Meet Babalawo in Nigeria (Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State), Chief Dauda Lawal Arowa.

Meet Babalawo in Nigeria (Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State), Chief Dauda Lawal Arowa.

Could you please introduce yourself to the viewers?

My name is Chief Dauda Lawal, the son of Arowa, Awise of Ado-Ekiti. I am an Ifa Priest, Herbalist and Elegungun.

Could you please differentiate between Babalawo Ifa and Herbalist?

The difference between Ifa Priest and Herbalist is that, Herbalists don't do consultation before they work, unlike Ifa Priests, Ifa Priests use to consult Ifa before they work, but herbalists prepare medications without consultation.

What is your view about God?

God created all of us, the herbs we use, and the roots. God is incomparable.

How do you worship God?

As for me, I know that God exists. I worship God very well, by helping people who ask for it. This God don't charge anything from people, other than thanking Him. God worships us, nobody worships Him. He doesn't eat anything from us except thanking Him.

Why do some people see Babalawos/Herbalists as wicked people?

Thank you. It is yes and no. The reason is that, in the olden days, people used to place their farm products on the road side, whoever wants to buy would get there, drop money right there, then pick whatever he or she wants and leave. But nowadays, reverse is the case, the product would be stolen. When that happens and a Babalawo is consulted to place curse on the thief, then such a curse catches the thief, this is the reason why they think Babalawos are wicked. Babalawos are not wicked, but it is the circumstances that do warrant seeing Babalawos as wicked people. Babalawos/Herbalists do prepare medications to better people's lives, can we call that wickedness? The thing is, different people with different opinions, Babalawos are not wicked.

The Abrahamic Religion followers preach against idol worshipping, what's your view on this?

Idol worshipping has being in existence since the beginning of this world. Even the Christians, it is said that Cane and Abel offered sacrifice. There is nothing wrong with Idol worshipping, it has been in existence since the beginning. Because you have to feed those you are sending on errands, for instance, Ogun is a widely worshipped deity, he's being given offerings to thank him, that doesn't stop one from worshipping God. God created them and told us their offerings. No Muslim can say Ogun should kill him or her because they do worship Ogun secretly.

What is the relationship between traditional believers and Abrahamic religion followers?

Thank you. A saying says, what would join all of us together is with God. Our relationship is this... Number one, no Muslim can practice his religion without herbs and roots. Even the Christians make use of different things such as water, oil, etc, and mix together. We also make use of herbs and roots, we all eat vegetables, locust beans, etc, that's medicine. No differences between us except we want to deceive ourselves. The traditional believers are more upright than the people you are talking about. Have you ever heard that some people bury charms if not in the Church? They do run to Babalawos. What join us together are herbs and roots.

Could you tell us about Orunmila's relationship with God?

Orunmila is a messenger of God, the spokesman. Because we ask him what we don't know. He is closer to God than everybody. He is closer to God than other Orishas. He is the spokesman of God.

Does Orunmila say he should be worshiped?

No Orisha says he should be worshiped except God. No other gods like God. God created this Orisha you are talking about. There is no Orisha that says he should be worshiped. As I said earlier, whoever one always send on errands deserves some appreciations once in a while. But God first, they are all messengers of God, they are incomparable to God.

What does Idol worshiping means when only God should be worshiped?

As I said earlier, no one can serve God, He serves us. As I explained earlier also, when someone steals from you and Ogun is consulted, God created Ogun as part of His disciplinary committee, Ogun is not partial, Ogun is sent to wicked people when they refuse to change their ways, God gave him his power. In this regard, worshiping God is different from that of humans. No Orisha can be worshiped than God. What we do is that, we only give offerings to the Orishas. Take for instance, when Iyami (witches) tie someone down, when consultation is made, it would be revealed to give them offerings, such offerings go to the witches not to God. This is what people call idol worshiping. This is a lie, we rather call it pleading with them and sacrifice.

Could you please tell us about "Egungun Esisegbede"?

Whoever follows Egungun prospers. Egungun Esisegbede is a masquerade which we use to perform spiritual rites in the town, in order to ensure orderliness and wellness in town. For instance whoever is in need of having a child and goes to celebrate the masquerade would give birth. It is meant for performing sacrifice in the town.

Please, is Esisegbede only celebrated in Ado-Ekiti?

Yes, only in Ado-Ekiti.

What does Egungun means in General?

Egungun has been in existence since the beginning of this world. If Egungun doesn't exist, there won't be an English name for it called Masquerade. Whenever you see someone covering his or her head, that's masquerade. The west call theirs father Christmas which is also an Egungun.

What are the roles of Egungun in our tradition and religion?

As I said earlier, when one is looking for the fruit of the womb and such a person consults us, she would be guided, they would pray for her to get pregnant. Or whoever is pregnant but difficult for her to deliver, she would deliver. Some people need a male child or vise versa, such a person would be helped. Or someone's way is shattered, such a person would be delivered.

Why do some Egungun beat people around?

Those types of Egungun are children Egungun. They are childish masquerades. The ones in use for the performance of sacrifice is different from the playful ones.

Do charms still exist?

Yes! Charms exist. I pray you don't encounter its anger.

Why do Babalawos plead with Iyami (Witches)?

Ah, if one don't beg them, one won't be allowed to solve the problem. When one, for instance, is sick and we later discover Iyami are behind it, if one delivers such a person by force, the person would pay for it. It is better for one to plead with them before the healing commences. This is why we do series of consultations before we lay our hands on the job, eventually if Iyami are behind it, we do beg them.

What is your view on how Abrahamic Religious leaders openly disagree with them (Iyami)?

What you openly see is different from what they do secretly because they do come back to us to beg Iyami on their behalf. If one refuses to beg them, such a person would pay for it because they own this world given to them by God. If you have noticed, whoever is working that does not get the mercy of Iyami, such a person's work won't prosper. If such a person works by force, he or she won't be successful. That's why you will see someone selling pour water building houses while someone selling cloths won't. Such a person have the mercies of Iyami. Because wealth was given to Esu by God. Esu called upon Iyami to disburse wealth. Even if someone needs a position and refuses to consider them, they would take away the position overnight.

What's your job as a traditionalist?

As for me, like how medical doctors have their areas of specialization I have my own field as well. I solve barrenness problem through the help of Iyami, then we make herbs and roots and God would answer the prayer. Or Job seekers or someone looking for a position. Or on any other special request. If I can't solve such a person's problem, I would tell the person.

Your word of advice.

Thank you. My advice to people is that, some people die ignorantly because they don't know which way to go. Whoever do not know which way to go should ask. They say he who ask for which way to go do not go astray. No one lives without destiny from God. But when one do not investigate on his or her destiny, such a person might be living on a wrong destiny. For instance, someone who is destined to learn wood work but learning land surveying, as you can see, they are not the same thing. I can only plead to everyone not to forget our traditions. Because that's where we would all fall back on. The white just deceived us to take away our heritage. The few of us in charge of it are still alive. The tablets which they sell to us are made of herbs and roots. Imagine if we can make use of our herbs and roots raw. I beg our people to let us go back to our traditions.

My name is Dauda Lawal Awise, the son of Arowa, in the city of Ado-Ekiti. My prayer is that may God stop problems all over the world. May God stop problems in Nigeria. May God stop wars and problems in the city of Ado-Ekiti. In our various homes, may God protect us.



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