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Alaafin Stool: Putting Culture To The Sword? [OPINION]



By Suyi Ayodele

May the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, live long on the throne of his fathers. But, how about my illustrious Ijebu people having Fuji musician, Wasiu Ayinde, as their oba one day? That is what I see in the current drama of some Ijebu obas and others paying homage to him inside an ‘ipebi’ (seclusion). So, let me be the first outside Ijebuland to pay homage to the latest ‘oba’ in Yoruba land. Long live, Kabiyesi, Alayeluwa, Oba Wasiu Ayinde, the Olori Omooba Akile of Ijebuland. May you reign long on the throne of your forebears! Wasiu has money, which is the vehicle of power. More importantly, he has the king of Nigeria as his godfather. Don’t mind me. My mind is just playing a prank on that possibility. But that is not the main reason for today’s discourse. Oyo Alaafin is my destination.

I am not an alarmist. But an alarm is ringing, loud, in my head. It is about the happenings in Oyo town. The sons of Atiba, Omo ojo pa sekere mo de (Oyo, the sons of Atiba, whose cymbal does not deflate when beaten by rain) are on the verge of sending the last vestige of Yoruba culture to its grave. Once Oyo Alaafin (Place where the owner of the palace resides) succeeds in desecrating the Alaafin stool, the Yoruba race can as well kiss its culture goodbye. Awon Alale o ni je (May the owners of the land not allow it). Ewi aye o ni wi; Egba Orun o ni gba (May the sayer of the world not say it; may the hearer of heaven not accept it). I feel I should go invocative now, to call on all Itas (forebears), who have gone to Iwaleasa (great beyond), to rise, and defend our land. Our elders say: oku olomo kii sun (the dead who have offspring don’t sleep). Are our forebears sleeping? Ee ti je (how come it is so)? If I were to see the Ijelu Ekiti priest of Esu, I would have asked him to help us appease Laaroye to have mercy on us. If I were to run to the Alamoeku (Chief Ifa Priest), the Adifa-se-bi-aje (he who divines accurately like a witch) himself, I would have asked him to help us ask the only one known as Okunrin-kukuru-Oke-Igbeti (The short man who resides on the hills of Igbeti), Ifa, what our crimes are. What is happening in Oyo is bigger than Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State. It is bigger than what the Oyomesi can handle. The entire Kaaro, oojire (the entire Yoruba race) must come together and rescue the race. Keeping silent is akin to allowing a mad man to single-handedly attend to his mother’s corpse. He will throw it into the community river and pollute our source of water. We cannot afford that! Oyo kingmakers known as Oyomesi, are insulting our sensibilities as a people. They are attacking the very essence of our being. They say Ifa, the Yoruba religion, is not required in the selection of a new Alaafin! Haaaa! Eemo re (this is stranger than strange)!

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Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, the Alaafin of Oyo, joined his ancestors on Friday, April 22, 2022. His passage was celebrated all over the world. The succession battle to fill the vacant stool began almost immediately. The last one year has been turbulent, so to say, in the history of Oyo in recent times. It is the battle for the right candidate for the throne of Oranmiyan that is ringing the alarm in my head. I read the news. I did not believe it. It was published by the Saturday Tribune on September 23, 2023. It was an interview granted the newspaper by High Chief Wakilu Oyedepo, the Lagunna of Oyo. The Lagunna is a member of the Oyomesi – Oyo Kingmakers. The head of the group is Bashorun. The occupant of the title today is High Chief Yusuf Ayoola. Saturday Tribune said that the Bashorun gave permission to grant the interview to the Lagunna. The Lagunna was asked: “What is the role of Ifa in the selection process?” Here is his response: “Ifa (oracle) has never been consulted in the process of selecting the Alaafin of Oyo. The Oyomesi is Ifa; Ifa is the Oyomesi. The decision of the Oyomesi is supreme in the choice of a nominee for the exalted stool of the Alaafin. Ifa was not consulted when late Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III was to be enthroned as the Alaafin. What happened at the time of his enthronement is still fresh in our memories. Why was it that the person that topped the list was not enthroned as the king but Oba Adeyemi if truly Ifa was involved in the selection process? Since we have been enthroning the Alaafin in Oyo, Ifa has never been consulted. The issue of Ifa arose during the reign of Alaafin Sango.” This left my mouth agape! How can an Oyo man utter such a sacrilegious statement? We are talking about the nomination of one of the princes in Oyo to fill the vacant stool of an Alaafin and a member of the Oyomesi is saying Ifa had never been consulted in the past in carrying out such an exercise! Really? Who is Ifa? Who is Oyomesi? How can Ifa be Oyomesi and Oyomesi is Ifa? How can the decision of Oyomesi be superior to that of Ifa? Who made Oyomesi in the first instance? From where do members of the Oyomesi Council derive their power?

