The Yoruba people of South West Nigeria, are one of the largest ethnic group south of the Sahara Desert. In several ways they are one of the most interesting and important people of the continent of Africa. Their religion is called Orisa. The population of Yoruba people as of 1962 had reached 10-11 million people. Their traditions with in urban life give them a unique place among not only other African societies as well many other societies in the World. Yoruba society has been well known and advanced in the areas of Economics, Government, and in particular Art and Religion. They rank highly among other West African ethnic groups, representing the highest level of cultural achievement in Sub Saharan Africa.
Their religion called Orisa has been misinterpreted when missionaries came into their midsts. Orisa in Yoruba perspective, according to one Ese Ifa or Ifa stanza say, Orunmila said human beings became Orisa, I said, human beings became Orisa, Orunmila said, don’t you see Ogun, he is a human being, but when he demonstrated wisdom and power he was elevated and became Orisa. I said human beings became Orisa, he said don’t you see Obatala, he is human being, but when he demonstrated wisdom and power, he was elevated and became Orisa. The other Orisa where blessed as well from human being to Orisa. They worshiped a knowledgeable person it is human being that became Orisa.
Orisa is Yoruba cosmology. Those that selected their ori became more superior than others. Èniyàn tí Orí sà dá. If Jesus was born in Yoruba land he would have been pronounced an Orisa and like wise Muhammad.
Every town and village in Yoruba Land has its foundation in Ese Ifa or Ifa stanza. Each town was established and founded with Odu Ifa. They used this Odu Ifa to established the culture and tradition of each town. Just as an adage says, Bayi ni àáse nile wa èèwò ni bomiran
The odu ifa for each town as follows
Ede – Osa Oloyan
Ila Orangun – Ofun Meji
Osogbo – Idin Ileke
Iwo – Obara Otua
Ado ibini- odi meji
Ipapo – Otura Meji
Ido Ekiti – Ogunda Wori
Ido Osure – Obara meji
Awori Ota – Irete Owonrin
Oko – Ogunda Meji
Agbada Rigi – Ogbe Ogunda
Ilu Apa – Oyeku Meji
Oyo Alaafin – Ogbe Otura
Ilorin- Okanran Iwori
Some of our Monarch in Yoruba Land are saying that their cities were founded by the Islamic Nation. This assertion is false, Islam did not establish the Yoruba Nation. The Oba or King of each town have an important role, they are the custodian of the Yoruba traditions of its inhabitants. The Yoruba people hold their Oba or King in high esteem and regard him as the owner of all power for that city.
The power of the Oba or King is like that of the Orisa. If the Oba turns against the traditions of his home city it is the wrath of his progenitors the people will seek. No Oba of any Yoruba nation has the right to create a new name for his city. It’s not the right thing to do. Although two imported religions have firmly established themselves with us, a wise one will know how to use knowledge to not practice it.
The Treasures and Heritage of Yoruba Land need to be protected by not only individuals of Yoruba Land but also the Monarchs, the Monarchs need to lead the way and set a good example. The Jews are Jewish because they believe in their way of worship. The Christians are Christian because they believe in their way of Worship. It is freedom of worship that will salvage this nation from being ruined by modern Oba’s and civilization.
A child that does not respect culture will not care to destroy it.
Ifayemi Elebuibon The Araba of Osogbo Land