•Why He Keeps Looking Young @ 72
•How He Didn’t Go To School But Became A Prof.
Ifa Priest, Chief Ifayemi Ayinde Elebuibon is the Araba of Osogboland. He is an Ambassador of Yoruba Culture and Tradition, who has been an Ifa devotee right from age 4 in Osogbo.
Many don’t know that Baba Araba never had a formal education, and never saw the four walls of any classroom, other than learning Ifa at home. Yet he has taught, trained many University students. He has also supervised the Masters and Ph.D. thesis of scholars abroad. Years back, he was a Resident Fellow at San Francisco University.
He still visits San Francisco University till date, teaching students and doing research to help deepen the knowledge of Ifa. So good is Baba that his house in Osogbo is always a beehive of intellectual activity, as both Nigerian researchers and expatriates come in to draw from his fountain of knowledge at his House of Culture in Osogbo, Osun State.
Baba Araba has a full-fledged school of Culture and Tradition inside his house in Osogbo. He calls it the Ancient Philosophy Institute (Ogbeyonu Temple). Over the years, he has acquired a rich knowledge of Ifa Corpus and got inspired by Ifa divination. He has been a visiting lecturer to many Universities both at home and abroad. He is a man, who has a deep knowledge of metaphysical issues concerning Yorubas’ and Yoruba Religion and Culture.
When Chief Yemi Elebuibon was born, his parents took to the prediction made before he was born that he should be made to study Ifa under an Ifa priest. This he did for the first few years of his life, with the effect that he has a deep understanding of Ifa corpus.
Despite the efforts made over the years to relegate Ifa to the background, Baba Elebuibon and others have continued to promote Ifa religion, as it continues to flourish as the supreme authority on Yoruba culture, socio-ethics, Arts and Religion. It encompasses Yoruba world views, cosmology, faiths and values. For those who don’t know this, Ifa is a very deep knowledge about the religious, mind and Yoruba, born in the past and in the present. It also predicts the future.
That many people troop to consult Baba Elebuibon for their various problems is a reflection of the increasing belief by many, that Ifa has solutions to all the spiritual, psychological and social problems of mankind.
Chief Elebuibon was one of the special guests who graced the 85th birthday celebration of movie Icon, Chief Jimoh Aliu, in Ibadan and at the event, he granted City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE and Head of City People T.V., SUNDAY ADIGUN, an interview where he revealed how it has been, being a Professor and Araba of Oshogbo.
Can you tell us why you are here today sir?
We are here to celebrate with our brother, Chief Jimoh Aliu. Anyone who celebrates with people shall be celebrated as well.
If you look at your past, was there any time your path crossed with that of Chief Jimoh Aliu? Probably you’ve done one or two together.
Severally, when I was with the late Duroladipo, he was also a manager to the Ogbungbe theatre arts group, and we’ve been together since then. We’ve taken ourselves as friends. Anytime he comes to Oshogbo or I go to Akure, we always see each other till date.
Do you have any project you are working on at present sir that people can watch out for?
We have lots of programs on ground, several programmes in mind as well to showcase to the world; like Ifa Olokun Asorodayo, people are still demanding for it till date, left right and center. By the grace of God in 2020, we are bringing it back for people’s delight with other interesting programmes.
What was the inspiration behind IfaOlokunAsorodayo when you started the series?
The inspiration behind it has to do with us, as a Yoruba tribe. We are gradually losing our tradition, our culture and language. We are used to reading Shakes-pear, Bible, we are not reading, leaning our own “Odu Ifa”. We’ve left our origin, instead, we are copying others. So, we started Ifa Olokun for us to go back to our roots.
How are you progressing as the Araba of Oshogbo?
We thank God that everything is progressing being the Araba. There has been tremendous progress to our entire younger traditionalists, through their tenacity, ability to grab what they learnt and jotted down than of what they’ve been taught for proper documentation. One of the things that affected us was the inability to keep a proper record of some of our forefathers’ accounts. We don’t write things down to have proper documentation. There is nothing people could read. So we are trying, planning to get this right.
What really is the significance of the Araba as a title?
When we talk of Araba, it is synonymous with Arch Bishop, Chief Imam. Araba is the one who rules the community with the King. It is Araba whom the king would call on if anything untoward is happening in the community. Probably, there is no rainfall or there is scarcity. If the king sees something that is not clear to him, he would call Araba and Araba will call his entire emissary for proper propitiation, for everything to go on smoothly and come back to normal. Aside from this, Araba has a weekly, monthly responsibility to perform for the community, for the peace of the land.
And how have you been coordinating all these affairs in Oshogbo sir?
We are doing them by the grace of God. We don’t miss any appeasement prayer till date, and God is helping us.
Any time I see you; you always look younger and healthy, what is the secret?
Well, I thank God. In my mother’s house where I was born, part of their conglomeration says “Agbo ma ti o je, Agbo tan fori so kele” One can inherit youthful look, and there are things you can also do traditionally to keep looking young. But having it in your blood is very common. There is soap, a concoction for youthful looks, but I inherited my own.
How long have you been the Araba of Oshogbo?
Next year September will make it 10 years.
How has it been sir, being a professor?
I’m privileged to work at San Francisco University, as a Lecturer on Culture and Traditional Religion. I’ve written several books both in English and Yoruba that people are reading and enjoying. We’ve done a lot of research, like a documentary that has to do with many findings on our culture. I released a book last year entitled “healing power of the prayer” it’s a compendium and it reveals a lot about prayer; what hinders prayer and how prayer is answered.
How do you juggle the two together?
I thank God, one has never disturbed the other. It’s been easy.
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