World-known Ifa priest, the very Awise Agbaye, Professor Wande Abimbola, an Oyo man, says of Ifa in his Ijinle Ohun Enu Ifa Apa Kini and Apa Keji (parts one and two), that Ifa is a very important deity among Yoruba people. He added that the belief of the Yoruba people is that Ifa was sent to the earth by Olodumare (God Almighty), to use his heavenly wisdom to organise the earth. Yemi Elebuibon, another Yoruba notable Ifa priest, wrote a book in Yoruba Language. The title is: “Ifa Elerin Ipin”. On page i of the book, he has this to say: “Oosa kan pataki ni Ifa je ni Ile Yoruba (Ifa is an important god/deity in Yoruba land). Ouni ni (He is): a-kere-finu-sogbon (He that is small but full of wisdom), ako eran tii i soku ale ana daaye (the strong one who revives the corpse of last night to a living soul), Ela Isode ti i komo loran bi iyekan eni (The one from Isode, who explains a situation to one like one’s relation)”. The title, Eleri Ipin, when interpreted, means the one who witnessed destiny. Part of the oriki (praise names) of Ifa is “Arinu-rode, Olumoran-okan (He who sees both the inside and the outside, the decipher of human thoughts). In another instance, Ifa answers the name; “Atun-ori-eni-ti-o suwon-se (the repairer of a bad head – unfortunate destiny). Ifa is not just the Yoruba religion; it is the essence of the race; the very one which directs the functionality of the people right from the time lizards were few! Incidentally, Ifa, as a religion, deity, and way of life, was exported to other Yoruba towns and villages from Oyo. On June 20, 2023, in a piece titled: “Yoruba governors are Ifa priests”, which I did in response to the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, who claimed the same position that the Lagunna of Oyo is claiming today, I traced the history of Ifa to the reign of Alaafin Onigbogi, who adopted Ifa from Arugba-Ifa, the wife of Alafin Oluaso and mother of Alaafin Onigbogi. The entire story is told by The Reverend Samuel Johnson, in his “The History of the Yorubas”, (pages 118-189). From then on, Ifa did not just become the religion of the Oyo people but that of the entire Yoruba race.

From Abimbola, to Elebuibon, and up to Abosede Emmanuel, who, in her “Ifa (As Literature), English Translation of Yoruba Text of Revd. E. M. Lijadu”, a translation of Rev. Emmanuel Mose Lijadu’s Ifa Nipa (1908), the consensus is that Ifa was once a human being, who lived among us but had to ascend to heaven, using the palm tree with 16 branches, which are the 16 Odu Ifa (Odu Merindinlogun). The story is told in many Ifa verses (Ese Ifa), with Iwori Meji being the principal corpus (Odu Ifa). Abimbola’s Ijinle Ohun Enu Ifa Apa Keji (Page16-21), gives a vivid account of the story. While Orunmila refused to return to earth as human, he, nevertheless, handed over to the people, the 16 divination seeds (Ikin Merindinlogun) of Ifa, and instructed that for that whatever issue might confront the people, they should consult Ikin Merindinlogun. The entire Yoruba race accepted the gift and whenever any major decision is to be taken, the people consult their Babalawos, who will ask Ifa what the solution is. That has been the way of life of the Yoruba race. Foreign religions of Christianity and Islam have not been able to change that. Lijadu that is referenced here, was an Egba catechist, evangelist, and a confirmed Deacon and communicant of the Anglican fold. So, if we may ask High Chief Wakilu Oyedepo, the Lagunna of Oyo, and his fellow Ifa-is not-required Oyomesi, what has changed?

