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

OONI MEETS ALAAFIN : END OF AN AGE-LONG FEUD BY IBRAHIM ADEJARE (CONCLUDING PART)

Today, I am celebrating forty-five years on the throne.
The same thing repeated itself when I was also consulted by the Osun government on who should be the next Ooni. I made them realise it was the turn of Giesi Ruling House. I lent my support. Here he is today. These are the sterling qualities Ooni Ogunwusi should emulate in me. I am a Yoruba. I will never disrespect elders. I hold all Obas in high esteem. We are from the same source. I visit them and eat in their palaces. I hold no grudge against the Ooni'.
When it came to Ooni's turn to speak, Ooni Ogunwusi addressed the Alaafin as BABA WA ALAAFIN. The excited Ooni lauded The Alaafin's fatherly roles played in Yorubaland. He promised the Alaafin of a rancour-free and harmonious relationship. In his own words, he said, 'Alaafin is a father and I will never be haughty or arrogant in my disposition. The Ooni ended his concise speech with a song:
Ore l'ao maa,
ore l' ao maa se,
awa o ja ma o,
Ore l'ao maa se.
From there, they moved round the Town and ended it in the palace. Ooni was warmly received in the inner court of the palace, in company of other Obas. After spending about one hour, and it was time to leave, Alaafin had to accompany them to the outskirt of the Town; where they all exchanged pleasantries and departed.
This is a vivid account of what transpired on that historic day.
My Final Submission
His Imperial Majesty, Kabiyesi, Iku Baba Yeye, The Alaafin of Oyo, has set a template for all Obas to emulate. His geniality and love for the unity of Yoruba Nation is commendable.
His Royal Majesty, Aleyeluwa, The Ooni of Ife's love for tranquility and peace across Yorubaland is worthy of emulation by all.
It is a dawn of a new era for the Yoruba race. The period of feud and animosity is gone forever.
Oyos and Ifes, and Yorubas in general, are in for a good time.
We will always speak with one voice.
With this renewed friendship, Nigeria will be great.

OONI MEETS ALAAFIN : END OF AN AGE- LONG FEUD BY IBRAHIM ADEJARE

On 15th November, 1889, Oba Adesoji Martins Tadenikawo Aderemi was born in Ile-Ife. 1930, when Oba Adesoji Aderemi I was coronated as the Ooni of Ife, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III was not born.
Kabiyesi, His Imperial Majesty, The Alaafin of Oyo was born on 15th October, 1938. On January 14th, 1971, Oba (Dr) Lamidi Olayiwola Atanda Adeyemi III was coronated as the 43rd Alaafin of Oyo, when Sir Aderemi was 89 years of age and forty-one years on the throne. Oba Aderemi reigned for fifty years on the throne. On 7th July, 1980, he died at the ripe age of ninety, when Alaafin was forty-one years of age and nine years on the throne of his ancestors.
Oba Eniitan Ogunwusi was born on October 7th, 1974; three years after The Alaafin was installed as a king by General Adeyinka Adebayo, the Governor of the Old Western Region.
Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II received his Staff of Office from Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Monday, 7th December, 2015 at Enuwa Square, Ile-Ife; forty-five years after Alaafin received his.
History Has And Will Always Repeat Itself
The hand of friendship extended to the Ooni of Ife by The Alaafin of Oyo will eternally remain epochal and monumentous in the annals of Yoruba nationhood. The Alaafin personally sent an invitation to the Ooni through one of the illustrious sons of Oyo, Baba Prince Arch Bishop Lawrence Ayo Ladigbolu. The Ooni could not make it to the grand finale, because Saturday, 16th January, 2016, was the day of installation of Oluwo of Iwo Kingdom, Oba Abdul-Rasheed Adewale Akanbi, Ilufemiloye Telu I. The Ooni could not afford to miss this occasion. Firstly, as a result of a long-standing friendship between the duo. And secondly, Ooni has the traditional duty to be present; being a front-line traditional ruler in the State. Therefore, the visit was shifted to Sunday, 17th January.
OONI IN OYO
Sunday was the day of Thanksgiving at Methodist Church, Apaara, Oyo, after the two other religious groups(Traditionalists and Muslims) had equally performed their rites on Thursday and Friday respectively. When the news filtered in that the Ooni and other Obas were on their way, Alaafin sent the Oyomesis, led by Bashorun (Generalissimo) of Oyo Empire, to lead the Ooni to the Venue. Honourable Prince Akeem Adeyemi was instructed by Kabiyesi to closely monitor their movement and to ensure a hitch-free movement of the Royal Fathers, with the assistance of security agencies.
Ooni In The Church.
The Alaafin, who was already on seat, came out of the Church to receive the Ooni and other Obas. Then, the service began. The Alaafin, being the celebrant, was called to read some portions of the Bible. Some rites were also performed by the officiating pastors.
Moments of Speeches
For the avoidance of conflicts and misplacement of facts, Alaafin never said Ooni Ogunwusi's visit was the first since 1937. Let me quote him verbatim: " This special visit was done last in March, 1937. That was the first time Kings in Yorubaland met in Oyo town (during the reign of Alaafin Siyanbola Onikepe Oladigbolu I, 1911-1944) and today, history has repeated itself with the visit of Ooni and other Obas'. Timi of Ede, Orangun of Ila, Olu of Ilaro, Ajero of Ijero, Olokuku of Okuku, Alara of Aramoko and other traditional rulers were all in attendance. Ooni Olubuse II had first visited the Alaafin's palace in 1990 when it was gutted by fire. Alaafin was never oblivious of this fact.
In the course of his expository discourse, The Alaafin paid glowing tributes and extolled the virtues of Ooni Adesoji Aderemi. He said, 'as an elderly person, I gave Baba Ooni Aderemi his due respect. I never crossed his path. We had a very cordial relationship. In 1968, when Oba Gbadegesin, the Alaafin of Oyo, died, Baba Ooni Aderemi was consulted by Governor Adeyinka Adebayo on whom was to be chosen as the next Alaafin. Baba Ooni responded, "CHOOSE SOMEONE WHOSE FATHER HAD BEEN A KING. CHOOSE LAMIDI; PERHAPS, HE WILL FORGIVE THE INJUSTICES METED OUT AGAINST HIS FATHER".
He continued, 'The Oyomesis chose me in 1968. On three occasions, this submission was rejected by the government of the day. It was in 1970 when the government had no option than to accept the choice of the Oyomesis that my coronation was approved. I am the PROVERBIAL COW that passed through the eye of a needle. I was crowned on the 14th of January, 1971. I thank God the Almighty'. It was an emotion-ladened voice Alaafin described this nostalgic experience.
Kabiyesi further stated that, ' I remember when I was working with an insurance firm in Lagos, and I heard of Baba Ooni Aderemi's arrival, I removed my tie and suit, and prostrated. He asked me, 'who are you?' I replied, I am the son of Adeniran Adeyemi II. He prayed for me that I will soon ascend to the throne of my ancestors and my reign shall be long. I said, amen. This is the manifestation of the prayers.

