Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, chatted recently with YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine’s TOKUNBO IBIKUNLE at his palace in Ile-Ife, Osun State on the essence of Olojo Festival. Excerpts…
Kabiyesi o! First, tell us about Olojo Festival.
To the glory of God, I thank God for today. It’s actually the day the God Almighty has made. Olojo means the day of the first dawn and what we are doing today is – we are celebrating our culture and tradition that’s been demonized for centuries. We have borrowed some kind of culture from Western world, then we haven’t really looked very deeply into what our ancestors handed over to us. So, Olojo is the celebration of God Almighty. It is a way of our culture, our tradition and our heritage. That is the reason why it’s the celebration for all black race all over the world and it is the pride of the entire blacks, not only people of Ife, Osun State. Not only Nigerians; it is the celebration of the entire blacks all over the world. God actually appointed me and anointed me on this throne to do my very best to correct a lot of wrongs, especially as far as our culture and tradition is concerned. It’s indeed the celebration of God at the first dawn (Ojo ti ojo di ojo). And it’s very symbolic. We have landmarks to prove that there is nowhere in the world that you’ll place a cock, the cock must crow at dawn. And for this celebration, a cock is symbolic to what we are doing. A cock is the indicator of time, a cock does not have any wristwatch. But God uses a cock to tell every human being about the dawn of a new day.
This is almost your first year on your forefather’s throne and this is the first celebration of Olojo Festival under your watch and also putting on the Ade Are crown. You also went through some spiritual rites for five days. Having seen it all, how can you describe this experience?
Like you said, this is my first year on my forefather’s throne. I will still give glory and adoration to the Almighty God. After being through all the spiritual rites that are involved, it’s only God that can make it happen. Whosoever that does not believe God exists, he should come and meet me. I had a very, very close encounter to feel His presence and all His angels. God is on His throne. Nobody can see God, but you can see God through His work. God works in mystery. I felt God’s presence mightily when I came out of the spiritual rites involved. I announced to the world that when Ade Are comes out, people will feel it from the weather and the atmosphere will change. There was a clear sky, but God changed the entire sky before the last part of the spiritual rites. God told me that He’s shown my people how powerful He is. God is indeed the Lord of the lords and the King of kings. And the Almighty; I am that I am. The crown came out because it is one of the oldest inheritance from God Almighty Himself that will benefit all, the entire world, not only Ile Ife people, because it’s a very mysterious crown. Immediately I took the crown back, there was a very heavy down pour and heavy thunder. And there was a rain fall of blessing and it’s of strong significance. And iron, one of the messengers of God, is the god of iron. People have demonized our tradition.
When you talk about god of iron, he is a messenger of God. Everybody is a beneficiary of the iron. The pathfinder. Cars are made of iron. Whenever you are moving from one place to another, it is the iron that will pathfinder you to your destination. Even if you’re flying from one country to another country, it is that same iron that will make way for you through the commandment of God. But our ancestors concentrated on this lesser god too much, so everything was demonized. The truth of the matter is that these gods of iron are messengers of God and very angelic. And they are meant to bless mankind, as a result of that wearing of Are crown. It gives me another spiritual upliftment and made me to understand the presence of God more. I thought a lot about the configuration of the entire black race. About our culture and tradition and to focus on how to correct all the wrongs. Not to be demonizing our inheritance again; for us to know that there is something good that can come out of the black race. Our culture, our beliefs should not be used for any negative reason. We should focus on the positive sides of it.
Kabiyesi, can you please tell us about the importance and benefit of Olojo Festival?
Like I said before, it’s a celebration of God Almighty. The importance that is attached to Olojo is the elevation point of Are crown. And it is an indication of four cardinal points of Northern pole, Southern pole, Western pole and the Eastern pole. This is a strong indication of God’s creation, the creation of mankind, Adam and Eve. The sign is on the crown, the sign that has to do with the first creation of mankind. So, the crown belongs to God. And all the angels that work with God. It’s a very mysterious crown that is to be out every year to bless the entire mankind, not only Ife people, but the entire black race and everybody on earth.
Congrats on the success of this year’s Olojo Festival. What difference are we expecting at next year’s Olojo Festival?
Definitely, we are going to unveil a lot of things differently to the entire world, not only Nigeria and to make people understand the secret behind Olojo Festival. As you can see, we have lots of delegates from America, Caribbean, Cuba, and from Europe and so on. So, what we are going to be doing differently is to symbolize it. So that everybody will know that Olojo is a festival for the entire world.