The ancient city of Ile-Ife is certainly laden with many historical landmarks which resonate with cultures around the world. The present Ooni of Ife Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi could not have saddled the throne at a better time, as his reign has heralded the reawakening of a myriad of lost or unknown cultural attainments by the ancient city. He has turned the city into a prime tourism destination as far as the African continent is concerned.
Worldwidecelebrity magazine was in the ancient city recently and on meeting with Aare Oba Agbaye Adeyinka Adisa Arifanla Jogun, who is the Aare Oba Ogboni Igba Iwase (ancient ogboni fraternity worldwide), some of these landmarks were revealed, as the custodian of the ancient ogboni fraternity opened up on issues surrounding the fraternity.
The first ogboni conclave (Iledi ogboni) for instance is located nowhere else but in Ile Ife at Oke Imole, and still exists until this day. It is from this first conclave that the Ogboni fraternity began worldwide and from where other variants of the fraternity sprang; a fact corroborated by the Ooni of Ife himself.
Speaking on this, Aare Oba Arifanla Jogun said that “the ancient Ogboni fraternity was started by our fore fathers as a medium where they could help and look out for each other.It was practiced with loyalty and love. Members respected each other and whatever belonged to them was never toyed with. The first ogboni conclave all over the world is in Ile -Ife and exists until this day, and lots of tourists come there every year, delighting in the historical portent.”
Asked if it was still practiced the same way today, Oba Arifanla Jogun admitted in the affirmative.
“Yes the practice is still the same today. Members are wary of the punishment of going against the rules of the organisation. If any member errs, depending on the gravity of the offence, they could either be suspended, stripped of their ranks or expelled outright from the organisation”.
What are the qualities that warranted you being chosen as Oba Ogboni Iwase?
There are criteria that are used in deciding that. Before being chosen as the Oba Ogboni Iwase, I was thoroughly scrutinized. There were investigations that were done even without my knowledge. However, such a person will have to be an honest and truthful person, loyal to the fraternity, not given to lasciviousness and must be a proven warrior and dependable leader, ready to fight for the cause of the organisation whenever being called upon for that. Again such a person must be spiritually endowed. He must have spiritual powers to be able to man the seat as an Oba Ogboni Iwase.
The Ogboni Iwase is also known as the Ancient Traditional Ogboni Fraternity. Are they different and registered differently?
The fraternity is registered as the Ogboni Iwase, but also translated in the certificate as the Ancient Ogboni Fraternity, so they are both the same.
It is a lifetime appointment.
People have different impressions about the Ogboni Fraternity with some seeing it as an evil cult where lots of evil acts are practiced. Can you shed light on this?
Ogboni is not a secret cult but a religion. However members can confide with each other on matters pertaining to the organisation. No evil activities are practiced in the Ogboni. Ritual killings, using human parts for sacrifices and all such things are very far from the ogboni fraternity. We do not engage in such activities. Ogboni is just like any other religion. It even existed before all these religions but was not embraced as it ought to have been.
You are close to the Ooni, who also loves what you are doing. What informs this closeness and what does he mean to you?
My closeness to the Ooni is because he sees me as a truthful person. When I told the Ooni about Ogboni Iwase and how it could be of service to Ife, he reckoned with it, and he was later to become the Grand Patron of Ogboni Iwase, with a certificate issued to that effect. The Ooni was so delighted with the visit that, as his way of rejuvenating the ancient Ogboni fraternity, he donated two acres of land to Ogboni Iwase for the conclave of Iledi to be built, going on to even elucidate further on Ogboni Iwase, saying that he totally understood what we were doing.
The Ooni quoted a portion from the bible when you visited him. He also gave you access to a certain water which you drank, saying that Iwase was with him in the palace. What can you say about this?
As a mark of appreciation to the fact that Ogboni Iwase was from Ife and the good work we are doing, the Ooni asked us to drink from that water, which is located within the palace. It is an ancient water that not many people are opportune to taste. So to have the opportunity to drink of the water means to be blessed. To affirm that Ogboni was nothing evil but if anything, divine, the Ooni quoted a portion of the bible Nehemiah 10:29, inferring that Ogboni has relevance in the bible.
It is true that there are many factions of Ogboni, but in Ogboni Iwase, orderliness is the catchword as we eschew all acts of dishonesty and deceit and that is why the Ooni inclines favorably towards us. We are the first Ogboni invited by the Ooni to celebrate the prestigious Olodjo festival. This is an attestation to our integrity.
What have been some of your challenges as the Oba Ogboni Iwase?
I have faced a lot of challenges. Before I became the Oba Ogboni Iwase, the other factions of Ogboni ganged up against me in order to truncate my leadrship, but that did not work. Along the line of work, so many other kinds of challenges emerge, but always dealt with satisfactorily.
What is the spread of Ogboni Iwase both in the country and beyond?
Ogboni Iwase as we speak is in Lagos, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti, Osun, Rivers, Edo, Delta and Kwara states. Ogboni Iwase is also in many countries like Turkey, Gabon, UK, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Benin Republic, Egypt and now I have my Olori Oluwo Agbaye in the United States of America.
Does the Kabiyesi have any projects or plans for the organisation?
The building of the Iledi temple is one of that. Then very soon I am going to embark on a tour around different countries of the world with the high chiefs and some members of the organisation, and the reason for the tour is to demystify the organisation and also correct the wrong impressions that have surrounded the organisation for a long time.
How does the Kabiyesi combine his duties as the Oba Ogboni Iwase and the work of a traditional doctor?
I carry out both duties without any issues as one does not affect or interfere with the other.
Does the Kabiyesi have the time to wind down?
The work actually does not leave room for much else and the time for leisure is very scarce. With the Ooni mandating me to correct all the past mistakes that have been made and try to bring all the Ogboni under one umbrella, certainly there will be no time for leisure.
Your palace bears artifacts of Ogbomosho and some call you Omo baba Ogbomosho. Can you explain this sir?
I was born in Ife, but my father was an Ogbomosho indegene. I inherited my power from my great grandfather. I attended schools in Ife. All my siblings and achievements are in Ife. Actually my mother is from Ife. some people used to tell me to claim I am from Ife since one becomes an indegene of where he or she has stayed for ten years and above. So it might not be wrong if some people consider it that way.
It was a pleasure talking with you Kabiyesi.
The pleasure is mine.
It was also a day of pleasant surprise for Texas-based entertainment mogul, Chief KB Lawal as the turn of events pointed to his being appointed Olori Oluwo Agbaye of the Ancient Ogboni fraternity, also known as Ogboni Igba Iwase. Chief Lawal by the appointment becomes the deputy to Aare Oba Agbaye Adeyinka Adisa Arifanlajogun.
Aare Oba Agbaye Adeyinka Adisa Arifanlajogun is quite accessible, and for membership registration or spiritual prayer work, he can be contacted thus: WhatsApp; +2348132573388, 2348060193627.