African Traditional Religion: TOWN CRIER interviews Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle

Oluwo Olawole Olakunle is a 27 years old Babalawo (Ifa Priest) and global changemaker who believes indeginious African science should be converted to technology for commercialized purposes.

A graduate of Electrical/Electronics Engineering and a strong Pan-African. Olakunle became conferred with the title Oluwo in 2019 by IJO Orunmila Apapo Odu Traditional house of worship.

Currently Nigeria’s youngest political party National youth leader, Olakunle is the NYL for KOWA Party Nigeria. His life holds sway to the ifa saying that “Akiri kọfa lo ma n ri Ifa rere kọ”

He prides himself as one of the few young Babalawo who has travelled far and wide to study Ifa with internationally acclaimed teachers few of which are; Solagbade Popoola, Araba Ifaleke Awurela, Oluwo Ifasegun Adetayo, Awo Ifamilusi Awolola to mention a few. Olakunle was primarily given birth to as a Christian from the deeper life family.

In this interview with the TOWN CRIER, Mr Olawole Olakunle talked about: Understanding the usage of herbs proficient in alchemy and the relationship between herbs in resonance with human usage—another perspective to African history, culture and tradition. We trust you will find the interview worthwhile. Thanks.

What is the use of herbs to Africans and how does it enhance science in modern day world?

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: It is quite interesting that people are looking back towards traditional medicine which is essentially the foundation of producing all drug related materials.

Hers can be used in virtually different forms, field, astral and to solve health related problems too. We have herbs that can be used for health purposes which includes (Agbo, Agunmu, In other for me not to tilth away from the question at hand, how can herbs enhance science in contemporary world?

A brief understanding of how herbs work would perhaps help us understand the process better. There are quite a lot of herbs that go with incantations, hence the genuine fear of modern day Africans is this: are they not fetish if incantations are added?

Traditional medicine is like conventional drugs we all use and works on the principle of energy conversion which states (for those who didn’t go to science class, “Energy cannot be created nor destroyed but can be transferred from one medium to another”.

Every matter has a deposition of energy in it and thus can be transferred to another medium (the human cells) for more specific purposes.

Because of the fact that the essence of our science and technology is more spiritual than material, some medicinal formula needs a sort of activation key to become activated and for different users for specific purposes.

That is the work the incantations do in the process of formulating a traditional medicine.

Are you now saying for every drug available there is spirituality to it?

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: Yes, because every drug is a product of the extract of matter, leaf, plant, root, water and all this materials are the basis of our spiritual energy. Therefore every drug is spiritual.

Are there herbs/fruits/roots we can use ordinarily for healing or boosting body immunity without any form of incantation?

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: Yes.

What is the difference between Babalawo and onisegun?

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: A Babalawo is a doctor who does diagnoses to know the true root cause of many of our defects and the required procedure to solve the problem. A Babalawo is the master of indeginous mysteries and knows the relationship between all the dieties in resonance with man.

An Onisegun on the other hand is a pharmacist who produces drugs based on symptoms and who understands herbs. An Onisegun treats you based on the complaint and symptoms. But a Babalawo will never treat you until divination has been done.

Although Orunmila is the prophet and leader of all traditional worshipers, however Osanyin is leader of the Onisegun through which progress is made.

Why is African science not inventing things like car, aeroplane and all. Secondly what’s the effect of Nollywood on african culture and tradition. Or why haven’t the African science scholars not come out with a proven solution to COVID19?

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: Good question

1. We have not been able to raise our spirituality to a level of National Consciousness where fundings can be raised for research.

2. We fail to understand everytime that the index of our advancement is not like that of the west and we necessarily do not need to build planes. Who said we can’t all fly? Have you watched black panther? Yes those things in that movie are real! The Ankara bullet proof is real.

Until we shift our expectations away from the western approach to civilization, we will still keep looking down on our own science model.

3. We have not been able to convert our indigenous science to technology, until we begin to have hubs and tech-spaces, research centers well funded to help with converting all the knowledge of science we have to technological format, then we can enjoy the commercial effect of our science.

Imagine that you can buy Ayẹta*** in shoprite?

Anyways I am currently working with some people to have a hub for advance research in Ifa and tech.

You have talked severally about activation. For healing herbs, does one necessarily need incantations? There may be persons who love to take agbo*** but will have difficulties finding out if the agbo*** has incantations or not. What is your reaction, sir?

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: In fact, I personally go against this because when you use herbs with gin and the likes it affects your old age.

Most healing herbs don’t have incantation. It is just the formula. For Instance: Unripe Plantain + Ata Ijosi*** in water for seven days is an alcoholic recipe that our forefathers take to cure diseases related to potency, heart burns, ulcer, and penile enlargement. This is a tested local alcohol with medicinal benefit.

Omi lagba nife! Any jazz/drug that will work with alcohol will work perfectly with water.

The reason for alcohol is to quickly push the herbal content into our blood stream. Our people are not patient people. Water would take more time diffusing the drug into the blood stream but water is the best.

I don’t even take gin because Ifa calls gin the bullet of a Babalawo and taking it makes it suicidal. I make do with my beer. You must have noticed that babalawo that indulge in gin taking most times don’t have good or expected ends.

Can these keys be liberalized so everyone who want it can get it? Like the Olugbohunn

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: Our psyche has to change first before we can make them available publicly. I already lost count of the many oath taking process I underwent for knowledge purpose.

