04/06/2015 10:50



Fayemi Fatunde FAKAYODE

(This Article was originally submitted and published in Elerii Ipin, a Magazine of the International Council for Ifa Religion. Vol. 3, 2007).



            According to Longman Dictionary of contemporary English (2005), youth is “the quality or state of being young”, and propagation is about spreading; “to spread an idea, belief etc. to many people”. The term youth as used here does not refer to “only being young in age” but includes “being agile and young in mind”.



            In Ifa religion, the youths out-number the elderly ones like in other religions of the World namely Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism and so on. Some scholars observed that Ifa religion had very gloomy future. The opinion premised on observed lack of interest exhibited by the youths.

            One of the proponents of the “no future” theory is Professor Bolaji Idowu (1962) who in his book titled Olodumare, God in Yoruba Belief, predicted extinction for Ifa religion. His assumption is that youths and educated fellows will not be interested in practicing the way of Olodumare and that the future of the belief system is gloomy. John, S.Mbiti (1975) in Introduction to African Religion, believes that the system “…cannot all collapse in a short time. As long as there is a trace of African culture, it will also have some of African Religion in it”. He opines that the religion will survive as a part of African culture, not as a standard universal religion like Christianity and Islam. Judith Gleason (1971) in Orisha, the Gods of Yorubaland, was more sympathetic about the old priests that are dying without adequate replacement and feels pity for a seeming lack of continuity for the system. She submits: “Yet, no reasonable person can, with confidence, predict the survival of the cults in the traditional style. The old priests, the “strong” men are dying. Perhaps, at some future date, with some concessions to the modern world, a renaissance?”



            Thanks to Olodumare for the “renaissance” that Judith Gleason predicted. We now have on ground effective replacement for the ageing priests through the enthusiasms of the youths. Ifa’s statement in Iworimeji is thus vindicated. The verse inter alia says:


A difa fun Orunmila

Won ni Baba o ni romo Kankan

Ti yoo te Ile-Ife yii do

Baba gbo titi

Baba rin won rin won


Igba ti Orunmila yoo bi

O bi omo ni mo fi n se ara





Cast Ifa for Orunmila

When people said he would not beget any child

Who could survive him in the popular Ile-Ife

Our father heard the prediction from the people

Our father laughed at them for long


When he started begetting children

He begot a child named my-child-is-my-confidant




            Then, Orunmila begot many children and put the prophet of doom to shame. Today, the history is being repeated as we have many youths advancing the course of Ifa. One of the ways to predict the future of the efforts of our fathers and mothers is to analyze the potentials of the youths. The increase in the number of young devotees is a very good pointer to a brighter future because their generation will open wide gates to spread the message of Ifa. Many years ago, people were feeling shame of bearing Ifa/Orisa names in schools because of the fear of frustration, intimidation and stigma. Today, we are happy that in almost all tertiary institutions in Nigeria, we have children of Ifa/Orisa devotees schooling without conversion to any of the popular religions in Nigeria. However, schooling alone is not enough for them to positively contribute to the way of Olodumare. They should see the portfolio as their burden and carry it with strong determination to move the religion to a position of honour. In Irosunmeji, Ifa says:

Itaruku lawo Itaruku

Itaruku lawo itaruku

Rukuruku ta taa ta

A difa fun Igba

Igba rula

Igba rukan

Igba rusu kan taakitaaki

Ba a ba waye eni

Nse lani gba


Itaruku is the awo of Itaruku     

Itaruku is the awo of Itaruku

Rukuruku ta taa ta

Cast Ifa for Igba (period)

Igba sacrificed okro

Igba sacrificed garden egg

Igba sacrificed a very big yam

When one comes to planet earth

One should strive for impact



            The youths should strive to make positive contributions so that their impact may be felt. They should not be passive because, this is their time. If they fail to use the opportunity accordingly, the task will soon fall on another generation and posterity would score a passive generation low. In our society, it is not an overstatement to say discouragement always come from here and there. Besides the one from the practitioners of Ifa/Orisa, the practitioners of other religions always find way of winning the souls of the followers of Ifa/Orisa religion. To them, let the following song take over the air:

E je kawa o sesin baba wa

Beyin o sin mo

Eyin le mo

E je kawa o sesin baba wa


Allow us to practice the religion of our forefathers

If you do not want to practice this faith

That is left to you

Allow us to practice the religion of our forefathers




            The elders should be happy at the youths and not see them as usurpers. It is in the habit of the younger ones to believe that they can do better because of their raw strength. Oftentimes, the elders misconstrue their genuine intentions.  Ifa counsels in Okanransode:

Ide ti mo sin nisin n sin

Ide ti mo ra nira n ra

Ide ti mo so nisonso mowo

Omo eku wole

Omo eku gbe ide naa lo

Ifa ni pipa ni ki n pomo eku

Ifa ni iyan ni ki n moo fomo eku je

Omo eni wole

Omo eni gbe ide naa lo

Orunmila ni n mo tile ja

Ifa ni n mo tile binu

Ifa ni omo eni nii gbede eni

Babaa mi ku

Mo gbedee re

Omo eni nii gbede eni


The Ifa beads I just strung

The Ifa beads I just bought

The beads I tied on my wrist.

Rat came in Rat carried the beads away

Ifa says I should kill the rat

Ifa says that I should eat pounded yam with it

My child came in

My child took the beads away

Ifa says I should not fight

Ifa says I should not be angry

A child inherits one’s Ifa beads

My father died

I took his Ifa bead

It is one’s child that inherits one’s Ifa beads



            The elders should learn to observe that the youths would surely reap whatever they sew. Therefore, the youths would not disrespect the elders. Also, it should be noted that the youths of today are the elders of tomorrow. Moreover, the youths should always render necessary assistance to the elders and vice versa because, neither the youths nor the elders can stand alone. On this, Ifa says:

Owo ewe o to pepe

Tagba o wo akerengbe

Ise ewe ba be agba

Ki agba mo ko mo

Gbogbo wa nise a jo n beraa wa


The hands of a child cannot reach the high shelf

Those of an elderly person cannot enter a gourd

If a child sends an elderly person on an errand

Let the elderly person refuse root

We all need one favor or the other from each other



            In their activities, the youths are expected to always treat the elders with respect. There should be modesty in their criticism and they should never be impolite to the elders. In Ikadii, Ifa says:

Bomode ba n sawo ogboju

To ba ko ogbo awo lona

Ko gba a loju

Bo ba ko agba isegun

Ko je e niya lopolopo

Bo ba ri agba abore

Nibi ti gbe n fori kanle

Ko doju e dele

A difa fun awon alaigboran

Ti won ni ko seni to le mu awon

A je pe aye ko si feni to na ogbo awo

Atele pe ko si feni to na agba isegun

Omo to na agba abore

Nibi to gbe n fi ori kanle

Iku ara re lo n wa

Warawara mo niku idin



If a young man is impudent

If he meets an old awo

Let him slap him

If he meets an old herbalist

Let him punish him severely

If he finds an old priest

Kneeling down in prayer

Let him knock him down

Ifa declares to the disobedient ones

Who said that nobody could punish them

Longevity evades anyone who slaps an old awo

No longevity for anyone who slaps an old herbalist

The child who beats up an old priest

Where he is praying

Searches for a premature death

Maggots die very quickly

Very quickly



            The elders should not misuse the opportunity giving to them over the youths by taking advantage of youths respect for them to oppress and cheat the youths. The pieces of advice from the youths should always be heeded to. Age should not be an instrument of oppression. There are instances in Ifa where the youths banished the leader or king because he did not let them have any say in the affairs of the society. A good example is that of Alapandede who was banished with riot. On this Ifa reports:

Alapandede yera oooo

Awa o fe o loye mo ooo

Alapandede yera       


Alapandede, abdicate the throne

We do not want you on the throne again

Alapandede, abdicate the throne



Another good example is that of Adabasusu was the king of Isokun. He treated the people of Isokun like slaves and he was dethroned.



            My brothers and sisters in Ifa Religion, stand firm to spread Ifa, the message of the Almighty Creator (Olodumare). The youths should know that “It is the modern dogs that can hunt modern hares”. The youths are in the vantage position to develop and propagate this religion. Importantly, improve yourselves in all aspects of life so that it will be easy for you to do the job. Do not allow the society to confuse you or lead you astray via fake religious practices. Contribute your quota today, so that you may have a story to tell tomorrow when you become elders. The Orisa will surely guard the youths against premature death for Ifa has inter alia said:


Biku o ba pa abon

Yoo jee oruko ti eyin n je




If death does not kill unripe palm fruit

It will surely become ripe palm fruit




We pray to Olodumare to spare the lives of all youths of today for them to become elders tomorrow. Ase.




Oluwo Fayemi Fatunde FAKAYODE,

Director of Ejiodi Home of Tradition,

Kaa Compound, Alade Near Moniya,

Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.

Tel: +2348034991873, +2348077285390