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Why Many Yoruba Obas Are No Longer Powerful - Popular Young Herbalist, OLUWO OLAKUNLE OLAWOLE

Oluwo Olakunle Olawole is a 30-year-old herbalist who has been trending on social media since he revealed a lot about himself. He spoke about how his parents who were staunch Deeper Life Church members were opposed to his calling as a herbalist.

The 30-year-old man who read electrical engineering at the university is a practising Ifa priest. In his recent interview, he said that the public perception of traditional practices is ill-informed and biased. The devout traditionalist said the practice is actually for the advancement of human causes and well-being stressing that it is people who have limited it to a means of seeking fast fame, wealth or wishes. Below are some of the things he said during the interview.

Can you tell us your name and who you really are?

My name is Oluwo Olawore Olakunle. I’m a herbalist, an Ifa priest. I’m a young priest. I became an Oluwo at a tender age, 27. The reason why I’m like this is that over time a lot of people think that a Babalawo (herbalist) is someone who is rejected, someone society can’t come close to. But then, the Babalawo is a very noble profession because as a father of misery, you understand life and what it entails. You know how to reform the world.

A Babalawo can change your life from nothing to something. So it’s a noble profession and it’s the practitioners that haven’t practised this profession in such a noble way. That’s why we should distance ourselves from anything that would tarnish our image. I don’t drink openly. I don’t even drink alcohol. I don’t do all those things and I don’t dress in a fetish way because have asked myself why am I a priest? I think I’m a priest to be an ambassador for my own generation who wants to come back to ‘Isese’ (tradition). But the stereotype that’s attached to Isese won’t let them come back. So we have to make them see that, you can practice 'Isese' and still be the best you want to be. I’m educated; I studied Electrical Engineering and currently, I’m studying information technology. And I still want to furthermore. So a Babalawo is a noble profession. Nothing is stopping me from riding Benz, and nothing stopping me from using iPhone 11.

How did you get to this point?

I was born into a Deeper Life family: my mother and my father were Deeper Life Church members. This is a destined journey for me. And how I found myself in this environment still looks challenging to me. It’s not that I had a problem, I walked to a Babalawo house myself. I was in JSS 2 in Alakuko when that happened. I walked into the house of a Babalawo because when my parents had an issue we moved to Sango-Ota and funny enough we were living beside a Babalawo house, so they warned us not to go or eat in the house. But anything they were chanting, I usually enjoyed it. and they would bring food to our house but our parents would reject it, so it got to a point my mother started accepting it and she would tell us to throw it away but I would eat it instead. And that’s how I started eating Ifa food secretly.

I usually find solace in the Ifa temple and my first contact with Ifa was with the people who were educated because my Oluwo had a PhD. And I started realising the Ifa isn’t as bad as people have painted. From JSS 2 I started snickering to Ifa house, till I finished secondary school, till the time I had the courage to start going to Ifa house. I learned not that I had any iota of the fact that I wanted to become a priest. I studied it because I love it. While I was in school, my parents thought I was in school, not knowing I was in the Babalawo house studying Ifa and I was enjoying it despite all the suffering that was attached to it. But I think God for where I am today.

It got to a point where I was disowned by my family: nobody wanted to see me. But last week, I had initiation for two of my younger brothers. My family don’t have a choice any longer. I would say whatever you want to do in life be good at it.

There was a day after I have been disowned by my parents. I gave my mother a vision of what Ifa told me about her; that she would run mad. What happened was that Ifa gave me a message that my mother was somewhere plaiting her hair and she would sleep over after planting the hair and she would eventually run mad if that happens. I said mad! And I picked my phone and I called her. I told her that I don’t want to know what you are doing now but I know you are plaiting your hair. I told her that if you finish with that hair she will run mad. She hung up the phone. After about 4 days after she called and asked me how I got to know. She said before that day, she’s been having symptoms like talking to people and she would be losing track of what she’s saying. So it got to a point where I gave her prophecies and as time goes on, she started taking me for who I am. Now she even allows two of my brothers to come to me. I know that every means of communicating with God is valid.

Why Is Yoruba Obas not as powerful as their forefathers?

What happens is that some of our Yoruba kings don’t normally follow the procedures and rites during the coronation. In those days, you dare not try all this nonsense with Yoruba kings. They were more powerful then because they went through the proper initiation and rites. What happens nowadays is that most of our kings like to skip the necessary rites as King.

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