THIS IS THE OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON THIS ISSUE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR IFA RELIGION
The recent excessive desire by some practitioners of Ifa, Orisa, and Ogboni both in Nigeria and in the diaspora to procure chieftaincy/obaship titles is nothing but a mental disturbance marked by periods of euphoria or delusions. In one of the Yoruba proverbs, “Ti ara ile eni ba nje kokoro buruku, ti a ko ba so fun, kurukere e koni je ka sun lale.” “If your kin is engaging in anti-social behavior persistently without caution, the consequences of his/her action may create uneasiness for all.” The stanza of Otura Irosun has given us the warning to take action now before we all get enmeshed in the whole mess. It goes thus:
Tó bá b’ójú, a bá’mú Tó bá bá imú, a b’ẹ́nu Tó bá bá ẹnu, a b’ẹ́sẹ̀ Tó bá bá ẹsẹ̀, ẹsẹ̀ a ṣìnà T’ẹ́sẹ̀ bá ṣìnà, a wọ̀’gbẹ́ T’ẹ́sẹ̀ bá wọ̀’gbẹ́ A fi rá iwín lórí Tó bá rá iwín lórí A fi rá koóko lórí Díá fún Elérèsé Ọmọ a kó tiwọn bá tiwọn
Whatever happens to the eye will affect the nose Whatever affects the nose will automatically affect the mouth If it affects the mouth, the legs will be affected as well If it affects the legs, the legs will be misdirected And this will lead the legs to a wrong path (in the bush) In the bush, the legs will step on feces (excrement) And in turn, the feces will be rubbed on grasses These were Ifa’s messages for Elerese The one who was going to enmesh others in his stupid act…
This craze for titles has engendered in some self-acclaimed and unscrupulous title brokers and individuals to coin and confer on people various bogus titles that are of no relevance and significance in Ifa and traditional institutions in Yoruba land. It is unfortunate that most of these aberrant practices are being allowed to go on unabated by the stakeholders in the community perhaps due to ignorance of the consequence of such action or because they also reap from the accrued bounty from such practices. The recent statement of condemnation by Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, the Alaafin of Oyo on installation of a Yoruba king in Diaspora was in the right direction, describing it is a desecration of culture, custom, and tradition of the Yoruba race. The same goes to the installation of chieftaincy and obaship titles in Ifa, Orisa, and Ogboni practice on desperate and over ambitious few in order to further their selfish interests and gains. Some of such bogus titles include Ọba Ẹ̀dú, Ọba Leesùn, Ọba Ògbóni, Ọba Ẹgbẹ́, Ọba Ifá, Ọba Òrìṣà/Ọba ‘Rìṣà, Ọba Ọkùnrin, Ọba Obìnrin/Ọba ‘Bìnrin, Ọba Asíwájú, Àràbà Ògbóni, etc.
The Council is aware of fraudulent individuals going about singlehandedly conferring these bogus chieftaincy titles on vulnerable adherents especially in the diaspora. Ifa/Orisa titles are traditional and institutional with proper process and can only be awarded by recognized institutions and not just by individuals. We have also found out that these people are doing so for selfish aggrandizement and do not have the proper authority to confer titles. It is unfortunate that Ifa/Orisa/Ogboni titles are being misused, and abused. However, the International Council for Ifa Religion (ICIR) is hereby asking those involved in such ridiculous act to desist as we shall not hesitate to use appropriate means at our disposal to take disciplinary action to frustrate the emergence, installation, and perpetration of such act.
For the purpose of understanding, it is important to let us know that the word “Ba Edu” is the short form of “Bara Ẹ̀dú” and not “Ọba Ẹ̀dú” just as the other accolades of Orunmila such as “Bara Ẹlẹ́ṣín Ọyán”; Bara Adàgbàá Ojùmú”; Bara Ipetu”, etc. Furthermore, Ifa is the only one who is ascribed to be called “Ọbarìṣà” and no individual is qualified to be called as such. This, we have always seen in several verses of Ifa as follows “ … Èrò Ìpo, èrò Ọ̀fà, ẹ wá báni ní jẹ̀bútú ire; Jẹ̀bútú ire làá báni lẹ́sẹ̀ Ọbarìṣà (Ọ̀pẹ̀).” What we have seen from evidence are ‘Ba Leesùn – Baba Leesun – the father whom we can rely upon or run to in times of distress. Similarly there are titles like ‘Ba Àjítọ̀, ‘Ba Àsálà, ‘Ba ‘Gbìmọ̀, ‘Ba Àjípè, ‘Ba Àlà), Olórí Olúwo Ògbóni and not Ọba Ògbóni, Olórí Ọ̀dọ́, Olórí Ẹgbẹ́, Ìyálóde as the leader of women and not Ọba ‘Bìnrin. The usage of the word Ọba should not be misused, abused, or misplaced with other titles. There is the need for us to seek more knowledge in Ifa for better understanding regarding the meaning, purpose, and significance of these titles. Ignorance is said to be the disease of the stupid, this is why Ifa has advised us to always inquired and verify facts before taking action. In a stanza of Oturupon Obalufon (Oturupon-Owonrin), Ifa says:
Ifá ní tí a bá jí Ọgbọ́n ni ká ma kọ́ ara ẹni Ká máá jìí ní kùtùkùtù pilẹ̀ wèrè Ọ̀rọ̀ tí a bá rò tí kò bá gún Ikin ẹni ni ká maa bi Díá fún Pàràká alágọ̀ wìnnì-wìnnì Tí ǹlọ rèé jíjó alárà-nbarà lábẹ́ ọdán…
Ifa says when we wake up We should teach each other wisdom Let us not wake up and plan stupid things For whatever we do not find solution to Let us ask Ikin (Ifa) These were Ifa’s declarations to Paraka The one with shinning costume When going to dance astonishingly under a banyan tree…
Our ignorance and quest for material gains, greed, and self-centeredness have derailed us from the path of spirituality and wisdom. We have become more like idiots wandering and wallowing in stupidity and making a mockery of ourselves before the world. Ifa says that derailing from the right path is going off track and such a person will only have him/herself to blame in the end. In a stanza of Owonrin Ologbon (Owonrin-Iwori), Ifa has this to say:
Akíndanidání Awo òde Ẹ̀gbá Ọ̀dànìndanì Awo òde Ìjẹ̀ṣà Èéṣe tí ẹ f’ojú ọ̀nà sílẹ̀ tí ẹ̀ ńtọ ìgbẹ́ Awo òde Ọ̀tùnmọ̀bà Díá fún wọn lóde Ìlolòdí Níbi Ẹ̀gungun-Àràbà gbé n pa wọ́n tìbí-tìran Àṣé báyìí lẹ gọ̀ lẹ gunnuta Ẹnìkan ò gọ̀gọ̀ọ̀gọ̀ Bí ará Ìlolòdí Àṣé báyìí lẹ gọ̀ lẹ gunnuta
The idiots of Egba-land The imbeciles of Ijesa land Why did you leave the right path? And chose to tread in the wilderness, These were the awos in the land of Otunmoba They cast Ifa for the inhabitants of Ilolodi Where the white silk cotton tree (Araba) was killing them and all their descendants So this is how foolish you are No one can be so foolish As to surpass the inhabitants of Ilolodi So this is how foolish you are