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Traditional Offa

Yoruba Religion in
Nigeria as written
Sunday Peter Tinuoye
!aria, AN"MN, #ert.
Tinuoye Peter Sunday is a native of Omu-Aran in Irepodun Local
Government Area of Kwara State of Nigeria !e was "orn into a #$ristian
family on t$e %t$ of April &'%( and started $is early education in )irst
*aptist +,* primary sc$ool Offa Kwara State from &'%' to &'-. and
proceeded on $is secondary education from &'-/ to &''0 !e gained
admission to study *ac$elor of Science degree in *usiness Administration
and gained admission after completion of $is first degree to study 1asters of
*usiness Administration !e $ad one year e2perience as 1ar3eting Officer
and t$ree years e2perience as a #ustomer #are Officer wit$ Power !olding
#ompany of Nigeria Plc4 *auc$i !e is presently t$e Prepayment Officer of
t$e same company !e $is $appily married wit$ a 3id
#$apter & 5 Traditional Offa-6oru"a 7eligion
#$apter 0 5 1ystical Powers As 1ec$anics Of Social #ontrol4
Social Order In Old And New Offa
#$apter 8 5 9eat$ and Its ,2egesis
#$apter ( 5 Ot$er Specifics On 9eat$
#$apter . 5 Offa-6oru"a Traditional ,conomy And #ommunity
9evelopment ,conomic Activities In Offa
#)APT*R +
On religion generally4 its discussion s$all consist of various "eliefs in myriad
realities of life;s e2istence )or t$is reason we may pre-empt our discussion
on t$is topical issue wit$ an e2planation on t$e <*ig *ang T$eory= <*ig
*ang T$eory maintains t$at t$e universe originated in a cosmic e2plosion of
$ydrogen w$ic$ "ecame condensed into gala2ies= T$is e2planation of t$e
t$eory may directly or indirectly translate to mean t$at cosmic e2plosion
descri"ed a"ove is not unrelated top t$e origin of t$e w$ole universe t$at
e2isted in orderly and $armonious manner and so undistur"ed prior to suc$
an e2plosion
Indeed=4>> $eavens and eart$ were one piece4 t$en we
parted t$em=4 t$e two pieces "eing fused and "ound toget$er to ma3e a
$omogeneous mass
"efore an action ? t$e cosmic e2plosion ? to "rea34
diffuse or separate it too3 place T$is is an e@uivalent of t$e saying t$at <T$e
world was created "y one god At$e original and earliest creatorB w$o at t$e
same time was "ot$ male Aresiding in $is celestial realm <orun=B and female
Aliving on t$e planet called t$e eart$ ? <Ile=B>>
to w$om eventually dominion over t$e realm t$us created was ceded= T$is
<original god= suggests t$e only one God as t$e source of all souls and
"eings It is also suggested t$at $e is <an earlier god= t$an all ot$er gods
"e candid4 6oru"a name for t$e supreme God is Olorun or Olodunmare ?
"eing t$e more earlier used t$an Olorun !owever4 Olorun appears to "e t$e
more common name at t$e present timeC "ut t$ere is reason to t$in3 t$at t$is
popularity is of relatively recent origin T$e name clearly means <owner of
t$e s3y=C <its very clarity may suggest t$at it is not very ancient= Its
monot$eistic implementations ma3e it accepta"le to Islam and #$ristianity4
religions w$ic$4 as we may $ave realiDed4 $ave "een growing rapidly among
t$e 6oru"a for t$e last &%. yeras
w$ile it may "e noted t$at w$ile <Olorun is
not identified wit$ t$e s3y in a literal way "ut is understood as associated
wit$ t$e world "eyond= to w$ic$ t$e s3y is t$e gate=4
in general4 it appears
t$at Olodumare represents an older4 less rationaliDed concept of God t$an
does Olorun !e is a 3ind of cosmic power4 manifesting $imself in various
ways in different conte2ts )or instance4 as Olorun4 !e is identified wit$ t$e
s3y AOrunB w$ic$ is $is mat and t$id is t$e one w$o is "een spreads over t$e
w$ole e2tent of t$e eart$4 t$e owner of a mat t$at is never folded up

Offa-6oru"a "elief4 t$e principal c$aracteristic religio-cultural rig$ts offer

man unlimited and unrestricted possi"ilities for researc$ in all disciplines
and tec$ni@ues suc$ t$at $e may approac$ any possi"le @uestion of
reliugion4 not only in terms of material reality "ut also more in terms of
t$ose of t$e spiritual world w$ic$ "rings $im AmanB closer to $is #reator Aie
GodB4 t$ere"y nouris$ing $is mind and soul wit$ $ig$er trut$s
T$e Offa-6oru"a world view encompassing t$e "elief system on focus
encourages man to contemplate Astudy carefullyB t$e universe and t$e events
ta3ing place in it so as to discover t$e secrets "e$ind GodC invites man to
ponder on t$e god w$o is t$e A"solute ot$er t$an !is creation T$e creator
cannot "y any means "e t$e same 3ind of "eing as t$at w$ic$ !e created
e2plains t$e importance of God and !is infinite scopeC e2pects man to use
$is 3nowledge for t$e general good of $umanityC and always stresses "elief
in t$e unseen or t$e invisi"le w$o is self-su"sistent and t$e only one w$o is
wit$out li3e or e@ual T$us4 if any created "eing can "e said to Ecause;
anyt$ing4 t$at capacity to Ecause; anyt$ing4 t$at capacity to Ecause; was itself
created wit$in t$at "eing T$us4 no "eing in t$e universe can "e said to "e
self-e2istent 7at$er4 it owes its e2istence to t$e #reator w$o alone is self-
e2istent as well as self su"sistent !ence it flows from t$e fact t$at t$e
#reator AGodB alone truly creates4 t$at for eac$ "eing !e $as determined all
possi"le Ecauses; and Eeffects;

T!, NAT:7, O) O))A-6O7:*A 1AN AN9 !IS *,LI,) IN

In t$e general perspective of man;s "elief4 let it "e drawn out t$at on t$e one
$and4 on arrival of man on eart$4 $e is "y nature given to $atred4 depravity
AviciousnessB4 wic3edness4 "rutis$4 solitary4 transgression Agoing "eyond t$e
good wit$ attri"utes of sinBC w$ereas on t$e ot$er $and man can "e 3ind4
compassionate4 loving4 accessi"le and $umane Indeed4 t$ere is t$e complete
environment in w$ic$ $e dwells w$ic$ is w$at we call or refer to as universe
and man is at t$e centre of it and t$erefore its focus
Pursuant to t$is4 $aving
e2amined a couple of stories a"out man;s creation duly4 from 6oru"a and
!indu myt$ology4 we $ave come to t$e conclusion t$at t$e only aut$entic
story of creation is t$e one contained in scripture "oo3s4 most especially t$e
one vividly e2pressed in t$e *i"le w$ic$ e2plains t$e origin myt$s of t$e
"eginning of manly important realities of t$e universe4 people4 etc "elieving
t$at t$oug$ man is a religious animal4 a political4 as well as social animal
and as ac@uisitive "eing4 it is4 t$erefore4 conclusive t$at man AAfrican man
inclusiveB in $is so"er mind4 in $is serious t$oug$t and calm situation ? not
in fancied mood andGor imagined fas$ion ? is convinced t$at religion is t$e
ve$icle "y w$ic$ $e "elieves $e can ride to $eaven t$roug$4 eg God;s own
c$osen intermediary called4 namely4 Hesus #$rist "y #$ristians4 Ano"i
1o$ammed ASAIB "y 1uslims4 etc

Generally4 t$erefore4 religion is t$e essence of good morals T$is is t$e main
"elief of t$e Africans in religion True religionC not minding its types4 is
always t$e same in t$e essence everyw$ere on t$e glo"e4 if it is a"le to
maintain its part or parts4 particularly t$e part t$at is especially a spiritual or
immaterial entity we cal4 spirit
T$is true religion we are tal3ing a"out is
not un-associated wit$ t$e inward nature of t$e true su"stance of anyt$ing
$aving important feature or features of sincere 3indness t$at instils fears of
God into man3ind and inculcates good virtues in t$e individual man
T$erefore4 any religious free t$in3ing of "eauty and esprit de corps uttering a
sense of union and of common interests and responsi"ilities in $is sermons
and preac$ing emanating from some religious group of any religion must
o"viously "e t$e religious order necessarily needed to imprint on t$e man;s ?
African or ,uropean ? arc$etypal AoriginalB ideas a"out or of God and $is
"elief in one True GodC t$e fact of t$e "elief t$at $ad already "een adduced
t$at all creation is t$e result of an emanation or a series of emanations from
t$e 9ivine *eing
#andidly all religions4 indeed true religion ? traditional African or
modern ? preac$es t$at $umanity;s "usiness is to reconcile God and man
consciously or unconsciously and to give to eac$ only its Kust rig$ts in
relation to t$e ot$er ,ven if t$e coming of #$ristian religion duly illustrates
t$e setting of a particular e2ample T$e e2ample of its intrusion must not
necessitate or "e confined to t$e t$rowing-down of all t$ings of African
origin suc$ as t$e pangs of ,uropean incendiary acts of colonialism $ave
now afflicted AdistressedB us almost to t$e very fa"ric of our socio-cultural
$eritage T$e outcome of vanity and possessiveness of colonial mentality
t$at $as always "een ending us in $umiliation and defeat according to t$e
period of $istory4 its needs4 customs4 difficulties and circumstances to t$e
c$agrin Afeeling of disappointment4 etcB t$at t$ere are many disadvantages of
"eing colonial stooges Ie are now engaged in t$e searc$ for t$e "est way to
de condition Africans "y removing t$em from t$e scene of ,uropean
T!, SIGNI)I#AN#, O) 7,LIGION5 If t$e original stories of t$e t$eory
of <Sociology of 7eligion= "y ,mile 9ur3$eim say t$at <9ur3$eim4 despite
$is agnostic and scientific mentality=4 $eld t$at <society could not e2ist
independently of religious forms of sentiment and action=4 t$en t$e
significance of religion in man;s social life is esta"lis$ed t$ere"y e2actly re-
emp$asiDing4 in t$is t$eory4 t$e religiosity of African4 and4 t$erefore4 Offa
manC as $e goes furt$er to posit t$at5
Einto any social event t$ere will intrude religious forms of e2pressionC
,ven science4 t$at most secular and sceptical form of $uman
enterprise is not immune to religious modes of t$oug$t and conduct4
Indeed4 to t$e e2tent t$at science grows and ac@uires t$e c$aracter of a
<community=4 we mig$t e2pect to find it AscienceB incorporating more
of t$e c$aracteristics of a religious institution

And t$at "y *olaKi Idowu A&'%85./B re-ec$oed in $is discussion of t$e
revelation of God AOlodumareB in religion in general4 t$at w$ic$ is an
e@uivalent of w$at 9ur3$eim $ad said4 w$en $e emp$asiDes t$at5
EIe find in every age and generation t$at t$ere is a direct contact of
God wit$ $uman soul AmanifestingB personal awareness of God on t$e
part of man t$roug$ God;s own initiative I$at man 3nows of God4
w$at $e discovers a"out God4 comes as a result of t$is self-disclosure
1an4 may of course4 "y $is own rational mind interpret w$at is
revealed to $im and $e may rationaliDe it *ut first of all4 t$e trut$ is
revealed to $im in ways w$ic$ $e may "e a"le to descri"e it or not
&4 0

In addition to t$e a"ove4 in 9ur3$eim;s t$oug$t4 and rig$tly too4 t$e

most essential of t$e c$aracteristics of any religion4 including African and
Offa-6oru"a indigenous religion4 is t$e @uality of sacredness )or e2ample4
all 3nown religious "eliefs4 w$et$er simple or comple2 present one common
c$aracteristic classification of all t$ings4 real and ideal4 of w$ic$ men t$in34
into two classes or opposed groups4 generally designated "y two distinct
terms w$ic$ are translated well enoug$ "y t$e words <profane= and
T$us4 "y interpretation4 t$is division of t$e world into two
domains ? t$e one containing all t$at is sacred4 t$e ot$er4 all t$at is profane ?
is t$e distinctive trait of religious t$oug$t to t$e effect t$at t$e "eliefs4
myt$s4 dogmas and legends are eit$er representations4 or systems of
representations4 w$ic$ e2press t$e nature of t$e sacred t$ings4 t$e virtues
and powers of w$ic$ are attri"uted to t$em or t$eir relations wit$ eac$ ot$er
and wit$ t$e profane t$ings

Of course4 "y sacred t$ings one must not understand t$em to mean
simply t$ose personal "eings w$ic$ are called gods or spirits4 since a roc34 a
tree4 a spring4 a pe""le4 a piece of wood4 a $ouse4 or in a word4 anyt$ing can
"e sacred
namely4 a rite can $ave t$e c$aracter of t$e sacred <In fact rite
does not e2ist w$ic$ does not $ave t$e c$aracter of sacredness to a certain
degree= 9espite t$e fact t$at <An amulet $as a sacred c$aracter= yet t$e
respect w$ic$ it inspires is not$ing e2ceptional= if it is said of a man t$at $e
ma3es a religion of t$ose "eings or t$ings4 w$ose eminent value and
superiority to $imself4 $e only recogniDes=C suc$ t$at it is clear t$at t$ere is
not$ing in suc$ relations w$ic$ is really religious
!ere4 let it "e stated t$at
acceptance of t$is view is not to denigrate religionC God4 or t$e life
$ereafterC "ut to "ring t$em4 or at least some aspects of t$em4 wit$in t$e
range of understanding
6O7:*A *,LI,) IN 9I,TI,S4 9IFINITI,S
AN9 T!, GO9S
To t$e people of t$e world $ad "een committed t$e care of t$e eart$4
<to dress it and 3eep it= T$oug$ ric$ in all t$at t$e owner of t$e universe
could supply4 t$e earliest people were not to "e idle :seful occupation was
appointed t$em as a "lessing4 <to strengt$en t$e "ody4 to e2pand t$e mind4
and to develop t$e c$aracter=
!ere we $ave cause to recur to t$e very past
"eginning t$at in t$e Garden of ,den was t$e tree of 3nowledge of good and
evil w$ere t$e Lord God commanded man4 saying <of every tree of t$e
garden t$ou mayest freely eat= "ut of t$e tree of 3nowledge of good and evil4
t$ou s$all not eat=
#reated to "e <t$e image and glory of Gos=
people of
t$e eart$ $ad received endowments not unwort$y of t$eir $ig$ destiny
Graceful and symmetrical in form4 regular and "eautiful in feature4 t$eir
countenances glowing wit$ t$e tint of $ealt$ and t$e lig$t of Koy and $ope4
t$ey At$e peopleB4 wit$out mincing words4 "ear4 in outward resem"lance4 t$e
li3eness of t$eir 1a3er Not only was t$is li3eness manifest in t$e p$ysical
nature4 every faculty of t$e mind and soul reflected t$e #reator;s glory
T$encefort$4 endowed wit$ $ig$ mental and spiritual gifts4 t$e people were
made out a little lower t$an t$e angels
t$at t$ey mig$t not only discern t$e
wonders of t$e visi"le universe4 "ut compre$end moral responsi"ilities and
T$us far4 t$e Lord God created t$e eart$ and t$ere <!e put t$e man
w$om !e $as formed=
!ere on eart$4 in t$e very "eginning4 t$ere was t$e
"oo3 of nature w$ic$ spread its living lessons "efore t$em and w$ic$
afforded an e2$austless source of instruction and delig$t T$ese living
lessons of t$e creation were t$e $andiwor3 of t$e #reator !imself suc$ t$at
on every leaf of t$e forest and stone of t$e mountains4 in every s$ining star4
in eart$ and sea and s3y4 God;s name $ad "een written and !is mysterious
powers in t$em not incapacitated for particular actions Iit$ "ot$ t$e
animate and inanimate creation ? wit$ leaf and flower and tree4 and wit$
every living creature4 from leviat$an AL great sourceB of t$e waters to t$e
mote in t$e sun"eam ? t$e dwellers on eart$ $eld converse AcommunionB4
gat$ering from eac$ t$e secret of its life God;s glory in t$e $eavens4 t$e
innumera"le worlds in t$eir orderly revolutions4 <t$e "alancing of t$e
4 t$e mysteries of lig$t and sound4 of day and nig$t ? all are t$e
o"Kects of study for use "y t$e peoples of t$e eart$;s surface4 eg t$e laws
and operations of nature and t$e great principles of trut$ t$at govern t$e
spiritual universe in w$ic$ reside t$e deities were opened to t$eir minds "y
t$e infinite Aut$or of all In t$e lig$t of 3nowledge of t$e glory of God=
t$eir mental and spiritual powers developed and t$ey realiDed t$e $ig$est
pleasures of t$eir peaceful and $armonious e2istence4 $ence4 a fit study for
t$ose w$o were made in !is image As all t$at are $appening today $ave
"een structured in t$e Garden of ,den model and4 t$erefore4 a representation
of w$at God !imself desired t$e w$ole eart$ to "ecome
as well as !is
purpose t$at as $uman family increased in num"ers4 t$ey s$ould esta"lis$
places of wors$ipping !im ? t$e s$rines4 t$e temples4 t$e ta"ernacles4 t$e
c$urc$es4 t$e mos@ues and t$e li3e In African religious t$in 3ing s$rines in
Africa of t$e old were occupied wit$ deities Agods or goddesses ie divine
"eings called small godsB w$ere t$e wonderous wor3s and acts of God
s$ould "e studied in a way t$at s$ould "e fitted more and more fully to
reflect t$roug$out endless ages t$e lig$t of t$e 3nowledge of !is glory
t$e process of Africans o"Kectifying t$eir religious t$oug$ts and intention
images were created to stand "etween t$em and t$eir God as intermediaries
and conveyor-"elts t$at would reac$ t$eir God wit$ t$eir supplications T$ey
never pray to t$e idols "ut to t$eir God in steadfast $onesty T$is o"servation
is confirmed in t$e discussion of <God and t$e Gods in Iest Africa "y
saying t$at at one time4 OlodumareGOlorun and t$e s3y w$ic$ is !is a"ode
were nearer to t$e eart$ t$an t$ey are now4 <so near t$at one could reac$ up
and touc$ t$e s3y= *ut as time went on <man did somet$ing t$at annoyed
t$e 9ivine *eing suc$ as using t$e s3y for food or w$ipping $is $ands on it=
as a result God and t$e s3y separated t$emselves from t$e eart$ Since t$at
time Olodumare $as controlled t$e world from a distance=

!aving "een affirmed and understood as suc$4 t$e ultimate power is in

!is $ands "ut4 li3e a great 3ing4 !e does not attend to t$e details of
administration T$ere are entrusted to $is agents4 t$e lesser divinities w$o
represent $im on eart$=
Practically4 $owever4 Olodumare or Olorun At$e
6oru"a name for t$e supreme GodB $as no regular cult of $is own "ut $e
may "e t$oug$t of as t$e ultimate recipient of wors$ip offered to ot$er
divinities Alt$oug$4 as t$us stated t$at in some ways4 as rat$er distant "eing4
t$e name EOlodumare; $as
<always carried wit$ it t$e idea of one wit$ w$om man may enter into
covenant or communion in any pace and at any time A!e isBC one w$o
is supreme4 superlatively great4 incompara"le and unsurpassa"le in
maKesty4 e2cellent in attri"utes4 sta"le4 unc$anging4 constant4 sta"le=
AI"idB t$at
$e could "e approac$ed t$roug$ an intermediary of one;s own understanding
$e is not wors$ipped directly and4 truly4 $as no images4 s$rines or priests4
yet prayer AsB may "e directed to !im and it is assumed t$at in some sense
t$e sacrifices made to t$e lesser deities ultimately reac$ $im

T!, O))A-6O7:*A O7IS!A

A<T!, L,SS,7 GO9=B
T$e Offa-6oru"a "elief in and understanding of Oris$a At$e lesser
GodsB in general perspective may "e discussed along t$e points t$at5
T$e 6oru"a deity is almost certainly related to Offa-6oru"a Oris$a4 name
commonly used for t$e multitude of <lesser gods= T$e c$ief or Egreat;
oris$a of t$e Offa-6oru"a is Oris$anla w$o is said to $ave "een t$e first
creation of Olodumare Aie Olorun AGodB or even $is <image or sym"ol on
eart$= Ot$er names for $im are Oris$anla4 <t$e w$aite divinity= or O"atala4
<3ing of t$e w$ite clot$=4 !e is always clot$ed in w$ite4 t$e inside of $is
temple is w$ite-was$ed and $is preists wear w$ite As $e is sacrifice is t$e
"loodless snail Oris$anlaGOris$ala is t$e c$ief of t$e <w$ite divinities= of
w$om t$ey are said to "e ov"er fifty
T$at in t$e "elief of t$e people at
times $e ta3es on t$e role of t$e supreme God ? <Oris$anla may "e an
e2cpression of Olodumare in respect of t$e role as an artificer= AL a
craftsman4 ma3er4 or contriverB
It is even speculated among t$e people
t$at "ecause $e <is sometimes referred to as creator ? craftsman4 ma3er or
contriver ? it is possi"le t$at $is cult ie $is particular system of religious
wors$ip4 especially wit$ reference to its rites and ceremonmies
? was
independent of or earlier t$an "elief in Olorun w$o usurped $is position=
T$at according to one account Oris$anla was entrusted "y Olodumare wit$
t$e tas3 of creating t$e world and given some eart$ and a five-toed c$ic3en
!e t$rew t$e eart$ on t$e <watery waste= and set t$e c$ic3en to wor3 t$is
process started is t$e lcation of t$e present city of Ile ? Ife ? t$e place w$ere
t$e eart$ e2pands at$wart$ T$at t$ere are a num"er of variations on t$is
story According to one of t$em4 Oris$anla4 on $is way to carry out t$e Ko" of
creation was distracted "y a party4 "ecame drun3 on palm-wine4 and went to
slep !is younger "rot$er4 Oduduwa4 too3 t$e eart$ and t$e c$ic3en
proceeded to do t$e Ko" successfully and t$en esta"lis$ed $imself as 3ing at
Ile-Ife I$en Oris$anla awo3e $e felt t$at $is "rot$er $ad improperly
usurped $is place and a "attle ensued #onse@uently upon t$is4 Olodumare
intervened and allowed Oduduwa to continue as 3ing "ut gave Oris$anla t$e
responsi"ility of creating men to pupulate t$e eart$ T$at t$us4 it may "e said
t$at w$ile Oduduwa is t$e creator of t$e world4 Oris$anla is t$e creator of
man3ind T$at t$e later manifests $is power4 especially t$roug$ t$ose w$o
are in some way deformed5 cripples4 dwarfs4 al"inos T$at t$ese are not
<mista3es= "ut evidences of t$e activities of Oris$anla and t$us sacred to
T$at t$e story of t$e conflict "etween Oris$anla and Oduduwa may
represent an encounter "etween early in$a"itants of t$e land4 represented "y
Oris$anla4 and t$e invading group4 represented "y Oduduwa w$o esta"lis$ed
t$e divine 3ins$ip at Ile-Ife T$at at any rate4 descendants of oduduwa t$en
spread out4 esta"lis$ing t$eir rule in t$e w$ole of 6oru"aland Some or most
6oru"a still refer to t$emselves as sons of Oduduwa

T$at according to 6oru"a "elief4 Oduduwa may also "e identified wit$
t$e eart$ According to one of t$e 6oru"a views4 t$ere is close relations$ip
"etween Oris$anla4 Oduduwa and t$e supreme deity suc$ t$at Oduduwa is
also reported as "eing identified wit$ t$e #reator4 Olorun In a liturgy Aor a
form of pu"lic wors$ipGcommunionB used in Ile-Ife4 Oduduwa is referred to
as Iye Emale Aie Iye IrunmolaB <mot$er of t$e divinities= or <mot$er-
divinity= *y t$is understanding Oduduwa may also "e identified wit$ t$e
eart$ T$us it may "e said t$at O"atala and Oduduwa represent one
<androgynous deaity= ie at once male and female deity compara"le to t$e
cosmos $aving t$e two $alves of a $ollow4 closed cala"as$4 t$e lower part
"eing t$e eart$ and t$e primeval waters on w$ic$ rests t$e $a"ita"le worldC
suc$ t$at O"atala is identified wit$ t$e s3y4 and oduduwa wit$ t$e eart$
t$ere"y respectively representged as t$e upper and lower $alves of a
cala"as$ w$ic$ can never "e separated
T$at as t$ere is relations$ip "etween 6emowo Amot$er 1owoB anot$er
name for Oduduwa4 wors$ipped at Ile-Ife as t$e wife of O"atalaGOris$anla
and t$e Og"oni cult4 anot$er name for Oduduwa in t$is respect is <,art$-
t$at is onile A,art$ ownerB or simply Ile Aeart$B T$at t$is <,art$-
1ot$er= $as close associations wit$ t$e ancestors and t$e dead generally
w$o are t$oug$t of4 for some purposes4 as living in t$e eart$ T$at aiye At$e
worldB rests on $er Aie Ile or t$e ,art$-1ot$erBC s$e supports people during
t$eir time in t$e world and receives t$em w$en t$ey die
4 s$e4 t$e ,art$-
1ot$er4 sometimes also called Oduduwa4 $as a cult4 Og"oniC w$ic$
traditionally was <t$e maKor governmental organ for preserving law and
order4 c$ec3ing e2cesses in 3ings and 3eeping t$e citiDens law a"iding
1em"ers of t$e Og"oni cult consider t$emselves to "e in a special sense4 t$e
<sons of Oduduwa=4 suggesting again t$at Oduduwa $as "een4 to some
e2tent4 merged wit$ t$e ,art$-goddess T$at t$us far we $ave "een spea3ing
of t$e concept of <ultimate= or creative powerC it is clear t$at in Offa-6oru"a
t$ere are alternative ways of conceiving t$is power Namely4 Olorun4
Olodumare Oris$anlaGO"atala and Oduduwa4 all represent t$e original power
of t$e universe T$ey are not simply <different names for t$e same god=4
t$ey overlap4 interpenetrate4 and are for some purposes interc$angea"le
Indeed4 "asically4 Offa-6oru"a $ave "elief in one ultimate power 6et4 t$at
power is a comple2 one4 associated wit$ t$e p$enomena of a3y4 eart$ and
seaC wit$ t$e esta"lis$ment of 3ins$ip on eart$4 and wit$ t$e relations$ips
"etween male and female )or reasons of illustration and clarity4 t$e ,nglis$
words <divinity= and <deity= may "e $elpful $ere as t$ey can refer to <t$at
w$ic$ $as t$e @uality of "eing divine= In compre$ensive sense and also to a
particular divine "eing4 Olodumare or Olorun can "e t$oug$t of as <divinity=
or <deity= In practical sense and in reality4 Olorun or Olodumare is not
normally t$oug$t of4 especially in modern sense4 as an Oris$a4 alt$oug$ it is
reported t$at !e is sometimes termed <T$e Oris$a= as 6oru"a are went to
say <alase4 e3eKi Oris$a=4 ie T$e Oris$a containing all t$e Oris$a wit$in
!imself Indeed4 it $as "een suggested t$at t$e Offa-6oru"a and ot$er Iest
African groups t$in3 of God "ot$ as #reatgor and ancestorC !e transcends
t$e world and $umanity4 acting upon t$em from wit$outC "ut !e is imminent
Aie $aving t$e pervading presence of God in !is creationB4 acting wit$in
and t$roug$ nature and manC Kust as t$ey are im"ued wit$ an idea of a
universal unity of *eing4 manifested in t$e variety of $uman and natural
worlds T$is immanent Aall pervadingB aspect of t$e 9ivine is personaliDed
in t$e lesser <divinities= According to Newell S *oot$ A&'%%B an Oris$a or
voodoo in among 6oru"a peoples of Iest Africa is t$oug$t to <live= in t$e
spiritual realm "ut is also associated wit$ particular places I$en t$e
p$ysical image of divinity is at times referred to "y t$e Offa-6oru"a in
particular4 t$is may "e ta3en a meaning t$at t$e image is in$a"itated "y t$e
Oris$a on certain occasion for certain purposes4 alt$oug$ ultimately <t$e
$ome of t$e divinity is in $eaven=
It $as also "een affirmed t$at t$e image
is not finally to "e identified wit$ t$e divinity is indicated "y t$e fact t$at t$e
former At$e imageB can "e replaced w$en it $as worn outC t$at in ot$er
words4 t$e people4 t$e Offa-6oru"a4 are not idolators *y way of o"Kectifying
t$e e2istence of t$e divinity4 it goes wit$out saying t$at t$e e2istence of t$e
divinity t$us depends on its "eing recogniDed and wors$ipped "y manC it is
also said t$at it is "y prayer and sacrifice t$at men <give power= to t$e
divinity T$ere is also a 6oru"a saying t$at <w$ere t$ere is no man t$ere is
no divinity=
In t$e Oris$a divinity is "roug$t down to t$e $uman levelC
t$us in a sense4 t$ey are man-made ,ac$ divinity $as $is own particular
wors$ippers <valled= "y t$e god and initiated into $is cult particular wors$ip
ceremonies w$ic$ usually involve a sym"olic <deat$ and ressurection=
T$ose so possessed are t$e wives of t$e Oris$a4 regardless of se2C $as $isG$er
own appropriate music4 dance4 offerings4 ta"ooAsB and specific functions to
perform in relations$ip to $uman needs and pro"lems #ult groups
associated wit$ t$e wors$ip of particular divinities not pro"a"ly developed
originally from 3ins$ip groupings and it is still true t$at many deities are
identified wit$ a particular clan w$ic$ all mem"ers4 male and female are
wors$ippers "y virtue of "irt$ into it