What is your view, sir, on the projection of the African Traditional Religion by the Media?

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: The media has more influence on people than Jesus Christ. The media can paint white material black and vice versa, the media has a powerful force and it has willed the negative end of that force towards traditionalists.

In fact, many backlash majorly because of the presence of the western influence that is specifically responsible for the funding of the media houses.

Attached is a thread of my reply to a media practitioner on the said issue. Funding, Stereotype, Racism, Propaganda, and lack of trust in the process

Is Esu satan?

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: NOOOOOO. Satan is the construct of the west and is not in any ways visible in our own spirituality.

Then what is Satan in yoruba?

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: Satan does not exist in the Yoruba spiritual system. I agree that there’s poliarity in life and good and bad and that the Europeans bank on this to have a perfect spiritual balance.

But in our own spiritual pantheon, Satan does not exist. We only have Elenini – Spiritual antagonist who looks, works and acts like Esu but is not Esu. Esu is the best diety you can be friends with because Esu is law abiding and keeps to his verdict much more than any other diety. In fact, spiritually he ranks No. 1. That was why he was the first person Orunmila visited when he came to the world. Esu is that wise man who will go to any length to please his person!

I must agree that we are one of the most disorganized set of people currently and I won’t blame us, when Europeans came, our elite moved to Anglican and Methodist churches leaving the rabble rousers and uneducated ones to become custodian of our ancestral knowledge.

We are really not organized because the quality of leadership we have had over the years is nothing to write home about. But my generation is re-writing the history books and we are working towards that. In fact, I am working towards building a Hub to that effect you can reach out to me if you are interested to know more about it.

Sir,⁩ what is the essence of Ogboni cult and the importance in modern day history?

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: Yes, you have to be initiated before you can become an Ogboni.

The Ogboni has a diety Called Abeni – The name for mother Earth which is believed to be female, the physical representation is called the Edan which never dies… The Lodge always have a parent Edan while the Apena is allowed to have a personal Edan to utilize for outside lodge function and for personal use. The lodge is a place consecrated for membership meetings alone.

For those who will read this interview and so wish to follow you up on your ways and traditions, can you give a clue of your office or home address privately or perhaps open here?

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: I stay in Epe and my various social media handles are as follows:

Twitter handle: @Theifapriest. Facebook: Theifapriest. Instagram: TheIfapriest. Personal Twitter Handle: @mko_olawole

Is there some kind of collaboration between you and others across Nigeria especially the Igbos?

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: Yes, Infact I studied Ifa in Benin for a short stinct.

We all Practice the same spiritual system all over Africa, the same ancestors but slight difference in language and practicing model.

The South African Movie Mr. Bone is a typical example of a babalawo and divination as done is South Africa.

The Yoruba says IFA. The Igbo Says AFA

What is your relationship with your parents, considering your upbringing as a Christian?

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: [Laughs] 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂I was first disowned o…. But if you know me you will know I can be very stubborn. My mother showed me hell, called me antichrist and barred the entire family from having access to me. She raised vigil with groups of people to make me come back from my backsliding quest.

But today she has accepted her fate after seeing small “film”. In fact, I now do divinations and sacrifices for her, although in her abscence but with her approval.

I made it my point to always do weekly divination for her and warn her of the challenges, and it will eventually happen. Thus, she gave up on me and drew me closer when she realized that there was potency in what I do.

Before you go sir. What’s the life of Ogboni after death?

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: An Ogboni goes to heaven not as mere citizen.

Although there’s a ritual done for Ogbonis after death, conducted by the lodge (by the member’s will before death) where members bid him farewell. The ritual will be done and the deceased will come back to communicate with his brothers for the last time and he will tell them important things they need to know before he leaves. They will part ways amicable, retaliating him honorarily so that when he gets to heaven he won’t be welcomed as a mere citizen but as a senior citizen.

Do you think the Osun day festival can serve as a source of economical and socio-cultural advancement for Nigerians? If yes, how?

Ifa Priest Olawole Olakunle: Set within the forest sanctuary are: forty shrines, sculptures and art works erected in honour of Osun, a Yoruba deity, two palaces, five sacred places and nine worship points strung along the river banks for designated priests and priestesses. The Osun- Osogbo Grove is recognized by the UNESCO world heritage centre and is among the last of the sacred forests which usually adjoined the edges of most Yoruba cities before extensive urbanization. The landscape of the grove and its meandering river is dotted with sanctuaries and shrines, sculptures and art works in honour of Osun deity.

The international recognition accrued to the grove behoves the festival, thus bringing with it economic benefits to citizens and members of neighboring communities alike.

In 2014, the festival recorded 21, 713 domestic visitors and 123 foreign tourists while the Abuja Carnival, the closest to it recorded 19, 015 domestic tourists and 113 foreign tourists.

This data, generates economic addons with payment plan cuts accross various spectre of the festival,for both the private and public sector, ranging from Osun River, Art Works, Sanctuaries. Ancient Palaces, Shrines, and Medicinal Herbs.

The Aregbesola led gorvrnment in 2013 decared that the taget of the state government is to get its fair share of the estimated $4 billion domestic market and the $3 billion Diaspora market.

The possibilities of the festival’s economic prowess is limitless, dependent on co-ordination, investment, crowd control and inculcating indigenous model of economic growth to a level of national consciousness.

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