Oluwo Nla Fashola Olusoji Adeyemi was recently installed in Ile-Ife as the Oluwo Ifa Agbaye, making him one of the most senior Ifa chiefs worldwide. Following his annual Ifa festival, he speaks with MOSES ALAO on how the Yoruba nation could rediscover itself; what to do about Nigeria’s current situation and other issues. Excerpts:
It is commonplace to hear Christian and Islamic clerics declare prophecies about Nigeria and what should be done to avert crisis or bring about prosperity for the people in a particular year. Ahead of your 2016 Ifa festival, has Ifa given any prophecy about Nigeria. Does Ifa even give such prophecies?
Whenever we are looking at Obararete for the world Ifafestival, Ifasays a lot of things. But what I will like to say is that more than anything else, there must first be religious tolerance among Christians, Muslims and traditional religions. Secondly, the way Nigeria is moving, may Olodumarehelp us. The way everything is moving, there will be a time that what people think they have, they may no longer have it. Ifa says that we all have to stand with the truth. But the Christians and Muslims holding political and leadership positions are doing things without the fear of Olodumare; they are doing things selfishly. People in leadership positions are doing all sort of things for their own benefits but they should know that Olodumare is watching.
But what did Ifa say about Nigeria?
The one that interpret the words of Ifamore than anyone else is the ArabaAgbaye. He is the one that can interpret everything; he is the Orunmila of our time. The Araba Agbaye is the one whom Orunmila tells everything he wants to say from heaven; he is the only one who can answer you appropriately. But from what the Christians and Muslims are doing now, discriminating and perpetuating injustice, you can see where it has led us. However, we as Ifa worshippers, we are doing everything possible to make sure that Olodumare comes to the aid of the people and do something that will make everyone in the universe marvel, because when you follow Olodumare, you will never step into trouble.
When other religious clerics see vision of give a prophecy, they ask people to either pray for the country or fast, doesn’t Ifa tell you what Nigerians can do to make Nigeria better?
There is nothing like fasting; they are doing that for themselves. Ifa has not said anything about fasting.
But what is the etutu [sacrifice] to solve Nigeria’s problem?
As the Oluwo Ifa worldwide, I will not say anything about that, because we haven’t consulted Orunmila for what is happening in Nigeria to know what we are going to do.
Hasn’t our situation got to that point that you have to consult Ifa?
If it has, the people at the top should make it know and we will go to Ile-Ife to meet the Araba Agbaye, who is like the Pope in Ifa worship. He will now tell all of us to come for the consultation of Ifafor Nigeria. When we do that, we will know what Ifasays, the sacrifice, what Ifa wants us to do and not do, so that Nigeria can be better for all of us. But as of now, you hear presidents and governors telling pastors and imams to pray for the country and the state but no one has come to seek Ifa’s help.
From what you just said about leaders not seeking Ifa’s help; it is often said that you traditional worshippers feel cheated when you hear of Christians going on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Muslims going to Mecca and no mention is made of you people…
(Cuts in) You ask yourself if that is right too. Shouldn’t we feel cheated? If we say Nigeria is a secular state, then where is fairness in that claim when Muslims’ trip to Mecca this year has been subsidised by the Federal Government to the tune of over N7 billion. We have the International Council for IfaReligion but the government does not recognise us.
Have you made an official contact with the government?
We have tried but I don’t think they recognise us as a body.As you talk about the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for Christians and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) for Muslims, we also have ICIR but during the era of former President Goodluck Jonathan when they did the National Conference, they didn’t invite any traditional religion person. Does that mean we cannot make contribution to the building of this country?
So what advice will you give the Yoruba nation on their heritage and gods?
If you see the Chinese, after you might have said whatever you want to say while transacting any business with them, you have to return to speaking their language. The Indians are the same too. These people never allowed their languages, culture to perish. But look at us Yoruba; we are lost. It is only the Olodumare that can restore us. Look at the world today, China is one of the most prosperous; most of their people never bothered with speaking English or western education and today, they are leading manufacturing country in the world. Our major problem is the religion that you people peddle and it is all a lie; those at the top know how to share and corner wealth. These people have destroyed lives dividing us with religion. And the religions that Nigerians lay claim to are not even practised genuinely.