Iit$ regard to t$e a"ove4 we are referring to "elief in super natural
power possessed "y t$e super $umans4 t$e gods of t$e land4 and t$ere are t$e
gods of t$e lands etc In Offa-6oru"a country4 as in t$e Nile Falley or in
1esopotamia4 t$e early Offaman recogniDed a personality "e$ind every
p$enomenon It is indeed "elieved t$at every e2ternal o"Kect or $appening
Kust "ecause it was e2ternal and4 t$erefore4 not under $is control4 was a
manifestation of some power independent of $imself Aie t$e OffamanB and
to "e understood only in terms of $is AOffaman;sB own personality and in
accordance wit$ $is way of t$in3ing4 regarding t$e $appening AsB peculiar to
$imself only T$us4 in so far as t$e conditions of $is life were "ound to ta3e
a local colour to emp$asiDe certain aspects of t$e apparent universe in a
manner w$ic$ would differentiate $im and $is "eliefs from t$ose of ot$er
men;s in ot$er lands T$ese "eliefs t$oug$ all starting wit$ a common stoc34
develop an Offaman;s religion distinct from t$at of t$e Ara"s or t$e
Not necessarily "ecause Offa people were wors$ipping sun-god called
Amon-Ile "y t$e ,gyptians4 t$e early Offa men and women recogniDed t$at
t$e dominating feature of t$e e2istence of life in Offa is derived from t$e sun
w$en it appears T$ey recogniDed in it t$e source of life4 t$e source of a
certain power as it crosses t$e $eaven unclouded4 from sunrise to sunset
<;and not$ing is $id from t$e $eat t$ereof;=
as well as not only in accord
wit$ t$e ,gyptians; ma3e "elieve story t$at emp$asiDed t$e personification
of t$e sun;s power w$ic$ later on metamorp$osed into t$e true creation story
of One God4 t$e Supreme God4 t$e #reator of all t$ings not only for t$e
,gyptians "ut for men all over t$e eart$ to "elieve4 Offa men and women not
e2emptC "ut "ecause suc$ "elief in sun-god4 regarded as t$e only one god
amidst t$e very many gods4 $ad over-turned its supremacy4 at least in part4 to
assume t$e posture of a synergetic process w$ere"y varying local "eliefs
were "roug$t into a specious Aseemingly trueB $armony among "eliefs in
vario process w$ere"y varying local "eliefs were "roug$t into a specious
Aseemingly trueB $armony among "eliefs in various gods to t$e e2tent t$at
persistently a small $ill appearing was "elieved to "e t$e nucleus of t$e
eart$4 it self "elieved to "e made "y t$e creator god w$ilst itself could even
"e t$e creator god so muc$ t$at it is "elieved t$at in any case it was t$e spot
c$osen "y $im At$e creator godB for $is eart$ly temple #onse@uent upon
t$is4 in t$e course of time4 every s$rine
in Offa claimed to occupy its own
primordial $illoc3 of its own god !ence4 suc$ s$rines were in different
places and were $omes of different gods4 e2cepting Onma3aG1oremi $ouse
w$ic$ $as no devotes per se t$e gods were S$ango Agod of t$underB4 Ogun
Agod of ironB Oya Ariver goddessB4Osun Ariver goddessB4 ,gungun
Amas@ueradeB4 S$aponna Agod of small-po2B Of course in Offa of old4 t$ere
were as many s$rines as t$ere were devotees of different gods
ac3nowledging allegiance to different c$ief gods In fact4 t$e act of setting
up s$rines was attri"uted to t$e emergence of varying deities
In t$e old 3ingdom of Offa-6oru"a4 religion was4 at t$at time4 in a
very fluid state suc$ t$at t$ere were no order of priest$ood5 T$e local
no"leman Aie t$e $ead-man of a clanB acted as priest on t$e necessary
occasions and was simply assisted "y a "ody of laymen w$o too3 it in turn
to serve in t$e s$rine for a stated period In t$eir "elief in t$e gods of t$e
land4 in t$e more stri3ing reversal of values4 t$e significance of deat$ as t$e
act or $andiwor3 of t$e gods is e2pressed suc$ as t$is5 t$at if life "e
misera"le4 per$aps made so "y a god or gods4 deat$ may "e t$e "eginning of
somet$ing "etter ? <deat$ is "efore me today li3e t$e convalescence of a sic3
man going fort$ after an illness=
In positive sense4 t$is translates to mean
t$at t$e 6oru"as4 including Offa-6oru"a4 $ad always c$eerfully assumed t$at
t$e gods were on t$e w$ole 3indly "eingC or4 in t$e negative sense4 if now
t$e w$ole fa"ric of society w$ic$ summed up Offa-man;s ideal of $appiness
$ad "ro3en down4 t$at was4 of course4 t$e acts of t$e gods or at times t$ey
as3edC were t$e gods to "lame4 or $ad t$ere "een somet$ing wrong wit$
societyM At t$is time4 t$e sense of moral unwort$iness as t$e cause of
misfortune "egins to s$ow itself T$is of course4 cannot "e called a
revolutionary c$ange in 6oru"a religious t$in3ing 7at$er4 it was a
revelation of old Offa ideas4 "ut new in t$e emp$asis w$ic$ it laid on et$ics
T$is is "ecause4 on et$ical lines4 in t$eory at least4 t$at w$ic$ was evil in
man;s life is "eing weig$ed in t$e "alance of Ea god; against t$at w$ic$ was
good Indeed4 t$erefore4 morality and religion are $ere made independent
*,LI,) IN T!, 1AGI#4 SO7#,764 ,T#
In man;s life4 virtue Amoral e2cellenceB is not always consistent wit$
t$e ac@uisition of material prosperity In conse@uence t$ere arises t$e
dilemma5 t$e latter Amaterial prosperityB could not "e forgone4 and yet t$e
last Kudgement could not "e disregarded Nevert$eless4 t$e practically-
minded Offa-6oru"a solved t$e dilemma "y t$e use of magic4 against w$ic$
t$e gods t$emselves are powerless In its formulationC t$e people "elieve t$at
a set form of words4 accompanied "y a set ritual of action can4 if properly
used4 e2ercise compelling force T$us4 already4 in t$e old Offa4 early
medicine men A*a"alawoB $ad "een instructed in t$e use of certain
utterances w$ere"y eac$ of t$em could propitiate t$e malevolent "eings of
t$e ot$er world Now4 t$e modern Offa general pu"lic $ave $ad a s$are of
t$e privileges of t$e ancient *a"alawos suc$ t$at $owever muc$ evil a man
$ad done in $is life time $e could face t$e Kudgement of t$e gods wit$
e@uanimity Aie calmness of mindB provided t$at $e 3new t$e rig$t t$ing to
say and t$e rig$t way of saying it so muc$ t$at in case $e s$ould forget4 t$e
formular was incanted Aor enc$antedB inside of $is coffin at deat$ so t$at
suc$ reciting of an incantation4 was a sure passport to t$e realms of t$e
"lessed dead As if a routine matter4 in a stereotyped manner4 t$e incantation
Aor enc$antmentB of t$e formular in t$e coffin ensured t$at every aw3ward
@uestion "y t$e gods on t$e last Kudgement day would "e countered
automatically and t$e trial of t$e soul s$all t$ere"y "e reduced to a force
Indeed t$e motive of magic was not et$ical "ut t$e safeguarding of man;s
own future enKoyment Some of t$ese magic turned cults to w$ic$ t$e pu"lic
was admitted and even participated in t$em4 t$e myt$s of indivisi"ility4
$aving "een accredited to t$e magic powers4 gave to t$e cult somet$ing in
t$e nature of a popular religion
*,LI,) IN T!, 16STI#AL POI,7 #ALL,9 ,FIL 1AGI# O7 AH,
,vil magic in Offa ? 6oru"a "elief involves t$e "elief in and practice
of trapping and using t$is 3ind of power to do $arm to $uman "eing or t$eir
property It is $ere t$at we find sorcery at wor3 in addition to order related
practice li3e witc$craft4 conKuration4 etc $owever4 we must point out t$at a
great deal of "elief $ere is "ased on4 or derives from4 fear4 suspicion4
Kealousies4 ignorance or false accusations w$ic$ go on in Offa and $er
surrounding villages Namely4 people fear to leave around t$eir $air4 finger
toe nails4 clot$es or ot$er articles wit$ w$ic$ t$ey are normally in direct
contract li3e saliva c$ewing stic34 etc in case t$eir Eenemies; will use t$em
and wor3 evil magic against t$em T$is is "ecause t$e $air or foot print and
finger nails4 w$en secretly ac@uired4 may "e "urnt or pric3ed or ot$erwise
used in a $armful way and t$us cause inflictions of pains4 diseases or deat$
upon t$e person from w$om t$ey come It is even feared t$at an enemy
mig$t pric3 it t$orns or collect a person;s foot-print and incise it wit$ evil
medicine and t$us cause $arm to t$e victim
T$is is w$at Hames )raDer distinguis$es as contagious magic
Hames )raDer
gives one useful category of t$is 3ind of evil magic !e $as called it
E$omeopat$ic magic; w$ic$ in African-and Offa-6oru"a-societies could "e
illustrated wit$ endless e2amples E!omeopat$ic magic; involves t$e "elief
t$at w$at $appens to an o"Kect w$ic$ loo3s li3e anot$er will affect t$e latter
It involves t$e met$od "y *a"alawo4 of treating diseases "y use of very
small doses of t$is medicine w$ic$4 in large doses4 produce in $ealt$y
person symptoms similarly to t$ose of t$e diseases $e At$e *a"alawoB want
inflicted on $is enemy
)or e2ample an enemy mig$t4 t$roug$ t$e $elp of
*a"alawo or any ot$er medicine-man4 ma3es a doll w$ic$ loo3s li3e and
represent aparticular person in *a"alawo;s mind suc$ t$at "y "urning or
pric3ing t$at doll t$e very real person will "e $armed accordingly 7eally4 it
is w$en used maliciously t$at mystical power is condemned as E"lac3
magic;4 Eevil magic; or Esorcery;
Nevert$eless4 t$e person;s "elief in magic power is not devoid of
superstition )or e2ample4 it was for"idden and feared in formal Offa society
to praise some"ody else;s c$ildren or property too often )or to do so mig$t
cause someone else;s mystical power eg EAKe; ? Ewitc$ craft;4 to $arm or
destroy t$e particular c$ild or c$ildren or property )or t$is reason one need
<t$e T$ird-eye= to see4 to read and to understand t$e meaning of signs4
o"Kect and odd articles t$at may "e found in Offa-6oru"a $omes4 fields4
possessions and even on t$eir "odies Presently4 $owever4 t$e tension of t$is
situation in t$e society $as reduced considera"ly to t$e "arest minimum
Today4 many of our men and women of small4 very small4 age ride in flas$y
cars of varying types in town and in t$eir respective station of life and
outside Offa wit$out "ot$ering a"out t$e danger of large series of generic
trou"les of evil magic from w$ic$ t$ey now see t$emselves as $aving "eing
set free from modern way of t$in3ing and understanding Also t$ere are
many w$o $ave "uilt and $ave "een living in mansion and ot$er magnificent
"uildings of varying grades of arc$itectural "eauty in town
)urt$ermore4 w$ile t$ere is no dou"t t$at t$ere are t$ose w$o still
"elieve t$at protection or prosperity comes from t$e o"Kect of mystical
powers w$ic$ t$ey wear or ot$erwise used4 ot$ers "elieve and ac3nowledge
t$at t$e o"Kect in t$emselves $ave no in$erent power as suc$ Instead t$e
o"Kect represent and sym"olise power w$ic$ comes from God4 especially
w$en used to procure protection or prosperity4 "ut w$en used ot$erwise4
t$eir power will amount to evil magic T$us4 t$is magic power we are
tal3ing a"out may "e directly supplied "y GodC or it may "e troug$ t$e spirit
t$e living-dead or as part of t$e invisi"le forces of nature in t$e universe
#onversely4 despite t$is fact4 mystical o"Kects can also use t$eir
effectiveness and w$en t$is $appen t$eir owner or owners must get new
ones or if possi"le get old ones rec$arged li3e a car "attery
At some particular point4 religious controversy gets complicated w$en
religion and magic are formed to merge and t$ere is no clear way of
separating t$em any more t$an magic $as "een separated from #$ristianity
or Islam at certain point T$is is "ecause some traditional medicine specialist
w$o use <good magic= claim t$at t$e mystical power w$ic$ t$ey $ave and
use comes ultimately from God4 and as many $ave "een seen4 part of t$eir
profession truly involves praying to God directly or t$roug$ t$e intermediary
of t$e living-dead andGor spirits of solicit !is $elp as suc$ it may "e
contended t$at <t$is is Espiritual power; functioning t$roug$ p$ysical
means= suc$ t$at as we $ave seen4 for Offa-6oru"a people4 t$e two worlds-
celestial and terrestrial glo"es-are "ut one universe wit$ suc$ a difference
t$at t$e spirits4 living on t$e celestial glo"e4 $ave more access to t$at $uman
"eings sort of power t$an do on t$e planet of ours It is t$is4 "elievingly4
w$ic$ stature of t$e 6oru"a "elief in invisi"ility of t$e departed4 even if
t$ese died as c$ildren4 for upon deat$4 t$e living-dead Aie4 t$e departedB
enter into a $ig$er dynamic $ierarc$y t$an t$at of t$e living
truly spea3ing some *a"alawos are e2perts in t$eir "usinessC yet t$ere are
ot$ers w$o supply t$eir clients wit$ c$eap4 false articles for t$e sa3e of gainC
eg false mediums
As for t$e false mediums in most African societies4 t$ese e2plain w$y
modern men and women4 do not stand on t$e primitive ideas of t$eir
ancestors nor continue to "elieve in t$ings similar to w$at t$eir forefat$ers
"elieved inC in t$at false men and women mediums a"ound 1alams and
Prop$ets w$o $ave Koined t$e "and in Iest African societies $ave $ad
among t$em false practises of medium4 claiming4 for t$e sa3e of gain t$ey
want to ma3e4 w$at t$ey cannot do4 "ecause t$ey are w$at t$ey are not
:nder evil magic we $ave t$e following5
T$ese are types of evil magic Ie would discuss sorcery as it relates
to evil magic per se and4 per$aps vis-N-vis witc$craft So t$at at times we
may use eac$ of t$ese interc$angea"ly "ecause t$ey are eac$ ot$er;s useful
au2iliary for e2patiating on t$e t$rills of African voodooistC "ecause in many
respects t$ey mean t$e same Tec$nically spea3ing4 sorcery4 Kust li3e evil
magic4 involves t$e use of poisonous ingredients put into t$e food or drin3
of someone No matter t$e academic finesse AdelicacyB involved4 one mig$t
say t$at for 6oru"a people in general sorcery stands for anti-social
employment of mystical power4 and sorcerers are t$e most feared and $ated
"y mem"ers of t$eir communities It is "eing feared t$at t$ey employ all
sorts of ways to $arm ot$er people or t$eir "elongings )or e2ample4 ot$er
animals to attac3 t$eir enemies of t$eir communities It is "eing feared t$at
t$ey employ all sorts of ways to $arm ot$er people or t$eir "elongings )or
e2ample4 t$ey send flies4 sna3es4 lions or ot$er animals to attac3 t$eir
enemies or carry diseases to t$emC t$ey spit and direct t$e spittle wit$ secret
incantations to go and $arm someoneC t$ey dig up graves to remove from
t$em $uman fles$ or "ones w$ic$ t$ey use in t$eir practicesC t$ey invo3e
spirits to attac3 or possess someone
T$ese age-old uses of sorcerers spells to $arm4 not devoid of magic
account for w$y Offa-6oru"a people feel and "elieve t$at all t$e various ills4
misfortunes4 sic3nesses4 accidents4 tragedies4 sorrows4 dangers and un$appy
mysteries t$ey encountered or $ad $ad and e2perienced4 "ut w$ic$ no
ort$odo2 medical doctor could unravel4 are caused "y t$e use of t$is type of
mystical power called evil magic4 in t$e $ands of a sorcerer4 a witc$ or a
wiDard T$ey e@ually account for w$y we may understand4 for e2ample4 t$at
a "ereaved mot$er w$ose c$ild died from malaria will not "e satisfied wit$
t$e scientific e2planation t$at a mos@uito carrying malaria parasites stung
t$e c$ild and caused $im or $er to suffer and die from malaria S$e will wis$
to 3now w$y t$e mos@uito stung $er c$ild at t$e time mos@uito did and not
some"ody else;s c$ild "ut $er own T$e only satisfactory answer accepta"le
to $er is t$at someone sent t$e mos@uito against $er c$ild I$ile4 agreea"ly4
t$is is not a scientific answer4 it is a reality for t$e maKority of 6oru"a
people4 including Offa-6oru"a
T$at is to say t$at we may easily get rid of mos@uitoes and prevent
many diseases4 t$ere will always "e accidents4 cases of "arrenness4
misfortunes and ot$er unpleasant e2periences w$ic$ are considered as
mysterious $appen stances )or Offa-6oru"a4 t$ese are not purely p$ysical
e2periencesC rat$er t$ey are mystical e2periences of a deeply religious
nature In Offa town and people tal3 freely a"out t$em ? African
voodooisms4 for t$ey AvoodooismsB willy-nilly "elong to t$eir AAfrican
peoples;B world of reality4 w$atever else scientists and t$eologians mig$t
say To t$em AOffa-6oru"a4 indeed AfricansB not$ing $appens "y c$ance5
everyt$ing is caused "y someone4 directly or t$roug$ t$e use of mystical
power4 Egood; or Eevil magic; If one $as one;s ears open4 one will $ear t$e
names of people "eing "lamed for misfortunes4 sic3nesses4 accidents and
ot$er forms of suffering of someone or t$e ot$er in every village Iit$
regard to t$is4 it is mainly women w$o get "lamed for t$e e2periences of evil
mac$inationsC and many a woman $as suffered lync$ing in t$e $ands of $er
accusers and continues to suffer $umiliation and disgrace under suc$
accusations4 sooner or later in $er life4 ie if s$e survives lync$ing and lives
According to t$e 6oru"a version of its $istorical antecedents4 sorcery
among 6oru"as developed out of t$e superstitious concept of immortality of
t$e soul )or instance4 it someone suddenly lost $is speec$ or fell seriously
ill4 going into convulsions4 may"e "eside offering sacrifices to t$e supposed
g$ost worrying $im4 $is family would also "eseec$ t$e gods T$is is "ecause
in t$eir "elief guiding t$eir approac$ in t$is way4 many living t$ings and
o"Kects At$at include non-living t$ings eg4 stone4 roc34 tree4 etcB in t$eir
natural world $ad spirit w$ic$ in 6oru"a is Eemi; im"ued wit$ spiritual Aie
in "ody and soulB power w$ic$ could $arm people at any time or place4 if so
manipulated T$ey At$e 6oru"a peopleB4 t$erefore4 feared and venerated
t$ese spirits and a greater many in Offa of today still do as in earlier times
T$oug$ superstitious practice reveals t$e savagery and "ac3wardness of
primitive religion in ancient Offa culture4 as in any part of African culture4
t$ere is still a certain proportion of t$e population w$ic$ "elieves in t$eir
primitive witc$craft and g$osts )or instance4 <if a person fell ill4 $e would4
more often t$an not4 t$in3 t$at $is Esoul; $ad "een spirited away or carried
off secretly "y a particular g$ost and would $ave to as3 someone to practise
divinationC to determine w$ic$ g$ost did it=4 "efore trying to e2ercise Again
<If a person felt pain or suffered stomac$ trou"le or felt diDDy or $ad some
ot$er disorder4 t$ere was a $ost of items w$ic$ could "e offered as sacrifices
to different g$osts and gods= A survey s$ows t$at at t$e advent of Islam and
#$ristianity in Offa4 Offa people $ad many g$osts Aof t$e living-deadB and
spirits w$ic$ were "eing revered4 "ut not wors$ipped4 as "eing erroneously
At t$at time4 t$e missionary wor3ers of t$e two religions realiDed t$at
t$e people $ad adopted for @uite long an attitude of intimacy and
dependence towards t$e Egods; and Egood g$osts; to t$e point of almost
irreversi"ility4 to t$e effect t$at during weddings4 funerals and festivities4
t$ey would offer o"lation AsacrificesB to t$em At$e godsB and see3 approval
"efore ta3ing any action4 t$at is4 in terms of Egood g$osts; As for t$e Eevil
g$osts; and monsters4 people @uite often tried to curry AsolicitB t$eir favour
so t$at t$ey would not "ecome angry and4 in a s$ow of force and power4
$arm t$em T$e natural conse@uence or result of t$e foregoing may "e
understood as fore-s$owing t$e conclusion t$at t$is type of <analogous
Kudgement A"y mystical powersB forms t$e "asis Aof t$e people;sB illusory
e2planations of natural life=
T$is is t$e reason t$at in Offa-6oru"aland4
once some"ody died4 it is "elieved t$at somet$ing caused t$e deat$4 as if to
say t$at no"ody dies a natural deat$ in t$e community Suc$ suspicion
ranges from poison4 oracle Aie w$at t$e oracle saysB4 enemy witc$es to
natural deat$ T$is is t$e reason w$y some sociologists say t$at sorcery does
not form part of t$e system of "eliefs w$ic$ Africans4 and4 t$erefore4
6oru"a4 regard as religion *ot$ witc$craft and sorcery in Offa-6oru"aland
are regarded as repre$ensi"le Aie deserving reproof4 re"u3e or "lameB and
anti-social and rites w$ic$ magicians Amostly sorcerersB perform are
mundane and improvised ,g4 Awon Onidon is a condemnation in 6oru"a4
used to refer to some of t$em
O))A-6O7:*A *,LI,) IN O7A#L,
T$e plet$ora of meanings of oracle includes t$e place w$ere t$e
$idden 3nowledge is "elieved to "e revealed4 eg t$e s$rine of Apollo at
Adelp$i in ancient Greece
4 t$e s$rine of a god in Africa or *a"alawo;s
place in Offa !ere t$e prospective clients w$o go to a place w$ere t$e god
gives suc$ an answer "elieve t$at many a *a"alawo or any ot$er priest or
priestess t$roug$ w$om t$e god;s answer is given will "e a"le to form
$isG$er own Kudgements of t$e met$ods w$ic$ s$eG$e adopted to wor3 t$e
oracle to t$eir favour ,ven in ancient Greece and 7ome oracle is ta3en to "e
t$e answer of a god to some @uestion
Suc$ an answer always $as a $idden
meaning t$at is $ard to understand "y t$e clients Oracle is regarded as a
realia"le or sure guide4 divine revelation or utterances ma3ing up a message
from God for t$e guidance of man or t$e one w$o does suc$ revealing
Oracles a"ound in t$e *i"le

In Africa4 Offa-6oru"a practisioners or practical *a"alawos of EIfa;

are said to form t$e "est organiDed and most 3nowledgea"le magical-
religious institution of t$eir country or community4 suc$ t$at Offa-6oru"a
religion and medicine $ave ac$ieved liaison wit$ man Indeed4 t$e "asic
purpose of EIfa; AoracleB is to determine t$e correct sacrificial offering
necessary to secure a favoura"le solution to t$e pro"lem con fronting t$e
client A person;s life destiny may also "e determined "y Ifa In accordance
wit$ t$is "eliefd4 t$ere is also t$e "elief t$at Oris$a AdeityGdivinityB are
functional deities $aving to do wit$ super $uman powers t$at are in some
sense availa"le to man T$e concept of divine is also closely associated wit$
t$e natural environment as well as wit$ $uman relations$ips 9ivination of
w$at t$e Oris$a wants can "e t$oug$t of as ways of conceiving and coming
to terms wit$ suc$ practical concerns as weat$er4 disease4 fertility4 3ins$ip
and government Also t$e concept of t$e divine is closely associated wit$ t$e
natural environment and wit$ $uman relations$ips

T$erefore4 t$e divine4 and t$e natural environment toget$er wit$ t$e
$uman relations$ips 3indred wit$ t$em are a continuum for consideration in
t$is wise T$is was t$e situation at t$e advent of foreign religions4 Islam and
#$riustianity Truly4 it $as "een recogniDed "y several o"servers t$at African
t$oug$t is "asically man-centred suc$ t$at to understand African concept of
divinityGdeity4 we $ave to loo3 at suc$ concept from t$e $uman point of
view4 t$at is4 in terms of $uman needs
As already mentioned4 t$e "asic purpose of Ifa AoracleB is to determine
t$e correct sacrifice necessary to secure favoura"le resolution of t$e pro"lem
confront ting t$e client I$enever a deity wants a particular sacrifice to "e
performed4 t$e message is sent t$roug$ Ifa A person;s life destiny may also
"e determined "y means of Ifa
1,T!O95 One met$od employed4 in "rief4 is for t$e *a"alawo to transfer
@uic3ly si2teen palm nuts from one $and to t$e ot$er If one nut is left
"e$ind a dou"le mar3 is made in t$e powdery su"stance placed on t$e
divining tray If two are left a single mar3 is made If none is left or more
t$an two4 t$e t$row does not count4 and4 as a result4 t$e process is repeated
eig$t times4 wit$ t$e result of two series of four mar3s eac$4 suc$ as5
T$ere are si2teen primary figures called odu and t$ere are 0./ of t$em
ma3ing for a variety of possi"ilities from w$ic$ t$e one most e2act and
related to t$e client;s pro"lem is c$osen T$e ups$ot of it all is t$at t$e
system of divination is called IfaC and sometimes t$is name is also used for
t$e deity T$e priests of Orunmila are t$e practitioners of divination T$ey
$ave t$e title of <*a"alawo= ? <fat$er of mysteries=
<T$e * a"alawo constitutes a focal point
in t$e traditional 6oru"a religionC
c$anneling sacrifices and wors$ipers
into different cults Avarious wors$ips
of different godsB>>>>>>>>
!e $eps $is clients deal wit$ t$e wide
7ange of personaliDed and impersonal
)orces in w$ic$ t$e 6oru"as "elieve4
And to ac$ieve t$e individual destinies
Assigned to t$em at "irt$=

In t$e process4 it needs "e affirmed t$at t$ere are si2teen primary figures
called Odu4 representing t$e com"ination;s possi"le wit$ four mar3s ,ac$
figure may "e com"ined wit$ t$e same figure or any of t$e ot$ers to ma3e a
total of 0./ possi"ilities )or eac$ of t$ose t$ere are num"er of verses4
w$ic$ also may "e 3nown as Odu T$ey usually descri"e a pro"lem
involving some myt$ological figure4 a sacrifices t$at was made4 t$e
outcome4 and t$e application A competent *a"alawo s$ould 3now several
verses for eac$ of t$e 0./ Odu T$us4 w$en a particular Odu Aprimary
figureB $as resulted from t$e process of divination4 t$e diviner will recite t$e
verses until t$e client selects one t$at appears to suit t$e pro"lem T$e verses
associated wit$ t$e 0./ Odu $ave "een called t$e 6oru"a <unwritten
scripture= #ertainly t$ey provide considera"le information regarding t$e
deities and t$eir activities4 muc$ of it ancient4 Emedium; is anot$er form of
divinationC an e@uivalent of ifa oracle It refers to one w$o communicates
divine revelation
!e is a person w$o said to "e capa"le of communicating
wit$ t$e spirits of t$e deat$
or a person t$roug$ w$om supposed messages
from t$e world of spirits are received and sent