OLUMO ROCK: EGBAS' SHELTER, FORTRESS BY JIMOH BABATUNDE


Imagine blasting a rock and instead of the normal powder eruption, what you have is pus and blood gushing out. That is one of the mysteries associated with the Olumo Rock in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Olumo Rock is a massive outcrop of granite rocks of primitive formation from which Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, derived its name. The highest point on the Olumo rock is about 137 meters from the base of the rock.
Another mystery surrounding the rock is the existence of a tree of over 200 years old which still grows there. "This tree neither withers nor sheds its leaves throughout the year. It flourishes throughout the seasons, whether dry or rainy season," it was reported.
Olumo rock is an historical monument, which served as a shelter and fortress to the Egba people during the Yoruba Intercity wars. By 1830, the main body of the Egbas had already settled at the site of the Olumo and the refuge provided by the rock marked the end of their wanderings and struggles for existence.
Since then, they regard the Olumo Rock as their protection shrine and they make annual sacrifices to its deity. People from all walks of life still go there for divine consultations.
During a tour of various sections of the rock recently, the tour guide disclosed that the Alake of Egbaland, being the paramount ruler of the Egba, offers sacrifices in the shrine on behalf of the people and prays for the whole country and the entire Egba people, as well as for the tourists that visit the rock.
To the Egbas, Olumo Rock stands not only as a monument of faith in unity but also a source of strength and unfailing protection and sustenance from the Supreme Being who led their ancestors through the perplexities of life safely to Abeokuta.
Olumo Rock, today, is a world class tourist destination that stands as the only one of its kind in Africa and presumably the world. The centre consists of a fast food joint, museum, and a giant telescope to view Abeokuta, a fountain of atonement, a recreational park, and an amphitheatre among others.
From the gate with the inscription 'Olumo Rock Tourist Complex,'  tourists will not lose sight of the heavy duty escalator and a glass elevator running the different levels of the rock alongside the old stairway for visitors who love climbing.
Climbing the rock could be extremely challenging, most especially for the aged, the installation  of this facility has greatly helped to attract  more visitors to Olumo Rock, but the fun still lies in using the old stairway.
As we make our way to the top of the rock, it leaves many breathless and ready to take a break to rest on the benches under the trees growing from the rock and enjoy some clean breeze. The journey continues with climbs on irregularly sized rocks through a narrow corridor that leads to the top of the rock.
All along the way, we catch sights of carvings in the rock, cowry-studded statues and the ancient abode of the priestesses who lived in huts on the rock. It was amazing to note that the rock is naturally surrounded by caves, one of which is about 20 feet long and 25 feet wide.
These caves have slab-like stones, which appear to have served as seats used by the ancient dwellers. It probably was used as a hall by the dwellers.
Another cave, some 20 meters long and 17 meters wide, seemed to be a dwelling place. It has five in-built rooms with a long corridor, a sitting room, kitchen and a store.
At the east end is another big cave, built with mud walls into outer and inner chambers. This is used as a shrine by the devotees of Orisa-Igun, God of longevity. Orisa Igun is celebrated annually during which goats, rams and other animals are sacrificed. The ceremonies last for 30 days.
There were also points with holes on the floor where the Egba warriors were said to have hidden their wives and children during inter tribal wars. There are holes dug on the floor which were said to have provided a devise for grinding pepper.
At the summit of the rock, tourists have the opportunity of having a panoramic view of the city from atop the rock.
The old St. Peters Cathedral, the Ogun River, the city's beautiful central mosque, the Alake's palace and many others, can be sighted from the top of the rock.
Descending was not as difficult as climbing. At the base of the rock; some tourists took time out to visit the museum of history while some took time out to relax at the eatery.
It was learnt that efforts are being made to initiate and execute visual art projects, which when completed, would portray the historical and cultural significance of Olumo Rock as the ancestral home of the Egbas and also make the complex aesthetically pleasing.
"Sculptures as well as mural designs which will tell stories of past and present events, would be placed around the rock while some spaces have also been mapped out to be used as gardens, just as locally made tents are in the pipeline for those desiring to hold parties in a natural environment within the complex," it was gathered .

