2017 Orunmila festival: Thousands benefit from free medicare in Oyo
FOR thousands of Ifa adherents, the annual Ifa Festival, which takes place on the first Saturday of June every year is always anticipated with elation and great excitement. It is a day that unites all Ifa faithful across the world. But the Oluwo Ifa Agbaye and Aare Adimula of Iseyin, Oyo State, Chief Fashola Olusoji Adeyemi, has moved a step beyond the common Ifa Festival to carve a niche for himself and other faithful by creating the Orunmila Festival, an event that has become an annual celebration of art, culture, tradition and service to humanity, Nigeria Tribune reports.
The Orunmila Festival, he said during the 2017 edition of the week-long event in Iseyin, which featured free medical care for residents of Iseyin, Ifa Asorodayo Night where worshippers and people in attendance made supplications to the Olodumare for whatever they desired, Ifa divination for individuals and the society at large as well as a grand finale where Fuji musician, Alhaji Alao Malaika, entertained hundreds of people in attendance, was his way of showing to the world the real essence of Ifa worshipping. According to him, Ifa worshipping is about service to the Almighty God, which the adherents refer to as Olodumare as well as service to humanity by rendering assistance in all ways possible to humanity, especially the underprivileged in the society.
Chief Fashola maintained that he started the Orunmila Festival in 2013 in order to create awareness for the Ifa faith and to, more importantly, encourage religious tolerance among Nigerians, noting that he also started what he called the Fashola Oyinbo Ifa Foundation, with a focus on preaching against religious violence and assisting the underprivileged in the areas of education, health and environment.
At the 2017 edition of festival, more than 200 residents of Iseyin were given free medical treatment for different health challenges by a group of medical practitioners.
While speaking with Nigerian Tribune, Chief Fashola maintained that the Orunmila Festival was not only about the celebration of culture, tradition and merry-making, though that side of it has always been held with grandeur with several A-List Fuji acts such as King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal; Wasiu Alabi Pasuma; Abass Akande Obesere having performed at different editions of the festival in the last four years, stressing that more importantly giving free medical care to people and making divination and supplications for Nigeria were of immense importance.
He noted that following his divination for Nigeria at the annual event, Odu Oseyeku was revealed to him and that it was about warning to Nigerians to be cautious and wary of becoming more intolerant of others so that a great crisis would not break out in the country. He warned governments and individuals to pay more attention to religious tolerance, noting that Nigerians should pray hard against religious violence and unrest.
Also speaking at the grand finale of the event, which was attended by the Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Dr. Abdul-Ganiyu Adekunle Salawu; the Ojemu Awo of Osun, Chief Ifasayo Farowaye Alabi; the Ajagun Ifa Agbaye, Oba Adebanjo Omonije, among others, a lecturer with the Polytechnic Ibadan, Mr Agboola Alphonso and Fashola highlighted that peaceful coexistence among Nigerians remained the only route to development and happiness for them.
Alphonso, who was the guest lecturer at the finale, called for a more robust approach to establishing religious tolerance among Nigerians, encouraging well-meaning Nigerians to make conscious effort like the one being made by Chief Fashola in reaching out to the underprivileged of all religious leanings through educational, medical and environmental assistance as a way of encouraging harmonious co-existence.