& T$e Iorld *oo3 9ictionary A&'%(B4 vol I4 pp0JJC(%-
0 Ko r;an 0&58 descri"es t$is formation of t$e universe fourteen
centuries ago
8 Newell S *oot$4 Hr A&'%%B4 African 7eligions5 A symposium Lagos5
NOK Pu" Ltd p &/0
( I"id4 p&/J . I"id / I"id4 &/&
% 1o$ammed Amin A&'%/B4 Iest Africa4 0- Octo"er &''/ p&/%'C &/-J
on Islam and t$e #reation
- Tell4 No ((4 Nov &4 &'''4 p&J
' I"id
&J 7alp$ Ialdo ,merson4 Iorld *oo3 9ictionary A&'%(B vol &4 p%&8
&& 7P #uDDort A&'/'B4 !umanity and 1odern Sociological T$oug$t4
&0 *olaKi Idowu A&'%8B4 African Traditional 7eligion4 p./
&8 7oland 7o"ertson A&'/'B4 Sociology of 7elgionC p(0
&( I"id &.4 I"id &/ I"id
&% Allen G I$ite A&'.0B4 ,ducationC T$e Allen G I$ite Pu"lications4
&- Genesis 05 ' - &%
&' & #orint$ians &&5%
0J !e"rews 05%
0& I"id A&'.0B4 p0J
00Ho" 8%5&/
080 #orint$ians (5/
0(I"id4 A&'.0B4 p00
0/Newell S *oot$ Hnr4 I"id4 p&.'
0%I"id4 p&/& 0- I"id
0'I"id4 8J4 I"id 8& I"id4 p&/8
80 I"id
88T$e Iorld *oo3 9ictionary A&'%(B vol I4 I"id4 p.&8
8( I"id 8. I"id 8/ I"id
8% I"id4 p&/( 8- I"id 8/ I"id
(J I"id (&& I"id4 pp &/- ? &/%
(0 Iooley4 Sir Leonard A&'/8B4 !istory of 1an3ind4 #ultural and
Scientific 9eveloment4 London5 George Allen P :nwin Ltd4 p%&(
(8 T$e place w$ere traditional "elievers wors$ip
(( I"id4 p%0&
(. In Ho$n S 1"iti4 I"id4 p0JJ
(/ T$e world *oo3 9ct A&'%(B vol I4 &JJ8
(% I"id4 p&''
(- Ple3$anor G A&'-0B4 On t$e so-called 7eligious ,2poration in
7ussian4 in Social Aciences in #$ina vol I4 No 04 &'-04 p&%/Q
(' Le2icon Ie"ster 9ictio"nary vo I4 &'%/4 p//.
.J T$e Iorld *oo3 9ictionary vol II4 p((/
.& Ho$n L 1c KenDie4 SH A&'%.B 9ictionary of t$e *il"e4 Geoffrey
#$apman Pu"4 p/0-
.0 Op ut4 p&%. .8 I"id
.( I"id4 p&/- .. op ut4 p/'(
./ Le2icon Ie"ster 9ictionary4 I"id p.'8
.% Iorld *oo3 9ictionary vol II4 I"id4 p&0-&
#)APT*R -
SO#IAL O79,7 IN OL9 AN9 N,I O))A
1ec$anics4 in t$e sense of social control and social order4 refers to t$e
tec$ni@ue or means "y w$ic$ peace and sta"le government4 in old as
opposed to modern Offa4 are ac$ieved Our attempt $ere is at systems
approac$ to understanding t$e solution of t$e pro"lem of peace4 order and
security in society )acts can "e esta"lis$ed t$at powers of African
voodooismsC wor3ing toget$er as parts of socio-political arrangement
function to produce social control and social order towards peace and
sta"ility for t$e wor3ing system of t$e society4 in regular and predicta"le
manner *elief generally is t$at <,veryt$ing in t$e universe is produced and
can "e e2plained "y mec$anical or material forces=
!encefort$4 certain
mystical forces propping old Offa social structure "y w$ic$ certain
particular effects were produced for t$e society;s goal-attainment4
adaptationC integration and pattern-maintenance are to "e accomplis$ed in a
conscious or an unconscious mental process w$ic$ motivates emotional and
"e$avioural responses T$ey are "eing used to advantage T$ey are
necessary in most societies and due for consideration $ere
1any aut$orities $ave affirmed t$at African societies are aut$oritarian
societiesC Among t$e agents of social control t$at can "ring a"out social
order4 not t$e least are t$ose w$ic$ instill fear4 order and discipline in t$e
people and t$ere"y inculcate customs4 good manners and good "e$aviours in
t$e yout$ and all ot$er mem"ers of t$e society4 "y employing t$e
gerontocratic wisdom of fear4 emp$asiDing t$e *i"lical saying of <spare t$e
rod and spoil t$e c$ild= Suc$ agents of social control4 social order constitute
an endless illumination4 intellectual4 enlig$tenmentB in w$ic$ all forms of
misdemeanor in t$e society dissolve4 sometimes as if t$ey $ad occurred "y
s$eer ignorance "ut many a time voodooists invo3e t$em deli"erately or one
way or t$e ot$er get t$em e2tirpated outrig$t for peace4 order and sta"ility to
reign supreme in t$e society4 "y t$e fears of t$eir power and force4
e2pressive in every way of man;s e2istence )or discussion in t$eir
descending order of precedence4 we may mention EaKe; Awitc$craftB4
ES$ango;4 Agood of t$underB4 EOgun; Agood of ironB4 E,pe; AcurseB4 E,gungun;
Amas@ueradeB4 Eog"oni; Asecret cultB and EOro; Asecret cultB to ena"le us to
see $ow muc$ wisdom of aut$oritarianism is ens$rined in eac$ for t$e
maintenance of social control4 and socialorder4 for peace and sta"ility in t$e
people;s social set to gain foot$ o3 especially "efore t$e w$itemen came
wit$ t$eir p$ilosop$y of peace maietenance "y legal system of t$eirs
T$oug$ w$en t$ey came many new arts and secerices $ad "een added to t$e
people;s stoc3 of 3nowledge of socio-political organiDation and
governmental system 4t$e @uest for t$e timeless and unversal use of t$e
a"ove mentored mec$anics of social control is still urgrig t$e t$irsty
en@uirers on to use some of t$ese to decide case of t$eft4 false accusation4
dis"ates "etween adversaries4 $ollow pretencios "y evil mac$inations4 and
e2pose t$e real evil doerAsB instantly wit$ instants Kustice As a corollary at
t$e instance of t$e newly introduced politico-legal system4 t$e traditional
world of t$e people was4 and $as since "een4 engulfed in a mig$ty catalyst of
t$e w$itemen;s civiliDation w$ic$ well-nig$t wiped out t$e c$annels of t$e
people;s autoc$t$onous culture and civiliDation4 wit$ t$e result t$at t$ere are
today speculative "ooms4 political "andwagons4 fas$ion; cycles and
irreligious revivals w$ic$ today adversely affect t$e e2isting mec$anics of
social control4 and social ot$er T$is is t$e situation t$at impels4 t$roug$ t$e
understanding of particular social p$eneomenon4 as well as t$e manifold of
sense of perceptionC t$e rules of <productive imagination= in t$e process of
realiDing t$e 3nowledge or e2perience of t$ese agents of social control for
T!, 7,ASON O) T!, ,)),#T O) SO#IAL #!ANG, ON A)7I#AN
As a rule in t$e society4 younger people will rarely attempt to use
mystical power against older mem"ers of t$eir community4 unless it is in
ta3ing counter measures T$e older a person is4 t$e $ig$er $is social status
and t$e more $e is t$oug$t or e2pected to $ave a personal mystical power for
use4 eit$er in $imself or t$roug$ possession of t$e necessary o"Kects in
w$ic$ it may $ave "een stored Iit$ respect to witc$craft mac$inations4
*ar"ara Iard A&'-/B
$as rig$tly o"served t$at economic factors $ave
e2acer"ated family and lineage tension;s and witc$craft accusation;s $ave
"een on t$e increase wit$ t$e necessary setting up of new cults to com"at
witc$craft mac$ination;s in African societies T$is is "ecause certain effects
follow w$enever and w$erever a money economy is su"stituted for a
su"sistence economy T$us4 owing to impersonal influence of modern
economic conditions4 t$e close interdependence of t$e mem"ers of a family
"rea3s up eg w$en any one mem"er $as $ad t$e opportunity of meeting $is
own needs "y producing somet$ing for t$e $ome or world mar3et4 eg
cocoa4 cotton4 groundnuts4 palm produce4 etc T$erefore4 as it is usually t$e
younger generation w$o are alive to t$e new opportunities t$ey "ecome
independent of t$eir elders4 suc$ opportunities toget$er wit$
#$ristianGIslamic teac$ings and sc$ool education eventually condemn
"eliefs in ancestral spirits and in magic as well as practices w$ic$ e2press
t$ese "eliefs T$ey Kointly aim at t$e eradication of supernatural "eliefs
T$ey also condemn suc$ practices as polygamy Aand cling onto monogamyB
and t$e initiation sc$ool as well as all forms of marriage payment
Today4 in Offa4 all forms of scatrices on c$ee3s are "eing p$ased out
gradually "y discontinuing suc$ cicatrisation )or instance in t$e &'/J;s $ig$
marriage payments were "roug$t down considera"ly #onse@uently4 t$e
Offaman of modern development in family life is confronted wit$ two main
social configuarations ? t$at of $is traditional community w$ere t$e older
generation still form t$e community "ased on t$e ties of 3ins$ip and
marriage4 "ut from w$ic$ most of t$e young men are actually a"sent for
muc$ of t$eir time4 in searc$ of golden fleece in t$e ur"an towns and cities4
or overseas4 w$ere all $ave $ad t$e e2perience of t$e new and different
ur"an world w$ose values t$ey "ring "ac3 $ome At any point in time4 in t$e
town4 w$ere maKority of t$e population consists of men detac$ed from t$eir
own $omes and 3indred4 t$ere is suc$ continuous coming in and going out of
it t$at it is difficult to form a community of any particular 3ind4 ,uropean or
Iitc$craft4 "y definitionC is t$e possession of a @uality w$ic$ ena"les
or drives its possessor to inKure $is fellows "y merely wanting to
Govt4 London5 T$e sc$olar Press4 p&8(B Iitc$craft4 t$e world over4 is
associated wit$ fear4 $orror4 carnage and t$e specter of witc$es suc3ing
"lood and 3illing people Associated wit$ t$is is 9r )reedman;s "elief t$at
t$e w$ole universe must "e interpreted as tied in its detailed wor3ing to t$e
lives of $uman persons so t$at for t$e ordinary man in t$e street4 not so
endowed $imself4 t$e practical pro"lem is to study $is fellowmen and
discover w$om among t$em $e oug$t to avoid or follow
So t$at suc$
universe is man-centered in t$e sense t$at it must "e interpreted "y
reference to $umans In discussing idea a"out 6oru"a concept of witc$craft
"elief4 we may insist on t$e concentration of curiosity on t$e singularity of
an event )or e2ample4 if an old and rotten Egranary; or E"arn; AEa "a; or
Ea$ere;B falls down and 3ills someone sitting in it or under its s$adow4 t$e
event is ascri"ed to witc$craft Indeed4 Offa-6oru"a witc$craft "elief in
vogue is not li3e w$at o"tains in some societies in Nigeria w$ere t$e power
of witc$craft still reigns supreme li3e Amaig"o
called <T$e forest of
t$ousand witc$es=4 "ecause t$e dense forested area $as not "een visited "y
modern civiliDationC w$ere every native-"orn c$ild is genetically
programmed into t$e powers of witc$craft4 in t$e sense t$at t$e people in t$e
area $ave a natural "lend into witc$craft4 $aving "een "orn into it
Parado2ically in Offa-6oru"a town w$ere so appearing to t$em in outloo3 as
suc$ modern Offaman in t$is scientific age ? and for ot$er various reasons
too $as not given credence to t$e e2istence of witc$es an d t$e science of
witc$raft4 "ecause t$e practice of witc$ery is dismissed as a gross
misrepresentation among t$e natives w$o $ave no $ope of finding a way out
of t$e woods of t$eir primitive c$ains of "ondageC yet4 of course4 t$ere are
Offaman and women w$ose "elief in witc$ery persists wit$ t$em in t$at
witc$raft "elief dominates t$e understanding of t$e society at large; t$at
every $uman "eing is "orn wit$ special powers to do certain t$ings or
perform anyt$ing of feat at all t$at t$eir imagination can convey to t$em4
eit$er during special occasions or in times of emergency In t$e mainC t$ey
"elieve t$at t$ere are some individuals w$o are more successful in dealing
wit$ natural forces t$at ot$ersC t$at it is only mar3ed individuals4 and not all
$umans4 w$o are significant in t$is respectC t$at suc$ mar3ed individuals
gradually draw to t$emselves lesser men and women in t$eir wa3e4 w$et$er
t$eir endowment is for good or evil fortune4 until w$en $e comes into t$e
limelig$t and pulls crowd
So t$at even t$oug$ Offa people freely admit t$at it is in t$e nature of
old and rotten granaries to collapse as well as "elieve t$at if a person sits for
several $ours under its s$adow day after day4 $e may one day "e crus$ed
w$en it fallsC yet t$e general rule of "elieving in witc$craft $avoc is o"vious
"ut not an interesting field for t$em for speculation Nevert$eless4 in
circumstances suc$ as t$is4 t$e @uestion t$at interests t$em is t$e emergence
of a uni@ue event t$at cues out of t t$at interests t$em is t$e emergence of a
uni@ue event t$at comes out of $appen stances )or instance4 t$ey would
want to 3now or find out w$y t$ere were many $ours w$en no one was
sitting under t$at granary w$en it mig$t $ave collapsed $armlessly4 3illing
no one "ut did not fall t$emC w$y t$ere were many $ours w$en n ot$er
people were sedated "y it w$o mig$t $ave "een victims w$en it fell "ut w$o
$appened not to "e t$ere in@uisitive @uestions4 t$e fascinating pro"lem Aor
@uestionB is5 w$y did it fall w$en it did4 Kust w$en t$e particular 1r so ? and
? so was sitting in it and no one else was sitting t$ereC t$ere"y raising t$e
@uestion;s as to w$y did it $ave to $appen to $im at t$at particular time of
$is sitting in itM I$at can $e do to prevent suc$ misfortune in futureM Is it
anyone;s fault ? as a causeM ,specially w$en tec$nical fault;s information
$as "een e2$austed= And curiosity instead tends to focus on t$e
involvement of a particular person wit$in t$e universe4 leading to furt$er
@uestions as follows4 w$y meM I$y today and not any ot$er dayM I$at can
"e done a"out itM
Indeed in Offa4 as in elsew$ere in NigeriaC t$ere are many
developments in societies w$ic$ $ave t$eir origin "uried in t$e traditional
$istory and systems of "eliefs w$ic$ many tend to see today as purely rigid
and sacrosanct w$ic$ must "e strictly o"served and 3ept intact One of suc$
is t$e respect4 reverence and fear of elders and w$at come out of t$eir mout$
and t$eiur actions !ence4 <t$e words of our elders are words of wisdom=
Naturally t$e l3ive issue in Offa today is $ow to organiDe ot$er people
especially oneself in relation to t$emC $ow to control t$e tur"ulent yout$4
$ow to soot$e disgruntled neig$"ours4 $ow to gain one;s rig$ts4 $ow to
prevent or side ? step usurpation of aut$ority or $ow to Kustify t$e act of
someone In conse@uence of $ow to organiDe ot$er people and one;s relation
to t$em and t$e related social pro"lems4 as mentioned a"ove4 to serve t$ese
practical social ends4 all 3inds of "eliefs in t$e omniscience and
omnipotence of t$e environment are called into play T$is is "ecause w$en
social life in a particular community $as settled down into any sort of
constant form4 social pro"lems tend to crop up in t$e same areas of tension
or strife So4 as part of t$e mac$inery for resolving t$em4 t$ese "eliefs a"out
automatic punis$ments4 destiny4 g$ostly vengeance and witc$craft
crystalliDed into t$e esta"lis$ed institutions of coercion Indeed4 in t$e
course of social evolution4 institutions proliferate in t$e society and
in various aspects of way of people;s life
*ac3 to witc$craft "elief4 t$ere are some w$o "elieve t$at witc$es
AaKeB are not limited to women4 t$oug$ formerly only old women were
witc$es4 often referred to as malignant old women4 professing4 or noted to
$ave4 magical power or t$e power of t$e agency "y w$ic$ social ? personal
events are determined T$eir rat$er weird pattern of answer during
altercation or t$eir type of person is distinguis$ed "y t$eir odd4 fantastic4
@ueer loo3ing and wrin3led face T$ey always do somet$ing mysteriously or
frig$teningly strange4 somet$ing t$at seems not to "e of t$is world or due to
somet$ing a"ove or "eyond nature4 and somet$ing t$at suggests t$e
frig$tening effect t$at is unnatural :sually4 t$eir all nig$t weird cries come
from t$e Kungle wit$ tales of uncanny feeling t$at t$eir eyes are always
peering ALpeepingB from dar3ness Nowadays4 $owever4 all are agreed t$at
today t$e witc$es include younger as well as older persons of opposite
se2esC t$at t$oug$ men do not actually $ave t$e power of witc$craft4 t$e
$us"ands of witc$es Acalled Os$o in 6oru"aB are said to "e mem"ers of t$e
witc$craft <society= w$ile some of t$ese AmenB play t$eir role in suc$ a
<society= as "utc$ers Aolo"e in 6oru"aB In a **# Networ3 Africa
4 a man4 1ali3anga4 of Iest African 7epu"lic4 accused of
witc$craft activities and arraigned in court w$ere $e confessed $is nefarious
sc$eme stated $ow $e did $is action "y placing smo3ed meat ? fles$ and
"ones ? of t$e 3illed victims of $is on mar3et toget$er wit$ t$e meat of ot$er
animals li3e mon3eys4 etc similar occurrences are o"taina"le in some
Nigerian mar3ets Some of t$ese Os$o act as intermediaries "etween t$e
person w$o is in t$e grip of t$e witc$es and "etween t$e witc$es t$emselves4
as some of t$ese eit$er act as intermediaries or advisers or $ealers
Amedicinemen or *a"alawosB T$ey $elp t$e aKe Awitc$craft victim AsB "y
see3ing to find out w$at t$e witc$es would want or demand for t$e release
of t$e victims
Ordinarily one avoids spea3ing a"out t$e witc$ "ecause it is t$oug$t
t$at witc$es over$ear even private discussion;s a"out t$em and t$us may "e
As we $ave noted Et$e witc$es; cannot "e recogniDed eit$er "y t$eir
p$ysical c$aracteristics4 as descri"ed a"ove4 or "y t$eir overt "e$aviour4 as
mentioned in t$e previous pages As a corollary most people cannot
assuredly tell w$o t$e witc$es are4 "ut some "elieve t$at a close o"server
can detect t$em "y t$e way t$ey spea3 and "y t$eir attitudes towards ot$ers
Ie may cite t$e following e2amples to support5 )irst4 a young woman w$o
defies $er eldersC and4 secondly4 a woman w$o $ad $ad a"out eig$t c$ildren
"ut at long last $ad only t$ree or none left In t$e latter case4 t$e woman is
often suspected of using $er c$ildren fore contri"ution to t$e feasts w$ere
witc$es Kointly eat one anot$er;s c$ildren Anot$er identification sign is t$at
concerning a woman;s after return trip from t$e nocturnal meeting of t$e
witc$es and some or anyone "ecomes ill 1ost common today is t$e #$urc$
system of detecting witc$es4 after traditional atigari system $ad given way to
it Officers in #$ristian c$urc$es maintain t$at t$ey can recogniDe witc$es
t$roug$ t$e power given to t$em "y God
T$us4 Kudging "y t$e level of peace4 social sta"ility and social security
t$at c$aracteriDed t$e country in pre-colonial days4 "efore t$e *ritis$ came
to NigeriaC one may elucidate t$e Kustification of t$e usefulness of witc$craft
as mec$anics of social control4 social order wit$ t$e following o"servations5
t$at witc$craft is not evil all of t$e time :nli3e in Amaig"o in Ig"oland4
Offa people do not 3now witc$craft as t$e mot$er and cradle of creation
neit$er can one "e categorically sure t$at t$ey do not "elieve t$at witc$es;
power stems from evil I$at is sure is t$at ordinary people "elieve t$at
witc$es $ave a common "ond t$at "inds t$em toget$er suc$ t$at it instills in
t$em t$e confidence t$at if we all 3now t$e same t$ing4 you can;t tell
any"ody w$at $e already 3nows Ie will respect eac$ ot$er suc$ t$at w$ile
we live $appily toget$er4 we individually prepare our defenses well Indeed
t$ere lies t$e secret of $armony I$en you all 3now t$e same t$ing and are
not afraid of eac$ ot$er4 t$en peace and $armony will reign4 so says 9r
O3do A&''.B
T$e lac3 of aut$enticity of t$e witc$craft "elievers; no-evil
claim aside4 t$e fear t$e witc$-caused trou"le $as instilled into t$e pu"lic at
large and individuals in particular t$at it is not unrelated to one of t$e most
important areas of t$e witc$es; power T$eir power is well vested in t$e
psyc$o-$er"al $ealing w$ic$ is a com"ination of psyc$ic AspiritualB and
traditional Aie $er"alB $ealing
Anot$er is t$at witc$es $ave t$e a"ility to see intestines4 liver and
ot$er internal organs of $uman "eings as well as foetus in t$e uteruses of
t$eir mot$ers T$ey can ma3e women temporarily infertile or permanently
"arren4 cause over-due pregnancy as well as its miscarriage4 ma3e c$ild
delivery difficult4 induce frig$tening dreams and sleeplessness4 cause a
person to dry up Aie lose weig$tB or to $ave $eadac$es4 stomac$ ac$es or
ot$er illness4 cause "lindness4 ma3e one lose Ko" or reduce $im to
3o"olessness4 "ring madness to t$eir victims4 suc3 $uman "lood or 3ill t$e
victimAsB "y ot$er means and frustrate any type of $uman effort As a matter
of fact it is not untrue t$at some see3 witc$es; assistance in committing
crimes suc$ as t$eft4 etc It is e@ually true t$at for fear of antagoniDing t$e
witc$es "y t$eir acts of misdemeanourC t$ere is t$e fear of t$e trou"le it
ta3es to see3 t$e power to fig$t "ac3; t$eir enemies4 even if t$e enemies are
t$eir 3it$ and 3inC including sons4 daug$ters4 "rot$ers4 sisters4 co-wives and
ot$er relatives4 e2cept t$eir fat$ers and mot$ers4 and t$e awareness of t$e
witc$es $aving t$e a"ility of impersonating a friend or a relative w$en doing
$arm as well as t$e "elief t$at t$eir power can also "e used to ma3e one
prosperous or popular as well as to cure illness or to insure a long life4 t$e
entire community "elieves t$at as far as t$e @uality of t$e witc$es; power of
life and deat$ is concerned4 t$e period of gerontocracy ? w$en elders of t$e
community ruled t$e state ? ie during t$e period we mig$t refer to as t$e
period of minimal government of t$e traditional African societies ?
aggressive purposes as well as outrageous acts of t$e individuals inimical to
t$e social control and social order in t$e state were 3ept at "ay or reduced to
t$e "arest minimum
Of course t$e c$ec3s and "alances operating in t$is system involve t$e
agreed fact t$at witc$es get t$eir power from God rat$er t$an from t$e
Oris$a At$e godsB A story says t$at in t$e past4 evil people tried to spoil t$e
world w$en certain women called upon God to give t$em power to fig$t t$e
villains At$e wic3edB wit$ t$e power given t$em4 t$ey foug$t and won t$e
"attle "ut t$ey did not return t$e power to God againC since t$at time t$is
power is "eing passed from one generation to t$e ne2t4 suc$ t$at w$ile it is
"elieved "y some t$at witc$es are as powerful as t$e Oris$aC ta$re are t$ose
w$o $old opposite view T$ere are many ot$ers w$o emp$atically say t$at
<Oris$a must "e more powerful t$an t$e witc$es ot$erwise S$ango Agod of
t$underB would not "e a"le to 3ill t$em=
T$ere"y one can assuredly say
t$at Oris$a $ate t$e witc$es and 3ill t$em and4 t$erefore4 conclude "y
insisting t$at witc$es t$emselves are under t$e control of t$e Oris$a At$e
godsB as t$ey want Practically t$erefore t$ey are responsi"le to t$e Oris$a
At$e godsB
Also t$ere are some w$o $ave countervailing power against witc$craft
mac$ination;s and t$ose supernatural4 spiritual or magic power can compel
t$e witc$es to su"mission and to surrender It is also true t$at as far as t$e
information of my present assertion goes4 t$ere is certainly a real witc$craft
composed mostly of elderly women wit$ male leaders It is very widespread4
$ig$ly secret and muc$ feared "y t$e people and t$e witc$es ali3e !ere we
may cite t$e coming of t$e Atinga witc$ $unters from G$ana to various
towns of Nigeria4 including Ig"aKo w$ic$ was visited early &'.&
T$e mem"er of Atinga cult in Sout$western Nigeria Aie in
6oru"alandB never visited a settlement unless invited to do so "y t$e c$ief
and people or4 "y t$e sons t$e soil as $appened at Ig"aKo4 early &'.& at t$e
end of secret preparation of anti-witc$craft medicine a 3ind of lotionB4 t$e
Atinga possessed devotees claimed to $ave t$e power of recogniDing witc$es
and opf discovering w$ere sorcerers and sorceresses 3ept t$eir $armful
o"Kects Iic$es were @uite often pointed out w$en detected and were as3ed
to confess t$eir sins 7ig$t away4 confession cleansed a woman of $er
witc$craft w$ile t$e adamant ones w$o refused to confess were tested for
According to my eye-witness account I may say t$at of interest was
t$e attitude of t$e wealt$y and influential men w$o willingly or were
desirous of inviting t$e Atinga devotees to t$eir towns and not minding to
pay t$eir e2penses w$ile t$ey were in residence4 eg $appened at Ig"aKo a
town of a"out 0J3m from I3irun or (J3m from Os$og"o T$e sponsors did
not prevent Atinga attac3s on t$eir relatives w$o are witc$es4 even if t$ey "e
t$eir mot$ers


As gleaned from it4 we $ave drawn e2tensively upon t$e story of
S$ango told "y Newell S *oot$ Hr A&'%%B4 su"sumed in t$e <God and t$e
Gods in Iest Africa= in <African 7eligions5 A symposium= A&'%%B
story goes on to say t$at a <semi-independent deity4 wit$ $is own associates4
is t$e one w$o manifests $imself in t$under and lig$tning= Indeed4 among
t$e 6oru"a $e is generally 3nown as S$ango w$o is said to $ave "een an
ancient 3ing of Oyo and t$e grandson of Oduduwa According to one
$e was a violent and cruel 3ing w$o was so $ated "vy $is su"Kects
t$at $e finally went out into t$e forest and $ang $imself In contradistinction
from t$is statement4 $owever4 w$en someone said t$at $e $ad $anged
$imself4 S$ango "ecame very angry and sent lig$tning from $eaven to
destroy t$e one w$o $ad insulted $im Anot$er account4 t$e official one4 told
"y $is priests4 S$ango really ascended into $eaven T$at $e was falsely
accused of $anging $imself Nevert$eless4 in eit$er case4 it is important to
refer to ES$ango as <T$e 3ing w$o did not $ang $imself=; in order to avoid
$is wrat$ O"a Koso
O"servingly4 in anot$er sense4 it appears t$at S$ango
$as ta3en over4 to some e2tent4 t$e c$aracteristics and functions of a more
ancient <t$under god=4 <Ha3uta= <t$e one w$o $urls stone= Iit$ regard to
t$is4 some $ave suggested t$at <Ha3uta was an early <Supreme God=C "ut
t$at4 unli3e S$ango4 $e does not seem to $ave ever "een a $uman "eing <!e
is an e2pression of t$e wrat$ of God against various forms of immorality4
suc$ as lying and adultery T$is same concern $as indeed come to "e
associated wit$ t$e fugure of S$ango in 6oru"aland and t$e ewe land
T$us4 it is not surprising t$at t$under is seen "y t$e 6oru"a as
manifestation of t$e divine wrat$ as t$is aspect of S$ango;s life is noted for
its violent storms4 especially in 6oru"aland in fact considered to "e <t$e
second region in t$e world for lig$tning fre@uency4 consisting of <T$e
resounding "ooms4 t$e deafening sound of t$e t$under clapsC t$e "linding4
daDDling4 criss-crossingC end to end flas$es of t$e lig$tining= all of w$ic$
contri"ute to and affirm t$e sense of divine presence in t$e stormC suc$ t$at
t$e following song is reported as addressed to S$ango5
O S$ango4 t$ou art t$e masterR
T$ou ta3est in t$y $and t$e fiery stones4
To punis$ t$e guiltyR
To satisfy t$y angerR
,veryt$ing t$ey At$e stonesB stri3e is destroyed4
T$e fire eats up t$e forest4
T$e trees are "ro3en down4
And all t$ings living are slain5
AAf 7eligions4 I"id4 p&%0B S$ango $as followers and priests T$e priests of
S$ango $ave responsi"ility for t$e "urial of anyone 3illed "y lig$tning T$ey
may also inspect proprerty struc3 "y lig$tining in order to fuind t$e
t$under"olt A,dun Aara in 6oru"aB S$ango;s sym"ol is t$e dou"le a2e
w$ic$ are $is representations rising a"ove $is $ead4 a common p$enomenon
among t$e 6oru"a practitioners of S$ango As regards political sense4 it may
"e true to say tat S$ango is t$e great national divinity of t$e 6oru"a in
general4 alt$oug$ not in t$e ultimate religious sense )or $e is rat$er
nationalistic4 almost imperialistic4 god w$o is given a great deal of attention
T$e Aalafin A3ingB of Oyo w$o claims to "e a descendant of S$ango is
traditionally crowned in $is AS$ango;sB s$rine In married life4 S$ango is
associated wit$ a spouse !er name is Oya4 t$e Niger 7iver goddess as well
as t$e strong4 damaging wind t$at "rings no rain S$e is fierce4 wears a "eard
and is supposed to "e terri"le to loo3 at4 alt$oug$ s$e can also "e attractive
and 3ind
!aving said t$us a"out S$ango4 it follows t$at t$roug$out 6oru"aland4
men;s fascination found its greatest satisfaction in t$e prevailing peace4
order and sta"ility in t$e society in w$ic$ t$ey lived "efore t$e ,uropeans
arrived Africa Truly spea3ing4 since t$e "eginning of time man $as always
demonstrated $atred towards $is fellow man and $is natural tendencies for
greed t$roug$ unnecessary intra-mural feuds Aie infig$tingB w$ic$ need "e
put in c$ec3 "y interventionists Surprisingly enoug$4 as African man
continues in "attling wit$ t$e untoward circumstances surrounding $im4 one
is "ound to agree wit$ one area of t$in3ing4 on t$e part of t$e advocates of
inward loo3ing t$eory4 t$at of t$e two stories ever told of S$ango4 t$e one
w$ic$ is of less legendarily miraculous "ut is of $istorical importance is to
t$e effect t$at S$ango was t$e first 3ing of Oyo after Oranmiyan and AKa3a
AS$ango;s elderly "rot$erB w$o were $is immediate predecessors w$en t$e
latters Aie AKa3a;sB seat of government was at O3o ? t$is is "ecause after
esta"lis$ing t$e settlement on t$e Eslippery place;4 ie4 t$e ground w$ere
Oranmiyan;s $orse stum"led only to "e called simply as Oyo in 6oru"a
Oranmiyan later on relin@uis$ed $is domain to $is elder son A"eing older
t$an S$angoB to rule as $is regent and successor4 after $e $ad returned to Ile-
Ife4 $is original $omeland w$ere $e died and was "uried t$ere at Ile-Ife
AKa3a ruled Oyo-O3o as Alaafin until $e AAKa3aB eventually ceded t$e t$rone
to $is more vigorous Kunior "rot$er4 S$ango T$at was "efore $e died and
"ecame defied as god of t$under
T$us4 as narrated a"ove4 S$ango was an $istorical figureC a legendary
3ing of Oyo at first4 ws$o later on "ecame a god T$is divinity Aor4 godB of
t$under and lig$tining is t$oug$t of as powerful4 crafty and rut$less4 and is
so persistently feared as suc$ "y many people An Ifa diviner said t$at
S$ango is so powerful t$at $e is c$ained "y God to prevent $im from
coming down to use $is full power S$ango4 $e continued4 $ad "een initiated
into t$e Ifa cult "y Orunmila so $e respects *a"alawo;s
$ouses In t$e
opinion of an Ogun priest S$ango does not act unless $e is provo3edC "ut
once moved to anger t$ere is no $ope for t$e one w$o annoyed or criticiDed
$im Iit$ t$e $elp of Oya4 $is wife4 S$ango uses t$under-stones to destroy
animals4 $ouses4 and people T$roug$ t$e use of traditional medicine and
incantations4 S$ango w$ors$ippers call on $im to avenge wrongs One
procedure for using S$ango to attac3 enemies involves ru""ing on I"eKi
figure Adoll carved in t$e image of twinsB wit$ $ot peper and ot$er t$ings
w$ic$ S$ango and I"eKi AtwinsB must not eat I$en S$ango stri3es down a
wrong-doer4 t$e man;s relatives will as3 S$ango followers to come to t$e
$ouse t$at $as "een damaged ? per$aps t$e victim $imself $as "een 3illed ?
m for a feast and offering of purificatory sacrifices After t$is4 t$e S$angoists
will pull t$e t$under-stone t$at caused t$e damage out of t$e ground w$ere it
$ad struc3 and gt em"edded t$erein )or is "elieved t$at if t$e t$under-stone
is not found and dug out4 everyone in t$e $ouse will die ru""is$ing t$e
$ouse to grass-growt$s ie4 grass will grow w$ere t$e $ouse once stood All4
or nearly all4 of t$e property found in a $ouse t$ere"y struc3 "y lig$tining
may "e confiscated "y S$ango wors$ippers #onversely4 S$ango devotees
may also appeal to t$e god of t$under and lig$tining AS$angoB for protection
against evil spirits for c$ildren and for $ealt$ and wealt$