*Culled from www.vanguardngr.com

Sunday, 17 January 2016

THE MASQUERADE CALLED EYO

ADAMU Orisa the man that started eyo festival, first oba of Lagos and the great connection between bini and yoruba in Lagos
ADAMU Orisa was introduced to Lagos by Ejilu and Malaki brothers to Olugbani, the Olori to Oba Ado. Oba Ado was the first ruler of Lagos to have his seat of government at Iga Iduganran.
One source stated that Ejilu and Malaki first visited Lagos during the funeral of Oba Ado and as their contribution to the funeral, they brought their set of Adamu Orisas (that is, Adamu, Oniko and Ologeda) to take part in the funeral rites.
History had it that Oniko was first brought to Lagos, because it was reputed to have spiritual powers like, the Elegbara of Esu, as well as those of Ogun (God of Iron) and, therefore, capable of driving away all evil spirits and forces on their routes.
Ologede came next because it is also a representative of Elegbara, sharing powers as stated above with Oniko. However, in the hierarchy of Adamu Orisa cult, the Oniko takes precedence.
Adimu Orisa or Adamu Orisa, Orisa for short was the last to be brought to Lagos, but, however, was regarded as being more sacred than the other two and the eldest.
In the early days, the Adimu was usually kept in a boat on the Lagoon to parade the fore-shore for people to view and pay homage. It was at this stage of its history that it acquired the appellation of Orisa Oko.
The order upon which three Orisas were brought to Lagos has since been the order of their outing on each, Adamu Orisa play day. It is a taboo for Adimu to come out without due notification that Oniko and Ologede have paraded the streets, and visiting the various shrines in the early hours of an Adamu Orisa Day.
In fact, it has become a practice for the Oniko and Ologedo to call at the conclave of Adimu which today is at Ita-Ado on their return or homeward journey which usually is around 5 or 5.30 in the morning. At the conclave, the Orisas would be received by the elders of the Adimu Cult where prayers and necessary rituals would be exchanged.
It is necessary to state, for the avoidance of doubt, that what Ejilu and Malaki introduced or brought to Lagos were the three Orisas (that is, Adimu, Oniko and Ologede) excluding the Eyo, the masquerade, that wears the flowing gown (Agbada) with an over flowing cloth, carrying the Opambata stick.
The name Adimu Orisa or Adamu Orisas
The name Adimu simply means one with blocked nasal passage (with blocked nose) while Adamu suggests obstructed nose. But the names are applied to suit each occasion, if you have an Adimu, then you can pick the voice when it speaks. But if you have the Adamu, then it does not speak of himself but by demonstration or through the aide de-camp, is the Laba (bag of mystical powers) bearer.
The other Orisas while retaining their district name and characteristics became identified with the name Adamu Orisa.
Awo-Opa
It is also an historical fact that Ejilu and Malaki established an "Irele," conclave of Awo Opa cult at Idunmagbo which is known as Irele Oke Ipa or Irele Ita Ado.
It is interesting to note that the story of Awo Opa and its brother Egungun is stated in Ife in the Odu Okanran-Ogunda and its origin is tied to the very, very early Oyo settlement. Evidence of contact with Oyo by Ejilu and Malaki would be seen when we examine the Igbo songs for the Orisas.
It is not certain if they were the first set of people to introduce Awo-Opa to Lagos. The Onikoyi Chieftaincy Family claimed that their ancestor, one Adeyemi, a former Onikoyi at Ikoyi, Ile in old Oyo, who migrated to Lagos at the time of Olofin brought Awo-Opa to Lagos. However, it is to be noted that the Eletu Awo owned the Irele Ishagbe which is regarded as the headquarters of Awo-Opa in the whole of Lagos State.
Two other Lagos chiefs, the Modile and Onisemo, both Ogalado chiefs owned and maintained an Irele each. Namely, Irele Offin at Olowogbowo in Lagos and Irele Agege Omi at Pedro Village, Shomolu. It is to be observed that the Ijebus, particularly within the Lagoon area have adopted the Awo Opa and today it appears as if Awo-Opa originated from the Ijebus. The involvement of the Awo-Opa Cult in the Adamu Orisa plays shall be mentioned later in this article.
Camping the Orisas
It was the belief in the ancient time that the dress, the head carvings and all instruments for the staging of the Orisas should not be kept within dwelling houses or within urban communities.
Therefore, it was the practice to create camp for them in villages of scheduled places to protect their sacredness. History had it that the Orisas were kept at places like Ibefun, Oke Ipa and even near Iperu. It was, therefore, common in the past for people to say that Eyo was coming from Oke-Ipa or at the close of Eyo Day, people would say Eyo, was going to take a boat to Iperu.
I have already mentioned the fact that the Irele, Awo Opa's Cult House established by Ejilu and Malaki is still called Irele Okepa up till today. Oke-Ipa is a village across the Lagoon beyong Ikoyi. It was as a result of lodging the Adimu in various places for safe keeping that you have it today at Ita Ado, though it is stated that there is a blood relationship through marriage with the Abegede group.
In fact, the Adimu was once kept with a Chief Olumegbon. The fact, therefore, remains that keeping the Orisas in any particular place does not change its ownership or origin.
The origin and family of Ejilu and Malaki and the Orisas Ejilu Malaki and Olugbani their sister were said to have come to Lagos from Benin at the time of Oba Ado.
The descendants of Ejilu and Malaki subscribed to the above history as a result of their testimony at the inquiry into the Onilogbale Chieftaincy. The second opinion as advocated by the late Chief Aminu Kosoko is that they (that is, Ejilu and Malaki came from Ibefun to Lagos to ask for their sister Olugbani. It is, however, to be noted that Benin Influence covered a larger area of the Water side, the Lagoon Area of Lagos State.
Benin influence has been noted in Ikorodu, Baiyeku, Ibefun and a host of towns and villages within Lagos State.
Ejilu is said to have died without chidren while Malaki had two sons and one daughter. They were Kulugbe (male) Olasoru (male) and Ibiye-Oroye, The following Igbe song attest to the history:
Mo mi lo gbo itan fun a wa Itan Ile Ejilu, Oji Mala, O bi Kulegbe Iba Adamu O bi Olasoru o to enia O fi Ibiya - roya fi mo Ifanu On ni noe Iye Abgemi Ogbe. The song can be translated as follows: Let me bring forth to you the history.
The history of Ejilu family. He begot Kulugbe, Father of Adamu. He begot Olasoru who became great. He had Ibiye - roye as the last issue. Ibiye-roye married the Oba of Ibefun and begot Ogunmade for the Oba. The Oba of Ibefun thus became the father-in-law to the Ejilu family and the Lagos Royal House through Eralu Kuti. Part of the Oriki for the Ogunmade family states:-
Omo Ibefun, Abe be Joye Omo Olowojoye meji ogbe iketa ha enu.
The above is a clear proof that the Ogunmades belonged to the Royal House of Ibefun while being part of the Ejilu Malaki family. Today, the various Orisas are kept by descendants or relations of Ejilu, Malaki and Olugbani. Oniko is kept by the Onigemo family who are descendants of Adamu or Sogbo. The Ologede is maintained by the people of Erelu Olugbani (Olori to Oba Ado) at Idunmagbo.
The Adimu is maintained by the Abegede group of the Olorogun Igbesodi or Olorogun-Ntebo and the Ita Ado Group who are also descendants of an Akarigbara Chieftaincy. It is claimed that Chief Kebo or Olorogun-Atebo, brought Adimu and Esu from Benin to Lagos. The Akinshiku, the titular hard of the Adimu Cult is usually appointed from the Abegede Group. The Adimu is called, Mole Ejilu, Mole Malaki. The Oniko is called Mole Ejilu, Mole Malaki, Egungun Onigemo. The Ologede is called Mole Ejilu, Mole Malaki Egungun Olugbani.
Agere as an Orisa
Agere was created an Orisa in the present century. It ranks last on the list of Orisas. It is, indeed, a modern edition to the play. One Bante Seda is said to be the first Agere.
Inclusion Of Eyo
The Adamu Orisa play continued in Lagos after Ita establishment with the three Orisas as the only set of masquerades.
In order to protect the Orisas and control the surging crowd the idea of the Eyo in white flowing robes (Agbada) was conceived.
With the approval of the Oba, the idea was implemented and a number of Eyos in white Agbadas came out on the Adamu Orisa Day at the Oba's Palace and six each were allocated to each Orisa for its security. The Eyo Group became known in later years as Eyo Oba, Eyo Oniloba or Eyo Alakoto Pupa.
The Eyo group thus became the fore-runner of all Eyos and was made the leader and Police with a carrier of "Loba", a bag containing mystical powers of juju to enable the group punish both Eyos and individuals who might break the rules and regulations governing the Adamu Orisa Cult and play.
After sometime, the Orisas and later the chiefs were granted permission to constitute a group of Eyos in their conclave of palaces.
Thus, you have Eyo Adimu, Eyo Oniko, Eyo Ologede and for the chiefs you have Eyo Eletu-Odibo. Eyo Ojore, and Eyo Egbe etc.
From the above, it clear that Eyo Laba is the fore-runner of all Eyo groups and hence it is right to call the group the "Olori Eyo." It has to be stated that the Eyo Laba Group is attached to the Akala Cult and most of the leaders of the group in the past belonged to the cult.
The Adimu Cult has some interaction with the Osugbo Cult due to the involvement of late Apena Ajasa, who held the offices of Akinshiku, the Apena of the Osugbo Cult and that of Olorogun-Atabo, all at the same time.
The origin of Eyo
To which tribe or ethnic group does Eyo or Adamu Orisa play belong?
In answering the above question, one has to examine the history of Ejilu and Malaki and other related matters in order to come to a fair conclusion.
The origin of Malaki and Ejilu is a bit confused, some said Benin, some said Ibefun. Previous writers have advanced different origins to it. Talbars in his book The People of Southern Nigeria described "Eyo as Ijebu Juju." But Rev. J. Olumide Lucas in his book The Religion of The Yorubas stated that the cult of Adamu Orisa is peculiar to the Aworis. Another author Rev. Johnson in his book The History of the Yorubas disposed that Eyo was an initiation of Egungun seen at Oyo.
From a document collected from the National Archives titled Report from Yesufu Agoro, The Head of the Family of Agoro Ogebi Eletu-Iwasha descendent dated November 3, 1937, at page three of the document the following were recorded as Item 10: "Abudu Karimu Docemo and Bakare Jose went to Oba Falolu at Iga-Idunganran to request for their grand-mother father's masquerade, Adimu, from Apena's people to return it to them. Adimu and Esu are brought by Chief Kebo from Benin to Lagos."
Abudu Karimu Docemo mentioned above is likely to be a member of the Dosunmu Family at Abegede while Bakare Jose was a former Chief Eletu-Iwase of Lagos. In considering the subject matter, it is essential to consider, the principal actors or participants of the Adamu Orisa Play and their origin. The Abegede and Ita Ado group belonged to the Benin class of chieftaincy, the Akarigberes. They belonged to the following: Olorogun Igbeaodi, Olorogun Atebo, Olorun Agan.
However, it is necessary to consider the contents of the "Igbe" songs that are used in glorifying the Orisas and Ejilu and Malaki over the years on each Adamu Orisa Day.
The Igbe runs thus: Imalaki won ki saiye Ijaiye ejilu sa yato Eyin gbo o , 2ce Iyee, o moo lo si oyo Ajaka Oyo Ajako o, On rohun mu bo si irele O fi akala mawo mesi ikole On lo nse oniko, eleyo Eyin iba gbajo kato, ti ito a ho, E do ri iwo kodo si irele Omo wewe abese lo ma leko A i kowo lo si oja lara agba
In the the Igbe song quoted above, the story is related of how, Malaki and Ejilu, were performing wonders and how one of their stock visited Oyo Ajaka (that is, the ancient Oyo where Sango reigned as king) and he brought something back to the 'Irele,' the conclave of Awo-Opa Cult.
He thereafter initiated the Akala Court into the secrecy of the new thing brought from Oyo. He was the link or delegate that brought Eyo. Finally, the song says, let all co-operate for the success and all initiates should gather at the Irele conclave of Awo-Opa.
From the above, one can see some basis for Rev. Johnson's assertion that Eyo was an imitation of the Egungun made at Oyo. The sticking similarity between the Egungun Baba-lago, and Eyo cannot be over looked. It is pertinent to refer to the history of Elegba at Iddo on the Lagos Mainland as typical example. History has it that Opeoluwa, An Ogalade chief consulted Ifa and suggest to Olofin to worship Elegbara.
There is a popular Elegbara shrine at Iworo in Awori area and the Iworo people were contacted and Opeoluwa and Olofina people were initiated into the cult and granted permission to establish an Elegbara shrine and grove at Iddo. As a result of this history, it has become a custom to sing the following Elegba song for the first Elegbara masquerade that would appear at the grove to dance.
Eku lo koko njade (2ce) Alara Omo won ni Iworo Eku lo koko njade.
Meaning: Rat is usually the first to come out
The wonder-one, child of Iworo. The song is, therefore, a testimony to the history of Elegba as stated above. In answering the question which I posed, my answer is that Eyo and Adamu Orisa play belonged to the Ekos. Although it may be a mixture of the Esu from Benin, the Awo-Opa, the Akala.
It is Eko's creation, it has no parallel, anywhere in Yoruba land. There is no trace of Eyo in Ijebuland, not even Ibefun. The Ijebus are noted for Agemo, Oro and Eluku. The main purpose of this writing is to remove the impression created in the mind of many people by past writers and commentators on the subject ascribing the foundation of Eyo to the Ijebus. The Lagos Island Council should resuscitate its special committee on the history of Lagos to examine the aspect relating to Eyo.

