Monday marked the first day of the week-long annual Obatala festival at Ile-Ife in Osun State.
At the Oduduwa hall of Obafemi Awolowo University, where the opening colloquium held, the the Vice Chancellor of the school, Eyitope Ogunbodede, emphasised the need for the promotion of African culture in Nigeria and beyond.
Speaking in Yoruba, he explained how the university has been upholding the culture of the Yorubas.
“OAU is not only for academics,” said the professor. “The motto of the school, which is ‘for learning and culture’, isn’t a coincidence but what Ile-Ife and her residents are known for.”
The 4th colloquium of the annual festival of the Obatala worshippers, a religious group, was witnessed by people from Africa and other continents. Dignitaries, leaders of traditional religion, royal fathers, representative of the Ooni of Ile-Ife and the representative of the Governor of Osun State were in attendance.
After dancing and cultural performances by different groups, the speakers lectured the audience on the significance of the celebration of Obatala, the god of creativity, according to the Yoruba mythology of creation. All the worshippers wore white clothes as it represents the holiness of the god, Obatala.
Isoro Dada, the spiritual leader of the World Obatala Religious Congress, spoke extensively about the beliefs of the devotees of Obatala, also known as ‘Oorisa nla’ among the Yorubas.
“The prominent messenger of the Almighty God aided the creation of humans by helping with the formation of human head,” he said.
Also, the director of the institute of African culture at the OAU, Felix Omidire, opined that the contemporary religious groups draw the worship of their gods from the worship of Obatala. He illustrated using some Christian lyrics, which refers to the holiness of God.
The President of the international council of Ifa religion, A.F Agboola and one of the chiefs in Europe, Willy Adrande, spoke further on the worship of the god in Africa and beyond.
Willy Adrande, a European, talked about the “Oxàla – Obatala in Brazil and Latin American Diaspora.”