Among ori3i Apraise-names
B giving salute to S$ango4 one $ears t$e
frig$tening epit$ets of $im AS$angoB as <,nia ti a "u le$in t;o si mo= ? <A
man w$o gets to 3now w$o $as spo3en ill of $im "e$ind $is "ac3= <,nia ti a
"u le$in t;o si g"o= ? <A man w$o $ears all t$at is said of $im "e$ind $is
"ac3= <A "i eti lu 3a Era "i aKere= ? <!e w$o $as ears all over $is "ody li3e
$oles in a colander= <1a "u u4 ma sa a4 ma s;oro re le$in= ? <9on;t a"use
$im4 don;t $ac3 $im4 don;t "ac3"ite $im= A*a"alola4 SA4 IKala songs4 p000
? 008B <Atunwon-3a ni"i won-g"e-ndana iro= ? One w$o scatters t$em
w$ere t$ey are conspiring= Ololo afi-enu i3a- lole= <One w$o punis$es t$e
wic3ed "y causing t$em to ru" t$eir mout$s on t$e ground= <Ati loKo ati
lerun 3o si eni ti S$ango o le pa= ? <*ot$ in t$e rainy season and in t$e dry
season4 t$ere is no one w$o cannoit "e 3illed "y S$ango=
George4 I"id4 p00B
OG:N ? T!, GO9 O) I7ON
One deaity w$o is not a <diuvine mediator= as <are Orunmila and
,s$u4 "ut s$ows somet$ing of t$eir universal @uality4 is Ogun= !e is t$e
god of iron and of t$ose w$ose occupations are related to t$e use of iron5
$unters4 farmers4 warriors4 smit$s and4 in modern situationC c$aufferurs and
Aop ut4 p&%JB It is said t$at <Ogun $imself is not iron "ut t$at
property of iron w$ic$ giuves it t$e power to cut= Also $e is said to "e t$e
pioneer god w$o goes "efore ot$ers to clear t$e way ? <Ogun is t$e
possessor of two mac$etes wit$ one $e prepares t$e farm and wit$ t$e ot$er
$e clears t$e road
= Offerings must "e made to $im in connection wit$ any
sacrifice "ecause $e is responsi"le for t$e 3nife t$at is used Namely4 for
similar reasons4 apparently4 $e is associated wit$ circumcision and ot$er
operations and "ecause of $is relations$ip to mac$ineryC Ogun is one god
w$o seems to "e more t$an $olding $is own in modern society In practice4
Ogun is also associated wit$ KusticeC oat$s are ta3en in $is name over pieces
of ironC anyone "rea3ing suc$ an oat$ must e2pect to "e $urt or 3illed "y
iron in some form In general4 Ogun is a rat$er fierce and un"ending deity4
<I$ere does one meet $imM
One meets $im in t$e place of "attle
One meets $im in t$e place w$ere torrents of "lood
)ills wit$ longing as a cup of water does t$e t$irst=
Ogun is sometimes said to "e t$e eldest son of Oduduwa In concretiDing
t$is saying4 it goes wit$out mincing words t$at Ogun was originally a $uman
"eing It was after $is deat$ t$at $e was deified and "ecame t$e god of iron
I$en it was said t$at Ogun is sometimes t$e eldest son of Oduduwa4 to
wit$4 $e was t$e first-"orn son of Oduduwa4 t$e progenitor of t$e 6oru"a or
one of Oduduwa;s c$ildren <I$en Ogun arrived on eart$ from $eaven4 one
of t$e first places $e visited was Ara w$ere $e found t$e peole engaged in
t$e act of offering a dig in sacrifice to EOlodumare;4 Et$e Almig$tyC Ogun
Koined in t$e ceremonyC A$eB waited till it was concluded and t$en went $is
In a very definite convictionC Ogun $as "een descri"ed as a very
great $unter and warrior4 "rave and victorious in war4 muc$ spoil !e was
notorious for $is $ot temper4 w$ic$ made $im often @uarrelsome wit$ ot$er
!aving "een so descri"ed as a strong man of great prowess and
invici"ility4 $e was later on descri"ed as a native of Apa near S$a3i from
w$ere one day $e went to Ile-Ife in $is capacity as #$ief Alapa4 in order to
defend $is 3it$ and 3in against an oppressive uncle called O"atala Prior to
one of $is feats4 at Ile-Ife4 $e was s$ut out at t$e town ? gate "y O"atala *ut
meanw$ile4 Oranmiyan was engaged in single com"at wit$ t$e wic3ed
O"atala Inside t$e town and fortunately Oranmiyan succeeded in 3illing
O"atala and t$rew t$e town-gate open to Ogun w$o t$us came into Ile-Ife
9uring $is few mont$s; stay at Ile-Ife4 Ogun decided to go and live in
solitude on a $illtop near t$e town of Ire4 alternatively called EIlu Ina; ET$e
town of fire;4 "ecause t$e in$a"itants wors$ip fire as a god
One day4 as $e was strolling t$roug$ t$e town4 Ogun felt t$irsty and
desired to drin3 palm-wine *ut to $is surprise none of t$e people to w$om
$e spo3e uttered a word in anwer !e did not 3now t$at t$e traditional ta"oo
associated wit$ a festival $ad enKoined AplacedB a"solute silence on all
in$a"itants of t$e town on t$at day In annoyance4 Ogun slaug$tered as many
of t$e people as t$ey refused to spea3 to $im in answer to $is re@uest for
information a"out $ow $e mig$t o"tain some palm-wine to drin3 On t$e
following day several people informed Ogun t$at a man called Aparo
9eg"ea$a $ad "een responsi"le for t$e failure of t$e in$a"itants of Ilu Ina
Aie t$e town of fireB to $ave ready some palm-wine for Ogun at t$e
previous day;s festival T$e man4 Aparo 9eg"ea$a4 t$e informants alleged4
$ad misled t$e people "y assuring t$em t$at Ogun would not come to t$e
festival ceremony On $earing t$is4 Ogun "ecame furious and at once went
out to searc$ of t$e alleged culprit4 Aparo deg"ea$a4 intending to 3ill $im as
soon as $e could get $old of $im I$en Aparo 9eg"ea$a saw Ogun coming
too3 flig$t and turned $imself into "ird w$ic$ flew to t$e top of a palm-tree
near"y Ogun in turn ordered $is followers to uproot t$e palm tree after $e
$ad applied a magical spell to prevent t$e "ird4 Aparo4 from "eing a"le to fly
away I$en t$e palm-tree $ad fallen down Ogun ordered $is men to strip off
all its "ranc$es and capture Aparo T$e punis$ment t$ereupon meted out to
Aparo was t$at $ot em"ers were placed on t$e "ird;s $ead as a result of
w$ic$ $is $ead AAparo;s $eadB "ecame "ald T$roug$out t$e ordeal $owever4
Aparo 3ept a"solutely still and mute as $e suffered t$e torture *ut Kust
"efore Aparo died44 $e said4= EIt is not uncommon for a person to pass a
w$ole day "y a fire side;=
>>>> *efore returning to $is residence t$at
day Ogun t$reatened t$at $e would come to t$e town again t$e following
dayC and t$at if t$e people of Ilu Ina Aie IreB could not provide $im wit$
palm-wine to drin34 $e AOgunB would massacre t$em all
!ence4 $uman "eings ? $unters4 warriors and "lac3smit$s ? w$o $ad
received t$e secret of iron from Ogun did not forget $im as <Ogun Onire= ?
meaning <Ogun t$e owner of t$e town of Ire=
I$et$er it "e true or not
t$at $e $aiuled from Ire or S$a3iC
Ogun is t$e Oris$a AgodB of iron and of
t$e t$ings made of iron and $ence of war
In ot$er words Ogun is t$e
Oris$a of war4 of $unt4 and of all pursuits in w$ic$ iron or steel is used !e is
$eld to "e misc$ievous4 powerful and crfuel Idowu says t$at in pran3s
Atric3sB and misc$ief-ma3ing4 <Ogun is ne2t to ,s$u= "ut t$at Kustice4
fairplay4 and rectitude rat$er t$an evil are associated wit$ $im Some men till
today ma3e covenants and ta3e oat$s in t$e name of Ogun "y was$ing a
3nife or any piece of iron in water containing palm leaves and drin3ing t$e
water from itoo Aa type of cala"as$BC putting a gun and cutlass on Ogun;s
s$rine4 pouring water into t$e "arrel of t$e gun and as3ing t$ose ta3ing oat$
to eat 3olanuts and drin3 t$e waterC 3issing somet$ing made of iron and
as3ing Ogun to witness t$e oat$C or w$en a person is suspected of a crime
against some"ody4 eg4 a relative4 ta3ing w$ite and "rown 3olanuts to
Ogun;s s$rine and eating t$e 3olanuts and calling on Ogun to punis$ t$e
offender "y ma3ing $im ill or 3illing $im4 per$aps "y sna3e "ite or as a
result of contact wit$ somet$ing made of iron4 eg "y getting a wound from
stepping on a nailC "y inKuring $imself wit$ a 3nife or cutlassC or "y "eing
accidentally s$ot "y $unter An aggrieved person may ta3e one accused of
t$eft to Ogun;s s$rine to clear $imself "y calling on Ogun to punis$ $im if
$e $as lied Insta"ces of occurrences of t$is a"ound To mention "ut one4 a
muslim diviner w$o still wors$ip Ogun "ecause $e is a $unter told of t$e
following incident5
A pressing iron was stgolen "y one of t$e was$ermen T$e was$ermen
called a meeting4 was$ed one of t$e irons in wsater and eac$ dran3 some of
t$e water4 calling on Ogun to 3ill t$e t$ief T$ree days later4 one of t$e men
was "itten "y a co"ra Ordinarily dpea3ingC all t$ose w$o wor3 wit$
materials made of iron4 including carpenters4 mec$anics4 fitters4 truc3 and
ta2i drivers4 appeal to Ogun to protect t$em from inKuring t$emselves and
ot$ers So also do ot$er people w$o use iron tools4 instgruments or
mec$nics Namely t$ose w$o use 3nives in circumcising and ma3ing tri"al
mar3s and in surgical operations was$ t$eir instruments in water issued from
snails and t$en present t$em to Ogun4 as3ing t$at t$e wounds $eal @uic3ly
In addition to t$e special powers and concerns of Ogun4 $e4 li3e many of t$e
Oris$a4 may "e appealed to for c$ildren All in formants on Ogun agree t$at
failure to provide an annual festival for $im may $ave dire conse@uences
t$at include famine4 civil strife and accidents of all 3inds All of t$e a"ove ?
mentioned categories of Ogun followers go to ma3e or s$ow distinction
"etween t$ose w$o are Ogun wors$ippers "ecause $e is t$eir lineage god
AOris$aB and t$ose w$o "ecome wors$ippers "ecause of t$eir occupation
Iomen are included in t$e first group "ut not in t$e second ASimpson4
George ,4 op ut p0' ? 80B conceptions of Ogun and people;s attitudes
towards $im are revealed in $is praisenames AOri3iB as follows5
& Ogun o3unrin
ogun4 ato
polowo i3u
& Ogun t$e
powerful one4
sufficiently to
advertise deat$
0 ,ni ti
0 One w$o
ma3es $uman
"eings pros-
8 ,mi Ogun Eo
g"e "i ni eniti
3o ro"i se"o
8 One w$o is
not enric$ed "y
ogun will find it
difficult to get
( G"ig"e ni o
g"e mi "i o ti
g"e A3inoro ti
o fi 3ole ola
( Ogun enric$
me as you
enric$ed A3inoro
enoug$ to "uild
$ouse and ma3e
$im eminents

Ogun awoo4
ala3a aiye osin
Ogun t$e
powerfuful one4
t$e strong one of
t$e eart$4 t$e
great one of t$e
ot$er world
/ Ag"e le$in eni
a nda loro
/ T$e protector
of t$ose w$o are
"eing inKured
% Ogun g"e mio % Ogun4 support
& 1eKi meKi4 3ondo ye e R & Slaug$ter t$em4 cut
t$em into two $alves
0 Animoro4 3ondo ye eR 0 Amiroro Aa
warriorB cut t$em into
two $alves
8 G"ogung"oro olo3e Amoye 8 G"ogung"oro A a
warriorB of t$e Amoye
( Odidi4 omo afodi di ( T$e one w$o $eals
t$e cuts
. AKamode4 "a"a sog"e R . 9eep4 "road cuts
/ Odidi4 omo afodi di / T$e one w$o $eals
t$e cuts
To "e mentioned alongside t$e a"ove-mentioned AfricanG6oru"a gods4
we find somew$at more Eindependent; deities w$o in turn $ave t$eir own
associates or pant$eons Aie temples or s$rines dedicated to t$em
respectivelyB I$et$er or not we consider t$em as t$e deities of Offa-6oru"a
collectively4 one of t$ese pant$eons AdeitiesB commonly "elieved in is
S$aponna as one of t$e independent deities "ecause actually $e is not simply
one god "ut t$e <generic name for a group of deities= AL pant$eonB
T$is is
w$y S$anponna is sometimes said to "e t$e <eart$ god= "ut $is concern is
not so muc$ wit$ eart$ as a source of fertility as wit$ eart$ as licus of
disease and deat$ In Offa $e is often referred to as t$e <small po2 deity=
AOris$a OlodeB T$is is t$e result of identifying $inm wit$ t$e most o"vious
sign of $is wrat$ !e is associated not only wit$ small po2 AolodeB "ut also
wit$ all fevers4 "oils and ras$es !e is a <$ot= deity4 especially "ecause $e is
@uite often present in $ot4 dry weat$er !ence4 $e is called <Ile g"ona= in
6oru"a !ere w$en a person dies of small po2 t$e usual term for deat$ is not
used It is said t$at <T$e 3ing $as ta3en $im
In suc$ cases t$ere must not
"e any mourning "ut instead an e2pression of gratitude for w$at t$e 3ing $as
doneC ot$erwise $is anger will increase *y e2tensionC special funeral rites
are carried out "y t$e priests of S$anponna In t$e process4 presuma"ly t$e
"ody is disposed of in a way t$at will minimiDe t$e c$ance of spreading t$e
disease 1eanw$ile4 S$ganponna priests $ave sometimes "een suspected of
intentionally causing t$e disease and "ecause of t$is4 t$e cult Awors$ipB of
S$anponna was outlawed in Nigeria in &'&% it is also a common 3nowledge
t$at S$anponna;s s$rine is often located outside t$e town4 eit$er "ecause of
$is fierceness or "ecause as <3ing of t$e eart$=4 $e cannot "e too close to a
$uman 3ing It $as also "een suggested t$at w$et$er t$is ? t$e reason givewn
for locating S$anponna;s s$rine outside t$e town ? is due to $is Kealousy of
$uman rule or t$e $uman 3ing;s Kealousy of $im is not entirelty clear