*Culled from Proudly Yoruba.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

IFA ORACLE AND THE SHRINES BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN

IFA, the god of divination plays important roles in relating with other gods as he is the one to proffer solutions to their various problems. Orunmila is the custodian of Ifa and he is the one divining for all the other deities giving them offerings from time to time. Orunmila is held in high esteem by other deities because of his divine gift of knowing the past, the present and the future.
Whatever Ifa decrees that should be done is placed before the shrine of the deity in question. The shrine of any deity is the representative of that deity and it is believed that the presence of any deity is felt at his or her shrine. Symbols are regarded as the shrines for so many deities in Yoruba land.
Shrines are sacred symbols of the deities where people commune and connect with them. It is not only the offerings that are placed before the gods or goddesses for acceptance, prayers are also offered at the shrines for acceptability. Ifa oracle must have been consulted to guide the people in all these above activities.
The shrines always have their keepers who manage the activities at the shrines. The keepers of the shrines are known as the priests or priestesses as the case may be and these keepers are knowledgeable men or women who are sometime vast in the knowledge of Ifa oracle. Appeasements are done for the deities at their shrines from time to time by their keepers to maintain their potency and efficacy.
Scornful, deceitful, wicked and evil people in general are not allowed at the shrines of the deities. Should these people not heed to the warning from the deities, they face their wrath. Shrines are places of worship on daily basis to the deities who are regarded as spirits taking care of the spiritual problems of humans in their own realms before manifesting in the visible world. The visible world that will live in is being governed by the invisible world. Deities were once human before becoming spirits to be called upon at any time to serve the people. And IFA Orunmila is their pathfinder!

THE SAYINGS OF OUR ELDERS

*A smart opportunist can be an intellectual moron.
*No matter how powerful one is, one can never make rain the fall only on his own home.
*Even the best dancer on the stage must retire sometime.
*You can't scare a monkey with a dead baboon.
*Not everyone who chased the zebra caught it, but he who caught it chased it.
*A weaning baby that does not cry aloud will die on its mother's back.
*The person who loves you warns you.
*Where two rivers meet, the waters are never calm.
*The humble pay for the mistakes of their leaders.
*If you find no fish, you have to eat bread.
*Discord between the powerful is a fortune for the poor.
*If a child watches his hands, he can eat with kings.
*If there is cause to hate someone, the cause to love has just begun.
*Greatness is not achieved through violence.
*If you want to walk fast, walk alone; if you want to walk far, walk with others.
*Better a single decision maker than a thousand advisors.
*It is better to be a lion for a day than to be a sheep all your life.
*He who thinks he is leading and has no one following him is only taking a walk.
*He who has a leader is the master of his burden.

