The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has blamed poverty in the land on the neglect of culture and tradition, especially, the non-celebration of deities.
While saying that God created the deities, the first class monarch stressed that people would continue to experience poverty until they came to terms with the celebration of the good side of their culture and tradition.
According to him, “We will continue to experience poverty all over the place if we don’t celebrate the good side of our culture. Some of these deities also show the mysteries of God. God wouldn’t have made mistake in the creation of the deities.”
Speaking on Wednesday during the 2016 celebration of Oranfe, the god of fire, Ooni Ogunwusi lamented that many people failed to promote the positive aspects of the Yoruba and African culture due to slavish mentality and over-Westernization.
He, therefore, cautioned people to stop misrepresenting the importance of festivals and deities celebrated in the ancient city of Ile-Ife and all parts of Africa.
The Oba, who declared that he was not an idol worshipper said he was a lover of nature.
He added that no one was immune from worshipping the nature, saying that no human being could survive without what the deities represented.
“Our people really need to be enlightened. A lot of these festivals have been misconstrued, misrepresented and demonized as if we are idol worshippers. We are not idol worshippers. We are rather believers in nature.
“I am not saying the commandments of God should not be adhered to, but we must know that all these deities are messengers of God. They represent nature. Nothing can be done without nature regardless of our religion be it Islam or Christianity or even traditional.
“We only honour nature because we are all integral part of it, and not worship idols. Some of the deities we worship have roots in the holy books. We are also following the instructions of God needed for the sustenance of mankind as everybody, including powerful leaders, rely on nature to survive,” he said.
Condemning the influence of Westernisation on the cultural belief of Africans in all part of the world, the monarch described this influence as a major factor responsible for the increasing poverty facing the immeasurably blessed continent.
“Those who keep sensitising people against us that we are worshipping idols are not kind to history. I am proud to be associated with nature. Ife has 201 out of the 401 deities and they are all relevant.
“These deities are divine messengers of God sent for different purposes. One of them is Oranfe, the god of fire, being celebrated here today. It is a pity that all powers in the possession of black men are being used for battles and power tussles. It is from this unique powers that the West sourced technology and development from and they are now using it against us.
“They (deities) are representatives of sciences being taught in schools. It is very sad that the western world has messed up our psyche and inflicted slavish mentality on us, making us to believe we are idol worshippers as our pitiable neglect of our own culture and traditions is a major factor responsible for the poverty in the land. We left the positive sides and allow the West to implant the negative side in our brain,” Ooni Ogunwusi said.
The Ooni also warned politicians against forcing themselves on the masses.
Illustrating the relevance of politicians with fire, Ooni Ogunwusi said, “If you are not wanted, it means that you have become naked fire, leave. It is only fire that is contained that is useful. This applies to our politicians, they should learn to leave once they are seen as naked fires.”
On his part, the Balogun of Ile-Ife, Obasojo Awefikuda, urged youths to key into initiatives aimed at developing culture.
He expressed displeasure that many youths were being misled and told false narratives about festivals in Ile-Ife.
“Oranfe, the god of fire, is one of Yoruba’s 401 deities sent by God to establish the first world’s community called Ife Oodaye and as one of the historical festivals in Ile-Ife, Oranfe is celebrated annually.
“Youths must see the celebration of festivals like this as worthy. They should not be misled that they are evils.” he added.