Soonest4 per$aps in t$e immediate succeeding pages4 we s$all em"ar3 on t$e
discussion of Offa-6oru"a mode of "urial rites and ceremonies
As part of social control mec$anism4 curse spells or causes man;s
doom in life Ferita"ly4 it is unAfrican and in$uman to ma3e a moc3ery of
old age4 "ecause Africans and all $uman "eings pray to God to prolong t$eir
life span Some$ow any 6oru"aman found to "e sun3 in gloom4 loo3ing
misera"le is @uite often suspected "y t$e people in t$e community4 including
spiritualists4 parapsyc$ologists4 politicians and even some senior citiDens4 to
$ave a total cras$ of one or t$e ot$er plan of $is and lin3 suc$ a cras$4
may"e from grace to grass4 to t$e curse placed on $im "y some"ody
cursing word of elders in t$is respect emanates from t$e African social
dictum t$at Africans and all $uman "eings pray to God to prolong t$eir life
span !ence4 t$ose w$o indulge in t$e a"omination of ma3ing moc3ery of
old age s$all not live to "e old T$ey s$all die "efore t$eir aloowed life span4
and t$ey s$all suffer for vilifying t$e root of t$e tree from ws$ic$ t$ey
Indeed4 curses4 if placed on people genuinely and in rig$teous anger4
are potent in t$eir effects It is from t$is prism t$at elders "elieve in cursing
any em"attled enemy4 in dispute T$is 3ind of cursed will forever affect t$e
accursed4 especially if t$e man w$o placed t$e curse could not "e revo3ed as
a result T$e 6oru"as y$ave an adage t$at <Ti omode "a so3o lu alagemo4 a
pon;laso "i aparo ni;= Translated4 it menas t$at <if a c$ild stones a
c$ameleon4 $is clot$es will forever "e stained and "e cursed wit$ t$e evil
$aving t$e verisimilitude to t$e feat$ers of "us$-fowl;s @uillsC t$at $e will
forever "e dirty= In t$ose days of old Offa4 old age was a sacred t$ingC
regarding old man as ne2t to God 6ou cannot tal3 to t$em any$ow4 let alone
a"use t$em If you do4 you will pay t$e price And many $ave paid dearly for
t$eir impudence against t$eir elders
!owever4 curse in t$e we" of traditional and modern "eliefs may "e
discussed in terms of c$aracter training towards attaining social control4
social order Alt$oug$ supernatural sanctions for t$e use of elders are losing
t$eir force in modern societies of Africa4 in t$e days of <ancestor ? wors$ip;
w$ic$ we $ave already interpreted in t$is "oo3 to mean ancestor-venerationC
t$e $ead of t$e family and t$e spirits of t$e living-dead to w$om sacrificves
$ad to "e made to secure t$e mem"er;s welfare )or e2ample4 if one of t$e
family mem"ers seriously offended t$e $ead of t$e family t$e latter could
refuse to sacrifice on $is "e$alf until a formal reconciliation $ad "een made4
more especially w$en t$e offending family mem"er4 "y $is acts4 was $eld to
commit sin against or offend t$e spiritual "eings w$o are @uite often t$oug$t
of as t$e ultimate guardians of t$e family or community at large and w$o4 "y
suc$ acts4 caused danger to or endanger4 t$e community "y "ringing t$e
living-dead;s anger dopwn upon t$e community or family at large In cases
of w$at 7adcliff ? *rown calls Et$e crfime of "eing a "ad lot;4 t$e wrat$ of
curse may "e incurred "y t$e culprits Suc$ people may "e $a"itual t$ieves
"ringing disgrace to t$e family4 etc Indeed4 t$e fat$er;s curse @uite often
relates to t$e definite invocation of some disaster upon an offender or a
sinner or an immoral actor T$is case was "elieved to actually "ring upon t$e
disgruntled iconoclast t$e intended punis$ment or woe Any resultant
sic3ness4 t$erefore4 mig$t "e e2plained "y a diviner as due to t$e anger of
some senior relative
& As do parts of mac$ine
0 T$e world *oo3 9ictionary A&'%(B4 vol III
I"id p &0%-
8 Some O"servation;s on 7eligious cult in
As$anti4 Africa vol SSFI4 Hanuary &'-/ No & p (%
( Lucy 1air A&'/'B4 Agrican marriage and
social c$ange pp&' P 0J
. 1air4 Lucy A&'%%B4 Primitive Government4
London5 T$e Solar Press4 p&8(
/ 7o"ertson4 7oland A&'/'B4 AedB Sociology of
7eligion4 p-'
% In Ig"oland
- I"id4 p'/
' Of 0'G(G'.
&J 9r O3olo A&''.B4 Prime people4 p.
&& Simpson4 George , A&'-JB4 6oru"a 7eligion
to 1edicine in I"adan4 I"adan5 I"adan :niversity Press4 p
&0)or differing points of view on w$et$er or not witc$craft contri"utes to
t$e sta"ility of t$e social stgructure4 see S) Nadel A&'.0B4 Iiotc$craft in
four African Societies5 Anm ,ssay in compariuson4 American
Ant$ropologist4 NO .(4 pp &- ?m 0'4 *o$annan4 Paul A&'/(B4 Africa and
Africans4 Natural !istory Press4 pp 080 ? 088C Ho$n 1iddleton and ,!
Iinter4 eds A&'/8B4 Iitc$craft and Sorcery in ,ast Africa4 )redric3 A
&8 pp &%-& P &%0
&( In &'%&
&. Newell S *oot$ A&%%%B African 7eligions
I"id4 p&%&
&/ T$e old man w$o 3nows t$e secret
&% Simpson4 Geirge , A&'-JB4 I"id p0&
&- I"id4 p00
&' I"id A&'%%B4 p&%J
0J I"id 0& I"id
00 *a"alola4 SA op ut4 p/
08 I"id4 p(
0( I"id4 pp ( ? /
0. !arold #ourlander4 op ut4 pp 8/ P 8%
0/ I"id4 pp /8 P /(
0% )adipe4 NA4 I"id4 p0/&
0- Accoduing to !ers3ovits in African
7eligions A0'%%B4 I"id4 p&%&
0' I"id
8J I"id
8& Iee3end #oncord4 Saturday August &0
0JJJ4 p85 curse t$at caused O3adig"o;s fall
#)APT*R .
In general understanding4 deat$ may "e realiDed as occurring wit$in
t$e will of God "ut parado2ically it could "e said to "e outside t$e will of
God Prior to advent of modern religion;s ? Islam and #$ristianity ? it $as
"een said t$at Eat first t$ere was no deat$ in t$e sense of t$e seperation of
soul and "ody and t$e reusultant corruption of t$e "ody; !owever4 "y
concept of deat$ and its e2egesis we mean 6oru"a view of deat$C w$ile its
e2egesis is concerned wit$ sc$olarly e2planation and interpretation t$e
6oru"a and generally t$e African meanings attac$ed to deat$ of man I$ile
ordinarily deat$ means t$e act or fact of t$e ending of any form of life in a
person4 animal or plant4 t$e 6oru"a view of deat$ spectacularly refers to loss
or a"sence of spiritual life4 t$e stopping of in$aling and e2$aling ? ie
"reat$ing in and out T$e 6oru"a "elieve tKat at deat$4 t$e spirit or4 one mig$t
eay4 w$en t$e Edeat$; occurs t$e E"reat$; leaves t$e "ody4 "elieving t$en t$at
it $as left its "odily $a"itation and gone to live in t$e spirit world4 even
t$oug$ it is not actually clear to $em Kust w$ere t$is spirit world is In
essence4 t$ey associate t$eir view of deat$ wit$ t$at of t$e soul To t$em
ET$e soul comes fgrom wit$out into t$e $uman "ody and passes into ot$er
$a"itations In ot$er words4 deat$ is regarded as t$e passage into a new stage
of life and it is in t$e process of "ecoming an ancestor T$at is to say t$at it
is in t$e process of not simply a dangling dead-end of life "ut a lin3 in t$e
continuity of e2istence w$ic$ unites t$e past and t$e future t$roug$ t$e
presentSo t$at particularly4 at t$is Kuncture we may discuss Offa-yoru"a
"elief a"out deat$ in a little detail
O))A-6O7:*A *,LI,) A*O:T 9,AT!
Offa-6oru"a "elief in life after deat$ "egins wit$ "elief in t$e
occurrence of deat$ at t$e end of one;s span of life and provides t$e "asis for
t$e rise of Et$e "elief in life after deat$;4 "ecause we are assured "y modern
religious teac$ings t$at EGod gives life after and deat$;4 t$at Eall t$at survive
after p$ysical deat$ goes "ac3 to God4 t$e original Source of all t$ings; It is
Ie AGodB w$o will in$erit t$e eart$4 TTTTTTTTTTTTT All "eings t$ereupon5
to us AGodB will t$ey all "e returned; In furt$erance of t$is4 Offa-yoru"a
"elieve t$at life $ere on eart$ is not intermina"le T$ey $old t$at sooner or
later t$e inevita"le p$enomenon called deat$ will come upon man w$o is
only a soKourner on god;s eart$ No matter $ow long a person lives on eart$
deat$ must come as a necessary end As we may $ave said already t$at deat$
is a spear-$ead connection "etween t$e world of t$e living and t$at of t$e
spirits4 t$e Offa people "elieve t$at deat$ is only a transition4 only a means
of passing from t$e world of t$e living to t$e world of t$e spirits T$a
6oru"a word for deat$ is EI3u; T$is same name is t$e name for t$e
personified power w$ic$ $ad "een commissioned "y t$e supreme *eing to
3ill Aor end lifeB and remove people from t$is world
T!, !ISTO76 O) 9,AT! O##:7,N#,
*y inference4 from t$e a"ove4 w$en an Offa-man dies4 $e "ecomes an
EO3u; ? deat$ person or g$ost As concerning t$e origin myt$ of EI3u;
Adeat$B it is said t$at myt$ical statement of $ow EI3u; "egan $is 3illing
function $as "een narrated "y , *olaKi Idowu in $is EOlodumareC God in
6oru"a *elief; T$e well-3nown myt$ states t$at deat$ "egan to 3ill w$en $e
was greatly offended t$roug$ t$e 3illing of $is mot$er T$e mot$er of EI3u;
Adeat$B was 3illed at ,Kig"o-1e3un mar3et #onse@uently EI3u; Adeat$B
"ecame offended and started to revenge "y 3illing ot$er people Anot$er
version of t$is story is t$at in w$ic$ we may demonstrate t$at in 6oru"aland
E,gungun;4 t$at is4 Emas3s and mas@uerades; are means "y w$ic$ Offa-
6oru"a try to concretiDe and materialiDe t$e spirits of t$e dead Nevert$eless4
it is well-3nown t$at myt$ical statement a"out I3u may not "e w$olly
accurateC yet t$is does not mean t$at its t$eoretical model can "e totally
invalidated or t$at its empirical formula "ased entirely practical e2perience
wit$out regard to science or t$ory t$at all 3nowledge including religious
3nowledge4 is "ased on e2perience4 can "e proved to "e une@ualto t$e
e2igency of t$e situation demanding attention on t$e possi"ility of realiDing
its trut$ for e2amination for validation
1eanw$ile4 Offa people use eup$emistic e2pressions to descri"e deat$ of
someone I$en an ordinary man in town dies4 t$e eup$emistic descriptive
word of $is end of Kourney in life is EO 3u;4 meaning $e dies T$eir is
difference "etween EO 3u; and EO3u; I$ile EO 3u; means $e dies4 EO3u;
means a Edead person; or a Eg$ost; I$en Offa-6oru"a man says 1r so and
so E3u;4 $e means to say t$at 1r so and so diesC w$ereas t$e 6oru"a saying
Emo ri o3uC in ,nglis$ means I saw a dead person or a g$ost According to
traditionC w$en an O"a A3ingB or c$ief AoloyeB dies4 $e is said to $ave gone
into t$e ceiling4 t$at is4 Eo waKa; in 6oru"a On t$e ot$er $and4 if a no"le or
ric$ man dies4 t$e most commonly used term to descri"e $is deat$ is EIgi
ara"a nla wo;4 meaning Ea mig$ty oa3 tree $as "een uprooted and fallen; or
Eerin wo; meaning Ean elep$ant $as fallen; Truly4 no Offa-man would use a
common p$rase to descri"e t$e deat$ of $is O"a or #$ief It is unet$ical to
say t$e #$ief is dead or descri"e it in suc$ plain terms t$e deat$ of an elder
or a man of any importance :ptill today4 any"ody w$o mentions t$e deat$
of a #$ief or an elder wit$out using t$e appropriate eup$emism to do so is
never loo3ed upon wit$ good eyes It is regarded as denigratory to do sop
and4 in t$e past4 su$ a person4 caug$t up doing so incur deat$ penalty to
$imself ,ven in announcing t$e deat$ of a person ? any person ? t$e 6oru"a
culture demands t$at t$e voice s$ould drop to a w$isper level w$en using
eac$ of t$e e2pressions to descri"e t$e deat$ of suc$ a person
)urt$ermore4 t$ese terms are used to indicate t$e dead person;s
departure from t$is p$ysical worldC more so Offa men and women "elieve
t$at deat$ of someone is not a total departure or total anni$ilation of t$e
spiritual part of t$e departed T$ey t$in3 a"out deat$ as not t$e end of man
"ut rat$er as passage from t$is wordly e2istence into anot$er4 t$e spiritual
world4 part of w$ic$4 it is "elieved4 "elongs to t$e ancestral spiritsC t$ey
"elieve t$at t$roug$ t$e deat$ of an individual4 t$e living are reminded of
t$eir relations$ip wit$ t$e dead w$o t$ey 3now are in invisi"le e2istence
9espite t$e general "elief t$at deat$ is universal4 unpredicta"le and
inescapa"le for all man3ind and ultimately eyond $uman control and wit$ a
strong "elief t$at deat$ is a 3ind of metap$orical ladder w$ic$ everyone $as
to clim"4 it follows t$at w$ile t$e !oru"as in particular use t$e e2pression
<OKise Orun de= ? <!eaven;s *aliff $as come= to dedscri"e t$e descent of
deat$ in one fell swoop4 t$ey also "elieve t$at deat$ AI3uB is regarded as a
de"t w$ic$ everyone must payC in suc$ a way t$at Offa-man;s "elief is in
<man is for "ot$ life and deat$=4 in t$e flying deat$ t$at swoops and stuns
Aie deadens consciouysnessB= is esta"lis$ed
As do ot$er Iest Africans4
deat$ is regarded "y Offa people as one of t$e crises of life4 and4 t$erefore4
t$ere are some religious rites associated wit$ it
As a corollary4 man4 as we $ave seen4 is made up of p$ysical4 tangi"le
"ody4 and t$e personality ? social4 w$ic$ is t$e real $uman essence Suc$
t$at Offa-6oru"a "elieve t$at w$en deat$ occurs4 t$e personality-soul w$ic$
is t$e spiritual su"stance and4 t$erefore4 t$e essential part of a person4 is
separated from t$e p$ysical "odyC suc$ t$at invaria"lCy t$e left-over4 t$at is4
t$e remains of t$e fallen p$ysical "ody decays w$ile t$e personality ? soul
returns to t$e original source AGodB4 t$e Supreme *eing4 from w$om it
comes T$is Offa-6oru"a "elief is demonstrated in t$e importance w$ic$ t$e
people attac$ to funeral rites Alongside t$is "elief4 t$e people again "elieve
in life after deat$ and are4 t$erefore4 convinced t$at unless t$e funeral rites
are carefully4 ela"orately and properly performed4 t$e spirit of t$e dead
would not "e a"le to Koin ot$ers in t$e Land of t$e 9ead It would "e
compelled to roam a"out t$e eart$ wit$out rest T$is e2plains w$y t$e
funeral rites and ceremonies are @uite often ela"orate w$ile great care is
ta3en to go t$roug$ all rites All $ave said may loo3 superstitious T$ey are
true "eliefs in olden day4 including t$e fact t$at in passing we may o"serve
t$at if everyt$ing $ad ended wit$ t$e passing away of t$e p$ysical "ody4 t$e
Offa-6oru"a4 indeed4 Africans4 would not $ave "een "ot$ering to engage
t$emselves in suc$ ela"orate funeral ceremonies till today It would $ave
dawned upon t$em enoug$ to enKoy as muc$ of life as possi"le4 doing
w$atever t$ey t$in3 will suit t$eir selfis$ purpose wit$out ade@uate regard to
t$e discomfort of ot$er people *ut since t$ey 3now t$at deat$ only "rings
c$ange of life and t$at at deat$ man passes from t$is p$ysical world into a
new type of life w$ere t$e conduct of man in t$e p$ysical world will "e
adKudged4 t$e people t$en prepare t$emselves for t$e final end w$ile alive
and t$e survivors of t$e dead engage t$emselves performing funeral rites4
rig$t from t$e time w$en t$e "reat$ of life departs from t$e "ody4 after
drfawing $is or $er last "reat$
AT SI#K *,9-SI9,
Preceding 3ic3ing t$e "uc3et4 t$e cerfemonies o"served at deat$ "y
6oru"a tri"es4 according to ,* ,llis A&'%'5&..B4 c$iefly differ from t$ose
of t$e ,wes In t$e midst of various indications of deat$ appearing imminent
and religious o"servances4 especially prior to t$e time w$en t$e "reat$ of life
is wis$ing to depart from t$e p$ysical "ody4 t$ere is t$e usual out"urst of
e2aggerated grief4 more so w$en t$e last "reat$ $as "een drfawn I$en t$e
"reat$ of life $as departed from man;s "ody t$e usual lamentations wit$
frenDied gestures ta3e place Prior to t$is4 $owever4 t$at is4 w$en it $as
"ecome manifest t$at t$e sic3 person cannot survive $is or $er sic3ness4 t$e
eldest son of t$e sic3 manGdeceased or $is "rot$er4 if t$ere "e no son4 at once
sends for a *a"alawo At$e medicine-man divinerB to ascertain if t$e sic3man
died or is going to die from natural causes or t$roug$ t$e mac$inations of
witc$es Sometimes "efore t$e occurrence of deat$4 t$at is4 as Offa old
traditions in retrospect assert4 w$en an Offa-man falls seriously sic3 $is
eldest son or "rot$er4 "eing very close to $im oug$t always to "e "y t$e sic3-
"ed Indeed tradition demands t$at $e s$ould very often "e at $is "ed side
At point of deat$ or comma t$ose at t$e "ed side call in a diviner ? a
*a"alawo ? in order to ascertain t$e cause of t$e person;s illness t$at is
leading to $is deat$4 especially if t$e sic3man lingers on in pain4 to ena"le
$is relatives to 3now as <t$e "east of t$e ancestors= in accordance wit$
*a"alawo;s ifa oracular prescription AsB and direction to avoid t$e scourge of
suc$ a deat$ in large-scale devastating t$e family in ones and twos
T$is is "ecause Offa-6oru"a distinguis$ "etween natural deat$ and
accidental deat$ T$eir "elief is strong t$at only t$e aged die T$at is w$y t$e
deat$ of a young man is regarded as premature4 t$e cause of w$ic$ generally
spea3ing4 mig$t "e due to some supernatural forces4 suc$ as witc$craft4
magic4 sorcery or powerful curse4 w$ic$ $e was una"le to ta3e preventive
measures against !ence Offa-man;s eKaculation5 <Olorun mase e ni a3uta=
meaning <may God nip occurrence of suc$ deat$ in t$e "ud= T$e deat$ of a
young man4 t$erefore4 does not evo3e t$e same degree of c$eerful feeling as
deat$ of an aged person T$e deat$ of a young man4 in 6oru"a parlance4 is
tragic and it is an occasion of sorrowful mourningC w$ereas t$e deat$ of an
aged person is welcomed as good news involving moments of emotion of
encouragement and approval of praise and Koy4 "ecause at ripe age suc$ a
person $as "een recalled to Koin $is ancestors in t$e land "eyond from w$ere
$e would "e reincarnated
!OI O))A P,OPL, *:76 T!,I7 9,A9
!ow funeral o"se@uies AritesB are carried out in Offa is t$e concern of
t$is part of t$e "oo3 In old Offa4 funeral o"se@uies of t$e dead were @uite
often carried out and cele"rated wit$ utmost grandeur and solemnity As
Ho$n S 1"iti A&'/'B $as said5 <"irt$ "eing t$e first r$yt$m of a new
generationC t$e rites of "irt$ are performed in order to ma3e t$e c$ild a
corporate and social "eing5 Initiation rites continue t$e process and ma3e
$im mature4 responsi"le and active mem"er of $is societyC marriage ma3es
$im a creative and productive "eing lin3ing $im wit$ "ot$ t$e departed and
t$e generation to comeC finally comes deat$4 t$at inevita"le and4 in many
societies4 most distur"ing p$enomenon of all4= T$us4 all along deat$ stands
"etween t$e world of t$e $uman "eings and t$e world of t$e spirits4 "etween
t$e visi"le and t$e invisi"le
T$ere are many4 and often complicated4 ceremonies connected wit$
deat$4 "urials4 funerals4 in$eritance4 t$e living-dead4 t$e world of t$e
departed4 t$e visit of t$e li3ving-dead to t$eir $uman families4 reincarnation
and survival of t$e soul T$us4 it follows t$at4 w$en we $ave lived to full
age4 it is o"vious t$at decat$ is somet$ing t$at concerns every"ody4 partly
"ecause sooner or later everyone personally faces it and partly "ecause it
"rings loss and sorrow to every family and community It is no wonder4
t$erefore4 t$at rituals connected wit$ deat$ are usually ela"orate since it
would "e futile to imagine t$at we could deal ade@uately wit$ t$e su"Kect of
deat$ wit$in t$e scope of t$is "oo3 Ie s$all ta3e a few specific cases for
consideration "elow Ie s$all ta3e @uite a few specific cases wit$ w$ic$ to
illustrate t$e processes of $ow Offa people "ury t$eir dead
9ead4 we $ave said earlier on4 is regarded as a passage from t$is
eart$ly e2istence to anot$er world T$us4 as a process of transition4 t$e
funeral rites of an aged Offa-man are c$aracteriDed "y feasting4 $appiness
and merriment As *olaKi Idowu A&' B says of t$e 6oru"a aged in general ?
and t$e same is true of Offa ? t$e aged Offa-men are prepared to die in order
to enter t$e ne2t world and Koin t$eir ancestors t$erein It is a "elief among
Offa people t$at suc$ people in t$eir state of coma4 "efore t$ey "ecome
deceased4 can communicate wit$ t$eir ancestors in t$e life "eyond w$en
t$ey get t$ere 1eanw$ile4 during periods of ascertainment of t$e 3ind of
deat$ a man $ad died and purificatory sacrifice at deat$4 t$e "a"alawo4 after
sacrificing a fowl4 in@uiries at t$e oracle of Ifa "y means of an Ifa "oard
Acalled Opon IfaB and si2teen palm-nuts for ascertainment of w$it$er t$e
deceased is "ound4 and if it affirms t$at t$e deat$ was caused "y witc$craft4
furt$er in@uiry is made to 3now if any ot$er mem"er of t$e family is4 or is
"eing4 t$reatened wit$ a similar fate and also if t$e soul of t$e deceased is in
danger of furt$er molestation from t$e evil spirits w$o $ave "een influenced
to act as suc$ "y t$e evil mac$inations of t$e sorcerers S$ould t$e oracle
declare in t$e affirmative t$at t$e soul of t$e departed is in danger4 a s$eep
or goat is sacrificed and t$e carcass on w$ic$ is smeared some @uantity of
palm-oil "efore it is carried outside t$e town4 is deposited at a cross-road or
road-Kunction of two or more pat$s w$ic$ $as t$e effect of causing t$e evil
spirits to disperse in as many directions as t$ere are pat$s After t$is t$e
"a"alawo t$en prepares t$e usual water of purification wit$ s$ear-"utter and
edi"le snails 9ipping in to t$e vessel containing t$e water4 palm-fond sacred
to Ifa4 $e At$e "a"alawoB sprin3les t$e corpse4 t$e room and t$e spectators
Aor t$e "y-standersB around wit$ fluid4 as a ritual act of cleansing from t$e
pollution AuncleannessB caused "y t$e deat$ of t$e departed At t$e same
time $e invo3es t$e soul of t$e departed to leave t$e $ouse as soon as t$e
funeral rites $ave "een performed and proceed peacefully to its destinationC
to <Ipo o3u orun= ? t$e place of t$e dead4 wis$ing it safe Kourney4 as $e says
some s$ort prayers4 including <1ay t$e road "e open to you 1ay not$ing
evil meet you on t$e way 1ay you find t$e road good w$en you go in
After t$ese preliminaries t$e corpse is was$ed wit$ new sponge4 soap
and clean "ut moderately warm water andGor sometimes wit$ a decoction of
aromatic $er"s on a mortar Aturned upside down and used as seatB on w$ic$
t$e deceased is $eld up "y supporters )ollowing t$is4 t$e deceased is attired
in $isG$er "est clot$es At$e one $e loves to wear mostBC t$e t$um"s and t$e
great toes are t$en tied toget$er wit$ strands of cotton t$readC w$ile t$e
nostrils are stuffed wit$ w$ite cotton woolC as $isG$er $ands are placed on
$isG$er c$est If t$e deceased "e a man4 t$e $ead is s$aved wit$ a raDor or
loal 3nife after w$ic$ t$en $airs is carefully wrapped up in a piece of w$ite
cotton wit$ w$ic$ t$e deceased is "uried in t$e eart$4 "e$ind t$e $ouse or in
one of t$e rooms in t$e $ouse *ut if t$e deceased "e a woman t$e $air is
plaited to matc$ $er status in life w$ereas t$e e2posed parts of $ers are
smeared Aor ru""edB wit$ a decoction of t$e "ar3 of a tree w$ic$ gives a
reddis$ $ue LcolourB to t$e s3in T$is reddis$ $ue Aor colourB of t$e
camwood or a red dyewood4 commonly o"taina"le in Iestern parts of
Africa4 is called Osun in 6oru"a )inally t$e corpse is wrapped up in may
dignifying native clot$es or attires4 supplied "y t$e relatives and placed on a
mat at t$e door of a room Nowadays4 a well-decorated "ed is used4 placed in
a well-tidied4 neat sitting room
Sometimes t$e "ody is treated wit$ resinuous $er"s so t$at it "ecomes
desiccated At$oroug$ly dryB suc$ t$at w$ile it remains in t$e $ouse4 t$e soul
is "elieved to a"ide in its old $ome till suc$ time as proper ceremonies can
"e $eld 7eason for all t$ese is t$at t$e corpse $as to "e prepared in suc$
manner in order to give t$e dead person a wort$y appearance in t$e ancestral
community and to ma3e it comforta"le for people to sit around it w$en lying
in state invaria"ly for t$ree days )or it is "elieved t$at if t$e corpse is not
properly was$ed4 t$e deceased would not "e permitted to enter orun
A$eavenB and also if t$e spirit were to "e reincarnated t$e dirts of t$e
formerly deceased would cling to t$e "ody of t$e reincarnate ,ssentially4 it
needs "e reinstated t$at great importance is attac$ed to t$e was$ing of t$e
corpse "ecause it is "elieved t$at one $as to "e clean in order to "e admitted
into t$e a"ode and comity of ancestors
)or funeral o"se@uies AceremoniesB to "eginC immediately after t$e
corpse $as "een was$ed and dressed and t$e deat$ Aof an old manB is
announced t$ere is t$e "ooming of guns t$at invites concerned people from
different parts of t$e town or village as well as t$ose from ot$er towns and
villages to start trooping in for mourning e2pression of sympat$y and all
forms of condolence visitsC w$ile ot$ers move around t$e town or village
weeping and crfying aloud4 as a searc$ party com"ing t$e town for t$eir
missing mem"er singing a mourning song5 <A nwaC a o ri4 a o sun4 a o wo4 a
o mo "i to waC a o wo "i to "a lo o=4 meaning <Ie are loo3ing for $imC we
cannot find $imC even during all nig$t vigilC and we are worn out "y t$e
la"ours of restlessnessC $e is not among t$e lotsC it;s over4 $e is goneC we do
not 3now w$ic$ way $e $as passed=
T$ese rites w$ic$ are a must to "e performed presuppose life after
deat$ T$ey are performed to ena"le t$e deceased to ma3e $isG$er Kourney to
t$e ot$er world easy and $itc$-free T$ese would also ma3e t$e spirit of t$e
departed contented in t$e world "eyond In anot$er sense4 t$ey are also
performed to $onour and to pay t$e last respect to t$e deceased "y t$e living
9uring t$e time of funeral ceremony muc$ time and e2penses are lavis$ed
on t$e departed to ensure a proper funeral T$at is w$y as soon as a person
"reat$es $is or $er last4 t$e living survivors get a fowl ready Its descriptive
name is adie irano in 6oru"a or <a fare-fowl= in ,nglis$ It is 3illed "y way
of immolation and offered for t$e ancestors to open t$e gate for t$e deceased
as well as ma3e it easier for $im to get to t$e Land of t$e 9eadC since t$e
purpopse of t$is is to clear t$e pat$ for a safe Kourney "ac3 $ome
9uKring t$e adie irano funeral rite4 it needs "e recalled t$at
processionally4 as t$e deceased person ma3es $is last Kourney and t$e corpse
is carried from t$e $ome denuded of $im to its grave-yard4 a man goes wit$
t$e live adie irano Afare-fowlB feat$ers till t$ey reac$ t$eir destination w$ere
t$e ritual fowl is immolatged and ceremonially eaten "y t$e parta3ers T$e
sacrifice of fare-fowl admits of two or more meanings After inviting $im
At$e deceasedB in a leery Acareful and un"urdenedB manner "y t$e living
calling $im "y name t$ree times and adKured Aie entreatedB $im to depart $is
dwelling place as $e is no longer wanted to $aunt t$e dwellings of t$e living
"ut to "e gone fort$wit$4 t$e sacrifice of <adie irano= Aor <t$e fare-fowl=B as
it AiB "uys t$e road AiiB secures a rig$t way$= for t$e deadC and AiiiB "esides
securing a rig$t of way for t$e soul of t$e deceased it is supposed to guide it
)urt$ermore4 as t$e feat$ers of t$e fowl are pluc3ed4 t$ey are scattered
around t$e $ouse and t$e "ird itself is carried to a "us$-road w$ere it is
coo3ed and eatgen T$e road on w$ic$ adie irano is eaten must "e outside
t$e town and leadaway from it4 for troug$ t$e people "elieve t$at t$e Land of
t$e 9ead is "eneat$ t$e eart$4 t$ey t$in3 t$at it is necessary to eat t$e fowl
Aadie iranoB on suc$ a road leading into t$e "us$4 in order to place it in a
proper position for commencing its office of guide to t$e soul It also $as t$e
connotation of te reason w$y t$e 6oru"a often say5 <adie irano 3i ise Eun
aKeg"e=4 meaning <T$e fare-fowl is not eaten wit$out reciprocation= In
ot$er words4 <$e w$o parta3es of adie irano will in turn Ain t$e futureB
provide a fare-fowl w$en $e dies=4 AAwoladu4 H Omosade4 et al4 A&'%'B4
Iest African Traditional 7eligionC p 0.'B All said and done in t$is way
presuppose t$at Offa-6oru"a "eliefs in as eternal verities4 ie trut$s4 true
statements4 facts4 opinions4 doctrines4 etc
In t$e mean time4 during period of mourning4 it follows t$at as
monourners and ot$er sympat$iDers floc3 into t$e deceased;s $ome4 food
and drin3s are provided freely "y t$e survivors for t$e guests and mem"ers
of t$e cult to w$ic$ t$e deceased "eloged in $is life In t$is part of Africa4 as
in ot$er parts4 t$ere o"tains t$e custom to a"stain from eating for a day or
two following some person;s deat$ One must also stop wor3 for a few days
as a sign of respect for t$e deceased person Indeed some normal activities
are e2pected to "e suspended until all funeral rites are completely
performed4 s$owing t$ereat one of t$e family mem"ers $as "een separated
from t$eir midst As corollary of t$is custom and practice a 3ing or c$ief;s
deat$4 as well as its funeral rites4 is a national affair T$e maKor funeral rites
re@uiring a lot of ela"orate preparation4 as muc$ of it involves a great deal of
pomp and pageantry demanding a lot of wealt$ to "e spent4 people4 in order
to pay t$eir last respect to t$e departed 3ing or c$ief4 national mourning is
declared for all and sundry to o"serve and ad$ere to *y t$is time4 a deat$-
feast oug$t to $ave "een prepared and commenced to "e served to t$e
people It is a yam meal and part of it w$ic$ is meant for t$e deceased is
placed near t$e "ier w$ile outside t$e $ouse a continual "eating of drums is
3ept up toget$er wit$ fre@uent disc$arges of crac3les of mus3etry fired in
$onour of t$e departed At its advanced stage4 t$e feast at w$ic$ into2icants
are lavis$ed4 soon "ecomes a verita"le AtrueB orgy in w$ic$ t$e c$ief
mourners4 t$at is4 t$e widows4 close relatives and c$ildren of t$e deceased4
ta3e no part4 more especially t$e widows
Indeed4 in pre-colonaliDation era in Offa it $appened t$at during
funeral ceremony "urial rites are followed "y feast4 drin3ing4 wailing4
drumming and firing of mus3etry Aeg 9ane-gunsB in $onour of t$e deceased
on a large-scale4 depending on t$e status of t$e deceased one If in life $e or
s$e "elonged to some secret societies suc$ as Og"oni4 ,gungun4 Oro4 etc4
t$e secret societies are connected wit$ and are involved in t$e o"servances
of t$e funeral rites After t$e deat$ of a secret cult mem"er4 relatives of t$e
deceased $ave to pay a $uge sum of money and ma3e a num"er of presents
to t$e societyC failing w$ic$ "urial may "e delayed T$at is4 if relatives
encounter difficulties in paying t$e amount and in ma3ing t$e presents as t$e
laid down rules of t$e secret society direct t$e "ody of t$e deceased may not
"e allowed to "e "uried in time T$e fact t$at if a mem"er of !unters; Guild
dies4 several ot$er rites performed "y t$e Guild indicates people;s "elief t$at
t$e Esoul;4 at times called t$e in-dwelling spirit4 lives on after deat$ It is a
custom t$at as soon as t$e close relatives of t$e deceased $ave performed t$e
last offices for t$e dead and $ave placed t$e corpse at a conspicuous place4
on t$e "ed eit$er "y t$e door of t$e $ouse or in a large apartment t$e c$ief
mourners4 especially t$e widows4 are s$ut up in an adKacent apartment w$ere
t$ey are confined and compelled "y custom to remain until after t$e "urial
ceremony4 t$e confinement lasting a"out seven days during w$ic$ t$e first to
t$ird day t$e corpse invaria"ly lies in state
I$ile t$e close relatives are t$us immured4 t$ey are for"idden to was$
clot$es or wear neat and tidy clot$es or ta3e "at$ Also traditional oractice
re@uires t$em to refuse all types of food4 at least for t$e first tgwenty-four
$ours4 after w$ic$ t$ey usually allow t$emselves to "e persuaded to eat4 as it
is in vogue today4 for t$ey are in period of <Ofo=4 ie t$e period of t$e
T!, IO1,N 1O:7N,7S AN9 II9OI!OO9
Of trut$ t$e conventional mourning is t$e "usiness of women of t$e
$ouse$old in addition to t$e widows w$o are already engaged in wailing4
uttering loud cries of lamentation I$ile t$eir men are feasting4 eating and
drin3ing4 t$ese women mourners 3eep on lamenting t$e departure of t$e
dead person recalling in t$eir wailing and weeping t$e good t$ings $e did
and said as well as reminding t$em t$at $e lives on in t$e ne2t world T$ese
t$e women do in t$e apartment in w$ic$ t$ey are "eing confined for a wee3
or soC and in conse@uence t$e descriptive word of t$is ritual in 6oru"a is
<Iso3un o3u=4 meaning <t$e ritual so""ing and crying in mourning t$e
dead= It mar3s a period of mourning set aside "y women for t$e deceased
!ence4 according to custom4 a mourner is often applied to a female c$ild of
t$e deceasedC w$ile a male c$ild4 on t$e ot$er $and4 is sometimes called
iwale4 a digger Aof a graveB In ot$er words it is t$e females AwomenB
counterparts dig t$e grave )ollowing t$is custom4 a fat$er of eg two
daug$ters and a son mig$t t$us say t$at $e $as "egotten two mourners and a
digger Agrave-diggerB As female friends usually come from t$eir various
$omes to Koin and participate in t$e lamentations and disperse Aat t$eir own
respective timesB4 t$ere is t$e conventional c$aracter of t$e mourners w$ic$
is referred to as E <A mourner mourns and goes on t$eir way Awit$out afore-
t$oug$tB4 "ut one w$o ponders over sad memories mourns wit$out
T$e literary meaning of t$is in 6oru"a is t$at <*i a"ani sofo "a
so3un tan yio 3o ri si ile reC eni ti o3u 3u fun 3o ni da"o e3un sun u=
ATranslation nineB
According to ,llis;s <T$e 6oru"a spea3ing peoples of t$e slave #oast
of Iest Africa= A&'%(5&.%B and t$e same goes for Offa-6oru"a4 t$ere are
professional mourners w$o are well-versed in so"-stories of t$e departed
ones4 in remote and immediate times4 c$osen for t$eir poetical tune of
e2pression w$ose services are engaged4 in well-to-do $ouse$olds w$o often
contrive Aie invent a planB to wor3 up real mourners to condition;s of
frenDied grief )or instance4 a professional mourner sings in a modulated
wail4 viD5 <!e is gone4 t$e lion of a man !e was not a sapling
or a "us$ to
"e turned out of t$e eart$4 "ut a tree4 a tree to "rave t$e $urricaneC a
spreading tree under w$ic$ t$e $earts of $is family could rest in peace=4 etc4
etcC w$ile t$e widows and daug$terAsB of t$e deceased lament t$eir lonely
and unprotected state4 somew$at as follows5
<Odi g"ere=4 a farewell greeting w$ic$ occurs in lamentation and
dirges at funerals among most 6oru"as w$en mourners "id t$e departed
good "ye4 namely5 <Odi g"ere= in 6oru"a means upon ne2t meeting is until
<g"ere= ? time un3nown
<Od;arinna3o ? <It is now a matter of c$ance to meet on t$e way= during
wayfaring or <Odi oKu ala= ? our meetings will now "e in dreams= T$ey
epecially t$e widows4 pray to $im At$e deadB not too forget $is c$ildren4 to
loo3 after t$em as well as as3 $im for personal "enefits li3e c$ildren4 good
$us"and or wife4 good wor3 and victory over all evils4 enemies4 etc4 etc
*,)O7, INT,71,NT
On t$e afternoon t$ere follows t$e funeral procession T$e "ody is
placed on t$e stretc$er-li3e "oard on a door ta3en off its $inges4 covered
wit$ a ric$ native clot$ and "orne at trots t$roug$ t$e principal streets of t$e
town "y men followed first "y male sympat$iDers4 wit$ t$e women group
coming "e$ind T$e entire mem"ers of t$is procession consist of male and
female friends and relations w$o accompany t$e "rier4 singing praises of t$e
deceased and t$rowing $andfuls of money-coins Aowo eyoB in olden days ?
to spectators and "ystanders lining t$eir routes T$e procession returns $ome
towards evening4 and t$e corpse is interred and laid to rest in t$e grave t$at
$as "een dug in t$e eart$en floor of one of t$e apartments in t$e $ouse or
dug immediately after deat$ in an uncultivated ground in t$e near-"y vicinity
of t$e $ouse4 sometimes near to t$e main compound or town4 @uite often dug
"y clansmen and ot$ers4 w$ile t$e grave is so contrived t$at t$e $ead of t$e
deceased4 if $e is to "e "uried in t$e $ouse4 may proKect "eyond t$e line of
t$e outer wall of t$e $ouseC or at times it is dug at t$e "ac3 of t$e deceased;s
$ouse T$is pro"a"ly sym"oliDes t$e "elief t$at t$e deceased person $as not
gone away from or left $omestead completely !e is in effect still present in
t$e midst of $is family and clansmen Nowadays4 $owever4 t$e corpse is
often carried to t$e cemetery for "urial and t$e grave is Kointly dug "y male
sympat$iDers4 relatives4 sons-in-law and at times of t$e deceased w$o may
later "e Koined "y ot$ers arriving late
Also "efore interment ta3es place4 most of t$e cover clot$s in w$ic$
t$e corpse is wrapped are ta3en off and t$e "ody4 usually remaining in w$ite
s$irting or calico4 is carefully lowered into t$e grave
t$oug$ t$ere is
anot$er version of t$is statement w$ic$ affirms t$at at t$e grave side gifts
are presented to t$e deceased in t$e form of food4 money4 clot$es4 fowls or
animals4 rums4 cowries4 etc t$ese t$ings w$ic$ are offered "y t$e c$ildren
and relatives of t$e deceased to ac@uire somet$ing on $is Kourney to <Ipo ?
o3u= ? <t$e Land of t$e 9ead= T$e gifts offered are placed in t$e grave
Adding to all t$ese are personal "elongings w$ic$ are toget$er "uried wit$
t$e corpse4 to accompany t$e deceased man so t$at $e does not find $imself
poor in t$e $ereafter4 "elieving t$at t$ese t$ings are part of $im and $e must
not "e ro""ed of t$em "y t$e surviving relatives or else $e would visit t$em
and demand w$at is $is own It is also opined t$at t$e animal 3illed
afterwards serves4 as it is to accompany t$e deceased4 to provide $im wit$
food on t$e way and livestoc3 in t$e ne2t world
)urt$ermore4 inside t$e
grave t$e "ody of t$e deceased is spilt or sprin3led wit$ t$e "lood of t$e
animal4 offered as sacrifice It is usually a $e-goat4 sacrificed to propitiate
t$e ,leg"a a ot$erwise called ,su in 6oru"a "ut satan in ,nglis$ In anot$er
sense t$e $e-goat is called t$e <"east of t$e ancestors=
T$is selfsame
<"east of t$e ancestors=4 w$en so sacrificed4 is also a sign lin3ing "ot$ t$e
departed and t$e living mem"ers of t$e family as well as an assurance t$at
t$e dying person will not go into a friendly Aeven festal or festiveB
community set wit$ Koyful mood ready for reception of t$e returnee T$ere is
yet anot$er opinion t$at t$e Eliving-dead; are present at t$e deat$ of t$eir
$uman relative w$o may as3ed4 t$roug$ t$e slaug$ter of t$eir animal AEt$e
"east of t$e ancestors;B4 to $asten t$e deat$ of t$e sic3 man in order to
terminate $is pain or suffering @uic3ly

!owever4 t$e official or professional ritualist afterwards goes into t$e

grave to offer t$e slaug$tered s$eep or goat to t$e spirit of t$e deceased4 $e
splits 3ola-nuts and places t$em and ot$er gifts "eside t$e "ody of $im t$at
is dead now4 already laid in t$e grave T$e composite demand of t$is custom
is 3nown in 6oru"va as <*i"a o3u yi E$un= w$ic$ in ,nglis$ means
<,ntering into a covenant wit$ t$e deceased
*efore t$e grave is filled up
wit$ eart$ amidst t$e wis$es for a safe and pleasant Kourney $ome4 in t$e
Land of t$e 9ead4 t$e sons and daug$ters of t$e deceased weep and
customarily t$eir tears are to "e seen to fall on t$e corpse in t$e grave T$e
significant importance of t$e presence of t$e c$ildren assures t$e departed
t$at t$ere are someone to remem"er $im4 to 3eep $im in Epersonal
immortality; w$en $e $as disappeared finally4 p$ysically 1essages and gifts
are sent t$roug$ t$e deceased to t$e relatives and friends w$o died earlier
on To cover up t$e grave4 torn "ranc$es4 pot s$reds or "ro3en "ut suita"le
plan3s of appropriate siDes ? lengt$ and "readt$ wise ? are fitted toget$er
and stuc3 into or piled over and around t$e open spaces round t$e corpse to
3eep off animals from tampering wit$ t$e grave4 particularly t$e pigs
I$en t$e eart$ $as "een s$oveled over "ac3 to t$e grave pit and t$e
grave $as "een filled full wit$ t$e eart$4 t$e eart$ is smoot$ed down and
sometimes w$en many articles of value $ave "een entom"ed wit$ t$e
deceased4 t$e grave surface is moistened wit$ water and "eaten flat to pulp4
to ma3e t$e eart$ settle down4 alt$oug$ A* ,llis A&'%(B says t$at in certain
of 6oru"aland4 w$en many articles of value $ave "een entom"ed and t$e
surface of t$e tom" $as "een moistened wit$ water to ma3e t$e eart$ "attle
down4 slaves and ot$er dependants are made to sleep on it nig$t after nig$t
for t$e dou"le purpose of protecting it and of o"literating traces of its e2act
position4 met$in3s t$is is an unusual practice in Offa4 at least no oral
tradition mentions it After interment4 t$at is4 wit$ t$e completion of "urial
ceremony4 a gun is fired to indicate t$at t$e suppose $as "een finally
4 t$en t$e dispersive floc3 of mourners from a desolate cemetery
moved to t$e former $ouse of t$e deceased w$ere t$e feast w$ic$ $ad "een
suspended since t$e afternoon recommences toget$er wit$ drin3ing and
s$outing amidst t$e firing of mus3ets w$ile Kungle A$ars$4 dull and $eavy
soundsB of native gongs and t$e dull sounding t$ud A"eatingB of t$e native
drums continues all nig$t Offa-6oru"a do not practice "urial of t$e dead "y
cremation T$e deceased $aving "een sent to t$e spirit world in t$is manner
and t$us leaving off t$e living relatives as a result4 t$e survivors4 after
"urying t$e corpse4 return $ome from t$e cemetery Koyfully amidst singing4
drumming and dancing wit$ t$e tal3ing drum saying4 w$ile relations of t$e
deceased4 sympat$iDers and all c$ant same in c$orus5 Ile OR IleR ORR IleR ORR
IleR ORR lo lo ta raraR 1eaning5 O our $omeR O our $omeRR O our $omeRRR
*a"a Afat$erB rele re Agoes to $is own $omeBC to $is celestial $ome $e goes
wit$out wo""ling and trudged= In t$is way4 t$e strategic places in town are
set to t$is sort of music for passing t$roug$ till t$ey return to t$e $ouse of
t$e deceased in t$e dus3 of t$e evening twilig$t
T$oug$ t$e form of "urial among t$e ancient Offa-6oiru"a indicated
t$at t$ey conceived of "urial as seeing off someone w$o is going on a
Kourney and4 t$erefore4 needed to "e provided4 in t$e grave4 t$ose t$ings
w$ic$ t$e would-"e living-dead mig$t need on suc$ a Kourney !owever4
particularly as concerns 3ings in 6oru"aland4 it is un$eard of in Offa $istory
t$at some of t$e Olofas were provided wit$ an entourage of <a"o"a3u=4
<t$ose w$o die wit$ t$e 3ing= 7at$er4 t$e practice is very common wit$ t$e
Alaafin of Oyo and some paramount c$iefs in G$ana4 w$ere4 li3e in ,gypt4
servants and wives of 3ings or ot$er ric$ people were "uried wit$ t$e "ody
of t$e deceased 3ing due to t$e "elief t$at t$e departed needs wives and
servants to 3eep $im company w$en $e reac$es t$ere and ot$er property $e
needs for use so t$at $e would not arrive t$ere empty-$anded andGor remain
poor in t$e spirit world <T$e court case in G$ana on A3yia 1ensa$;s
demise A&'((B is a proven case of t$ose 3ings w$o died wit$ t$e 3ing= #ult
practice in various parts of Iest Africa su"stantiates t$is A3yia 1ensa$ was
a c$ief of a small town of Apedwa in t$e Gold #oast Anow G$anaB w$ose
decapitated $ead was "uried wit$ t$e corpse of Sir4 Nna Ofori Atta I4 a
paramount c$ief of A3im A"ua3wa at Ki"iC ot$erwise referred to as
Oman$ene of A3im A"ua3wa Again4 we may mention t$at <T$e greatest
treasures ever discovered in a "urial place were t$ose of 3ing tutan3$amen
of ,gypt w$o died in *# &8.04 discovered in $is tom" 88JJ years ago in

OT!,7 #AT,GO7I,S O) 9,AT!

