By Peace Onyeukwu
Members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) across the nation recently had a wonderful moment .It was a day the members of the Yoruba socio-cultural group gathered at the Government Technical College, Abule- Ado, Lagos, to celebrate their annual Ifa festival.
The programme was put together by the Olokun Festival Foundation to promote the Yoruba tradition, culture and heritage. The annual event also provided the right atmosphere for traditionalists and other religious leaders in the country to rub minds on issues relating to the sanctity of the Ifa as a universal deity and messenger of Orunmila. Meanwhile, about 100 members of the OPC were also inducted into the group at the elaborate event.
Notable guests at the annual event include the Sasa Akowonjo monarch, Oba Nofiu Babatunde Akanbi Ogunrounbi,Otunba Gani Adams, who was the chief host, and Mr.Ibrahim Wahab, a lecturer from the Department of Yoruba Language,Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State. The university don was the guest lecturer of the day.
Welcoming the guests, Adams said the reason for the annual celebration of the Ifa festival was to promote the Yoruba culture and tradition.” His words, “I have travelled across the world and I see how other countries of the world always cherish their culture and tradition. In Brazil, Cuba and even in South Africa, people value their traditional heritage and that has really helped them as a people, but here in Nigeria, it is a different thing entirely. We look down on our tradition and it has continually affected our socio-political lives as a nation.”
In his lecture entitled:’’ Relevance of Ifa in modern society, the guest lecturer, Wahab, harped on the fact that Ifa was a divine messenger between man and his Creator, adding that it is through Ifa that a true divination could be made, thus, making him relevant in all aspects of man’s lives. Giving reason for the neglect of the traditional institutions in the country, Oba Babatunde Ogunrounbi said that the Yoruba nation must rise up to the challenge of protecting its cultural values, the monarch expressed great concern that the Yoruba tradition is gradually going into extinction.
Expressing her views on the current security challenge in the country, Chief Mrs. Motunrayo Fafunke, the Yeye Osun of Lagos, said that the situation is not unexpected. Citing the poor economic situation in the country as one of the reasons for the prolonged insecurity, the traditional women leader also urged the Federal Government to ensure the release of the abducted girls.
Hear her.” As a mother, I feel the pain of the mothers of these abducted school girls, therefore, the government should continue in its effort to ensure that those girls are released alive” She said.
Different cultural troupes present at the ceremony exhibited their various dancing skills with cultural displays.