Akire of Ikire-Ile charges corps members

Akire of Ikire-Ile charges corps members
The Akire of Ikire-Ile in Ola-Oluwa Local Government Area of Osun State, Oba Abdulazeez Olatunbosun Adebamiji has charged corps members to work towards ensuring the development of the country.

The monarch who spoke at the NYSC orientation camp, Ede at a public lecture organized for NYSC corps members deployed to Osun State, enjoined the corps members to respect the culture and traditions of their host communities.

His words "Custom refers to "a traditional and widely accepted way of behaving or doing something that is specific to a particular society, place, or time" (Oxford dictionary); "an activity, a way of behaving, or an event which is usual or traditional in a particular society or in particular circumstances" (Collins Dictionary); and "the whole body of usages, practices, or conventions that regulate social life" Merriam-Webster Dictionary). 


Tradition refers to "the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way" (Oxford Dictionary), and "an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior 
(such as a religious practice or a social custom)" (Merriam-Webste).

"The Yoruba people are a West African ethnic group that mainly inhabit parts of Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. The Yoruba constitute more than 50 million people in Africa, and over a million outside the continent, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Brazil, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago, and many other countries.  

"As a highly organized nation, Yoruba has its history, body of wisdom and philosophy, religion, worldview, culture, language, literature, customs and tradition. The Yoruba people believe in the Elédùmarè the All-knowing God, the one Supreme Being Who created humans and non-humans, heavens and earth, while the belief in gods and goddesses among us are becoming unpopular by the day as more and more Yoruba people continue to accept Islam and Christianity. However, various aspects of our culture, customs and tradition continue to hold us together as a people. I will now mention and discuss a few of these customs and tradition. 

"Yorùbá Tolerance of Each Other's Beliefs: Each family belongs to different religious groups, such as Ogun, Eleegun, Oya, Sango, Obatala, Osun, etc, and they live together in peace. When Islam came, the Yoruba was and is tolerant of Islam. When Christianity also came, some accepted it and all are living together peacefully. In one family, you may find adherents of the three religions and they all live together peacefully.

"Obeisance, Respect and Support for Parents and Elders: Bọ̀wọ̀ fún bàbá pẹlu màmá rẹ, kí ọjọ́ rẹ lè pé ní orí ilẹ̀. Respect is due to family members and non-family members of the society including strangers. Whoever is older than you by just one day is entitled to your respect and you can not call him or her by name - bùrọ̀dá/àǹtí/ẹ̀gbọ́n lágbájá, bàámiì-rẹ (your father who is also my father), etc. This way, there is mutual respect and love for each other, and this lead to peaceful coexistence. Each person knows their bounds. When your parents or an elder is talking to a younger person, it is an act of disrespect for such a younger person to look the elder directly in the eye. Parents take care and train their children while their children take care of them in their old age - tí òkété bá dàgbà, ọmú ìyá ẹ̀ l'ó ń mu; ọmọ ẹni ni ọ̀la ẹni. The concept of old people's home is alien to Yoruba tradition. Ọmọ ẹni níí sin'ni. 

"Communalism: Ojú méjì ló ń bí ọmọ, igba ojú ni ó ń wòó, meaning that children are trained not just by the parents but by the community so that they can be good people in the society. Me and my family, do your own I do my own is not in the Yoruba tradition. Yorùbá people believe in àgbájọ ọwọ́ ni a fi ń sọ àyà, ọ̀pọ̀ esú a máa ya igi, ọ̀pọ̀ ojo ń di àgbàrá, ọ̀pọ̀ àgbàrá ńdi odò ńlá, ọ̀pọ̀ odò ń d'òkun. This is communal effort, and Yoruba believe in working together to achieve success, develop and growth. Further examples include Àjọ (Àjọṣe) - monetary contribution just like the modern day cooperative groups, eéṣú - another form of monetary contribution, Àáró and Ọ̀wẹ̀ - people come together to work for someone and get it done.
"Ethics and Values: You will find a list of beautiful, progressive and fundamental ethical values in the lifestyle, custom and traditions of Yorùbá people. One of such ethical values is hardwork and honest earnings. Yoruba people believe in hardwork to become successful in life. If you suddenly become wealthy, and people did not see how you did it, you are worthless with your money and nobody will touch you and your money, unlike nowadays when parents are supporting their children in yahoo plus business. Another important ethical value is diplomacy and wisdom. These are the two key values that Yoruba people utilize to maintain, sustain and protect one another from shame. These two ethical values are also the key strategies for all forms of dispute resolution. Other key ethical values include honesty, integrity, respect and humility, shame (àátíígbọ́), unpaid debt (àyáàsan), courage, greetings, help and support for each other, etc. On the other hand, Yoruba Custom frowns at laziness, adultery, killing, theft and burglary, and other crime-predisposing activities. Today, some of these beautiful values are seldom found in people, leading to insecurity, instant wealth, inordinate ambition, and death.
"Marriage as a Family Affair: Marriage is not a one man show unlike today. It is a union between two families. They go through the process of marriage beginning from investigation which are done by elders in the family. There is the concept of Alárinà (the middleman) which has almost become a thing of the past today. There is a whole lot of process that eventually lead to marriage. Any new wife, any bride that is not met as a virgin is regarded as a shameless lady who is not worthy of any respect in the society, and the shame continues to hang on her parents for years. And this is why every mother ensures that she trains and watches her daughter's movements before she comes of age and becomes marriageable. After marriage, they also ensure that the union succeeds by constantly monitoring the young family and settling quarrels between them - Àgbà t'ó jẹ̀'sẹ́bì, ẹ kó' ra yín jọ.