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Four days after Oba Adeyemi III passed on, and worried by the way and manner Yoruba thrones have become meta toro (three for two and half Kobo), as reigning obas desecrate the thrones of Oduduwa with impunity, I did another piece on April 26, 2022, with the title: “Alaafin: Message to Oyomesi, Makinde” But for the fear of being accused of intellectual laziness, I would have loved to reproduce that piece here because the contents are relevant to today’s discussion. All the fears I expressed in that piece are coming out one after the other. This is why I feel so burdened that the way the Oyomesi are going about the selection of a new Alaafin, if care is not taken, the pride of Yoruba race will be greatly jeopardized. Governor Makinde., while speaking at Iseyin on September 15, 2023, alluded to the fact that some members of the Oyomesi had collected money from some candidates jostling to become Alaafin. Makinde said in that speech: “Some people might have collected money from someone; Alaafin stool is not for sale. It is so important to Yorubaland that we won’t sell it. Anyone who might have gone to collect money, I won’t take them to OYAC; I will take them to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the man who started the EFCC is here seated, and I am saying in his presence.” I was expecting Oyomesi to answer the governor and dare him to name those who were suspected to have collected bribes from any of the contestants. That would never be. In a shocking manner, when the Saturday Tribune reporter put the question to the Lagunna of Oyo, here, again, is what he said: “Ko si ibi ti won kii ti jule, meaning, there is nowhere in the world where gift is forbidden. Such an act is not alien to our culture. Even politicians spend money during electioneering to lobby the electorate. I said it at the beginning of this interview that the Oyomesi is like the Ogboni cult. Our secret remains among us, but unfortunately, these same personalities betrayed the oath of secrecy. They travelled to Abuja to tell the governor that kingmakers collected money from one of the aspirants.” Imagine the raw admittance of bribery. To the respected Oyo kingmaker, if “politicians spend money during electioneering to lobby the electorate”, contestants for the Alaafin stool can also spend money to “lobby” Oyomesi. We need to ask this: is that why Eleri Ipin, Ifa, is not required in the selection process? Chief Lagunna knows too well that Ifa kii paro; Opele kii se’ke (Ifa does not lie, Divination is truthful). He would rather prefer that the cult-like “secret” of Oyomesi is not leaked to the governor and the public. This is where the danger lies. A section of the Oyomesi is ready to compromise the age-long tradition of Ifa consultation in the selection of a new Alaafin. This is what my people call “those at home have reached the farm (ara ile ti de oko). Every rational mind should be worried about this development. Permit me to quote myself in the April 26, 2023, piece:

“This is where the issue of the successor to Alaafin Adeyemi III should be of paramount interest to the entire Yoruba people. The time we are is the season of the locusts. The throne of Oyo is too big, too significant, and too important to the survival of our culture… This is where the Oyomesi- the kingmakers of ancient Oyo must stand firm. Oba Adeyemi III’s greatest asset was his integrity, his character, his disposition to everything that cements Yoruba culture. He was a Moslem; a practicing one for that matter. But in that, he never ignored the noble tradition of the people. He upheld the culture that made him Alaafin. He did not become Alaafin at the age of 31 because he had money. He became Alaafin because he had character. Yoruba say “iwa ni eniyan” – character is the man. Whoever comes after Oba Adeyemi III must not be less.” I warned them further about the danger of a long process of selection. I envisaged that “finding a fit-in successor”, would be difficult and posited that “that, however, should not be an excuse for the delay in selecting a new Alaafin. When a man stays too long on the chamber pot, different kinds of flies begin to perch on his scrotum.” Now we have the flies in their swarm perching not only on our scrotum, but dancing palongo on our phallus. Oyo princes are up in arms against one another. Cases are pending in courts. Oyomesi is sharply divided with two members of the council, High Chief Asimiyu Atanda, Agba-Akin of Oyo, High Chief Lamidi Oyewale, Saamu of Oyo, and another Chief, Odunrinde Olusegun, Alajagba of Oyo, singing a different song. The House of Oramiyan is not united anymore. Who will bail us out? Who will step in and ensure that the curse placed on the race by Alaafin Abiodun Aole (1770-1789), does not come home to roost again? The very one we can run to; the Atori-Eni-ti-o-sunwon-se, is said not to be needed. A child who sets his father’s Umosanyin (shrine) on fire should know that when sickness and fire break out, there will be no deity to run to. I made a passionate appeal in that April 26, 2022, piece. I seek your permission once again to repeat some of them here: “The Oyomesi will do Yorubaland proud if they resolve to give us an Alaafin that we can all follow to the battlefield. They should strive to give us an oba that will be royal in all ramifications of life. They will record their names in gold if, in considering the next Alaafin, the Oyomesi put character before wealth; integrity before popularity and our supreme culture before ‘civilisation’…. All eyes are on the Oyomesi. How they handle this assignment will definitely define their future and the future of Oyo town and Yorubaland. All Yoruba men everywhere in the world should not sleep. They should stay awake and monitor how the next Alaafin will emerge and who the person is and where he is coming from. We don’t want to enthrone an agent of the enemy as king….”