Friday, 15 January 2016

THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HAIRSTYLES OF YESTERYEARS AND TODAY BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN

In the good old days, our fore mothers had their own ways of beautifying their heads with so many different hairstyles which have gone into oblivion these days. The hairstylists that time were not making use of hair attachments before they could style the hair for their customers. And the hairstyles back then were always attractive and beautiful. In Yoruba land for instance, there were so many hairstyles plaited for people by our fore mothers who were the stylists back then styling the hair for the womenfolk and young girls alike. According to Mrs Kudirat Kazeem, who is an hair weaver and a stylist says that, Yoruba hairstyles have all undergone a lot of changes completely these days owing to the fact that our women or girls can hardly plait their hair without adding the hair attachments to them which was not in vogue in those days. Hair styles like Suku Ijebu and Suku Ologede or Alagbagba have been modernized to suit the modern hairstyles. For example, Suku Ijebu and Suku Ologede or Alagbagba look a bit alike after plaiting, it is just that Suku Ijebu originated from Ijebu land just as the name implies while Suku Ologede or Alagbagba originated from Egba land. These two hairstyles were plaited without hair attachment by our mothers who were stylists in those days. But unfortunately today, the hairstyles have been modernized because they now plait them for our ladies and girls with hair attachments. It should also be emphasized at this juncture that Suku is an hairstyle plaited and referred to as Curve all over the world today without people knowing it. And it is plaited from the bottom of the head to meet at the center of the head. Another popular hairstyle back then is called Kolese and is being referred to as All Back hairstyle today.
Suku Alagbaba and Suku Adimole plaited without hair attachments are being referred to as Sleeping Deep today in English. There is another hairstyle called Ipako Elede which is plaited from back to the front. But unfortunately, this hairstyle is no longer in vogue and demand. Another hairstyle back then in Yoruba land is called Koroba. It is normally styled by dividing the hair into four parts and plait them separately from the head downwards on both sides. But the unfortunate thing is that this hairstyle is no longer in demand anymore as well. This is an hairstyle called Concord and it is styled to the back and front of the head. Hair styles like Eko bridge, Orisabunmi and Owonifaari are no longer in existence anymore today. Another hairstyle in those days is called Kojusoko or Ojonpeeti which is normally styled from the left to the right but it has already been faded away today. There is another style called Patewo in those days but it has been modernized today to suit the demand for the modern age. Patewo is styled from the downwards of the head upwards on both sides to meet at the center as if clapping the hands.
But all in all, from my findings, things are no longer the same in the hair business world as most of the hairstyles in the olden days have gone into oblivion and some of them being modified to suit today's modern age. Most of our womenfolk and young girls alike do not want to have anything to do with the olden days hairstyles anymore because they are regarded as inferior to the modern age ones forgetting that all the hairstyles today originated from the hairstyles from the past. Every hairstyle done with the hair attachment is traceable today to Suku Alagbagba, Suku Ijebu, Ipako Elede, Kolese, Patewo, Orisabunmi, Eko bridge and Kojusoko which all our hairstylists and hairdressers must all be giving credits to.
Mrs Kudirat Kazeem learnt the art of styling and plaiting the hair from her mother. She studied Education majored in Yoruba at the University of Lagos, Akoka Yaba, Lagos. Joblessness in the country is what made her to go into hair styling and plaiting business which has been very rewarding for her today. Kudirat Kazeem hails from Abeokuta and she is happily married.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

DEITIES IN IJEBU LAND


DEITIES IN IJEBU

AGEMO                     

Foremost among the deities in Ijebu is the Agemo which is jointly celebrated by Ijebu communities in June/July of every year. The Agemo is a ral­lying factor among the communities that make up Ijebu state.  It is believed that the idea was initiated by the Obanta himself as an annual assembly of his priests (Alagemos) at Imosan to curb an unusual in­cidence of recalcitrance during the dispersal of town­ships.  He was said to have summoned the Agemo priests from 16 different locations to Ijebu-Ode for heart-to-heart (frank) discussion.

The Obanta prepared well for his visitors whom he feted and had. discussion (oro awo) with. These priests too, as it was normal with them, came with their instruments of power (and defense).  And to prevent a possible attack on the people, Obanta made the meeting more business-like so that none of their powers could filter to the people.

The Agemos (in the order of dancing at Agbala Imosan & Ijebu Ode) are:

Tami (Odogbolu), Olumoro (Imoro), Serefusi (Igbile), Posa (Imosan), Moko (Okun), Alofe (Ijesa-Ijebu), Onugbo (Okenugbo), Iju (Imosan), Lapen (Oru), Magodo (Aiyepe), Bajelu (Imuku), Lubamisan (Ago-lwoye), Petu (Isiwo), Ogegbo (Ibonwon), ldobi (Ago-Iwoye), Nopa (Imushin).

Other fetish Agemo Priests that do not per­form dancing rites are:

Onijagbori (Imosan), Adie (Ago-Iwoye), Ogi (Idogi, Ijebu-Ode).

The Agemo festival has since followed the format with people celebrating it with pomp and pag­eantry. The Alagemos usually follow a permanent festival route during which women are compelled to stay indoors. The Awujale is the one that now re­ceives the Alagemos through their head  (Tami) whom he (Awujale will receive at Ipebi before the usual "e e ke e e" is chanted to signify the arrival of the other Alagemos.

ORO

Oro festival is also common to Ijebus where it is used to cleanse the communities of bad omen.  It usually comes up before the Agemo festival as a strat­egy of preparing ground for the Alagemos to ensure that the communities have been rid of evil spirit as well as epidemics.  It is believed that communities are safe after Oro festival (Igbalu) and so "Eiye a ke bi eiye and Eran a ke bi eran."  Women are not allowed to witness Oro worship which is usually a seven day programme.  In Ijebu-Ode, the Oro comes out in the night when women must not only stay in-doors, but must equally not attempt to peep at all, while in some Ijebu villages women are kept in-doors throughout the day.

EBI

Also celebrated is the Obinrin ojowu (Ebi) which usually falls between February and March of every year (beginning of planting season).  Th e Olowu is priest of Obinrin Ojowu who directs the rites and takes responsibility for its worship.  Before the Obinrin Ojowu celebration, the Olowa would have had to consult with the Awujale and secure his consent on three different occasions. He will then pass death sentence on dogs that have no palm fronds around their necks.  The Iroko tree  at Odo -Esa is very important to Obinrin Ojowu festival as some rites are performed under it and a dog is usually killed and hung on it throughout the year.  Also associated with the festival is the Woro carnival (which usually takes people round the community) and the practice of youths testing night  and level of endurance with cane competition.  They engage themselves (in twos and beat each other until one gives up (by hanging his cane).