"Leadership and Authority: Yoruba has a number of thriving leadership traditional practices among them. A community, composed of Compounds, is well laid out under the authority and leadership of a traditional ruler. Each compound, made up of several different families, has its own leadership known as Baálé; each family is headed by the husband. Laws are implemented to the letter. Nobody flouts these authorities as there are laid-down disciplinary measures and steps that would be taken against any stubborn, recalcitrant or shameless, disobedient persons, including banishment, imprisonment and fine - owó ìtanràn (money paid to make a crime go away - ìtán ọ̀ràn). A family can come together to send away a stubborn and devilish woman in the family or mandate their son to divorce her immediately. Nowadays, there are laws but they are not implemented. As a result, everyone takes law into their own hands and the result is insecurity, crimes, and death.

"At this juncture it has become necessary to make a passionate call for the return of the powers of traditional rulers in Nigeria. As paramount rulers, they should also have a decisive, distinctive and constitutional role to play in our democratic system, and this should be entrenched into our Constitution. In UK, Belgium, Norway, Japan, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Thailand and several other countries have distinctive democratic roles for their traditional rulers. Royal fathers have played this role before in the pre-colonial Nigeria, and they were able to keep their communities together through their God- and people-given authorities. They are the closest to the people, they know their people better, and they can best solve a number of societal problems in their domains.

"Textile: Weaving is done on different types of looms in order to create hundreds of different patterns. Adire and Aso Oke are some of the popular textiles in Yoruba land. Adire (tie and dye) is the name given to indigo dyed cloth produced by Yoruba women of south western Nigeria using a variety of resist dye techniques. Adire translates as tie and dye, and the earliest cloths were probably simple tied designs on locally-woven hand-spun cotton cloth much like those still produced in Mali.

"Dressing: Yoruba Custom has its own styles of dressing for both gender. However, sensitive parts of the body must not be exposed, unlike what is happening today. It is a taboo for a lady to dress like a man, e.g. by wearing trousers, or cutting her hair to resemble a man. And vice-versa.

"Music: Music and dance have always been an important part of the Yoruba culture; they are used in many different forms of entertainment. Musical instruments include bata, saworo, sekere, gangan etc. Musical varieties include: Apala, Juju, Fuji and Afrobeat, with artists including Late Haruna Isola, Late Dauda Akanmu (Epo Akara), King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Late Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Late Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister (Mr. Fuji), Alhaji Kollington Ayinla,  KWAM. 1 and so on.

"Cuisine: Some common foods native to the Yoruba include moin-moin (steamed bean pudding) and akara (bean cake). Native Yoruba soups include ewedu (jute), gbegiri (which is made from beans), and efo riro (a type of vegetable soup). Such soups as okra soup (locally known as obé ila) and egusi (melon soup) have become very popular in Western Nigeria in recent times and, in addition to Amala (yam flour), a traditional Yoruba meal made of yam flour, these can be eaten with ewedu and gbegiri. Numerous Nigerian meals, including pounded yam (locally referred to as iyan); lafun, a Nigeria fufu made from cassava; semolina; and garri (eba). Some dishes are prepared specially for festivities and ceremonies. Jollof rice, fried rice and Ofada rice.

"Naming: The Yoruba people believe that people live out the meanings of their names. As such, they put considerable effort into searching for a suitable name for their new baby who is considered a gift from God, the Elédùmarè. Their philosophy of naming is conveyed in a common adage, ile ni a n wo, ki a to so omo l'oruko ("one pays attention to the family before naming a child"): one must consider the tradition and history of a child's relatives when choosing a name, because of their belief that "ilé ni à ń wò, kí á tó sọ ọmọ l'órúkọ" (one pays attention to the family before naming a child). Some names are derived from the profession or religion in the family. For example, a family of hunters could name their baby Ogunbunmi (Ògún favors me with this) to show their respect to the divinity who gives them metal tools for hunting. Meanwhile, a family that venerates Ifá may name their child Falola (Ifa has honor). Others include Ọdẹdèjì (hunter has become two - we now have another hunter, Ayanwale - drummer has come home, Ọ̀jẹ́wọlé - an Egúngún worshiper has arrived, Ifáyẹmí - Ifá is good for me, Sàngóbùnmi - Sàngó has gifted me (with this baby), Adéwọlé - Crown has entered the house (from a royal family), etc.