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Nothing untoward must happen to the Throne of Alaafin. The consequences will be too dire for Yoruba land. Oyomesi must know this. Oyo princes too must equally appreciate that. Those who can add two to three (mu eeji kun eeta), the initiates in the land, must tell Chief Lagunna and those who share his sentiment of “Ifa is Oyomesi, Oyomesi is Ifa”, that he is eternally wrong! Ifa is our way of life. He is far above any mortal. Ewi nle Ado, Mapo Elere, Erinmi lode Owo; Mapo Elejelu: Maba Otun; Omo enikan saka bi agbon, is not a mate of any chief, high or low. Our forebears consulted Ifa in the past and things went well with us. High Chief Lagunna accepted that at the choosing of Alaafin Sango, Ifa pointed the way. He cannot act otherwise now. Those who have gone before, and who handed Okin Merindinlogun to us, are watching. If anything goes wrong, the ones who established the Alaafin Throne will ask questions and act appropriately. Nobody can shew alligator pepper to avert the consequences. As for me, I know that: Ifa, iwo l’awo (Ifa, you are the initiate), emi logberi (I am the uninitiate); bi a ba njoko (when you are burning the bush) ma jo eliju mi (don’t born my savannah)!

This article written by Suyi Ayodele, South-East/South-South Editor, Nigerian Tribune was first published by the same newspaper, and published by INFO DAILY with the permission from the author.



JUST IN: Late Alaafin’s Son, Abdulfatai Is Dead




The son of the late Alaafin of Oyo, Prince Abdulfatai Adeyemi, fondly called D-Gov, is dead.

He died in the early hours of Friday, a day before his 47th birthday.

He reportedly died of diabetes at the University College Hospital in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The Oyo prince, who was said to have been ill for a while, aspired for the Oyo Federal Constituency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2019 but lost the election to his brother, Akeem Adeyemi, fondly called Skimeh, who was re-elected for the second term.

He was appointed by the state governor, Seyi Makinde, as Chairman of the Oyo State Local Government Pension Board in his first term.

A palace source, who preferred anonymity, told The PUNCH that he died on Friday after a protracted illness.

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He said, “Yes, he died this morning. Many people have also called me to confirm his demise. I was also weak when I received the news. Today is his brother, Akeem Adeyemi’s (a House of Representatives member), birthday, a day away from each other.

“I was with him on the day of the empowerment programme of his brother, Akeem, popularly called Skimeh, when he gave N50,000 each to 500 people. We sat down together. He was even the one who delivered the sermon on that day, not knowing that he was saying goodbye to everybody. It’s so painful and sad,” he lamented.

Details later…

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Why I Invited Pasuma, Portable For Church Performance – Cleric Breaks Silence




The founder of a branch of Celestial Church of Christ in Lagos State, Aderemi Dabiri, has said the reason why he invited Fuji singer, Alabi Pasuma, and street-hop artiste, Portable, was to gain new converts.

The cleric made this known in a video where he was seen addressing a delegation of the church’s task force who visited his parish to have an audience with him.

The white garment church came under heavy criticism recently for inviting secular artistes to its praise night event.

