Adherents kick, as Ile-Oluji marks third Ogun festival without chief priest

Adherents kick, as Ile-Oluji marks third Ogun festival without chief priest
Ogun shrine

As the popular annual Ogun Festival in Ile-Oluji in Ondo State comes up in August and will be celebrated without a substantive lead Ogun Priest, adherents of the widely acclaimed native festival have continued to express dissatisfaction with the action of the Omobobami, which should have produced a chief priest.

By tradition, the Chief Priest is usually the first to blow the traditional trumpet and slaughter dogs at the Ogun Shrine to announce the sighting of the new moon and declare the festival open.

The adherents, it was gathered, are annoyed that the family “for their refusal and sacrilegious act in not forcing Mr. Ebenezer Tunde Omobobami, the son of the late Ogun chief priest, High Chief Ogundayo Omobobami, to take up the mantle and become the new Ogun chief priest as said to have been decreed by Ifa oracle.

The adherents were said to have stated that the refusal to take up the post had led to various communal calamities which included car accidents and other tragedies as “the gods are angry.”

Meanwhile, Omobabami has since distanced himself from the festival, claiming that as a born-again Christian, his religion did not permit him to participate in such.

Revenue generated from the festival in the last two years is said to have dropped as a result of the development as tourists are now afraid to participate in the revelry, owing to the uncertainties of communal clashes and assaults.

Justifying why Omobobami must accept to lead the Ogun worshippers, one of the community leaders who craved anonymity, said ile-Oluji community had never experienced car accidents and unnecessary deaths like this before, but for this circumstance.

“We are one of the few towns with the best roads in the state; as you can see, every street is tarred. But the Oracle said Ogun, the god of iron, is very angry with the community and now adherents are worried and angry.

“This is a community established on traditional foundation and the spirit of Olu, the wife of Oduduwa (progenitor of the Yoruba race) who gave birth to the twins of Ile-Oluji and Ondo towns will never sleep,” he said.

Our correspondent also spoke with one Hon.  Akin Akinsuroju, an official of Ile-Oluji/Okeigbo Local Government, who said the state government was ready to deploy security personnel in the town during and after this year’s Ogun Festival, to prevent a repeat of what happened immediately after last year’s festival.

It would be recalled that the family house of the Omobobamis was set ablaze allegedly by thugs and traditional adherents in 2018 during the Ogun Festival, leaving so many people injured.

The adherents have accused the children of the late Chief Ogundayo Omobobami of abandoning the traditions of their community, their forefathers and the Yoruba race.

Also, a prominent member of the Nigerian Traditionalists and Herbalists Council in Ondo State, Chief (Dr) Ogunmodede Akinlaja, said Ile-Oluji community would not be abandoned.

He said everything possible would be done to deal with the situation on hand and he said the issue would be discussed as usual at the next meeting in Ibadan.