LEGURU

The month of August is usually devoted to the worship of Leguru (although this is no longer popular) in remembrance of the bravery of the Onisemu Leguru, who volunteered to sacrifice self to save Ijebu Ode from being taken over by the lagoon which then occupied some areas in the town.

Unconfirmed reports have it that the town was then faced with the threat of the Lagoon taking over the whole place, and as was predicated, the town would only become a port (not habitable as it is presently).  The man, it was said, was a foremost priest who decided to brave the sacrifice when Ifa talked about the grave implication of retaining the water in the town.  Reports have it that Leguru himself performed the divination and was then not prepared to change or twist the facts as revealed by Ifa that he (Leguru) was the one that could save the town by sacrificing himself.  People still claim to hear him perform divination (under water) around a portion of the Lagoon at Epe.

THE SAYINGS OF OUR ELDERS

*If you fear something, you give it power over you.
"Do not call a dog with a whip in your hand.
*Patience is the key which solves all problems.
*Bribery is the enemy of justice.
*The more feathers a chicken has, the bigger it looks.
*A tree is strong because of its roots.
*Climbing up is easier than climbing down.
*If you are filled with pride, you will have no room for freedom.
*He is like a drum which makes a lot of noise but is hollow inside.
*Good behaviour must come from the top.
*He who dictates separates himself from others.
*A clear thinking leader is a sign of stability and an agent for change in society.
*A tyrant is only a slave turned inside out.
*In the moment of crisis, the wise build bridges and the foolish build dams.
*Leadership does not depend on age.
*Whether a chief is good or bad, the people unify around someone.
*A big river is enlarged by its tributaries.
*A man who uses force is afraid of reasoning.
*Knowledge of leadership is not plucked from the air, one is born with it.
*No man rules forever on the throne of time.

WHY IJEBU LOVE THEIR AGEMO


The Ijebu are devotedly attached to their culture and no year passes by without them congregating to celebrate Agemo, one of the enduring legacies of their forebears. ADEBISI ONANUGA examines why the people are in love with this centuries old tradition that remains perhaps the only glue that binds the people of Ijebuland together.

Retired Juju musician Chief Ebenezer Fabiyi otherwise known as Ebenezer Obey in one of his praise songs for an illustrious son of Ijebuland described the Ijebu people as the children of the 16 Alagemos. The popular musician, now an evangelist was in that song rightly referring to the 16 masquerades spread across Ijebuland, devoted to the worship of the Agemo diety.

The deity, derived its name from "Akemo" which is a word used to describe somebody who takes care of the child in ancient Egypt.  Agemo is the bond that unifies all Ijebu at home and in the Diaspora and is associated with peace and unity of the land. The deity is worshiped annually during the Agemo festival between June and August.

The stretch of the land covering Ijebu Ode, the then provincial and later divisional headquarters of the Ijebu, comprising  Ijebu Igbo, Remo, Sagamu, Ejinrin, Ikorodu down to Epe, Iperu, Ishara, Ago Iwoye, Lekki and up to Ketu in the Republic of Benin among others, in pre-colonial Nigeria used to be known as Ijebu Kingdom under the paramount ruler, the Awujale.

The Agemo festival is considered very important to the Ijebu because it is believed that during this period, any barren woman that prays to the deity for the fruit of the womb always gets pregnant and eventually blessed with children. This is aside from the period being used to pray for peace and prosperity of Ijebu Kingdom. The deity is revered and feared by the women folk because of the myth and mystic powers associated with it. In the olden days, Agemo was the supreme deity in the land and it is so held up till today by its adherents.

How Agemo entered Ijebu Ode

There are different account on how the deity, Agemo entered Ijebu Ode, the cultural and political capital of the Ijebu people. One account stated that Olu-Iwa, the father of Ijebus brought Agemo to Ijebu as far back as 900 A.D.

According to the history, the first Tami Onire Aladesogun, had journeyed with his senior brother, Olu-Iwa and other priests from Waddai, in Sudan near the upper Egypt. They came with some of their children and many slaves.  According to Olowa Iberu and Abore Obirin Ojowu, High Chief Rasaki Oshimodi, the group passed through Ile Ife to greet Oduduwa and before leaving the ancient town, Olu-Iwa gave one of his daughters, Gborowo to Oduduwa as wife. She bore three children for him including Ogborogannida who later became known as Obanta; Lenuwa who later became Oba of Ode Omi and Liken who also later became Oba of Iwopin (Ogun Waterside).

The use of human beings by Tami for rituals for the Agemos caused a serious rift between him and Oduduwa consequent upon which he was asked to leave Ile-Ife by the latter. Before Tami departed the ancient town, along with Olu-Iwa, he was said to have insisted on taking Gborowo and her children along, a request that Oduduwa reluctantly granted. Oduduwa reportedly blessed his three sons and gave each of them a beaded crown so that they might become Obas wherever they might settle. But he blessed Ogborogannida more than he did others. This is said to have accounted for why Ijebu Ode is said to be blessed and is head of Ijebuland till today.

Ogborogannida left Ile-Ife with his mother, Gborowo.  In the course of their journey, they got to River Osun, his mother died and that river was renamed Osun-Gborowo, in  Itele, Ogun state. That is why every year, till date, the Awujale sends a cow to Itele for sacrifice to the river. While Ogborogannida was coming with Ogunja, they fought many wars until they came across Olugbo. They fought and conquered him and beheaded him before ordering his wife, Aka, to carry his head and follow them. That was how the Oba of Remo came to be called Akarugbo  (Akarigbo).  It was also at the spot where  Ogborogannida fought Olugbo that Ogunja named him 'Amujale' which over time became 'Awujale' today.

The continued use of human beings for rituals caused a rift between Tami and Obanta consequent upon which he was asked to leave the town. But no sooner did he leave Ijebu Ode than disunity, disorder and confusion took over the land. As a result, Tami was summoned back to Ijebu Ode to help find a cure for the then Awujale.

On arrival, Tami gathered all the herbalists from the nooks and crannies of Ijebu inclusive the Agemos, to come and participate in the prayers and traditional rites for peace and prosperity to reign in the town and all over Ijebuland. This marked the beginning of the annual festival of the Agemo till date.

This account was corroborated by the Agbadagbodo of Ijebuland, High Chief Olatunde Awote who noted that the Agemo tradition came into being in Ijebuland some centuries back. "From what I read and what I was told by elders, there was an Oba in Ijebu Ode that time who took ill. Each time the illness came he was healed, but shortly after it came back.  So, they then sent for a native doctor who was very good at curing mentally ill person. When he came and was told about the sickness of the Oba, the man suggested that diseases of this nature should not be cured in the township; that they should move him to a hamlet outside the town and it was agreed and the Oba was moved to a place that is today known as Imosan, a few kilomoeters outside Ijebu Ode. Shortly after, the Kabiyesi was cured.