1ost African peoples $ave myt$ological e2planations of $ow deat$
first came into t$e world Ie $ave discussed earlier on t$at of t$e 6oru"a
T$us4 Offa-6oru"a man $as since accepted deat$ as part of t$e natural
r$yt$m AfunctioningB of lifeC yet4 $e "elieves t$at parado2ically4 every
$uman deat$ is t$oug$t to $ave e2ternal causes ma3ing it Adeat$B "ot$
natural and unnatural
Indeed4 t$ere are categories of deat$ in 6oru"aland ? "ad or good
deat$4 deat$ of t$e young and of t$e aged *ad deat$s do not normally
receive full funeral rites I$en a c$ild dies t$e parents and relations lament
t$e deat$ and dispose of t$e corpse as @uic3ly as possi"le4 since it is a "ad
deat$ 9eat$s caused "y anti-wic3edness divinities li3e t$e gods of t$under
AS$angoB small po2 AS$aponnaB4 and Ogun AIronB are regarded as "ad Suc$
deat$s are regarded as capital punis$ment from t$e divine godAsB and as suc$
t$ey are not to "e mourned T$e same t$ing $appens w$en deat$ is caused
"y curse #urse is somet$ing greatly feared in 6oru"a societies4 and a
powerful curse is "elieved to "ring a"out deat$ to t$e accursed person4
praying t$at $ail Aie t$e curseB and lig$tning mig$t descend from $eaven on
t$e accursed person or t$ing #urse in 6oru"a "elief is any malignant
influence of o"scure or mysterious origin w$ic$ wit$ers $ope4 "lasts
prospects and Gor c$ec3s prosperity of a person To inKure as suc$ a "lig$t
does4 in Offa-6oru"a4 a common imprecation Aor prayer of a curseB is <o3u
ig"e= t$at is4 <*us$ deat$=4 meaning <may you die in t$e "us$ alone uncared
for and so receive no funeral rites=
None t$e less t$ere are yet ot$er deat$s w$ic$ may not receive
"efitting "urial4 even if t$ey "e deat$s of t$e aged Namely4 in contrasting a
man;s duties to $is relations wit$ t$ose towards t$e mem"ers of any secret
society to w$ic$ $e At$e deceased manB4 w$ere"y t$e deceased man or t$e
c$ief mourner insists upon t$e importance of t$e former "ecause of t$e
o"ligation $is relations to "ury $im4 it runs t$us4 t$at a man must $onestly
perform all t$e duties incum"ent on $is relations$ip wit$ $is relatives4 even
t$oug$ $e may "elong to a secret society T$us4 in $is life4 w$en $e $as
attended to t$e society $e must attend to $is relations <"ecause it is t$ey w$o
must "ury $im w$en $e dies=4 an e@uivalent 6oru"a saying t$at <Ore timo
timo iye 3an 3ata 3ataC oKo ti ore timo timo "a 3u iye3an 3ata 3ata ni yio g"e
sin= 9eat$s of t$e deceased caused "y gods of t$under4 small po24 iron or
curse AsB re@uire t$at t$eir victims are "uried wit$ purificatory and e2piatory
AatoningB rites to appease t$e divinities concerned
Ot$er types of "ad deat$ include deat$ of c$ildren4 unmarried people4
t$ose w$o die t$roug$ suicide or as a result of some diseases li3e leprosy4
small-po2 or epilepsy4 and people w$o die as a result of accidents li3e falling
from a palm tree4 women dying in c$ild-"irt$4 women dying in pregnancy4
lunatics4 suicide and t$ose w$o $ave "een murdered or "urned Suc$ deat$s
are per$aps regarded as a"omina"le )ull funeral ceremonies are not
performed for all t$e persons w$o died one of t$ose deat$s -in ot$er words
t$ey may not4 or are not given4 complete4 full and formal "urials
)urt$ermore4 t$e "urial of a person w$o dies a "ad deat$ is not attended "y
common people "ut "y specialists w$ic$ are versed in t$e essential rituals
involved )or e2ample among Offa-6oru"a4 a person 3illed "y S$ango Agod
of T$underB is "uried "y *a"a 1ag"a4 t$e devotee priest of t$e god4 s$ango4
at t$e spot w$ere t$e deceased person $ad "een struc3 dead or in t$e <evil
forest= w$ile t$e deceased;s "elongings are not to "e touc$ed or used "y
any"ody unless t$e oracle directs ot$erwise T$e same t$ing $appens to t$e
"elongings of t$e victims of S$aponno At$e god of small-po2B It is also
"elieved t$at people w$o died "ad deat$ cannot Koin t$e ancestors in t$e
Land of t$e 9ead In actual sense4 people do not even give suc$ deat$ any
muc$ t$oug$tC else4 t$ey are not discussed "eyond t$e point of t$e necessity
to dispose of t$em4 as $urriedly as possi"le T$at is w$y suc$ deceased
persons do not enKoy t$e attention given to t$e ancestors or are not regarded
as suc$ and as suc$ t$ey are not remem"ered nor are t$ey provided wit$
ancestral s$rines !owever4 modern c$ange tends to ma3e "urial procedures
more even or similar for every"ody4 e2cepting t$at it may "e noted t$at
w$ile4 generally4 clansmen dig t$e grave w$en deat$ occurs4 a fat$er does
not dig grave of $is son or daug$ter4 or $us"and for $is wife
As for good deat$4 it is t$at w$ic$ comes w$en one lives to a ripe old
age Indeed4 so far as it is "eyond w$at is normal or e2pected to $ave some
special power as well as unpleasantly severe and painful4 deat$ is regarded a
uncanny Astrange in an uncomforta"le wayB and distur"ing w$en it occurs4
yet t$e deat$ of an aged person is an occasion of muc$ reKoicing in as muc$
as t$e ela"orate ritual is $eaviest w$en a funeral ceremony is "eing
organiDed4 since people see not$ing so strange a"out it Of course4 t$ere are
occasions w$en t$e deat$ of a young man or woman is not considered totally
"ad5 )or e2ample4 suc$ a person must $ave lived an e2emplary and good
lifeC and must $ave left "e$ind some c$ildren of $ig$ social standing and
reputed for t$eir ac$ievementsC suc$ t$at in conse@uence4 people "elieve t$at
t$e departed will $ave a good place to occupy among t$e ancestors in t$e
a"ode of t$e ancestors in t$e a"ode of t$e spirits Alt$oug$ t$ey lament and
mourn suc$ deat$4 t$ey still give t$e deceased a "efitting "urial
T$ere is also w$at people refer to as premature or untimely deat$
Offa-6oru"a "elieve t$at t$e deat$ of a person ? young and old ? must $ave
a cause or must $ave "een "roug$t a"out in one or t$e ot$er way "y some
evil forces4 namely5 sorcedry EOgun; Amagic powerB and EaKe; Awitc$craftB
T$ese are often regarded as t$e cause of t$e untimely deat$ of young people
T$at is w$y w$en a young person dies $is clansmen often try to find out and
"elieve t$e pronouncements t$roug$ t$e oracles of divinity or divinities4 as
enunciated "y t$e latter;s priestAsB or priestess AesB4 t$e cause of t$e deat$
7especting w$at people call natural deat$4 t$is may come as a result
of old age T$e person may ass away after a "rief illness *ut w$en an old
person dies as a conse@uence of an ine2plica"le disease or a prolonged
sic3ness4 people still ascertain w$et$er or not t$e deat$ is due to some
$uman evil mac$ination !owever4 t$ere are times w$en old people really
3now t$at deat$ is imminent As suc$4 suc$ people usually send for t$eir
sons4 daug$ters and some dear and close clansmen w$o are not at $ome to
come "ac3 $ome in good and @uic3 time4 "efore $e4 t$e dying man4 draws
$is last At deat$-point suc$ dying man gives advice to $is c$ildren and ot$er
people concerned as to w$at t$ey are to "ury $im Ain t$e $ouse or in
cemeteryB and t$e type of funeral arrangements $e wants !e could tell t$em
t$e people $e owes and w$at $e owes t$emC w$at ot$er people owe $imC
w$ere $e 3eeps $is money and t$e people in partners$ip "usiness wit$ $imC
including $is capital outlay in t$e "usiness and w$at t$ey s$ould do wit$ t$e
in$eritance $e is leaving "e$ind
)urt$er to t$e a"ove4 $e "lesses $is c$ildren4 tal3s a"out t$ose w$o
$ave passed away "efore $imC as if $e is already toget$er wit$ t$em in t$e
ancestral a"ode4 an indication t$at $e is getting prepared to give up t$e
g$ost4 as people "y $is deat$-"ed "egin to so" and ma3e all sorts of effort to
save $im from dying Alt$oug$ people already 3now t$at t$e man is old
enoug$ to die4 $is words at deat$ usually "ring tears and people s$ed t$em
,ven as t$e man;s $air"readt$ escape turns out $opeless4 t$e deceased;s
c$ildren and clansmen are $appy t$at t$eir fat$erG$ead of t$e family is dying
a good deat$ and t$at $e is going <$ome= to Koin $is own ancestors )or in a
sense4 it t$ose w$o die a good deat$ t$at are given impressive "urial
ceremonies T$at is w$y people everyw$ere strive to die a good deat$ w$ic$
alone will entitle $im to a formal "urial4 and to as muc$ as possi"le4 avoid a
"ad deat$ w$ic$ will not only deprive t$em of "urial rites "ut also deny
t$em admittance to a good place in t$e world of t$e spirits !ence4 t$is
sounding note of warning to Offa-6oru"a man4 li3e any ot$er good man4
t$us5 <, ma si3a laiye tori ao ro runC , ma si3a laiye o tori ao rorunC t; a "a
de "ode ao roKo= 1eaning5 <T$ou s$all not do wic3edness on eart$4 "ecause
t$ou s$all go to $eavenC Again4 t$ou s$all not do wic3edness on eart$4
"ecause t$ou s$all go to $eaven At t$e gate of its t$oroug$fare ye s$all
recount t$e deeds ye did w$ile alive
,mp$atically4 "efitting "urial
ceremonies are t$e ones meant for people w$o die good deat$
I!,7, 9O 9,A9 GO A)T,7 9,AT!M
T$e duo-@uestion t$at w$ere do t$e dead people goM And w$at really
$appens to t$e deceased persons go after deat$M 1ay "e answered on t$ese
points5 t$at at deat$4 as we $ave already intimated4 t$e soul does not dieC "ut
t$at "efore it separates from t$e "ody at t$e deat$ of a person4 it gets a taste
of it Adeat$B T$at in any case4 after deat$ ? p$ysical deat$ ? all t$ose w$o
die return to God4 in $eaven4 and e@uivalent 6oru"a saying t$at <Ti a "a 3u
orun li anlo= T$at t$e 6oru"a-man $as reassuring confidence in $is
a"ncestopr in t$e spirit world w$en $e says <O di owo "a"a mi l;orun=
meaning <To t$y care O my "osom fat$er in $eaven4 I commend myself=
T$at in t$e Eforward; page of <,ducation= "y ,llen G I$ite A&'.05%B4 t$e
aut$or;s definitionof education t$at <True ,dducation= is well defined as t$e
$armonious development of all faculties ? a full and ade@uate preparation
for t$is life and t$e future eternal life= $as esta"lis$ed t$e fact t$at deat$ is a
transition or c$ange of place of deat$ especially passage from t$is life to t$e
ne2t4 suc$ t$at it means t$at our life;s period of e2istence on t$is planet
called eart$ is an apparent life of pro"ation
7ealistically4 as our stay on eart$ epitomiDes4 eac$ person is a
soKourner in transit upon it wit$ a destination to reac$ in sig$t T$e
destination in sig$t in t$is case is w$at Offa-6oru"a call <orun= ? <$eaven=
suc$ t$at t$e time "etween t$e two distinct period of living and passing
away from t$e world incorporates t$e features of life t$at now is and t$e life
in t$e $ereafter wit$ a c$ange or passing from one condition of living in self-
sufficiency or man-made imperative of live-and-let-live indulgency at t$e
former place of activities4 etc4 to anot$er4 t$at of living-dead4 consisting of a
state of misery4 not deserving t$e name of life T$e 6oru"a $ave an idea of
<atorun "owa saiye=4 <a coming "ac3 from $eaven to enKoy life= T$is
imputes t$at some$ow t$ey $ope t$at t$ere are t$ose $ave departed t$at will
come "ac3 to life $ere on eart$4 or at least t$ey e2pect to meet againC may"e
at <$ome=4 <ile=4 as $eaven is called in 6oru"a T$us4 from 6oru"a
p$ilosop$y of life5 <Aiye l;oKa= ? <T$e world t$at now is w$at we s$ould
call mar3et place=C <orun ni;le= ? <!eaven is t$e $ome=4 one can say t$at is
w$y w$en an old person dies at Offa4 t$e o"ituary is pu"lis$ed in t$e
newspaperAsB or announced t$roug$out t$e town "y women singing4 after t$e
dead $as "een laid to rest4 <Ile o4 ile o il3e4 *a"a re ile re4 lle lo lo tara ra= a
song e2pressing t$e deceased man;s feeling $ome sic3 of $is $ome in
$eaven4 as if $e $as "een longing to go to $is celestial or $eavenly $ome4
since <ile= means $ome and <*a"a re Ele reC ile lo lo tara ra= means <fat$er
$as gone to $is AceslestialB $omeC to t$at $eavenly $ome $e $as gone

Nevert$eless4 from t$e muddled idea a"out t$e <soul= t$at dates "ac3
to t$e very early times w$en men4 under t$e stimulus of a dream of
apparitions4 came to "elieve t$at t$eir t$in3ing and sensation were not
activities of t$eir "odiesC "ut "elieve t$em to "e t$ose of t$e distinct soul in-
dwelling in t$em T$at is to say t$at is t$e soul w$ic$ in$a"its t$e "ody and
leaves it at deat$ !ence4 one is inclined to conclude t$at t$e living soul and
t$e <soul= of t$e deceased were similar to4 as well as different from4 eac$
ot$er T$at is to say from t$e time men $ave "een driven to reflect a"out t$e
relation "etween t$is so-called in-dwelling <soul= and t$e outside world suc$
t$at it follows t$at if upon deat$ t$e soul too3 leave of t$e "ody and lived on
and t$ere was no occasion to invent anot$er distinct deat$ for it4 t$e Offa-
6oru"a religious p$ilosop$y asserts t$at in comas and dreams4 as in deat$
and eternal sleep4 one;s <soul= temporarily drifts and leaves t$e "ody at
deat$ and after a w$ile returns w$en $e At$e dying manB $as regained
consciousness T$us t$ere arose t$e idea of its Aman;s soul;sB immortality
and "ecomes t$e living-deadC in t$at at deat$ a person;s soul leaves $is "ody
permanently for anot$er world called variously as t$e world of spirits4 t$e
Land of 9ead4 t$e ancestral world4 etc
!ence4 t$is <soul= wasGdoes called <t$e soul of t$e dead=or<g$osts
e2ist independently in t$e naturally really p$ysical world "ut invisi"le to t$e
$uman eye and against it people are defenseless In a nut-s$ell4 all of t$e
a"ove s$ow t$at among Offa-6oru"a4 t$e concept of soulC and g$ost-viewing
is e2tremely common among t$e 6oru"a of Nigeria
It is t$e spirit of a dead
person come from t$e world of spirits T$e separation of t$is soul from t$e
p$ysical "ody at deat$ $as "een confirmed "y St 1ar3 A-58/B5 <for w$at
s$all it profit a man if $e s$all gain t$e w$ole world and lose $is own soul=M
I$ile it;s At$e soul;sB e2istence in t$e Land of t$e 9ead4 lasting t$ere for a
long time4 is at t$e same time affirmed "y t$e saying t$at <Ho$n *rown;s
"ody lies a-moldering in t$e grave !is soul Aie $is g$ostB goes marc$ing
Alongside <Life after deat$=4 "elief in t$e $ereafter is confirmed many
times and in various places in t$e scripture "oo3s of "ot$ Islam and
#$ristianity T$e 6oru"a-1uslim;s "elieve t$at as t$e living people pray for
t$eir departed so are t$e latter At$e deadB for t$e former At$e livingB 6oru"a
@uite often say 5 As we invo3e God;s mercy and "lessings upon t$e living till
t$e latter At$e livingB s$all come to Koin and "e li3e t$em in <Ipo o3u= or
Iwale AKa= ? ie <in t$e sepulc$ers= w$ere t$ey are more t$an sepulc$ral
effigies as t$ey e2ist in t$eir own rig$t4 as an em"odiment of wordily power4
even w$en t$e long wit$$eld from $is remains4 t$at is4 succeeding or prior to
sepulc$ral ceremonies4 t$e dying man $earsG$eard $is own name in t$e
$ollow sepulc$ral tones of deat$

T$ere is a section in t$e Uur;an w$ic$ affirms t$at for a w$ole mont$4
after deat$4 t$e deceased 1oslem $over over $is former place of a"ode
loo3ing over t$e living4 $is or $er survivors4 and watc$ing at w$at t$ey are
doing wit$ $is property4 in cas$ and 3ind and t$e treatment of $is family ?
wifeGwives and c$ildren ? left "e$ind ? w$et$er t$ey are treating t$em good
or "ad ? "efore $is final departure from t$e $ouse
In accordance wit$ t$is
o"servationC 6usufu Ali;s statement A&'%.B t$at <w$y s$ould man dis"elieve
in t$e !ereafter= presupposes life in t$e afterlife AUur;an p%-&B It is t$is
"elief in life t$at $as resurfaced in t$e "elief in t$e !ereafter as well as in t$e
"elief in <t$e 9ay of Hudgement=4 as it is fre@uently "eing called and $inged
on God;a warning t$at <every evil deed must $ave its punis$ment= <w$ic$=4
it is said4 <often "egins in t$e very life;s time of t$e living= T$us4 in
fulfillment of t$e #ovenant-"ased "ilateral agreement "etween man and $is
God4 A 6usuf Ali A&'%.B says in $is <T$e !oly Uur;an
= t$at <T$e first
need is to mend our lives and wors$ip and serve God--------= T$e ne2t is to
realiDe t$e meaning of t$e !ereafter4 w$en every soul Aie t$e in-dwelling
soul w$ic$ @uits t$e p$ysical "ody of t$e deceased at deat$B will get t$e
need Aie reward of praise t$at $at$ gotten t$ee fameB of its conduct in t$is
life=4 as God says5
<Ferily t$e !our is coming my design is to 3eep it $idden Aor ma3e it
manifestB for every soul
T$ey receive its reward "y measure of its Asoul;sB ,ndeavour

T!, O))A-6O7:*A T!,O76 O) <O7:N 7,7,4

Alt$oug$ to 3now w$ere t$e deceased persons go after deat$ is a
desire of ages4 t$e <orun rere4 orun apadi= t$eory of t$e 6oru"a oug$t to
$ave "egun our discussion of t$e 6oru"a "elief in life in t$e Afterlife and
furt$er e2planation of w$at really $appens after deat$ T$e <orun rere4 orun
apadi= A<T$e good $eaven4 "ad $eaven=B t$eory seems to answer t$e aged-
old @uestion of t$e life and deat$4 especially t$e one w$ic$ as3s a"out t$e
w$erea"outs of t$e dead after deat$ and confirms t$e <:ltimate 7eality= of
$appenstances of t$e e2istential and transcendental life of every man after
deat$4 9r Tm Laftaye in $is <Life in t$e Afterlife= A&'-JB says t$at
<,veryone $as a vested interest in t$e life "eyond deat$=
:nli3e w$at #$ristian doctrine says and teac$es a"out t$is t$at in-
"etween t$e good $eaven AparadiseB and t$e "ad $eaven A$ell or $eaven of
tormentB t$ere is t$e great gulf fi2ed A&'-J58&B4 t$e 6oru"a good $eaven4 "ad
$eaven t$eory seems to compare t$e w$ole 3ingdom of $eaven wit$ t$at of a
great 3ing t$at consists of two different states wit$ one full of people doing
great misc$ief on eart$ and t$e ot$er filled wit$ o"edient4 peacea"le people
"ut constantly su"Kect to incursions from wild tri"es from w$om t$e good
people were willing immunity to "e procured for t$em "y t$eir con@ueror4
"y paying t$eir con@ueror tri"utes in return for t$eir protection against t$e
T$e con@ueror o"liged and "uilt-in "etween t$e two a strong "arrier4
constructed of iron and wit$ iron gates T$e Kam"s Auprig$t postsB of t$e
Gates were constructed wit$ "loc3s or "ric3s of iron w$ile t$e interstices
Anarrow openingsB were filled up wit$ mutton lead so as to form an
impregna"le mass of metal T$e "loc3ed entrance so constructed provided
t$e permanent protection t$e good wanted from t$e "adC w$ile t$e closing of
a mountain gap "etween t$em and t$roug$ w$ic$ incursions were made on
t$e good people provided t$e muc$-needed permanent precaution t$at
separates t$e good from t$e "ad suc$ t$at neit$er was una"le to see t$e ot$er
On t$e ot$er $and4 in order to gain a complete picture of t$e Old
Testament teac$ings on t$e su"Kect of w$ere t$e dead reside at long last4 9r
Tim Lattaye A&'-J50-B gives a description of S$eol and !ades "ot$ of w$ic$
are t$e a"ode of t$e dead T$oug$ S$eol is t$e temporary place of t$e dead4
Prover"s '5&- descri"es it as <A place w$ere t$e dead e2ist=C Psalm -/5&84
<A place for t$e soul=C Psalm '5&%4 <A place for t$e wic3ed and t$ose w$o
forget God=C Genesis ((50'4 <,ven a godly Haco" e2pected to "e t$ere=C
Psalm --584 <9avid e2pected to go t$ere=C Psalm -'5(- <All men will go to
s$eol=C ,ccelesiastes '5&J descri"es t$e Land of t$e 9ead as a place w$ere
t$ere is no wor3= or <3nowledge= or <wisdom= It $as "een said t$at t$irty-
nine "oo3s of t$e Old Testament refer to s$eol as t$e world of t$e dead
si2ty-five times As for its translationC t$e word s$eol may translate to mean
<grave=4 <$ell= or <deat$= Of course s$eol must not "e confused wit$ <t$e
pit= or t$e <la3e= of fire )or4 it is t$e place of all t$ose w$o $ave departed
t$is life4 eg "ot$ "elievers and un"elievers ATim Lattaye &'-J50%B
T$e New Testament $as its own word Aor nameB for t$e Iorld of t$e
9ead It is E<$ades=4 appearing t$erein forty-two times; AgainC as Hesus
#$rist !imself used it eleven times4 <Ge$enna= is also t$e New Testament
word for t$e permanent place of t$e dead in contrast wit$ !e"rew word
<s$eol= !owever4 "ot$ refer top t$e afore mentioned temporary place of t$e
9eadC w$ereas <!ell= is a permanent place of Torment for t$ose w$o died as
According to Tim lattaye4 t$e Land of t$e 9ead $as "een
compartmentaliDed into t$ree5 Paradise and !ell wit$ portion in-"etween
t$em called <t$e Great Gulf )i2ed=4 an impassa"le gulf w$ic$ separates t$e
rig$teous from t$e unrig$teous4 "ut over w$ic$ t$e latter may too3 and
converse "ut not cross4 as $ad $appened in t$e story of laDarus and t$e
certain ric$ man4 narrated in Lu3e &/5&' ? 8& <T$e most complete
description of S$eol and !ades in t$e *i"le came from Hesus #$rist !imself
ALu3e &/5&' ? 8&C Tim LattayeB4 &'-J50'B T$e ups$ot of it all is $ere"y
epitomiDed "y t$e 6oru"a saying t$at <oloto o ni sun n;ipo E3a= meaning t$at
<t$e trut$-sayer will never $ave $is eternal sleep in t$e sepulc$er of t$e
!owever4 going "y t$e description of t$e t$ree compartments of t$e
Place of t$e 9ead4 "y Lattaye w$o did so wit$ impressive su"stantiations
from t$e Old and New Testament sayings4 t$oug$ $e $imself said t$at very
few details are given a"out t$e <Greta Gulf )i2ed=4 we $ave "een intimated
wit$ t$e fact t$at it is an impassa"le gulf over w$ic$ men4 at deat$4 may loo3
and converse "ut not cross over Its attri"ute of t$e 3ind of contraple2 Aeg
system of sending messages in opposite directionsB "y God;s own
contraption $as led #$ristian teac$ings to postulate t$at God designed it so
t$at t$ose w$o want to pass from E$ere to t$ere; cannotC nor can t$ose w$o
want to come from Et$ere to $ere; pass across4 ma3ing it4 t$erefore4 evidently
a c$asm t$at separates t$e "elievers from t$e un"elievers4 t$e wic3ed from
t$e rig$teous in t$e ne2t life Once a person dies4 $e is confined to one side
or t$e ot$er ? comfort or torment side
In t$e midst of t$is selfsame vein of t$e t$oug$t4 t$ere are san"e
sayings a"out escape from S$eol-!ades One of t$em concerns one of t$e
many outstanding c$anges wroug$t "y deat$4 "urial and resurrection of
Hesus #$rist w$ic$ consolidates t$e "elief in #$ristians t$at w$en a present
day "eliever in #$rist Aor any #$ristian during t$e c$urc$ ageB dies4 $e no
longer goes to S$eol-!adesC $is soul proceeds immediately to !eaven4 to "e
wit$ $is Saviour4 Hesus #$rist

O:T-O)-T!,-*O96 ,SP,7I,N#,
Alt$oug$ to 3now w$ere t$e deceased person go after deat$ and w$at
"ecome of t$em in post-life afterlife is a desire of ages4 we need to "e
careful not to "e confused a "it "y t$e vague similarities "etween outVof-
t$e-"ody e2perience researc$ findings per turning to t$e <soulis$ state= of
t$e deceased and t$e claims of many ancient or modern groups of writings
w$ic$4 "y t$e way4 are only a tip of ice"erg4 for many "oo3s recount suc$
events T$e availa"ility of suc$ "oo3s s$ouldn;t discourage usC for <life after
deat$= is pretty a $eavy stuff *y its c$aracteristic feature4 on t$e demise of a
person4 t$e <soulis$ state= descri"es t$e on-going condition of t$e dead Ie
may $ave already noted t$at t$e <soulis$ state= of t$e dead $as "een
descri"ed in Lu3e &/5&' ? 88 as a condition of life t$at is @uite different
from t$at of our p$ysical lifeC it is conscious and recogniDa"leC it can
converse and "e comforted or tormentedC in t$at state eart$ly events are
remem"ered and t$ose w$o go to torment may not pass over into comfort
I$ile t$e part of t$is statement suggests t$e unforcea"le forgiveness of sins4
it is unt$in3a"le t$at t$e Old Testament "elievers could "e said to <$ave
"een ta3en "y #$rist up into paradise At$e place of comfort in t$e Land of
t$e 9eadB w$ere t$ey $ave "een Koined "y t$e souls of #$ristians at deat$
ever since t$e first century T$e soulis$ state is "ot$ conscious and
immediate upon deat$=

Ie $ave $ad some compre$ensive loo3 at life in t$e Afterlife In Offa

t$ere $as "een increasing fascination wit$ life "eyond t$e grave4 a concern
over w$at $appens to t$e soul4 t$at is4 t$e in-dwelling soul t$at gives driving
force to t$e p$ysical "ody4 after deat$ T$ere4 at Offa4 many amaDing
e2periences $ave "een reported "y people w$o were considered clinically
dead "ut t$en <miraculously revived= to tell t$e story of t$eir out-of-t$e-
"ody e2perience Availa"le are also stories of sic3 "edGdeat$ "ed visions
w$ile at t$e present and future activities of t$e dead are "eing revealed to t$e
people t$roug$ t$e pages of God;s written revelations to man in t$e scripture
"oo3s of Islam and #$ristianity respectively It is t$ese important accounts
of life t$at we $ave turned4 to discuss in greater detail and to s$ed lig$t on
t$e age-old @uestions of life and deat$ I$en a man faints or an Offa person
da;a3u4 $e is regarded as "eing clinically dead for a w$ile4 and out of t$e
"ody suc$ t$at after revival to life4 $e narrates $is out-of-t$e-"ody
e2perience activities $e performed
& Newell S *oot$4 I"id4 p&(-
0 7alp$ Ialdo ,merson A&'-.B4 #oming
"ac35 T$e Science of 7eincarnationC London5 T$e
*$a3tive danta *oo3 Trust4 p&
8 I"id4 p&(J
( 6usuf Ali A&'%.B4 Uur;an p%%.n 0('0
. I"id
/ Kwamena Amponsa$ A&'%.B4 Topics on
Iest African Traditional 7eligions5 7eligious
Studies4 vol II p/8
% p &-/
- I"id4 p.8
' Ho$ns 1"iti A&'/'B4 African 7eligions and
P$ilosop$y4 p&('
&J ,* ,llis A&'%(B4 I"id4 p&.%
&& T$at is4 a young tree4 especially a young
forest tree4 ie4 a young or ine2perienced person
&0 Gone are t$e days w$en ot$erwise is t$e
case4 as enunciated in A* ,llis A&'%(B4 p&.-
&8 K Amponsa$4 I"id4 p//C HS 1"iti4 I"id4
pp&.J ? &./
&( I"id &. I"id
&/ , *olaKi Idowu A B4 Olodumare4 God in
6oru"a *elief4 p&'J in K Amponsa$4 I"id4 p//
&% I"id4 p&.'
& HS 1"iti A&'%.B4 Introduction to African religion;s London5
!einman4 p&&(
0 Interpretation mine
8 Interpretation mine
( Social sciences in #$ina vol III A&'-0B No 0
Hune4 &'-04 p&%(
. T$e Iorld *oo3 9ictionary vol II4 p&--8
/ <Oro o nile= A&'%(B4 7adio Nigeria
programme4 I"adan
% Page %'0n 0.(.
- A 6usuf Aliu A&'%.B4 T$e !oly Uur;an
p%'0 ? 8
' Tim Lattaye &'-J5 80 ? 88
&J I"id4 pp 8( P8.
#)APT*R /
OT!,7 SP,#I)I#S ON 9,AT!
Ot$er specifics on deat$ are definite statements concerning deat$4
including w$at $appens after deat$ T$ey s$all run on t$e following5
OT!,7 7IT,S P,7)O71,9 *,)O7, T!, LIFING AN9 T!, 9,A9
After interment4 t$e deceased is "elieved to "e around for a num"er of
days and until certain ceremonies are performed $e will not get a place in t$e
a"ode of t$e ancestors In conse@uence4 on t$e t$ird day of t$e "urial anot$er
ceremony ta3es place in t$e $ouse of t$e deceased T$is ritual ceremony is
called in yoru"a El3i ta; or t$ird day of "urial ritual; in ,nglis$ On t$is day4
t$e c$ildren of t$e deceased will anot$er animal 3nown as E;t$e "east to
accompany t$e deceased E; as well as prepare loaves of "eans ? A3ara On
t$is occasion people again eat4 drin3 and ma3e t$emVrelives merry Again
on t$e sevent$ day t$ere is yet anot$er ceremony w$ic$ is a little more
ela"orate t$an t$at of t$e t$ird day It is called El3i Ke; in yoru"a4 meaning
E;t$e sevent$ day "urial ceremony T$is is t$e day spirit of t$e deat$ will
finally set out on $is Kourney to t$e spirit world At dawn of t$is sevent$ day4
t$e windows Aif t$ere "e anyB w$o $ave "een living in confinement till t$at
day are "roug$t out T$ey are was$ed ritually to get t$em out of t$e first
p$ase of t$eir widow$ood4 One write says t$at widow may "e continued in a
room for a"out forty days 9uring t$e period $er clot$es s$ould not "e
was$ed in consonance wit$ <Ofo=- <unwas$ed= -ritual regarded as
imperative for o"servance
ot$er aut$orities4 Omosade Awolalu and Ade
lumo 9opamu A&'%'B
say t$at after widows $ave "een was$ed ritually
during t$e <IKe= ? <sevent$ day "urial ceremony=4 t$ey can now go out to
farm4 mar3et and stream "ut t$ey cannot yet attend ceremonies during
w$ic$ t$ey could "e $ailed wit$ fanfares in s$owy parade of any 3ind or go
to visit anyone wit$ pomp until t$e second p$ase4 ta3ing place on t$e fortiet$
day4 is over T$e widow$ood period spanning forty days is t$e period styled
<ofo= ? t$e unwas$ed period ot$erwise referred to as t$e period of mourning
w$ic$ varies wit$ t$e ran3 and influence of t$e deceased )or some o"vious
reasons some cults Aor traditionsB demand t$at ot$er ceremonies s$ould "e
performed on t$e t$irteent$4 seventeent$ and fortiet$ day of t$e "urial of t$e
:sually t$e second p$ase of t$e widow$ood ends on t$e fortiet$ day
w$en anot$er ceremony similar to t$at performed on t$e t$ird day preceding
is performed4 3illing or not 3illing an animal4 since eit$er of t$ese depends
on t$e financial strengt$ and capa"ility of t$e survivors !owever4 wit$out
dou"t "ean-ca3es Aa3araB are provided and given to t$e people present T$e
widow$ood rite performed in t$e manner descri"ed a"ove is to ward off t$e
spirit of t$e dead )or on t$e last day of t$e forty day ceremony4 t$ey At$e
widowsB $ave to s$ave off t$eir $eads w$ic$ may "e ta3en to "e a sym"ol of
separation "etween t$e dead and t$e living4 s$owing in particular t$at t$eir
$us"and $as "een separated from t$em and at t$e same time regarded as an
indication of 6oru"a "elief t$at deat$ does not destroy life since t$e growt$
of new $airs on t$e s$aved $eads indicates t$at life continues as t$ey spring
and reappear
Se@uel to t$is4 t$e widows can ma3e t$an3s-giving visits to
t$ose w$o assisted at t$e funeral ceremony andGor sympat$iDed wit$ t$em
during t$eir period of grief T$ey are now free to go to anyw$ere t$ey
please )or after all funeral o"se@uies $ave "een performed and cele"rated
wit$ t$e utmost grandeur4 fanfare and solemnity in a way and fas$ion
"efitting to "id farewell to and prepare t$e spirit of t$e deceased for <,$in
iwale AKa= ie <Life "eyond= #ontrary to t$is4 t$e relCLatives of t$e
deceased are disgraced if t$ey are una"le to $old proper funeral ceremonies
for t$eir deadC "ecause $is spirit would not "e a"le to get to t$e Land of t$e
9ead4 unless t$e rites are fully and completely performed As a result4
relatives and c$ildren of t$e deceased4 t$erefore4 go a""norowing In t$e
process $uge sums of money are "orrowed to finance t$e o"servances of t$e
rites and4 not inconse@uential4 t$e relatives are "y so doing "ecome $eavily
inde"ted As $uge de"ts are t$ere"y incurred and most relatives sell t$eir
properties to pay off t$eir de"ts4 suc$ plig$t @uite often reduce t$em to
almost a state of "eggary4 after carrying out t$e funeral rites T$ey4 or some4
even pawn t$eir c$ildren to raise t$e money necessary w$ic$ sometimes t$e
"orrowers are una"le to defray for several years running
)or t$ose w$o want not to "elieve in t$is sort of t$ing and 3ic3 against
t$e traditi'onal practice of t$is 3ind4 t$eir case $as a num"er of
su"stantiations )or instance t$ere is t$e "elief t$at t$e deceased is present
spiritually during "urial of $is corpse and t$e performances of t$e funeral
rites T$ere is also t$e "elief t$at it is w$en t$e important aspect of t$e
funeral ceremony is performed and so neatly concluded t$at t$e deceased
will actually "e given a permanent place of rest in t$e spirit world *ecause
if not so done $e At$e soul of t$e deceasedB will prowl a"out4 $aunt $uman
$a"itations and "ecome ever restless Alt$oug$ some consider .t$at t$e
second p$ase of "urial ceremony is of first importance and magnitude4 t$ey
also $old t$at if t$e sevent$ day ceremony is ela"orate and t$e fortiet$ day
ceremony is performed4 t$ey are enoug$ to gain t$e deceased admittance
into t$e spirit world to t$e effect t$at t$e o"servance of t$e second "urial
ceremony w$-ic$4 in t$is case4 is to feed t$e people4 can "e postponed
indefinitelyC considered long enoug$ more so t$at a commemoration ? feat is
often $eld a year after t$e deat$ of a person4 especially a no"le man
commemoration ? feast ta3ing place a year after t$e deat$ of a person is a
ceremony w$ic$4 if performed4 is 3nown as t$e ceremony of calling "ac3 t$e
soul of t$e departed to $is people=4 principally t$e nuclear family and it
amounts to a sort of renewal of covenant "etween t$e living and t$e dead

