Oyo clash: Traditional religion elders rise in defence of Ifa priests
Elders of Traditional Religion worshipers under the aegis of the Concerned Committee of Yoruba Traditional Culture and Faith Ambassadors have stood in defence of three Ifa priests accused of impersonating the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, and extorting some foreigners, who are Ifa practitioners.
According to them, their findings have not implicated the three priest as reported by a section of the media.
At a press conference in Osogbo, Osun State capital, the chairman of the group, Araba Ifayemi Elebuibon, said their interaction with the priests, Ikusanu Faleye, Fasola Olaniyan and Olaniyan Awoyemi, revealed that they are notable babalawo in Oyo town and respected people in Orisa community worldwide and not fake priests as reported.
It would be recalled that the priests were accused of giving chieftaincy title of ‘Oba Ifa Adimula of South America’ to some foreign nationals.
They were also accused of forging chieftaincy title certificates which they presented to Franciva Leoa Nobres, whom they christened ‘Ifatowo Adebayo;’ Dasiel Guerra, christened as ‘Awotunde Ajisola;’ and Jose Lara, christened with the name ‘Ifakayode Falade’ without the consent of the Alaafin.
The priests, who are members and leaders of Ijo Ifa Adimula Temple, Bara, Oyo, reportedly attracted their victims through the Internet and collected unspecified amount of money in foreign currency with the promise that the Alaafin would confer chieftaincy titles on them.
Elebuibon said: “These priests represent an Ifa Temple in Oyo town. From the ages, Ifa priests have the prerogative to handle some matters without the express permission of the Obas. So, the Obas also have some prerogative and rights exclusive to him without informing Ifa priests. However, there are many other matters that require synergy between Ifa priests and the obas for peace and tranquility in the society.
“It is established the priests involved and their temple have in the past conferred Ifa chieftaincy titles on Orisa practitioners of different races including Nigerians and Americans. Some of them are recipients of Ifa titles also which were conferred on them from within the temple.
Yes but what about this letter??
“In Ifa practice, the title of Araba/Oluawo of a town which is the highest in Ifa religion is the only title conferred on a babalawo by the oba on a consensus priest presented by the Ifa community of that town and the king exercises authority over his domain.
And what about this letter too??
“On investigating the priests and copies of certificates of chieftaincy title they presented, we found no evidence of impersonating the Alaafin of Oyo or any other monarch on the said title conferred on the Ifa practitioners from diaspora as such titles were not Oyo town chieftaincy titles but Ifa religious titles meant for propagation of Ifa religion in the home country of the title recipients. And there has been no information about displeasure raised by the chieftaincy title recipients or allegation of dupe.”
However, Eleuibon disclosed that the group of traditional religion leaders are seeking an audience with the Alafin in order to forestall impending imbroglio between the monarch and the priests, adding that the embarrassment that the issue is generating would, no doubt, have adverse consequences on Yoruba culture and tradition.
Explanation letter by Araba Elebuibon below