So when the native doctor was about to leave Ijebu Ode, the elders asked him whether there was anything they should be doing annually to ward off such illness or any other ones from their land. The man said no, but advised that local doctors should assemble every year in that same place and show their prowess in their various callings. So, this was how the native doctors formed themselves into an association of Olojas which today turned out to be Agemo. The word Imosan as pronounced was to indicate that the Oba had been cured and ever since we have been celebrating Agemo festival at Imosan where the Oba was cured.

Besides, it was believed that the festival unites all the member communities of Ijebuland. That is why we have many of them (Agemo). Some said 16, some said they are more. So this people would come into Ijebu Ode once a year, and pray for peace, progress and unity of the town, longevity of the Awujale and for themselves. They would dance and make rituals for atonements. This is what is today known as Agemo festival which comes up between July and August every year", related Agbadagbodo of Ijebuland.

Another account however has it that the deity used to be worshipped in Egypt several thousands of years ago. It was said that the Bilikisu Sugbo, who later became Queen of Sheba after her marriage to the biblical King Solomon, had travelled to Jerusalem and saw the Agemo priests and developed a likeness towards them, such that when she was returning to Ijebu, she pleaded with the Agemo priests to follow her back to Ijebu. Because of the need to perform some rites, the Agemos reportedly told Queen Bilikisu that she should leave and that they would join her later.

However, Bilikisu on her return journey to Ijebu, encountered Islam and became a Muslim. As a result of this development, when the Agemo cultists arrived Oke-Eri , near Ijebu-Ode, Bilikisu she refused to receive  them because of her new religion. She advised them to move on to Ijebu Ode where she assured them that the Awujale, would receive them and take care of them. Earlier on their way to Oke-Eri, they passed through Ijebu Mushin and upon being told that women must not see their regalia, the then Oloko of Ijebu Mushin, became afraid of them and quickly dispatched them out of the town. The Awujale, having heard that they were sent by Bilikisu Sugbo, settled them in the town. There and then, the Agemo priests started performing their rituals and sacrifices for Awujale, who was on sick bed when they entered the town, in order for him to get well.   At that time, the Olojas (Agemo priests) were using human beings for sacrifice. So when the people started complaining about the use of human beings for sacrifice, the Awujale had no choice than to ask them to leave the town. They thereafter moved to various locations on the outskirt of the town, which today represented the different locations from which Agemos come from to Ijebu Ode to partake in the annual Agemo festival.

Nobody has been able to say how many Agemos existed in the olden days.  Some said they numbered close top 50. For instance, there used to be Agemo from Sagamu and Ikorodu. But what is certain today is that there are 17 Agemos and their Olojas but only 16 Agemos come to Ijebu Ode for their annual festival. The 17th Agemo, which is Moki that settled in Ijebu Igbo, has for several centuries ceased coming to Ijebu Ode having lost his load of charms/power to a river around Iperin.

Most of these Agemos are also Kings (Obas) in their various domains and their  names were derived from Egyptian language and they include the Head of the Agemos of Ijebuland, Tami Oba Onire of Odogbolu; Oloja Petu (Aramasa) from Isiwo; Oloja Bajelu from Ijebu-Imuku; Oloja Magodo from Aiyepe; Oloja Nopa from Odonopa (Ijebu Imusin); Oloja Olumoko from Okun-Owa and Oloja Edelumoro from Ijebu-Imoro; Oloja Serefusi from Igbile Ijebu.

They also include Oloja Lasen Ajagaloru from Oru; Oloja Posa of Imosan; Oloja Onugbo of Okennugbo Ago-Iwoye; Oloja Idebi Olumoruwa Isamoro of Ago-Iwoye; Oloja Ija from Imosan; Oloja Ogegbo of Ibonwon and Oloja Alofe of Ijebu-Ijesha.

What Agemo meant to Ijebu people

Agemo is the only festival that binds all the Ijebus together.  Aside from the fact that the festival is used to purify Ijebuland, it brings all Ijebu outside Ijebuland and in the Diaspora back home.

The appointment of an Agemo

The appointment of an Agemo is hereditary and is very similar to how an Oba is selected. Like it is in Yoruba land, just as there are special ruling families that can aspire to become a Kabiyesi, there are special families that can become an Oloja Agemo . But most importantly, the Ifa oracle must be consulted to determine who ultimately becomes an Oloja Agemo and the person cannot reject his appointment as there are dire consequences for such a person.

According to an account, there was a particular Agemo,  (names with held) who declined his selection by the Ifa oracle. It was said that a lot of calamities fell on his family, including loss of lives of some family members. Thereafter, he accepted his appointment, consequent upon which it was said that all the negative incidences stopped.

How the annual Agemo festival is celebrated

The annual Agemo festival usually takes place between July and August every year in Ijebu Ode.

According to the Agbadagbodo of Ijebuland, Chief Awote, the festival is usually preceded by "Ireku" which marks the opening of the gate for the Agemos to come into Imosan.

The ceremony is usually held one month before the commencement of the festival which is majorly a public affair.

"Ireku" is performed by the Oloja Agemos with sacrifices and on the second day, they would pass a message to the Awujale about its success.

After this comes "Idojo" through which the number of days the festival would last is determined, whether it is going to be seven or nine days, in any particular year, after consultation with Ifa oracle. After this, the Agemos return to their various domains to prepare for the big festival. However, their coming to Ijebu Ode is usually preceded by a seven day "Oro" festival, which is performed by members of the "Oro" cult to ward off evil spirits and other negative things from Ijebuland. On the seventh day of the "Oro" festival, the traditional "Gbedu" drum would be beaten by the Obaruwa family, the only family traditionally empowered to do so. The beating of the "Gbedu" signals that the Agemos can enter Ijebu Ode to commence the festival.

The coming of the Agemos into Imosan through Ijebu Ode is called "Iworo". No woman is allowed to look at the Agemo when it is coming into Ijebu Ode or going out of the ancient town at the end of its annual festival.

The journey of an Agemo from his town of abode to his arrival into Ijebu Ode and departure from the ancient town after all rites must have been concluded, is always preceded with the traditional shout of "eke eee!!! Obirin mai wo ooo!!! We wo fere, wo'ku fere!!! Iku aiye eee, ojiji firi firi". The meaning of all this is that the Agemo is on his way, so give the right of way to Orisa, the spirit that can commune with the dead; women, don't look at it (in reference to his load of paraphernalia and charms); a surreptious glance by any woman is instant death; a glance from any hidden place is instant death; you must not wear cap when an Alagemo is around", among other s.

This movement of an Agemo from his town to Ijebu Ode is called "Ilo". One remarkable feature of the journey of an Agemo to Ijebu Ode is the traditional harvesting of corn. The practice is that every year, the youth of Ijebuland would go out to welcome the Agemos along the different routes they usually take into the town. Any farmer that planted corn and failed to wait for the Agemo by his farm with kegs of palm wine, his corns would be harvested by the youths. But where a farmer waited with palm wine, the Agemo would pray for such a farmer. The annual celebration of Agemo festival is for  seven days, depending on the directive of the oracle.