" Preordained name
Amutorunwa (brought from heaven)
Some Yorubas believe that a baby may come with pre-destined names. For instance, twins (ibeji) are believed to have natural-birth names. Thus the first to be born of the two is called Taiwo or Taiye, shortened forms of Taiyewo, meaning the taster of the world. This is to identify the first twin as the one sent by the other one to first go and taste the world. If he/she stays there, it follows that it is not bad, and that would send a signal to the other one to start coming. Hence the second to arrive is named Kehinde (late arrival); it is now common for many Kehindes to be called by the familiar diminutive "Kenny". Irrespective of the sex the child born to the same woman after the twins is called Idowu, and the one after this is called Alaba, then the next child is called Idogbe. Ige is a child born with the legs coming out first instead of the head; and Ojo (male) or Aina (female) is the one born with the umbilical cord around his or her neck. When a child is conceived with no prior menstruation, he or she is named Ilori. Dada is the child born with locked hair; and Ajayi (nicknamed Ogidi Olu) is the one born face-downwards.

"Other natural names include Abiodun (one born on a festival day or period), Abiona (one born on a journey) Abidemi or Bidemi (one born without the presence of its father) i.e the child's father didn't witness his baby's naming ceremony but not dead, maybe he just traveled, Enitan (one of a story) this child might have had any of its parents dead before its birth, Bosede (one born on a holy day); Babatunde/Babatunji (meaning father has come back) is the son born to a family where a father has recently passed. This testifies to the belief in reincarnation. Iyabode, Yeside, Yewande, and Yetunde, ("mother has come back") are female counterparts, names with the same meaning.
• Name given at birth
Oruko Abi So
Oruko - name Abi - birthed So - named
These are names that are not natural with the child at birth but are given on either the seventh day of birth (for females) and ninth day of birth (for males). Some Yoruba groups practice ifalomo (6th) holding the naming rites on the sixth day. 

"The influence of Christianity and Islam in Yoruba culture was responsible for the seventh or eighth-day naming ceremony. Twin-births when they are male and female are usually named on the eighth day but on the seventh or ninth day if they are same-sex twins. They are given in accordance with significant events at time of birth or with reference to the family tradition as has been mentioned above.
• Abiku names
Abi - birthed, or Bi - born
Iku - death, or Ku - die / dead
The Yoruba believe that some children are born to die. This is derived from the phenomenon of the tragic incidents of high rate of infant mortality sometimes afflicting the same family for a long time. When this occurs, the family devises various methods to forestall a recurrence, including giving special names at a new birth. Such names reflect the frustration of the poor parents:
Malomo (do not go again),
Kosoko (there is no hoe anymore). This refers to the hoe that is used to dig the grave. Kashimawo (let's wait and see). This suggests a somewhat cynical attitude in the parent(s). Banjoko (sit with me) Orukotan (all names have been exhausted)
Yemiitan (stop deceiving me)
Kokumo (this will not die)
Durojaiye (stay and enjoy life)
Durotimi or Rotimi (stay with me)
Durosola (stay and enjoy wealth)
• Pet names: The Yoruba also have pet names or oriki. These are praise names, and they are used to suggest what the child's family background is or to express one's hope for the child: Akanbi- (one who is deliberately born); Ayinde (one who is praised on arrival); Akande (one who comes or arrives in full determination); Atanda (one who is deliberately created after thorough search). For females, Aduke (one who everyone likes to take care of), Ayoke (one who people are happy to care for), Arike (one who is cared for on sight), Atinuke or Abike (one that is born to be pampered).

"There are other aspects of the Yoruba Custom and Tradition that are also quite interesting but which I may not be able to discuss in detail because of time, such as festivals, naming ceremony, burial ceremony, social life, games, drinks, etc. Also, there is the aspect of occupation which includes farming, hunting, blacksmith, cloth weaving (aṣọ òkè), herbalists (to cure diseases using herbal medicine), sculpture, drumming, trading, etc for men, and also petty trading, hairdressing, àdìrẹ, aṣọ òkè (cloth weaving), selling food, selling commodities, etc for women.

"Today, we have allowed western education to erode our beautiful ethical values and standards and other social means of cooperation away in our midst. We should seek knowledge, but we should not throw away the beautiful values that we cherish. These are a the ancient wisdom of our forefathers and ancestors. We must not allow them to die off completely.

"Yoruba Language and Literature are such a beautiful thing that researchers have continued to investigate and turn in volumes of books. Today, however, we find Yoruba people who are ashamed to speak Yoruba. They only want to speak English, whereas this is not the case among the Hausa, Fulani and Igbo people. A true Yoruba person should be able to speak the language with excellent and appropriate proverbs, metaphors (àkànlò èdè) and other Yoruba language embellishments. An educated Yoruba person should be able to read and write his or her Yoruba and put the tone marks on it.

"During your service period in Osun State, you will learn more about the Yoruba culture, custom and traditions. I am sure you will be amazed at how friendly, peaceful and hardworking the Yorùbá people are. You can visit places in groups, such as museums, ancient markets, historical and tourist sites, palaces, etc. I enjoin you to be calm and inquisitive so that you can learn more about the Yoruba Custom and Tradition, including the language. I wish you a memorable stay with us in Osun State.

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