“Our people believe so much in the god of Aringiya and it has always been working for us according to our faith.”
Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
One major festival that unites the people of Ikare-Akoko, a town in Akoko South West Local Government Area of Ondo State together is the annual Aringiya traditional festival. During celebration, indigenes within and outside the country converge to appease the gods. They also use the occasion to pray for the progress and development of the town and its people.
Its chief custodian who is also the Owa-Ale of Ikare land, Oba Samuel Kolapo Adegbite-Adedoyin, uses the opportunity offered by the festival to pray for all the indigenes of the town. This year’s celebration was unique in all facets. More glamours were added to the festival, even as new modalities were introduced.
Young children were the first to move out to receive blessings from the royal father. The children, half dressed, struggled to get the monarch’s attention. Others ensured that they touched him to receive his blessings. The adults also dressed in different traditional attires received blessings from the monarch after presenting him various gifts. Many non-indigenes of the town, especially tourists described the festival as very significant in Yoruba land.
The rich culture of the Ikare-Akoko was displayed by children, youths and adults as they staged different shows.
The Owa-Ale who moved out of his inner room inside the palace, where he had gone to consult with the gods showered blessings on the people and cursed their enemies. He said the town is blessed with rich culture envied by many, adding that there was the need for all and sundry to promote the rich culture of the town.
He called on the Federal Government to tap into the tourist attractions in Yoruba land to boost the economy of the country: “There are benefits embedded in culture and tourism if the Federal Government can develop the sector. We in Ikare-Akoko have not forgotten our heritage passed on to us by our fore-bearers.
“We shall continue to cherish our culture and uphold our tradition.
“The only thing that binds us and unite us together in Ikare-Akoko is this festival which we celebrate once in a year. Our people believe so much in the god of Aringiya and it has always been working for us according to our faith.
“Celebrating the festival has nothing to do with the religious belief of our people. There are Christians and Muslims among us, yet we gather together to celebrate the gods of the land.
“This is to ensure peace and unity in the park. The big roundabout as well as the adjacent end of Abeokuta-Lagos Road are noted to be locations for the traditional activities. Travelers and commuters along this axis are treated to viewing of either fresh or old propitiation.
This location is about 250 metres to Ita Oshin and few metres to the Brewery Junction. Motorists and pedestrians always catch glimpses of atonement, while going to work in the morning or returning home in evening.
The spot is perpetually dotted with propitiation and atonement. It is located in Obada, via Abeokuta along Lagos-Abeokuta Road. This spot is a must-see for anybody making U-turn to the Abeokuta end of the express road and it has been found to be suitable for spiritual purpose.
Adigbe Junction, Obada
After the Obada U-turn, this spot is always busy with various items, prepared inside a large calabash for propitiation purposes. Often times, passengers in commercial vehicles plead with the drivers not to drop them at the location, fearing spiritual implications of sighting such atonement.
Do atonement and propitiation have spiritual healing, implication? An Islamic cleric, Sheik Kabiru Adigun, said placing of propitiation at junctions by anybody is a sheer waste of time. According to him, there is no one else capable of answering one’s prayer except Allah.
He added that the act is not only against the commandment of God, but unclean spiritual practices that cannot be associated with Islam. He supported his position quoting verses in the Holy Quran and advised people to desist from the deceitful act and follow the commandment of Allah.
On whether there is any negative implication on people who sight these propitiations, the cleric, said with some unseen beings and gods being invoked on the atonement, people who come in contact with them might be affected spiritually. He advised that people should always pray before stepping out of their homes so that coming in contact with propitiation on their way won’t have any negative impact on them.
The pastor in charge of the God The Rock Church, Obantoko, Abeokuta, Adeyemi Adeogo, expressed the belief that bearing spiritual atonement and placing them at junctions or roundabouts, has no spiritual value in anybody’s life. He argued that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, had freed human beings from what he termed as “spiritual bondage.”
He said even in the Bible, in the Old Testament, where it was mentioned about sacrifice and offerings made to God, there is no semblance to what is obtainable today. He ascribed the preponderance of such traditional spiritual practices to the end time, calling on the people to embrace Jesus as the way and the truth.
But for the Baasegun of Maiyegun in Ewekoro Local Government, Ibiyemi Adifala, propitiation and atonement are always the best to eradicate any life challenges being faced by human beings. He said Orunmila, throughout his sojourn on earth, performed atonements and propitiations to overcome his adversities and adversaries, which according to him, he recommended to the people whenever they come across challenges.
He argued that leaders of both Christianity and Islam are only shielding people away from what can quickly provide spiritual succour for them, in order to have large number of worshippers in churches and mosques. He claimed that thorough atonements and propitiations, thousands of people have been unshackled by him:
“Don’t mind these clerics, they always condemn our own ways of doing things. They call it paganism. What is wrong in offering atonement and carrying of propitiation to appease gods? These things are real!
“Let me tell you, it is not every problem that can be solved through prayers. One may need to prepare several items like he-goat, cock, eggs, palm oil, kola nuts, bitter kola, alligator pepper, or even prepare meal, to be offered to the extra terrestrial beings.
“Even some of these clerics visit me to help them heal their clients of spiritual attacks, why didn’t they offer just prayer then? Don’t deceive yourself, atonement and propitiation are very much effective and will continue to be.”
When asked about the negative implications on the person who comes in contact with such atonement, Adifala, said: “It is highly possible, depending on the kind and efficacy of the propitiation. But such effect could be cleansed by spiritual bath, once he quickly realises what befalls him or her.”
On why some locations are always dotted with these atonements, he explained: “It is during divination that Ifa oracle reveals where a particular propitiation should be placed.” He, however, submitted that some junctions and roundabouts are highly favoured due to “the spiritual presence of unseen beings.”