All the Agemo would move from their respective town, through Ijebu Ode to Imosan, where they would stay for a number of days and during which they would perform all traditional rites at designated "Oju Osi".

It is the responsibility of the Awujale, on behalf of the people of Ijebuland, to fund these sacrifices.

On the third day of they stay in Imosan, the Agemos perform their traditional dance and is witnessed by the women and male folks alike. The Agemos spend the remaining four days in Ijebu-Ode to fulfill all other traditional rites at a place in the town called "Agbala" . It is during their stay in Ijebu-Ode that those who need assistance from them or prayers would visit them.

On the fourth day, which is the last day of the seven day festival, the Awujale of Ijebuland would dance with Tami, the Onire of Odogbolu and the leader of Agemos in his regalia at Ojofa, near Itoro town hall, Ijebu-Ode. The dance between Tami and Onire is usually attended with showers of rain and the dance is not complete or considered a success without the rain. This incidence gave rise to the popular saying in Ijebuland that "ojo to ba pa Onire, gbogbo Agemo lo ma pa". This is so because while Tami and the Awujale are performing the traditional dance, other Agemo are also performing the traditional dance at Agbala. As a result, they are also showered by the rain.

Awujale is blessed by Tami Onire during the traditional dance, likewise the people of Ijebuland. After the dance with Awujale, Tami would go back to join his colleagues who have been taking turns to dance at Agbala. Like the males, women are permitted to watch the dance but must leave Agbala much earlier before the last of the Agemo performs his traditional dance. At the end of the dance in the evening, all the Agemos would move to their various quarters within the town to pass the night. Before the dawn of the next day, they would leave the town and travel back to their domain. It is only on conclusion of the annual Agemo festival in Ijebu ode that the individual Agemo would then celebrate in his domain.

Source of Agemo's power

Nobody has been able to say or ascertain where the Agemos derived their powers. The efficacy of the powers exude by the Agemo is so strong that people often wonder the source of such powers.

But the Agbadagbodo and the Orere of Agemo, High Chief Awote and Olowa Iberu, the priest of Obirin Ojowu, High Chief Oshimodi, believed that the power of an Agemo is God given.

History however has it that in the olden days, the Agemo, aside from the one given by God also acquired powers from the river goddess, Yemoja. These powers are transferred through many generations of Agemo to the present day Agemo.  It was said that Yemoja had invited all creatures of the earth to a party under the sea but only the Agemos honoured the invitation.

Yemoja was said to have prayed for the Agemos for honouring her and pronounced that henceforth, all wishes and requests made by the Agemo would be answered by God and would come to pass.

Efficacy of the curse of an Agemo

Generally every Ijebuman belives in the efficacy of the charms and curses of Ageme. Hence, it is very difficult to see an ijebu person daring an Agemo. The Agbadagbodo recalled that in the olden days, the efficacy was high. He explained that this was so because "the Olojas themselves go into fasting for almost six months before the d-day. In other words, they would not sleep with their women.  They do not even take food prepared by their women for six months before the Agemo festival. So, they are devoted. So if they curse anything that it would like this, it would be like that. Honestly, they sacrifice a lot in order to perform the Agemo festival. We heard that they cursed a church in those days and it went down.That church is located along Folagbade road in Ijebu Ode.

"One of them cursed his mother, who happened to be out and met his son on his way out.  He said, "ah ah…mother, go home and sleep and by the time he came back, the woman was dead. Yes, if you are talking about efficacy, it was very effective at that time. For anything to be effective in those days, you need total submission to it. I dare say that is difficult in the present day", he said.

Few of the taboos

As for taboos, nobody is allowed to wear shoes or caps and head ties before entering the Agbala to meet with the Agemo; women are forbidden from seeing the Agemo when they are coming into or going out of Ijebu Ode. They are expected to cover their heads and kneel down if it is on the road. Women are also not expected to see the paraphernalia of the Agemos and some certain aspects of the rituals they perform. The only exception among the priests is Oliwo Agbadagbodo from Ijebu Ode who can be seen by women when on his way to Imosan.

Why Agemo Moki no longer participate in the annual festival

The story of Agemo Moki of Ijebu Igbo is a sorry one. Agemo Moki  of Ijebu Igbo used to be an active participant in the annual Agemo festival in Ijebu Ode until a tragic incident befell him more than 100 years ago.

History has it that sometime in 1897, Agemo Moki was on his way to Ijebu Ode to partake in the annual festival. According to the account which was corroborated by the Agbadagbodo of Ijebuland and Orere Agemo, High Chief Awote, there was a river somewhere between Oru and Iperin which Moki and his entourage had to cross using logs of wood before they could continue their journey to Ijebu Ode. However as the person carrying his load, including his traditional paraphernalia made to cross the river, he slipped and the load of Agemo Moki on his head fell inside the river and was carried away. Like every Agemo, Moki was coming from the rear of the crowd following him. So on getting to the river and was told of what happened, he was said to have gotten terribly annoyed. He was confused and worried. Moki was said to have cursed the river that it would not flow again nor rise above anybody's ankle. Hours after, it was observed that the river stopped flowing and has never risen above anybody's ankle again and lost its tide as cursed by the Agemo.

According to history, the river gradually ceased to flow hours after it was cursed and has remained stagnant since that day.                                                                                                                                          However, for Moki, things were no longer the same as he could not participate in the festival without his paraphernalia.  Agbadagbodo acknowledged that the present day family of Agemo Moki has since been making effort to re-join their colleagues at the annual festival once again.

Agbadadogbo said"if indeed Agemo Moki wants to come back, they have to present their case before the Olojas and the Awujale. If the Olojas believe they should come back, they will. But they have not done this to the best of my knowledge".

The future of Agemo in Ijebuland

Chief Awote believed that Agemo has a very bright future in Ijebuland but that certain things must change to bring it in the realities of modern time. "I have said this many times that the Agemo festival be modernised and turned into a tourist attraction. The place they use for dancing in both Ijebu Ode and Imosan would be turned into a small stadium where people can sit comfortably, and watch these Agemos dance. Whatever they can make out of it, part of it would go to the community in that area, another part would go to the performers, that is the Olojas themselves, and to the maintenance of that place. I have no doubt in my mind that the Agemo festival would attract a lot of attention. People would definitely pay to see them dance. Also, life is not stagnant, so also, tradition cannot be stagnant. It would be modernised with time.    The issue with the Agemos now, is that women should not see the load they carry. As such, women are denied the freedom of movement on occasions that they are out. But to save that situation, the Agemos should find a way to carry their load without denying women their freedom of movement as enshrined in the constitution. If you say somebody must not see something, you can as well hide it. The freedom of movement of the individual, male or female is enshrined in the constitution. So where culture and constitution clashes, the Constitution supersedes. So that is another aspect of re-organisation that I am recommending for the celebration of Agemo",  he stated.

*culled from www.thenationonline.com

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