On t$e fourt$ day4 t$at is t$e day following t$e "urial of t$e deceased
person4 mourners carry on t$e feast till t$e evening of t$e ne2t day w$en t$e
"ones of t$e victims t$at $ave "een sacrificed and t$ose of t$e fowls4 s$eep
and goat t$at $ave "een eaten "y t$e guests are collected and placed on t$e
grave of t$e deceasedC w$ile all t$e articles used daily "y t$e deceased4 suc$
as $is to"acco pipe4 $is mat on w$ic$ $e slept4 t$e plate or plates or vessels
from w$ic$ $e ate4 $is cala"as$es from w$ic$ $e dran3 and ot$er t$ings li3e
pillows4 cups4 etc4 are carried into t$e "us$ and "urned 1eanw$ile4 up to
t$is point it is "elieved t$at t$e soul of t$e deceased is supposed to $ave
"een lingering near $is old $ome and destruction of $is property now is
intended to signify to t$e soul of t$e dead t$at $e must depart from $is old
$ome4 since t$ere is no longer anyt$ing "elonging to $im in t$e destruction
of t$e deceased;s property was carried muc$ furt$er Spea3ing of t$e 6oru"a
ceremonies at "irt$4 marriage and deat$ generally4 A* ,llis A&'%(5&.'B says
t$at <usually t$e apartment in w$ic$ t$e deceased is "uried is closed and
never used again sometimes t$e roof is removed;; According to $im ric$
families even a"andon t$e $ouse altoget$erC and it said to $ave "een usual in
t$e days "y-gone to "urn it In t$e final process of all t$ese parting funeral
rites t$e deceased is called "y $is name t$ree times and adKured
AcommendedB $im to depart4 for $e is no longer to $aunt t$e dwellings of t$e
living After t$is invitation to "e gone4 t$e soul of t$e departed @uits t$e
$ouse and ot$er environs
ANNIF,7SA76 #,L,*7ATION O) T!, 9,A9
!owever4 in modern times4 at t$e one-year anniversary cele"ration of
t$e deceased man;s demise4 if t$e "e #$ristian4 depending upon t$e agreed
resolution at a meeting of t$e family ? $eads for t$e occasion4 or at t$e
fortiet$ day funeral ceremony4 if $e "e a 1oslem4 w$ere and w$en all t$e
relatives and friends well wis$ers are gat$ered for a "ig funeral occasion for
t$e dead and all and sundry are in festive mood till t$e occasion lasts T$is
ceremony4 as ela"orate as it mig$t "e4 puts an end to all t$e interruptions of
normal r$yt$m of life caused "y t$e deat$ of t$e departed It also puts an end
to all t$e restrictions $it$erto imposed on t$e normal life of t$e $omestead of
t$e deceased4 may "e following t$e deat$ of t$e family4 viD5 as suc$
restrictions are lifted4 normal life resumes4 for t$ere after t$e widows are free
to remarry4 if t$ey want toC t$e property of t$e deceased can now "e s$ared4
arrangement as concerning t$e ta3ing care of t$e c$ildren and ot$er care of
t$e late man;s $ouse$old are also made
)inally4 o"servingly4 t$e yearly ceremony mar3ing t$e remem"rance
anniversary of t$e deat$ of a deceased one is4 partly4 a sym"olic way of
Erevising;4 Einviting "ac3; t$e departed and t$us renewing contact wit$ $im
in t$e ne2t worldC and4 partly4 declaring a formal resumption of life In terms
of African-6oru"a religious p$ilosop$y4 it is a ritual cele"ration of a man;s
con@uest over deat$5 for according to suc$ religious p$ilosop$y4 deat$ $as
only disrupted4 it $as not destroyed4 t$e r$yt$m AfunctioningB of life It also
indicates t$at t$e departed is not really dead 7at$er4 $e is a living-dead and
can "e contacted4 invited "ac3 and drawn into t$e $uman circles 9uring t$e
ceremonies it is patently clear t$at son4 in Offa-6oru"a society4 plays a
leading and continuing role in t$e ceremonies of $is fat$er;s funeral4 eg in
3eeping up $is Afat$er;sB memory and in caring for t$e $ouse$old in place of
$is fat$er4 t$e ceremonies w$ic$ mystically Aor mysteriously4 $idden from or
"eyond $uman 3nowledge or compre$ensionB lin3 t$e $uman world wit$
t$at of t$e departed
#O1PL,S SO#I,T6 9:, TO #:LT:7, #O1PL,S IN 1O9,7N
It may "e said4 in t$e fineness of feelings4 t$oug$ts4 tastes4 manners4
etc4 t$at t$e study of culture comple2 of Offa modern society4 consisting of
traits of t$e traditional culture4 Islamic culture and #$ristian culture4 s$ows a
process "y w$ic$ t$e prevailing trait or pattern of culture spreads outward
from t$e point of origin of 6oru"a traditions and practices4 t$e original
w$irl-pool of t$e ripples of culture comple2 Of trut$4 ,mory S *ogardus
says t$at w$en missionaries are sent from one country to a <$eat$en=
country4 culture diffusion may ta3e place>>;
notwit$standing4 t$ere is
t$e trut$ t$at despite t$e social and economic pressure of our time as well as
t$e impact of t$e influence of t$e Islamic and #$ristian teac$ings and
preac$ing against e2travagant spending and e2penses "eing lavis$ed on
traditional funeral ceremonies4 t$at is4 wit$ reference to t$is 3ind of
particular system of $ero wors$ip among t$e 6oru"as in general4 especially
t$e cult Aor customB of funeral rites and ceremonies4 as descri"ed a"ove4
great admiration for t$e cultic sayings and ritualistic practices "y w$ic$
6$oru"a "elief in t$e cult AtraditionB of t$eir culture $ero w$ic$ $ad grown
after t$e latter;s deat$ ? t$oug$ continually "eing frowned upon "y people of
Islamic and #$ristian fait$s in t$eory ? seems to "e flouris$ing in practice4
and not per$aps4 aggravated "y t$e elites of our societies Namely4 today4 in
Offa4 t$e c$ief 6oru"a town of t$e I"olos in Kwara State4 corpse of a
deceased #$ristian could remain em"almed and 3ept in mortuary for several
mont$s "efore interment4 if t$e si"lings and ot$er close relatives of t$e
deceased are well to do T$oug$ 1oslems "ury t$eir dead t$e instant one of
t$eir mem"ers dies4 t$e e2penses lavis$ed on t$e eig$t and fortiet$ day
funeral ceremonies always loo3ed alarming w$enever t$ey too3 place and
got one stunned and spelt "ound In "ot$ #$ristian and 1oslem funeral
ceremonies4 $uge de"ts are often incurred and cannot "e said to "e so a
meager incurrence of lia"ilities enoug$ to doom t$e cost of traditional
o"se@uies to condemnation As of now4 neit$er #$ristian nor 1oslem funeral
ceremonies incorporating personal responsi"ility for t$e costs of as$o e"i
and t$e num"er of cows to "e felled "y individuals could condemn t$e costs
of funeral ceremonies of old to drudge Amere $ard wor3B On t$e strengt$ of
t$is o"servation4 it is trite saying t$at nowadays; cost of funeral ceremonies
in 6oru"aland drowse away t$e cost of t$ose of t$e olden days
)or instance4 t$ere is a popular Os$og"o story of a ric$ man4 Pa
Oparinde4 w$o died in t$e early &'.J;s and $is corpse laid in a glass cofin4
over-laden wit$ five $undred pounds of t$ose days Anow one t$ousand
nairaB5 one $undred pounds eac$ was put under eac$ of $is feetC $is left and
rig$t foot respectively and anot$er one $undred pounds eac$ under $is left
and rig$t $ands in li3e manner w$ile t$e remaining one $undred pounds was
put under $is $ead Ot$er valua"les li3e gold4 clot$es Amade up of costly
materialsB4 etc4 were included All inserted in t$e coffin were put on display
in t$e glass coffin placed on t$e $earse rolled round t$e town in maKestic
motion and wit$ pump and pageantry of a well-"alanced music of aro Atgwo
pieces of music-ma3ing iron "y stri3ingB4 s$e3ere Aanot$er music-ma3ing
implement ? a gourd covered wit$ cowry s$ells s$a3en to produce music
soundsB and tal3ing drums Amidst t$e Koyous people in t$e procession were
men of t$e underworld w$o4 w$en t$e $earse was ear-mar3ed to $ead for t$e
*aptist #$urc$ cemetery4 dispersed to go and get ready for t$eir usual deal
of nig$t marauding activities intended to e2$ume t$e corpse t$is time around
and ma3e away wit$ all t$e valua"les contained in t$e entom"ed cofin
:naware t$at all valua"les were removed4 t$at t$e corpse alone $ad
"een left intact in t$e grave4 t$e e2$umers "etoo3 t$emselves to t$eir self-
imposed tas3 of removing t$e eart$ from t$e si2-foot sepulc$er wit$
seriousness and ardency till t$ey reac$ed t$e coffin w$ic$ t$ey removed
wit$ very great care T$ey "ro3e in upon t$e corpse of t$e deceased
rampageous and searc$ed for w$at t$ey could get to carry away4 "ut to no
avail Indeed4 none was found to t$eir disappointment4 dismay and disgust
Annoyingly4 t$erefore4 t$ey left t$e e2$umed corpse uncared for4 even w$en
t$ey left it na3edly In t$at "are state4 t$e deceased lay till t$e following day
w$en t$e deat$ of a c$ild was reported to t$e 7everend in-c$arge and t$e
latter and t$e parents of t$e dead c$ild went into t$e cemetery to c$oose a
site for t$e c$ild;s grave I$en t$ey came to t$e deceased man;s corpse4
lying down na3ed4 it was eye-sore As a result4 t$e 7ev turned a"out and
rus$ed $ome to get a cover clot$ w$ic$ $e used to cover t$e na3ed "ody of
t$e deceased4 no"le and elderly in $is life time T$ere after4 t$e 7ev ordered
t$at deat$ 3nell "e tolled w$ic$ caused #$urc$ elders to want to 3now for
again t$e "ell was "eing tolled T$ey rus$ed in to vicarage to in@uire w$o
died again from t$e 7ev T$ey were told t$e story of t$e ugly situation of
w$at transpired T$e #$urc$ mem"ers were surprised and arrangement was
@uic3ly made to re-"ury t$e e2$umed corpse Today4 "urying gifts4 in
cas$ and 3ind4 wit$ t$e deceased is no longer in practice among Offa-
In t$e a"iding sense impressed upon our mind "y Islamic and
#$ristian teac$ings t$at trend towards causing men and women of nowadays
to depart from t$e evil of e2travagant spending on funeral ceremonies and
practice of Eancestor-wors$ip; as well as see3ing at t$e same time to reform
people;s social life4 we are @uite often told t$at material t$ings entom"ed
wit$ t$e corpse of a dead person are of no "enefit or advantage to t$e
deceased ,ssentially4 t$is sermon w$ic$ re@uires some deep consideration
calls to mind a similar "ut popular story a"out t$e ,nglis$man w$o went to
place a wreat$ on t$e tom" of a deceased relative at t$e same time t$at a
#$inese was putting rice on t$e tom" of $is own deceased relative
T$e ,nglis$man c$aracteristically as3ed t$e #$inese <;my friend4
w$en is your relative going to eat t$e rice t$at you are offeringM; to w$ic$
t$e #$inese promptly replied Ew$en yours is smelling your flowers;=

In Offa-6oru"a town of today4 w$ile it is true t$at social c$ange effect

came into t$e people in t$e wa3e of spread of Islam and #$ristianity4 it is
also su"stantially true t$at continuity of culture of t$e past and social c$ange
effect are a"iding pari-passu wit$ t$e people4 wit$ t$e survivals of t$e past
always manifest in t$e said social c$ange effect )or instance4 all funeral4
including all ritual4 ceremonies put toget$er are a ritual cele"ration of t$e
deceased;s con@uest over deat$ $as only disrupted and not destroyed t$e
r$yt$m At$e functioningB of life4 as "eing preac$ed "y t$e saying t$at <Hesus
#$rist died4 rose from $is deat$ on t$e t$ird day and ascended to $eaven

T$oug$ t$e grave is4 parado2ically4 t$e sym"ol of separation "etween

t$e dead and t$e living4 turning it to t$e s$rine for t$e living-dead converts it
At$e graveB to t$e point of meeting "etween t$e two worlds4 an e@uivalent
"elief of t$e cruciferous Across-"earer4 as in ecclesiastical processionsBC yet
social c$ange effect $as $ad considera"le impact on Offa-6oru"a4 indeed
African4 culture
Ie may mention also t$at w$atever "e t$e case in Offa4 "urial is t$e
commonest met$od of dealing and dispensing wit$ t$e p$ysical "ody of t$e
dead In doing t$is4 different customs are followed
Sometimes t$e people "ury t$e "ody inside t$e $ouse4 in t$e room w$ere t$e
person was living at t$e time of deat$ Sometimes it is "uried in t$e
compound w$ere t$e $omestead is situated Sometimes t$ey "ury t$e "ody
"e$ind t$e compound and sometimes t$e corpse is carried to t$e cemetery
for "urial T$e s$ape of t$en grave commonly found is rectangular and lying
$oriDontal on t$e ground4 not circular or round as t$ose of t$e Gwaris of
Niger State of Nigeria 1et$od of disposal of corpse and funeral rites and
ceremonies4 descri"ed a"ove4 apply mainly to t$ose w$o are adults and are
at old age or die normal deat$
As coined and e2plained "y Ho$n S 1"it A&'%.B
e2planation of t$e
living-dead is as follows5 I$ile surviving relatives remem"er t$e departed4
t$e spirit of $im At$e departedB more or less leads a personal continuation of
t$e life w$ic$ later on $as "ecome w$at we $ave called t$e living-dead T$is
is "ecause people regard t$e spirit4 ot$erwise referred to as in-dwelling soul
and4 t$erefore4 t$e driving force of t$e $uman person w$ile alive4 as "eing
muc$ li3e a $uman "eing4 alt$oug$ it is dead Ie $ave already intimated
t$at at deat$4 t$e in-dwelling soul does not die "ut $ere we are affirming t$at
w$en it separates from t$e "ody at t$e deat$ of t$e "ody4 it At$e in-dwelling
soulB gets a taste of deat$ On several occasions w$en it At$e former in-
dwelling soulB appears to mem"ers of t$e family4 t$ey will say t$at t$ey saw
Eso and so; :p to t$at point it $as not lost its personal name and identity
9uring t$is period of appearances of t$e spirit and its visits w$ic$ may last
up to four and even five generations4 it is possi"le for somet$ing of t$e
features4 c$aracteristics and person"ality of sucy$ a spirit Acalled formerly
t$e in-dwelling solul in man4 "ut now t$e living-deadB to "e noticed4 even in
a newly "orn c$ild I$en t$is occurs t$en t$e people would sa Eso and so;
$as come "ac34 $as returned or $as "een re"orn
9,AT! AN9 *,LI,) IN LI), A)T,7 LI),
*y its real sc$olarly e2planation and interpretation of t$e principle of
dedat$4 reincarnation is not a <"eli3ef system= or a psyc$ological device for
escaping t$e <grim finality= of dedat$C rat$er it is a precise science or an
assay$ed statement t$at e2plains and interprets <our past and future lives=
Ie $ave $eard @uite often and many "oo3s $ave "een written on t$e su"Kect4
usually "ased on $ypnotic regressionC near-deat$ e2periences4 accounts of
out-of-t$e-"ody e2periences4 etc "y $ypnotic regressionC we mean
dreamli3e reversion of a dead person to an earlier stagte of condition of t$e
living w$en $e was alive
Indeed4 it is generally "elieved "y all men t$at deat$ is not an end to
life "ut a means to a new life in eternity Of trut$4 from t$e earliest times in
Africa4 men $ad "een accustomed to place in t$e graves of t$eir dead t$e
t$ings t$at t$ey At$e deadB $ad used and enKoyed in t$is world and would
e@ually re@uire in t$e ne2t of course a"out t$e e2istence of t$at world4 t$ere
was no dou"t w$atsoever4 "ut t$e inconsistencies and contradictions wit$
w$ic$ t$e Offa-6oru"a man $as accepted t$is "elief nowadays ma3e it
difficult to discover @uite AcompletelyB w$at wasGis $is conception of t$e
future life after life4 ie4 life after deat$ !owever4 t$at t$e Offa man of t$e
old 3ingdom "elieved firmly in a future life is certain *ecause $e
recogniDed t$e fact of p$ysical deat$C only $e was una"le to conceive of any
form of e2istence ot$er t$an t$at of t$e p$ysical life T$erefore to $imC t$e
difference "etween t$e living and t$e dead was one of degree rat$er t$an of
3ind T$e "elief prevailing at Offa was t$at t$e dead lived on "ut in less real
manner T$us4 t$ey At$e deadB re@uired food and drin34 Kust as t$ey $ad done
in t$is world "efore t$ey died !ence a prudent living man would do all $e
could to ensure t$at t$at provision was regularly made for $is At$e
deceased;sB soul;s sustenance
!owever4 since it was patently clear to $im as true t$at t$e dead could
not and did not eat nor drin34 it was t$e spirit to w$ic$ t$e offering was
made t$at mattered rat$er t$an its At$e soul;sB sustenance4 suc$ t$at4 in t$e
,gyptian e2perience of t$e P$araoa$;s days4 a loaf of painted wood was as
satisfactory as a w$eatened loaf Aor loaf of w$eat "readB4 t$e wine-Kars and
tray full of meat ? meat carved in relief Aor in engraved reliefB on t$e walls
of t$e tom" c$am"er ? were as sustaining as actual meat and wine4 and $ad
t$e advantage of "eing incorrupti"le T$e same goes for Offa-man of old
Indeed according to $im t$e dead man was actually alive in $is tom"
AgraveB Altruistically4 in t$e olden days4 t$at was t$e reason for t$e care
ta3en to preserve t$e "ody of t$e deceased from decay or destruction4 and4 in
$is "elief4 "ecause decay was only too pro"a"le4 a portrait-statute was
immured Aenclosed wit$in walls or entom"edB w$ic$ would4 in case of need
act as t$e "ody;s su"stitute

Generally it is a 6oru"a "elief t$at t$e dead was not dead !e was
always alive A curious illustration of $is "elief4 in t$e literal trut$ of t$e
dogma4 is afforded "y t$e gifts wit$ w$ic$ t$e dead were entom"ed T$e
pictures of suc$ ouKtpouring are not in any sense a memorial of t$e wealt$
and lu2ury t$at t$e man $ad enKoyed in $is lifetime It $as "een supposed
t$at t$ey represent scenes of w$at o"tain in t$e ne2t world4 c$aracteristically
conceived as "eing a replica of t$is world ? t$is e2plains t$e 6oru"a saying5
*i a ti nse laiye ni an se lo run= ? and t$at t$eir presence in t$e tom" would4
"y sympat$etic magic4 ensure for t$e dead man Kust t$e enKoyment of suc$
t$ings as $e $ad most enKoyed w$ile aliveC t$at t$ere too4 in t$e world4 $e
would "e t$e lord of "road acres4 owing t$e cattle so realistically figured on
t$e tom" walls4 feasting and $unting4 Kust as t$e relief Aie figures or designsB
on t$e tom" walls s$owed $im doing5 suc$ a "elief4 one may assert4 does
seem to $ave "een developed in t$e later p$ases of 6oru"a $istory w$en men
were o"sessed to a far greater e2tent wit$ t$e t$oug$t of anot$er world and
t$e germs of suc$ "elief may well $ave "een present in t$e muddled minds
of t$e later Offa-6oru"a
T$oug$ deriving from ordinary life of t$e people4 o"Kective4 lig$t-
$earted and full of "ustling activities4 t$ey "elieved t$at t$e owner of t$e
tom" is not dead and living in t$e tom" $e loo3s on at life as $e $as 3nown
it4 t$oug$ $e no longer can play a direct part
Generally too4 parado2ically4 early 6oru"a man was not very deeply
interested in anot$er world to w$ic$ man may go after deat$4 e2cept in line
wit$ t$e fact t$at t$e w$ole of $is ela"orate funerary ritual aimed at securing
t$e continuation of life in t$is world4 of course su"Kect only to t$ose
conditions w$ic$ t$e fact of deat$ imposed Suc$ a "elief is t$e "elief of a
prosperous and $appy people w$o enKoyed life so w$ole-$eartedly t$at t$ey
could not endure t$e t$oug$t of losing it AlifeBC
as opposed to some4 t$e
poor4 for w$om costly "urial was impossi"leC "ut presuma"le t$ey got as
muc$ $appiness as t$ey could out of life w$en t$ey were alive and vaguely
$oped for t$e "etter4 or even t$e "est4 t$ereafter Since aforetime4 t$e "elief
$as it t$at <A man survives after deat$ !is deeds are laid "eside $im for
)rom "irt$ to deat$4 e2perience of man is not unconnected wit$ Offa
"elief system T$is "elief for discussion is a"out t$e "elief of life after deat$
toget$er wit$ t$e principle of reincarnation Suc$ "elief in reincarnation
reac$es t$e conclusion t$at t$e e2istence of strong personal attac$ments and
t$e facts of deat$ is t$e most upsetting and disorganiDing to man;s
calculation;s ending up a"ruptly T$ese personal attac$ments and facts of
deat$ are per$aps t$e main sources of Offa religious "eliefs In $is life
e2perience4 t$e man undergoes various transformations in $is present nature
at different stages As at "irt$4 and as a c$ild4 man;s powers of mind and
"ody remain yet undeveloped *ut as $e grows t$ey too grow and certain
moral @ualities suc$ as courage4 daring wit$ t$e will to con@uer unfold
t$emselves In t$e e2treme old age4 $owever4 t$ese are again o"scure and a
second c$ild$ood supervenes Aie come directly as conse@uence of old ageB
suc$ t$at t$e "ac3 of t$e man w$o formerly wal3ed proudly straig$t and
erect is now "ent w$ilst $is vivacious dispositions gradually e2tenuates till
$e dies !ence4 t$is Offa "elief system sees deat$ as t$e most disruptive of
all t$e events of catastrop$es4 since it removes a family mem"er away into
t$e spirit world T$erefore4 Offa religion4 "e it traditional or ot$erwise4 deals
wit$ t$e pro"lem of deat$ in t$e following manner of reincarnation t$oug$ts
In our academic approac$ to understanding t$e principle of
reincarnation4 we dare to state t$at a funeral ceremony e2presses t$e "elief in
immortality w$ic$ denies t$e fact of deat$4 w$ic$ merely necessitates soul
transmigration into t$e world "eyond as well as reappears in t$e present
world later on as <*a"atunde= or <6etunde= Aie <Papa or 1amma $as come
"ac3 to life again=B as t$e case may "e Ot$er mourners support t$e "ereaved
"y t$eir presence at t$e funeral ceremony of t$e departed4 w$ic$ in t$e long-
run comforts t$e "ereaved4 even as at t$e time w$en t$e departed is "eing
given appreciation to t$e full life $e spent Kust as ot$er encomiums
overw$elm $im T$e comfort and support c$ec3s t$e emotions w$ic$ deat$
produces It also controls t$e stress and an2iety4 w$ic$ mig$t disrupt society
)urt$er to t$is4 during t$e goings-on at t$e funeral ceremony4 t$e community
group unites to support t$e "ereaved w$ile at $ome or a"road T$is
e2pression of social solidarity reintegrates Offa society
T$at "y its real sc$olarly e2planation and interpretation of t$e
principle of deat$4 reincarnation is not a "elief system4 or a psyc$ological
device for escaping t$e <grim finality= of deadt$C "ut a precise science t$at
e2plains Eour past and future lives; Ie $ave $eard @uite often4 and many
"oo3s $ave also "een written on t$e su"Kect4 usually "ased on t$e $ypnotic
regressionC near-deat$ e2periences4 accounts of out-of-t$e-"ody e2periences4
etc *y $ypnotic regression4 we mean dreamli3e reversion of a dead person
to an earlier state of condition of living w$en $e was alive on t$is planet
T$at t$e "elief of Offa-man in reincarnation is li3e t$at of t$e *ritis$ poet
laureate4 Ho$n 1asfield A&'-.B
w$o in $is well 3nown poem a"out past
and future lives4 writes5
<I $old t$at w$en a person Aan
OffamanB dies !is soul
returns again to eart$4 Arrayed in some
new fles$ disguise4
Anot$er mot$er gives $im "irt$ wit$
sturder lim"s and "rig$ter "rains4 T$e old soul
ta3es road again=
Indeed4 Offaman "elieves t$at at deat$4 man4 t$e living "eing4
transmigrates from one "ody to anot$er In ot$er words4 transmigration
relating to t$e doctrine of reincarnation of t$e soul in a $uman "ody after
deat$4 represented "y deat$4 refers to t$e passing of a Esoul; AEemi in 6oru"aB
at deat$ into anot$er "ody for t$e purpose of metempsyc$osis
1etempsyc$osis is t$e passing of t$e soul at deat$ from one "ody into
anot$er In ot$er words simply put4 it is t$e transmigration of t$e soul Offa-
6oru"a "elief in t$is respect apart4 some oriental p$ilosop$ies teac$ t$at "y
metempsyc$osis a person;s soul= lives in an animal;s "ody=
T$e "elief in
metempsyc$osis is4 t$erefore4 a c$aracteriDing feature of most animistic
religions and $as reac$ed a $ig$ degree of sop$istication in *udd$ism and
!induism Animistic religions are religions founded on animism w$ereas
animism itself is an attri"ution of spirit or soul to inanimate t$ings


