The team of Get a better life TV interviewed Baba Awo Awoniran F Omoyeni. Babalawo (Oluawo of iseke, Oyo) on Ifa Heritage Institute development. Ifa Heritage Institute is a place where students are been taught all the 256 Odu Ifa and others. Below are the questions the Babalawo answered about the institute.
Can you please tell us about Ifa Heritage Institute?
Fourteen years ago, Professor Akinwumi Isola brought the school idea to Professor Wande Abimbola that he heard that UNESCO is observing African tradition in order to know which tradition should be eradicated. The organization said they should write an article about Ifa and bring it to them to see. Professor Akinwumi Ishola and professor Badiajan wrote about Ifa for two months in Babanda and took it to UNESCO. UNESCO accepted it during Obasanjo regime and was accepted by Obasanjo, It was taken to Oyo. This place is a rented apartment. Along a town called Iware with one thousand acres of land that was dedicated to Ifa for the school project.
Have they started the project?
The project is yet to be started.
What is the Ifa school all about?
The place is meant for student to learn from elementary to higher level. 256 Odu Ifa is what they are being taught there. They are also being taught more about the things they do not understand about Ifa. Yoruba language is being taught there too.
How can one be part of this Ifa school? What are the steps to take?
Anyone that want to learn should at least have secondary school certificate; must understand English and Yoruba. With these such a person will be given admission to the school. It is a two-year course.
Does the school offers a boarding school system?
No, the students would have to rent an apartment outside the school; they will be coming daily from their various homes because the school is yet to be built, we are still using a rented apartment.
What are the plans for the building of the permanent site?
Government is yet to build the school for us, but with time they will build it with the boarding facilities. During the time of president Yar'dua, the head of community called Elepe was the one that gave them the land then. President Yar'dua wrote a letter of appreciation to thank them. Since then we are still expecting them to build the place for us.
Is there anything you want to tell the government right now about it?
There is nothing special I want to say, Elder Wande Abimbola is the one that started the project and took it to Abuja, he will be the one to handle it.
Is Ifa available for everyone to learn including foreigners or it is only available for Yoruba people?
I can remember when Elder Wande went to UNESCO, some thing happened there, when it got to Ifa turn some people stood up and go against it that they should not accept Ifa. They said, what they wanted to eradicate in Nigeria is what they wanted to bring back. But a chairman out of 21 of them, Princess of Sudan said, where are the people complaining that Ifa should be taken away? She made them realize that Ifa does not belong to Nigeria alone, if it is being eradicated in Nigeria, other countries still have theirs. Therefore throughout the whole world there is no king that does not have Ifa at home, Even those Arab kings all have Ifa at home. They know how to serve them, Ifa is in every country of the world.
Please do you still consult Ifa for people?
Yes I do, I don’t have any other job than to consult, praise, serve and initiate people to Ifa.
How do you attend to people when they come?
When people come they will talk to their money and drop it on the platform, we will listen to what Ifa says about the situation and then make sacrifice to solve the problem according to Ifa.