Activities leading to this year’s staging of Olojo Festival has been flagged off by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, who is the chief celebrant of the annual festival celebrated by him and the people of his kingdom as well as the entire Yoruba race in commemoration of the unique cultural heritage and tradition of Ife royalty, which is described as the source.
Speaking at the media event to herald the festival, which grand finale has been scheduled for Sept 30, the Ooni spoke on the importance of the age – long festival even as he disabused the minds of those who see it as a fetish event. He insisted that it is part of the propagation of the rich cultural heritage of the people, therefore, he urged the participation of everyone at this year’s event, which promises to be more exciting and colourful following the various activities that have been put in place.
“We are not idol worshippers, but we are using the celebration of the festival to acknowledge and give due honour to all our deities that have contributed immensely to human existence.
”Olojo Festival symbolises celebrating the first day of creation and the beginning of existence in Ile-Ife, being the cradle of the human race,’’ disclosed the Ooni, adding that: “The word ‘Olojo’ implies reference to Olodumare, the creator and the owner of the day, and that is why Olojo Festival is being celebrated in Ife kingdom, the cradle of the Yoruba.’’
According to him, it is a day when the power of God is on display through answered prayers to the supplications of the people: “All forces of nature such as rain, sun and water among others will interact for the betterment of the day and humanity.
He also commended the corporate sponsors of the festival for their support while extending invitation to other corporate bodies to join the train in popularising the yearly festival. He further extended formal invitation to the public, urging them to take full advantage of the various activities to explore the cultural beauties of the people.
Also speaking at the event, the Secretary of the Olojo Festival Advisory Committee, Olugbenga Omiwole, commended the Ooni for uplifting the pillars of Yoruba tradition and cultural heritage while giving historical perspective to the festival.
“The work of creation of Olodumare in the creation of the world was ordered through the existential reality of time which consists of morning, afternoon and night.
”It is through this order that the work of creation progressed to establish the world we live in today. It is common knowledge that science and religion corroborated the fact of the story of the Bible and Qur’an respectively on the creation of universe.
”Ile-Ife is the land of expansion and the spot where creation began. This led to celebrating the first day of creation annually and the essence of the celebration is to commemorate the beginning of creation.”
According to the schedule of activities released by Infogem Nigeria Limited, the festival’s promoter, the over two weeks event, would begin with the Gbajure Cultural Carnival on Sept. 18. Other activities are: Sept. 19 – Cultural summit on festival’s theme; Cultural trade; Art exhibition and Opening ceremony; Sept. 24 – Festival quiz competition; Sept 25 – Ooni’s Football challenge final; Sept. 26 – Ayo Olopon – traditional game; Sept. 27 – Fashion show; Yoruba cultural entertainment night; and Festival musical concert; Sept. 28 – Ojo Illagun, Iwode Ile Ife; Oonirisa terrestrial message to the world; Olojo Festival ankara carnival; Sept 29 – Ojo Okomogun; The Are’s cultural procession; and Sept 30 – Ojo Ajoyo (Asekagbe); The Olojo ceremonial grand finale, with the Ooni wearing the Are crown.
The closing ceremony would hold on Oct. 1 with traditional trade and exhibitions.
…congratulates the new Araba Agbaye
The Ooni has also used the occasion to welcome and congratulate the new Araba Agbaye, His Spiritual Eminence, Owolabi Awodotun Aworeni (Orishada I), who was at the palace on courtesy visit to him.
The Araba Agbaye – elect was chosen by the Agiri descendants of Oketase compound, following the demise of His Spiritual Eminence, Adisa Aworeni Awoyemi. The royal father expressed thanks to the entire Agiri descendants of Oke-Itase compound for the peaceful conduct and their choice.
He advised the Araba Agbaye to be patient, tolerant, peace-loving, and generous in the discharge of his service to the people. His Spiritual Eminence Owolabi Awodotun Aworeni is a professional and formally trained Ifa priest, who learned the art of Ifa from his late father, His Spiritual Eminence Adisa Aworeni Awoyemi.
Ifa training took him to Oluwo Fawole of Agesinyowa compound of Ile-Ife in the late 1990s. His passion for Ifa has since made him renowned in and outside the shores of the country, propagating and teaching the tenets of ifa practice.
His sojourn to Awo Olodumerindinlogun started in December 2013, when he became a member of the Awo Olodumerindinlogun and was installed Olori Iwarefa. In April 7 this year he emerged as the new Afedigba Awo Olodumerindinlogun due to the death of late Afedigba and Baale Ile Oke-Itase, Olujide Omopariola.
He emerged as the Araba Agbaye – elect on August 19, following his defeat of other contenders in a keenly contested race conducted by the Araba Agbaye selection committee headed by the Baale of Oke-Itase, Jonathan Faloba Olajolo. His selection as the new Araba Agbaye was ratified on August 30 by the Ooni and Ife Traditional Council.
He is the founder of Orishada Ifa Cultural Foundation and he is happily married with children.
Araba Agbaye is the highest Ifa priest in the world. Since the inception of Ifa practice, the Araba at Ile-Ife, is recognised as the Araba Agbaye. It is from Araba Agbaye that other Yoruba Arabas derived their titles.
The Araba Agbaye is a direct descendant of Orunmila while the title is restricted to Oke-Itase compound of Ile-Ife.