Standing apart from t$e I$iteman;s ideology of legitimatingC "y
#$ristian cler3s w$o came to Africa to propagate #$ristianity4 emp$asiDing
t$e necessity of t$eir religion as "etter t$an or superior to t$e African
traditional religion w$ic$ t$e Africans $ave to a"andon in preference to
t$eirs4 it is important to assert t$at in Offa of old4 spirits and idols were ? and
still are ? not "eing wors$iped as it is erroneously "elieved "y t$e w$ite men
and t$eir apologists T$e error of suc$ "elief derives from t$e wrong
interpretation of t$e 6oru"a ver" world E"o In t$is aut$or;s "elief and
understanding4 t$e 6oru"a ver" word E"o; is an a""reviation of t$ese 6oru"a
words E"u owo; or E"owo; w$ic$ in ,nglis$ mean or means Egive respect;
Of course t$is 3ind of respect is given wit$ a "ow4 as we "ow our $eads in
prayers to t$e Almig$ty God So t$at "y e2tension4 if we say in 6oru"a to
someone5 "o ori "a"a we are saying4 in ,nglis$4 to t$at person to $ave an
occasion to venerate $is living-dead fat$er in order to propitiate t$e latter
and assuage $is dangerous anger wit$out necessarily involving #$ristian or
1uslim mode of wors$ip
T$oug$ relations4 well-wis$ers4 ot$er people of goodwill4 etc4 gat$er
toget$er to grace t$e occasion wit$ a 3ind of festivity t$at involve eating4
drin3ing and dancing4 t$e occasion t$erefore was for merry-ma3ing as
people eat4 dance and wine to t$eir fill4 as on a Falentine;s 9ay T$e
occasion is wit$out religious setting4 in t$e modern religious sense It is
totally wrong for anyone to interpret E"o ori "a"a; to mean wors$ip of
ancestor or ancestor wors$ipC Kust as t$e 6oru"a epit$et EA"orisa; must not
"eseen as <T$e w$o wors$ips Eorisa; AgodB "ut rat$er as one w$o passes $is
supplications to t$e ultimate God for accomplis$ment t$roug$ a divinity4
w$ic$ now serves as conveyor-"elt in t$e transcendental duties "etween man
and God Suc$ interpretation of t$e festival occasion of veneration of one;s
living-dead is erroneous and particularly derogatory "ecause our contention
in t$is respect smac3s of t$e scripture "oo3s of t$e modern religions w$ose
6oru"a and ,nglis$ editions $ave one of t$eir verse w$ic$ decrees as
follows5 <*owo fun ""a ati iya re 3i oKo re 3i o le "a pe lori ile ti oluwa
olorun re fi fun o= Its ,nglis$ translation reads5 <!onour t$y fat$er and t$y
mot$er t$at t$e Land on w$ic$ you are may "e prolonged= Since t$e 6oru"a
word <*owo= was not interpreted to mean wors$ip "ut <!onour= ?an
e@uivalent4 venerate4 etc ? t$ere is no gainsaying t$e fact t$at ancestor
$onouring or ancestor venerating Aor venerationB is not t$e same as ancestor
wors$ip4 more so t$at many dictionary meanings of wors$ip include
ceremonies or services4 often formally prescri"ed4 in $onour of God
Ancestor wors$ip in 6oru"a is <ori "a"a "i"o= It is a 3ind of $ero
wors$ip or veneration t$at involves special anniversary cele"ration of some
cultural carnival t$at derives from a postulation t$at we need to do $onour to
our dead In 6oru"a culture t$ere is usually deat$4 "urial and mourning T$e
Offa-6oru"a are always aware of t$e dead suc$ t$at even w$en t$ey don;t
3now w$ere some"ody is "uried4 t$ere is a sym"olic "urial4 as $unters;
guilds are wont to do "urying t$e deceased man;s effigy Aor imageB called
As t$e lives of t$e dead and t$e living are seemly insepara"le4 in Offa-
6oru"a culture if a man $as not laid $is dead to rest t$eir g$osts At$e g$osts
of t$e deadB are "elieved to "e floating and "elieves t$at a lot of t$e
pro"lems $e is encountering evolve primarily from t$e fact t$at $is dead
$ave not "een s$own t$e gratitude "y $imC t$e living fol34 and $ave not "een
accorded a "efitting repose4 invo3ing "lessings upon "lessings on t$e living
c$ildren4 grand c$ildren and great grand c$ildren for long life and prosperity
w$ile prayers perfect repose of t$eir ancestors are said to round up t$e
occasion of t$e pouring of li"ation t$at puts paid to t$e ceremony In spite of
t$e I$iteman;s derogatory name assigned to t$is occasion of $onouring t$e
ancestors4 carnivals of sumptuous meals comprise t$e ceremony w$ic$ is not
different from w$at many nations do4 including t$e )ederal Government of
Nigeria and t$e Nigerian Army4 under t$e Armed )orces 7emem"rance 9ay
on Hanuary &. of every year to commemorate t$e repose of martyrs and
gallant $eroes in war
& Iest African Traditional 7feli3gion A&'%'B p0/
0 Ho$n S 1"iti A&'%.B4 IntroduKction to African 7eligionC
London5 !ieneman4 pp &&( P &&.
8 A* ,llis A&'%(B4 PP &.' P &/JC Omosade Awolalu4 et
al A&'%'B4 pp 0/& P0/0C Kwa"ena Amponsa$
A&'%.B4 pp // P /%
( HS 1"iti A&'/'B4 African 7eligions P P$ilosp$y4 p&.&
. T$e Iorld *oo3 9ictionary vol I A&'%(B4 p.&8
/ , *olaKi Idowu A&'%8B4 African Traditional rfeligionC
London5 S#1 Press Ltd4 p&%'
% New Tgstament Te2t5 1at$ew4 Lu3e
- 1"it4 Ho$n S A&'/'B4 Introduction to African
7eligionC I"id4 p&&'
' Leonard4 Iooley Sir A&'/8B4 T$e * egining of
#iviliDationC London5 George Allen P :nwin Ltd4
pp %&- ? %&'
&J I"id4 p%0J
&& #oming *ac35 T$e science of 7eincarnation4 p&&
&0 T$e Iorld *oo3 9ictionary A&'%(B4 vol II4 p&0'.
&8 I"id
#)APT*R 0
O))A-6O7:*A T7A9ITIONAL ,#ONO16 AN9 #O11:NIT6
,conomic institution is an important Offa institution in t$e life of a
people In Offa economic activities consist mainly in su"sistence farming It
is t$e income earner for a"out -JW of t$e adult men It is t$e income for
a"out -JW of t$e adult men Agricultural crops include yam4 cassava and
potato No e2port crops are cultivated in any commercial @uantity T$ere is
no cocoa and no palm produce T$ere are a"undant farmlands It consists of
s$ifting cultivation4 use of $oes and cutlasses and "us$ "urning T$ere are
long distance farmers T$ere are farmers w$o travel several miles "efore
t$ey reac$ t$eir farms on w$ic$ t$ey dwell for several mont$s "efore
return"ing $ome Some of t$ese come $ome during festival cele"rations4 li3e
<Odun awe= AIdil )itril5 1oslem 7amadan festivalBC <Ile-ya= AIdil Ka"ir or
Greater *iaram ?anot$er 1oslem fesytival during w$ic$ rams are
slaug$teredB T$ey may come $ome during #$ristmas or during traditional
festival of <non ma3a= Aor <Laare=5 )irst fruit ceremony of yam festivalB
A"out &JW eac$ accounts for crafts and traders respectively As for trading4
a comple2 mar3eting pattern moves agricultural Products from producer to
consumer and imported good come into t$e town from various parts of t$e
federation T$e "usinessmen are merc$ants4 distri"utors4 w$olesalers and
retailers w$o "y so doing $elp to ma3e essential commodities reac$
purc$asersG consumers at grassroots level
O"Kective of t$is topic are to discuss and to list sources of economic
development of our environment4 to appreciate t$e contri"ution of t$e
economic development to societal development T$e two ma3e good
"edfellowsC and to e2plain t$e role of $uman resources in economic
T$e economy of any nation $as many aspects w$ic$ can "e divided into
t$ree main sectors namely t$e primary sector made up of agriculture w$ic$
include farming4 forestry4 fis$ing4 poultry and livestoc3C t$e secondary sector
w$ic$ includes manufacturing4 processing and constructionC and finally t$e
tertiary sector w$ic$ consists of *an3ing serviceC trading and teac$ing etc ln
t$is part of t$is "oo34 we are solely concerned wit$ t$e Agriculture primary
sector w$ic$ is agriculture farming is an integral part of agriculture animals5
it involves management of domestically animals so farming is t$e most
prominent aspect of agriculture )arming includes livestoc34 crop
productionC and fis$ing )arming is crop production $as "een for
su"sistence Su"sistence farming is w$en a farmer produces for t$e feeding
of $is family only Nigeria is yet to produce for e2port Ie are yet to reac$
t$e stage in agricultural development w$en e2port of food crop will
contri"ute a large c$un3 of our foreign earning !owever4 t$e main crops
produced in Nort$ern part of Nigeria are *eans4 Guinea corn4 7ice4 Onions4
1illet4 Pepper4 Tomato4 Sugarcane4 #otton4 Groundnut etc 1ost of t$ese are
also produced in offa Among offa- 6oru"a t$e usual economic unit is t$e
family4 nuclear or e2tended and sometimes4 elders or family $ead w$o $olds
t$e entire family land in trust are responsi"le for t$e allocation of land for
use "y t$e various families according to t$eir needs Often t$e land is not
given fully to individual owners "ut is regarded as "eing $eld in trust T$at a
family may use t$e land "ut not own4 as owners$ip mig$t $arm t$e future
well- "eing of t$e family4 ie4 t$e larger family as a w$ole T$e altitude
towards land $olding is an old one and still persists in many parts of t$e
town )rom t$e point of view of usufructuary rig$tC Land planted wit$ cas$
crop4 and crop planted for cas$ sale4 may eventually "ecome t$e property of
t$e family mem"er planting t$e trees4 due to long years of use eg for
su"sistence farming T$is is t$e practice not only in offa "ut in 6oru"a land
in general4 recovery of suc$ pieces of land from t$e allottees is often two
difficult4 if not impractica"le4 to accomplis$ T$e area of ground devoted to
su"sistence crops varies wit$ t$e siDe of t$e family4 t$e land of soil and t$e
amount of la"our re@uired clearing t$e "us$ In offa ?yoru"a crops produced
are yam4 cassava4 maiDe4 3ola nut4 oil4 cocoyam4 etc Alt$oug$ some crops
suc$ as to"acco4 groundnut4 cotton4 palm produce4 3ola nut4 ru""er etc are
industrial raw material4 none of t$ese could "e reagarded as "eing produced
on commercial @uantitly in offa for e2port trade
Types of Soil in offa
Sand Soil
#lay Soil
Loamy soil
T$e "est soil for farming is loamy soil Loamy soil is a mi2ture of sandy and
clay soils It is always dar3 in colour4 s$owing t$e prosence of decomposed
plants and animals It also contains almost all t$e macro nutrients It $as
moderate pore spaces
)A71 IO7K
T$is done "y all mem"ers of t$e family4 especially t$ose w$o are a"le to
wield a $oe4 more so t$ose w$o are 3nown to do so wit$ de2terity !ere se2
roles are involved Generally t$e men concentrate on clearing and "urning
t$e "us$ to ma3e farm and planting operationsC t$e women loo3 after t$e
weeding and $arvesting T$e c$ief farming tools are t$e $oe and t$e cutlass
!oes vary in siDe Often a large and fairly $eavy $oe is used for digging
w$ile lig$t one is for weeding Alt$oug$ it $as "een criticiDed as a primitive
and inefficient tool4 t$e $oe $as certain advantages5 it is lig$t and $andy to
useC it is easily made "y local "lac3smit$s or c$eap and easily availa"le to
"uy at village storesC it suits t$e Africans soil w$ic$ is often too t$in for any
$eavy farm implement to dig deeplyC it allows t$e farmer to cultivate large
areas too "ro3en up "y tree trun3s and laterite roc3s for easy ploug$ing
*y t$is system of farming4 a patc$ of "us$ is cleared Or in t$e forest4
trees and "us$es are felled in t$e middle of dry season T$ey are left to dry
out "efore "eing "urnt In t$e drier savannas of Offa people t$e wit$ered
s$ru"s and grasses are "urned off at t$e end of dry season So t$at after
farming for two or t$ree years4 it is allowed to go "ac3 to "us$ w$ile anot$er
patc$ is made ready for cultivation T$is period of rest or fallow given to
farm "efore it is re cultivated ena"les t$e already used up farmland to regain
t$e ric$ness of its soil in t$e long run !owever4 t$e longer t$e period of
fallow t$e more complete t$e recovery of soil fertility T$is e2plains t$e
reason for long distance farms on w$ic$ live farmers w$o travel several
miles "efore t$ey reac$ t$eir farms4 dwelling t$ere for several mont$s4 or
ma3e t$em more or less permanent places of a"ode
After t$e land is cleared and t$e first rains $ave fallen4 seed and tu"ers
are planted Several crops are usually planted and grown toget$er in t$e
same plot4 "ut varieties c$ange from year to year 9etails of cultivation vary
wit$ t$e nature of t$e crop and t$e custom of t$e people #ustomarily in
Offa4 yams are usually grown in mounds4 sweet potatoes in ridges4 cereals in
furrows and cassava "y placing cuttings in $oles made in t$e soft ground
:nli3e in t$e forest w$ere little weeding is done4 grain crops in t$e savanna4
Offa4 must "e 3ept from "eing c$o3ed up "y new grass springing up from
t$e roots or t$e under growt$s w$ic$ were not destroyed "y fire w$en t$e
"us$ was "eing "urnt
#!I,) )OO9 #7OPS
6A1S5 T$ese are widely cultivated during t$e sufficient si2 to ten mont$s4
raining season re@uired for growt$ T$e yam is grown from tu"er cuttings
planted in mounds of eart$4 and4 as it is provide to support t$e foliage It is a
good food crop Aat least e@ual in nutritional value to potato of temperate
B and it 3eeps well It is eaten "oiled li3e potatoes4 mas$ed wit$ palm
oil or pounded into fufu T$ere is muc$ internal trade in yams at Offa Some
are carried to places li3e Lagos
1AI+,5 T$is is grown wit$out need of irrigation everyw$ere as wet season
lasts for five mont$s
It needs a ric$er and deeper soil t$an millets "ut
yields muc$ more grain per acre of land It is eaten as fermented paste or
ground up paste AtuwoB and "oiled or roasted on t$e co" It is also made into
G:IN,A #O7N5 Typically4 it is one of t$e staple foods Toget$er wit$
millets w$ere t$ey e2ist4 t$ey do well w$en t$ey are grown as a wet season
crop T$ey do well even on poor soils as t$ey are used to resisting droug$t
Guinea corn can "e made into Eogi; and finally porridge
#ASSAFA55 T$is food crop is popularly grown t$roug$out Iest Africa
)armers love growing it "ecause of its advantages4 it does reasona"ly well
on poor soils and it can wit$stand "ot$ droug$t and a lot of moisture If it is
grown in a weeded plot4 it will yield a crop more @uic3ly t$an yam4 t$oug$ it
may "e left in t$e ground until it is wanted I$ilst growing it re@uires little
attention from t$e farmer Alt$oug$4 seemly4 it is t$e c$ief food now for Offa
people4 li3e many areas in Iest Africa4 it is not very nutritious4 consisting
mainly of starc$ wit$out fat or protein It $as many uses It is eaten pounded
as fufu4 or scraped4 partly fermented and dried as gari4 etc #ommercially4 it
yields starc$ and tapioca
SI,,T POTATO,S5 T$ese are food crop wit$ w$ic$ Offa people are
familiarly and popularly refer to t$em AOffa peopleB as <Offa omo a;
Kanomo= ? <Offaman son of $im w$o loves eating potato @uite often= To
grow very well4 potatoes re@uire good aoil and a moist growing season" It
is <more nutritious t$an cassava=
"ut t$ey are not an important food crop in
many areas in w$ic$ t$ey would flouris$
Livestoc3 is t$e rearing of animals Animals reared in Nigeria are
goat4 s$eep4 camel4 and cattle #attle are mainly reared "y t$e pastoral
)ulani #attle provide us wit$ mil3C goat provides meat and cow is used for
production of "eef and $ides and s3ins used for ma3ing "ags and s$oes
Poultry farming is t$e rearing of "irds and fowls Poultry farming $as
"ecome a large industry in Nigeria today Poultry farming is yet to reac$ t$e
level of production for e2port *irds and fowls are reared for meat ,ggs are
sources of protein
)IS!,76 AN9 )IS!ING
)is$ery involves t$e rearing in fis$ ponds )ingers $atc$ed from fis$
eggs are grown into large fis$es )is$ery is not as popular as poultry farming
in Nigeria4 most especially in Offa4 pastor present
)is$ing involves catc$ing fis$es in t$e sea4 rivers4 la3es and oceans
)is$ing is one of t$e important occupations of t$e Offa people )is$es are
sources of protein
P7A#TI#,9 AG7I#:LT:7, IN O))A-6O7:*A LAN9S
*y practiced agriculture we mean system of agriculture ac@uired and
perfected and made proficient t$roug$ practice t$at $as continued to
accomplis$ t$e people;s needs in terms of food stuffs4 e2c$ange earning
locally and internationally4 etc Ie $ave referred to practiced agriculture
"ecause we don;t want to confuse agriculture wit$ farming )arming is an
integral part of agriculture In our study of natural resources of man4 we
learnt a"out t$eir influence on man wit$ reference to local and wider
conte2t Ie at t$e same time read a"out $ow man utiliDes t$e natural
resources in $is environment Ie will4 in t$is topic discuss agriculture as
sources of "asic economic commodities Principally4 agriculture plays a vital
role in t$e Offa-6oru"a economy Over -J per cent of Offa people are
farmers Agriculture4 t$erefore4 provides employment for most people in
Offa In addition to t$is4 it provides most of t$e raw materials for t$e
manufacturing industries today5 palm fronds are used for "as3et weaving4
fence-ma3ing and "roomsC it produces food t$at feeds t$e community as
well as earns foreign e2c$ange for t$e country in modern times As we get
along4 we s$all discuss types of crops t$at can "e found in Offa and t$eir
importance4 as well as e2plain t$e importance of livestoc34 poultry farming
and t$e importance of fis$ing in national economic life of t$e people
Simply put4 livestoc3 refers to t$e rearing of animals
#as$ crops are agricultural products grown for t$e main purpose of
selling eit$er locally or a"road4 t$erefore4 w$en a cas$ crop is specifically
grown for e2port purposes4 it is referred to as an e2port crop T$is si s
parado2 of w$at o"tains in Offa
Nigerian cas$ crops include cocoa4 ru""er4 palm oil44 palm 3ernel4
3ola nuts4 groundnuts4 cotton "enniseed4 cas$ew nuts and to"acco Among
t$e cas$ crops listed a"ove cocoa4 ru""er4 palm-oil4 palm 3ernel4 groundnuts
and cotton are e2port crops Offa $as none
T$e cas$ crops availa"le in t$e forest "elts of sout$ern Nigeria include
cocoa4 ru""er4 palm oil4 palm 3ernel4 3ola nuts4 cas$ew nuts and to"acco
T$e cas$ crops availa"le in nort$ern Nigeria include groundnuts4 cotton and
"enniseed ,ven w$ere t$ese are to "e availa"le in Offa4 t$ey are always in
very small @uantities4 too small for e2portation purposes
Nigeria $as "een a very good source of palm products to t$e ,uropean
countries ever "efore coloniDation Two important products from t$e palm
tree are palm-oil and palm-3ernel Palm trees grow well in t$e forest Dones
of sout$ern Nigeria Palm trees provide t$e main cas$ crops in t$e #ross
7iver4 Imo and Anam"ra states of Nigeria A large @uantity of palm trees are
also found in *endel4 Ogun4 Oyo and Ondo states Nigeria is still t$e largest
e2porter of palm products in t$e world In &'/' alone4 Nigeria e2ported
8/4%JJ tones of palm oil and &%/4&JJ tones of 3ernels to foreign countries

Palm products are used in different ways "ot$ locally and a"road
1any of our industries use palm-oil for t$e manufacturing of margarine4
different types of soap as well as candle Palm-3ernels are also crus$ed for
producing oil Palm-3ernel oil is processed in some industries into perfumes
and manufactured products Importantly edi"le oil4 palm-oil4 is pressed out
and o"tained not "y mac$inery "ut "y $and met$ods4 production is not on
commercial @uantity People traveled far away4 in t$e past to <Odo ,$in= or
<Iyin=4 a town in ,3iti4 "ut nowadays to Onits$a4 in Anam"ra State4 to "uy
afforda"le @uantities for local consumption !ence some $istory "oo3s call
Offa-6oru"a EI"olo; meaning <palm-oil gat$erers=
A7S Smit$ A&'/'B4 T$e
3ingdoms of t$e 6oru"a p&/'B
Palm products are very important in t$e lives of every Nigeria for t$ey
provide oil for coo3ing as well as our local soap T$e Nigerian Palm
Produce *oard mar3ets t$e palm products of Nigeria and Offa-6oru"a are
not e2empt
Groundnut w$ic$ was introduced into Nigeria "y t$e early Portuguese
traders also $as its origin tracea"le to America Groundnuts grow well in t$e
savanna areas of nort$ern Nigeria Groundnuts re@uire very minimal rainfall4
even t$oug$ it can still tolerate $eavier rainfall Some maKor groundnut-
producing areas of Nigeria include Kano4 Ktsina4 So3oto and *orno T$e
Nigerian Groundnut *oard mar3ets t$e groundnuts
Nigerian groundnuts are not only for domestic consumption "ut also
for e2port Groundnut oil is used in t$e manufacturing of soap as well as
margarine and E3uli-3uli; Agroundnut ca3eB a commodity carried a"out "y
Nupe $aw3ers4 to t$eir customers
#otton is grown for local consumption as well as for importation in
some parts of nort$ern Nigeria Large $ectares of cotton plantation are
found in Katsina4 So3oto4 Kano and +aria T$e Nigerian #otton *oard
mar3ets our cotton Nigeria cotton is used "y local clot$ weavers as well as
te2tile factories Te2tile factories are sited at I3eKa4 Kano4 Kaduna and A"a
)rom t$is yarns Aspun t$reads for weavingB are4 in t$e past made in Offa
Kola nuts are $arvested from t$e 3ola trees Kola trees are availa"le in
t$e forfest Dones of Nigeria T$e trees are planted "y peasant farmers T$e
nuts are usually eaten raw Kolanuts are produced in Ogun and Oyo states
for internal trade Kano is t$e c$ief 3ola nut mar3et in Nigeria Some Offa
farmers tal3 a"out production of t$ese in small @uantity4 very few of t$em
O))A-6O7:*A )OO9 #7OPS
)ood crops are sometimes referred to as su"sistence crops T$ey are
crops w$ic$ are grown only for $ome consumption )armers grow food
crops mainly for consumption of t$e family "ut surpluses are usually sold in
t$e local mar3et
Important food crops of t$e forest "elts of t$e sout$ are root crops
suc$ as yam4 cassava and cocoyam Ot$ers include pepper4 o3ro4 melon as
well as different types of fruits suc$ as oranges4 "ananas4 pawpaw4
pineapples4 pears and sweets potatoes Ot$er food crops grown are mostly
grains4 suc$ as maiDe4 millet4 guinea corn4 and rice
Alt$oug$ it is mostly coastal peoples t$at engage in fis$ing4 in Offa
fis$ing is carried on in small streams wit$ $oo34 line sin3 and $oo3 attac$ed
to a reasona"ly long stic3 "y "ot$ c$ildren and adults Apart from Afelele
lagoon no "ody of water nearing t$at of #$ina;s 6ellow 7iver floods t$at is
"eing constantly controlled wit$ di3es e2ists in Offa *ut4 apparently t$ere is
a man-made ditc$ Iater from it could "e conveyed for irrigation purposes
w$ile fis$ing in it is afforda"le In lagoon suc$ as t$is4 various 3inds of traps
are used to catc$ fis$4 eg4 t$e movement of fis$ "eing directed "y long
"am"oo ma3ing under-water fences into t$e conical or sp$erical cane
"as3ets In many territories of Iest Africa4 <fis$ermen employ $arpoons and
spears wit$ eit$er fi2ed or mova"le $eads=
T$is is not practiced in Offa In
addition to t$e a"ove-mentioned as approved o"taina"le in Offa ot$er
met$ods used in rivers and streams in Offa include t$e $armful met$od of
poisoning fis$ in isolated pools during raining season After t$e fis$ $ave
"een landed4 t$ey are ta3en over "y t$e women w$o may eit$er "e t$e
families of t$e actual fis$ermen or "y traders w$o are ready to "uy t$e
catc$es Pertinently4 some of t$e fis$ caug$t is sold fres$ for local
consumption A little <is preserved on ice= and sold as iced fis$ in town T$e
greater part is4 $owever4 preserved "y various ot$er met$ods4 namely5 small
fis$ are dried in t$e sun4 larger ones are dried eit$er "y smo3ing in ovens or
"y salting And depending upon t$e met$od used and t$e t$oroug$ness of
curing4 <dried Aor smo3edB fis$= could remain edi"le for periods of "etween
one and si2 mont$s
4 as may "e easily found on sale in Offa mar3ets and
elsew$ere "y Nupe ATapaB fis$ mongers )is$ermen of various types 3now
t$e type of tac3le to "e used as well as 3now w$en to go fis$ing )rom
e2perience4 it $as "een stated "y local fis$ermen t$at fis$ are fewer in
num"ers and $arder to catc$ t$ese days t$an t$ey once were T$is may or
may not "e true4 "ut if it is4 among t$e several reasons w$ic$ can e2plain it
are t$ose ones5 A&B good fis$ing areas $ave "een fis$ed too muc$ and too
many fis$ $ave "een ta3en out of t$eir watersC A0B small fis$ $ave "een
caug$t in fine-mes$ed nets AL networ3sB "efore t$ey $ave $ad time to "reedC
A8B streams $ave "een poisoned T$ese reasons must4 in time4 $ave reduced
t$e stoc3s of fis$ in particular areas 7emedies appear to lie in governmental
control of t$e met$ods of fis$ing in t$e Offa Local Government Area as well
as in t$e development of fis$ farms in order to re-stoc3 fres$water fis$eries
of t$e area
1ost families in Offa 3eep s$eep4 goats and poultry S$eep and goats
are 3ept "y old men and ladies T$ese s$eep and goats "ear a *i"lical
resem"lance to eac$ ot$er and usually $ave $airy coats and toug$4 strong
fles$ )rom $ome to $ome4 t$eir num"ers vary T$ey $aunt t$e compounds
and $ouses loo3ing for w$at to pic3 and eat Offa-6oru"a men and women
traders often travel to t$e nort$-east Nigeria to "uy sun-dried s$eep and
goat;s fles$ for sale at $ome4 Offa
!ere at Offa4 a few $orses were reared in Offa and c$iefs; compounds
and no"le men;s *ut since t$ey are no longer re@uired for military purposes4
t$eir owners$ip in town is now a lu2uryC yet t$ey remain t$e Koy and pride of
t$e c$iefs w$o sparingly ride t$em
T$ese were introduced into coastlands of Iest Africa "y t$e
Portuguese T$e small4 ugly4 long-$eaded Iest African pig commonly found
in Offa and t$e surrounding villages resem"les t$at found today in sout$ern
Spain T$ey are regarded as unclean "y t$e 1uslimsC "ut t$ey are sometimes
found in dirty areas of t$e villages around Offa and around refuse dumps in
Offa towns$ip4 living on w$at t$ey can forage and scavenge for t$emselves4
occasionally e3ed out "y a ration of c$aff from corn or millet
It is said t$at apart from goats and dwarf cattle found in some parts of
Nigeria4 domesticated animals are not easy to rear owing to w$ic$ transmits
in its "ite a disease called trypanosomiassis4 t$e presence of t$e tsetse-fly-
free area T$is ma3es animal rearing possi"le :nli3e in t$e nort$ w$ere
laden don3eys and $orses4 used for transport4 are a familiar sig$t along t$e
roads4 most floc3s of cow and $erds of ot$er animals ? s$eep and goats ? are
owned "y nomadic tri"es called E#ow; )ulani w$o move from place to place
in searc$ of seasonal graDing grounds called trans$umance and water for
t$eir animals ,conomically spea3ing4 maKority of t$e cattle commonly
found along t$e roads are of t$e +e"u type and t$e s$eep $ave $airy coats4
w$ic$4 w$en tanned4 provide good leat$er ,specially valua"le in t$is respect
are t$e fine s3ins of t$e 7ed So3oto goats4 w$ic$ for centuries $ave "een
imported from nort$-west Nigeria during Ileya AIdil Ka"irB T$e well-3nown
tan$ouse is located in Sulu;s compound4 Popo area4 Offa and $eaded "y t$e
late Al$aKi 7aKi Alawo #ows raised in Offa area are often sent "y rail or on
foot4 to "e slaug$tered in mar3ets oif Offa4 "ut t$ose e2ported to Offa from
t$e nort$ are for Offa a"attoirs and mar3ets of Lagos4 Onits$a4 I"adan and
ot$er cities in t$e sout$ To t$e )ulani cattle are a source of wealt$ and
money rat$er t$an food T$ey sell live "easts for cas$ and "uy meat from
villageGtown "utc$ers and grain from t$e farmers In farmlands around
)ulani cattle ranc$ers4 cattle dung left on fallow fields are paid for wit$ grain
"y farmers *ot$ men and women "utc$ers are seen engaged in meat selling
all over t$e town AI"id4 pp%J ? %(B
P7O*L,1S O) AG7I#:LT:7, IN NIG,7IA4
T$ere are many pro"lems w$ic$ "adly affect agriculture in Nigeria
T$e same apply to Offa )inance5 T$is simply means money T$ere is $ardly
enoug$ money to put into agriculture in Nigeria Not all farmers "enefits
from agricultural loan sc$eme Land tenure system5 In Nigeria4 land is
fragmented according to 3indred So t$ere is $ardly enoug$ land for
commercial agriculture
#onservatism5 Ta"oos and "elief in superstitions and t$e failure of our
people to agree to c$ange or adopt t$e new met$od of farming is yet anot$er
pro"lem adversely affecting agriculture in Nigeria In some parts of Nigeria4
some lands are associated wit$ evil spirits and t$erefore not farmed at all
Also4 some lands are not farmed at certain periods of t$e year4 for fear of t$e
wrat$ of t$e spirits )urt$ermore4 our people $ave always failed to adopt t$e
scientific met$od of agriculture Some "elieve t$at t$e application of
fertiliDers and t$e use of $y"rid variety crops will <3ill= t$eir soil
Lac3 of e2tension wor3ers5 T$e a"sence of agriculture e2tension wor3ers
w$o educate t$e farmer on t$e "est met$od of farming is anot$er factor
w$ic$ "adly affects agriculture in Nigeria *ecause of t$is4 )armers are not
educated on t$e use of different types of fertiliDers in farming and t$e
application of pesticides
:se of crude implements of farming5 Our people still use some crude
implements of farming suc$ as $oes and 3nives T$e use of t$ese
implements causes low agricultural productivity !ot damp climates are
@uite enervating and pro$i"itive to long $ours of wor3 in farmlands
1oney s$ould "e made availa"le to t$e farmers t$roug$ li"eraliDation
of t$e agricultural loan sc$eme T$e present land tenure system s$ould "e
a"olis$ed )armers s$ould "e educated on t$e modern met$od of farming
T$ey s$ould $ave 3nowledge of t$e use of fertiliDers and pesticides )armers
s$ould also "e educated on t$e dangers of t$eir conservative idea and
superstitions attac$ed to lands 1odern tools of farming s$ould "e provided
to farmers in form of incentive5
"$%ortane of Agriulture
Production of food for man Agriculture ma3es t$e foods we eat All
t$e essential food nutrients4 vitamins and minerals w$ic$ $elp man;s growt$
are availa"le in t$e food we eat Agriculture $elps us to produce raw
materials for our industries )or e2ample4 sugar cane is used in t$e sugar
factories Tim"er is used to manufacture plywood #otton wools is used in
t$e te2tile industries !ides and S3ins are used for ma3ing s$oes and leat$er
"ags Groundnut is used in t$e production of groundnut oil and animal feeds
Agricultural products are sources of foreign e2c$ange for t$e country
Nigeria e2ports goods suc$ as palm produce4 cocoa4 groundnut4 etc to ot$er
countries It is also a source of national income Agriculture is a source of
employment to many Nigerians 1ore t$an %J per cent of Nigeria is engaged
in agriculture
)rom society to society in Africa4 autoc$t$onous met$ods of
development of local industries differ4 in terms of economic systems At t$e
twi-lig$t of colonial era in Africa w$en social engineering on t$e continent
"egan4 societies were simpler4 not comple2 as industrial societies are today
T$eir respective economies were traditional in forms and contents Trade
wars involving 3een competition were a"sent 9uring t$e colonial era trade
"y "arter ? trade "y e2c$anging one 3ind of goods or services for ot$er
goods or services wit$out using money ? gave way to money economy w$en
t$e met$od of production and distri"ution of products too3 a new dimension
!owever4 eac$ of t$e African societies $as its own traditional economies
w$ic$ $as certain features in common wit$ ot$ers;4 universally manifesting
c$aracteristics in t$e met$od of organiDing system of producing goods and
servicing its needs for its own perpetuation and in arranging t$e distri"ution
of t$e fruits of its production among its own mem"ersC so t$at more
production can ta3e place
In Africa today t$ere are t$ree ideal types of economic systems5
economy run "y traditionC economy run "y command4 and economy run "y
mar3et Ie s$all focus our attention on economy run "y traditionC
production and distri"ution are "ased on procedures originated in t$e distant
past In t$is type of economic system of productionC t$e individual @uite
often ta3es on t$e Ko" w$ic$ $is fat$er and grand fat$er $ad underta3en and
continues to "e underta3en "y t$e offspring from time immemorial4 wit$ a
3ind of $ereditary c$ain w$ic$ assures t$at certain s3ills and crafts are
passed on from one generation perpetually4 per$aps repeating andGor
following production met$od in e2actly t$e same wayAsB t$e same goes for
distri"ution met$od4 eg "y porterage T$is is t$e type of economy t$at is
predominant in virtually in 6oru"alands till modern time4 not per$aps
alongside ot$er types of economies In Offa4 t$ere a"ound Ile Alog"ede4 Ile
Onig"a4 Ile G"ena4 Ile Atagi Soro4 Ile Ologa Ile Apon"i ,dac$ of t$ese
$ouses is a compound of specialists w$o $ad once specialiDed in one trade or
t$e ot$er )or e2ample4 in Ile Alag"e4 t$ere live people w$o are practicing
"ac3smit$ing4 Ile Ologa $ad once "een t$e $ome of slave "uyers4 Ile
*alogun is now t$e compound of t$e people w$o were war fig$ters4 etc
& HS 1"iti A&'%.B4 Inroduction to African 7eligion4 p&J in 7 A
Owola"i A&'-(B4 6oru"a 7eligion P medicine in Offa4 p (%
0 Population #ensus4 &'/8
8 )G !igson A&'/(B4 A certificate Geograp$y of Iest Africa4
Longmas4 p%(
( I"id4 p -J
. I"id4 p %-
/ I"id
% Leo #$u3wuma Ogueri4 et al A&'-'B4 Social Studies4 p /.
- I"id4 p/'
' I"id
&J 1A Ore"anKo4 et al A&''JB Social Studies 1acmillian4 pp /8 ? /'
&& 7o"ert S Smit$ A&'/'B4 T$e 3ingdom of 6oru"a4 p&/'