Chief Olusegun Aregbesola Anipupo is the Baale of Kenta Odutolu and the newly-installed Oluwo Ifa of Ogun State. In this interview with KOLAWOLE OLAYINKA. He speaks about his emergence and how traditional worship is fast gaining grounds in African societies…
Why did you choose to be a traditionalist?
I was born and brought up in a traditional worshiping house because my grandfather, my father was an herbalist. When I was born and precisely, three days after my birth, my parents went to check destiny Ifa Oracle (Akose Jaiye) because that’s the normal custom in my town. By doing this, the parents of the child will know what the child choose to be. My parents were told that I was destined to become a great Ifa Priest. When I finished my primary six examination, I decided to pursue my career, my father stopped me from furthering my education so as to start learning how to be a traditionalist and now the job has prospered me to do all what my mate are doing in life, I have wife, children, I built houses, I ride different types of cars etc, I thank God for helping me.
Did you learn the profession from your father?
Yes I did, I learned it from my father before he now took me to my boss, the late Chief Ifakayode Asinde, who was the Apena Ilugun and Ojubona Onifa of Egbaland then.
How long have been on your own?
I became a master of myself in 1988, but in 1990 I became popular and famous. And since then, the gods have been so grateful to me and my family. In 1990 I became very popular, it happened that it was in 1993 I started prospering in this field and I had so many customers.
How many children of Anipupo Dynasty ventured into this profession?
My father and his father had so many children and they are basically known for doing Ifa job. I am the 47th generation of Anipupo Family to practice this profession (Ifa Olokun Asoro Dayo), but from my own father, Amosun Anipupo’s lineage, we are just three of us including; Taiwo Anipupo, Kehinde Anipupo and I Aregbesola Anipupo and thank God we all are prospering in this field.
What is the importance of traditional (Isese) especially among the Yorubas?
You see, your father, mother, your creator are traditions. Part of tradition is head sacrifice, the head is very important because it is one’s creator that rescues a man in time of trouble and when no one else can. Having good luck is based on the head, likewise bad luck. I pray that our heads take us to our place of destiny. Amen.
These traditions, the god of thunder (Sango), (Esu), Oya, Obatala, Sopona, Ifa are very important. Ifa was the one that directed all other gods to the world and it made us know what we are meant to give to all the other deities. Anyone who is meant to worship Ogun and does so, his crooked ways will be made straight likewise the person who is meant to worship (Esu) and does, whatever he asks will be granted unto him because he has done what he was told to do. All these deities have the roles they played when they were alive and even when they died and had symbols representing them; they still have roles they play.
Why was it that all these deities came through the directives of Ifa?
People do not reference Orunmila because of the power he had, but for the knowledge and understanding God gave him from heaven because if Sango is angry, no one knows except for Orunmila that tells them before he spoils things. Likewise when Obatala is angry, he knows and calls the attention of others to it. That is the reason why all the deities choose Orunmila as the person who will be directing their steps and that was how Orunmila being the director of other deities in the world.
Don’t you think civilization can eradicate traditional worshippers from the surface?
No, religion, education neither civilisation can eradicate our culture of worshiping deities not even, Christianity and Islam, because Christians and Muslims have their root in traditional worshipping that is why it cannot be eradicated and thank God, traditional worship is becoming rampant in our societies and we have started having a gathering of traditional worshipers, which is popularly called gathering of Orunmila in Africa, where we practice most of our culture and tradition every 8 days just like going to church and mosque.
Is Orunmila gathering like mosques and churches, what do you do there?
Orunmila gathering is a traditional gathering in Africa and a collective worship to Orunmila every Sunday morning. That is where we render our service to Orunmila in Yorubaland. This means that both male and female from Africa can come there to pray. There is no idol there to be worshipped, it’s strictly prayers we do there and it is merely a place of worship, we sing Ifa songs there and we also listen to sermons there. We meet there every Sunday, 10 am to12noon.
Can you explain your titles and the posts you occupy?
Many chieftaincy titles were bestowed on me by different bodies and groups. I have up to 50 titles, including Osi Ajigbotifa of Lagos, Mayegun of Ilugun, Alara Onifa of Egbaland, Awise of the Egba, Aare Onifa, Akinrogun in the land of Ogboni Ilado and new Oluwo Ifa of Ogun State. It was herbalists in Remo, Ijebu and Yewa that appointed me as the best person to occupy the post of Oluwo in general.
What made the herbalists in Remo,Ijebu and Yewa think you are the best person for the post?
First and foremost, Remo and Ijebu don’t have the right and privilege to become Oluwo. It is a title for Yewa and Egba and this time, it is the turn of the Egbas to occupy the post and besides I, Aregbesola Anipupo merit it and that was why the herbalists in Egba decided that I am the rightful owner to occupy the post.
What can you say about Kenta town?
Kenta is a very large town where I held the post of Aare Onifa of one of its villages. Other villages in Kenta include, Kenta Oke-Ola, Kenta Odutolu, Kenta Adelinde, Kenta Okebode, Kenta Okejigbo etc Kenta Odutolu has been in existence since the 1980s.
What’s your advice for Kenta citizens and traditional worshipers, especially now that you are about to occupy the post of Oluwo Ifa of Ogun State?
My advice for them is they should continue dwelling in love with one another and live in peace and harmony. I remember vividly before I became Baale of Kenta, the person the whole family chose was the one who nominated me as the Baale of Kenta at the installation ground. I was not even aware of the fact that I was going to be the Baale until that moment and between 20 to 30 minutes I was decorated as the Baale of Kenta Odutolu, when Chief Fashola Akanbi Anipupo, who was meant to be the Baale, said he wanted me to occupy the position. And since then Kenta Odutolu have been witnessing rapid development.
Even before I became Baale of Kenta, Kenta had started developing, but after I became the Baale, Kenta developed more rapidly. That was when we had Adire Market and every activity in Kenta and everything in general has been going on smoothly, no war, no quarrels, pipe borne water has been perfect, the power supply has been constant and every other thing has been working out the way we wanted it to.