While explaining the rationale behind the decision, Dabiri revealed that the choice of the two artistes was to attract deviants in the society.

READ ALSO: Celestial Church Bows To Criticism, Drops Portable, Pasuma From Praise Night

According to him, the pattern of evangelism had worked for him over the years and also resulted in the growth of his church membership.

He said, “It is not our first time inviting guest artistes. We have been doing it without a problem and I can give you a series of instances. We cannot go where they sell palm wine or alcoholic drinks and ask them to accept Jesus Christ. If I don’t apply wisdom, they will hit a bottle on my head. That was why I thought of a way to bring them into the church.

“I also noticed that there are some notorious boys who cause trouble in the community, disturbing the authorities and engaging in cultism. I wondered how can we draw their attention so that they would have a change of heart. We have gone to places where they are and they ended up beating us. Most of the members of my church are new converts and it was through that pattern that I converted them.”

Dabiri, who criticised some gospel ministers for being disrespectful said he preferred to invite secular musicians.

“Some gospel ministers are rude. If you talk to some of them, they respond rudely, but the day I called Pasuma, he sounded respectful on the phone and also agreed with my stance,” he said.

READ ALSO: Knocks As Church Invites Pasuma, Portable To Praise Night

Responding to the concerns raised by the task force team about the raging controversy caused by the development, Dabiri indicated that he had no plans to cancel the invitation.

However, he explained that he would reduce the excesses of the artistes at the event, especially Portable.

He said, “We will tell Portable not to dye his hair and he should not sing vulgar songs but to sing gospel music. We will also caution him not to dress inappropriately or climb the speakers.

“We will also warn him not to allow his boys to smoke here. We have invited close to 30 military personnel to man the event.”

The cleric also appealed to the Celestial Church worldwide to support his vision, as he would use his style of evangelism to make the church proud.

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Chief Of Air Staff Tasks Officers On Respect, Protection Of Host Communities




The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar has called on the newly graduated officers of the Special Forces of the Nigerian Air Force to respect and protect the members of their host communities.

Abubakar, who was represented by Air Vice Marshal Usman Abdullahi, Air Officer Commanding, Ground Training Command, Headquarters, made the call in Bauchi on Friday during the graduation ceremony of 135 students of the Special Forces Course 11/2023.

According to him, from the high quality of tactical display by the graduating students,  there was no doubt that they had imbibed the basic skills and techniques required to conduct special operations in achieving the operational objectives of the Nigerian Air Force.

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He explained that the successes of the Nigerian Air Force in shaping the battlespace and neutralising adversary capabilities had resulted in degrading operational capacity of bandits, insurgents and other criminal elements in different operational theatres.

“To the graduating students of Special Forces Course 11/2023, I am aware of the rigors of your training on ground, in the air and that’s why you have been decorated with your Special Forces emblem. I say well done.

“I therefore urge you to exhibit what you have learnt during the course whenever and wherever duty calls.

“This call will require you to exhibit courage, commitment and loyalty in the discharge of your duties.

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“Once deployed, you are implored to treat your host communities with utmost respect as your task is to protect them from hostile threats,” he said.

Abubakar also appreciated President Bola Tinubu for his continuous support to the Nigerian Air Force despite the harsh economic realities and promised to continue to employ the available resources for the betterment of the country’s service.

Earlier, Aminu Bello, the Commanding Officer, Regiment Training Centre Annex, Nigerian Air Force, Bauchi, said a total of 308 Nigerian Air Force personnel of the Regiment Specialty were nominated to undergo Medical and Physical screening for the 93 days Special Forces Course.

He explained that out of the number, only 294 reported and 148 trainees scaled through the medical and physical screening tests.

According to him, these successful personnel commenced the training in September but at the end of the course, a total of 135 comprising five officers and 130 airmen completed the course.

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“Trainees embarked on 10, 15 and 20 km loaded marches respectively with the objective of improving their endurance, even in rugged terrains.

“Several day and night live firing exercises were conducted to ensure that trainees were able to acquire and neutralise targets instinctively at short, medium and long distances.

“About 80% of these trainees came with no idea of swimming but at the end of the swimming phase, all of them graduated from basic to intermediate swimmers,” he said.

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