A comparative study of myth, ritual and politics in Olojo festival in Ile-Ife under oba Adesoji Aderemi and Oba Okunade Sijuwade

Akinyemi, Yetunde Blessing (2015)



The study identified and discussed the mythic narratives and ritual performances in Olojo festival in Ile-Ife. It compared the performance of the festival during the reigns of Oba Adesoji Aderemi (1930-1980) and Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse, (1981till date). It investigated and assessed the implications of local, national and international politics on kingship institution of Ile-Ife. This was with a view to comparing the similarities and differences in the ritual performance of Olojo festival under the two selected Oba. The study employed both primary and secondary sources of data. The primary source comprised participant-observation, structured interviews, archival materials, festival magazines and brochures as well as documentaries. The participant-observation was done during Olojo festival. In-depth interviews were conducted with five ritual priests who were connected with the performance of Olojo festival, five traditional chiefs, and 20 randomly selected participants of Olojo festival. The secondary source included books, journal articles and the Internet. The data collected were analysed and interpreted using a combination of historical, phenomenological and comparative approaches. The results showed that mythic narratives in Olojo festival in Ile-Ife remained intact without any changes but several changes had happened to the ritual performances during Oba Adesoji Aderemi and Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II. The study revealed that there were changes included changes in the ritual time, ritual space, ritual specialists and ritual actions. It found out that the factors for these changes involved contestation between Christian and Muslim traditions, as a result of politics, economy, and ritual modernisation. It also revealed that the involvement of the Ooni in the local, nation and international politics had given space for questioning the religious authority of the traditional kingship institution. The study concluded that the era of Aderemi witnessed the beginning of changes in the Olojo festival; nonetheless, he remained answerable to his royal rites not allowing the Western culture to override his traditional kingship duty. But the era of Oba Olubuse II represented the global age and using his Western exposure he made the festival a national and international festival. What is clear is that traditional kingship institution has played important role in the continuity and change, survival and decline of Olojo festival in Ile-Ife.