This year’s Obatala festival in Ile-Ife ended in pomp and
circumstance yesterday when thousands of the adherents of Obatala
deity as well as spectators trooped to the Temple of the Obatala to
renew their covenant with the deity.
The grand finale also witnessed the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial
Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II renewing his covenant
with the Obatala while the Olufon of Ifon-Orolu, Oba Abdulmaroof
Olumoyero Magbagbeola equally did so while the two monarchs prayed for
Obatala’s protection, guidance and blessings.
Present at the celebrations were adherents of Obatala,
tourists and well wishers from both home and abroad.
In her reactions at the festival, a panamian who is a
worshipper of Obatala and a tourist, Iyalode Yeyefini Efunbolade
observed that, there is no doubt that Nigeria is the bedrock of
African traditional religions while other African countries are the
wagons for the worship of African deities.
Iyalode Efunbolade who has been worshipping Obatala for the
past 29years opined that, if African deities are worshipped and their
rules obeyed, there will be a strong nexus between them and the
mortals since all deities are interested in the spiritual and general
developmental growth of all human beings.
Mrs Efunbolade who has a typical Yoruba traditional marks,
extolled the virtues of Obatala while stressing that, she was happy
tracing her origin to Yorubaland and that as a mark of her happiness,
all her children have Yoruba traditional marks.
She was full of praises for the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye
Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II for promoting African traditional religions
and for establishing a school known as Obatala School where modern
education as well as studies in Africa traditional religions are
taught. She pledged her support for the school and donates various
learning aids to them.
In her contribution, another tourist at the event, Queen
Damie, a king in the Republic of Congo, expressed her delight at the
Yoruba traditions and religions while calling on Africans in the
Diaspora to assist in developing Africa especially in the area of the
economy and African languages which are the pivot on which the rich
African traditions and religions rotate.
While answering questions from journalists, the Obalesin
Obatala, Chief Olaolu Oladuntan Okanlawon, who is the Chief Priest of
Obatala, explained that Obatala, being a deity of purity and
truthfulness is worshipped annually to renew the convenant between the
deity and its adherents, adding that, in order to avoid provoking the
deity, its followers have to be pure in mind and body.
Highlights of the festival were the procession of the
faithfuls led by the Chief Priest and the Arugba from the Obatala
Temple to the Ooni Palace back to the Obatala’s Temple where various
rites and propitiations were made.