“Lagos Lagoon Is Hungry And Angry” — Says Ifa Priest …


Allwell Chiawolamoke Oji’s tragic death shook the nation to its foundation. It reverberated across Nigeria with many giving suggestions on why the young doctor, who was widely viewed as successful by Nigerian standard, did what he thought was best for him. There have not been any consensus on the possible cause of the act since Sunday when the incident happened.
In an attempt to solve the mystery, Saturday Telegraph team decided to consult the Ifa priests. But, the journey to one of the Ifa temples at Morogbo Village via Agbara, a boundary town divided by a major road that runs through to Badagry, was as tortuous as it was interesting.
The temple, however, is very popular among the inhabitants of the area. Right from the Morogbo junction, every one appears to know where it is located.

Within a few hours that the crew was ushered in, Chief Omo-Oba Olorunwa Ayekonilogbon, the priest of Ifa deity, sauntered in clad in casual robe; his lieutenants, in more expensive attires, were in circle formation. Together, they went through motions of holy ecstasy, chanting incantations.
They muttered seemingly unintelligible, perhaps, spiritual words and danced to beats of native drums. Yet, the drummers were not anywhere near the shrine. As this was going on, visitors to the temple were being tutored on how to behave in order not to incur the wrath of the gods inside the outsized edifice. Women were ordered to look away from the shrine as it is forbidden to do otherwise.
Those who came for prayers and spiritual consultations were asked to remove their footwear as a condition before stepping into the holy arena. As the first step preceding the consultations, those awaiting cleansing were taken to the inner chamber, where some invocations were made. Others clapped and danced to the priest’s tantalizing ditties.

This, according to one of the adherents, was necessary to appease the gods and ancestors. The chanting, no doubt, electrified the atmosphere. “It is everyday process of supplication here,” the priest said, after completing what looked like an obligatory ritual before commencing the business of the day.
Clearing his voice in a manner reminiscent of Chief Zebrudaya of the famed New Masquerade, Ayekonilogbon, offered a very lengthy prayer for all around, the nation and its leaders, and surprisingly to both Christian and Muslim clerics.
“We prayed for everybody here because we believe Eledumare (God Almighty) created all of us. We do not discriminate as it is the case with the Whiteman’s religions,” he told his guest, with a tone of satisfaction. After due consultation with the gods and his ancestors, Ayekonilogbon, declared emphatically that anything could have caused the death of Oji.
The young medical practitioner had brutally ended his sojourn on earth on Sunday in an unnerving manner when he plunged into the lagoon after he allegedly received a call that no one could ascertain where it came from.
Many theories and suggestions have been advanced on what might have been the likely cause of his action, the most prominent being depression.
However, the Ifa priest said, such a theory could just be a smokescreen. To him, that a bird cried at night and a child died in the morning could not be wished away as a mere coincidence.


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