Chidinma Leilani Aaron, a youth corps member and professional chef was crowned Sunday night as the 42nd Miss Nigeria.
Chidinma, who emerged from the South East Zone beat 17 other girls to emerge the new queen at the Eko Convention Centre of Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Eighteen contestants made it to the grand finale before the selection of the final 12.
They were made up of Ntan Nton, Egede Lagele, Thomas Mseve, Ameh Munirah, Otunba Ifunaya, and Shitta Remilekun.
Others are Tizhe Usa Miriam, Okudili Odinaka Doris, Agida Stephanie, Ugwu Ijeoma, Aaron Chidinma Leilani, and Dunu Chisom Olivia.
The contestants were later reduced to five from where Aaron emerged.
The final five were Dunu Chisom, Ntan Sharon Nton, Ameh Munirah, Agida Stephanie and Aaron Chidinma Leilani.
Dunu, from the south east zone like Chidinma, picked the prize for the first runner-up, while Ameh, from the South South was named the second runner-up.
Aaron, winner of the pageant, took home N3 million, a luxury apartment and an automobile.
She succeeded Mildred Ehiguese who won the 2017 edition.
There was no registration fee for the 2018 edition of the pageant in a bid to be all-inclusive and “to prevent financial restraints on the part of young ladies who are truly deserving of the ultimate title”.
Organization of a Highlife and Cultural Dance Talents competition tagged“Igbo Highlife Fest“, has made known that there was N2 million cash prize for winner of the program which it grand finale has been slated June, 2 in Enugu state.
As gathered, there was N2 million the final of the program which involves five groups in the traditional dance category and 10 singers in the highlife music category.
The competition, which began in April in Onitsha, had participants competing for slots before the grand finale coming up in Enugu.
The Portfolio Manager, Mainstream Lager and Stout Brands, Nigerian Breweries, Emmanuel Agu, Highlife Fest is a demonstration of the commitment of Life Continental Lager Beer to the progress of the Igbo man.
“We intend to continue to promote and propagate the beautiful heritage of the Igbo people through highlife music.
“We understand how much these classic tunes mean to consumers; we are delighted to bring this music fest to them.
“The honed talents and the beautiful performances at the quarter and semifinal concerts have been a joy to behold.
“We look forward to working with the winners in managing their talents and preserving the beautiful highlife culture,”Agu said.
Agu also said that the two important Igbo traditional festivals in Enugu, the Mmanwu festival and New Yam festival, are held annually to promote the Igbo Culture.
He added that Enugu State had taken steps to create more festivals managed by the Enugu Council of Arts and Culture.
“highlife Fest is an initiative of Life Continental Lager Beer that has come to stay in contributing to the promotion and sustenance of highlife music culture among the young generation.
“The indigenous highlife music competition took the talent hunt to Onitsha the past weekend where the remaining contestants slugged it out for a place in the final.
“These included five groups in the traditional dance category and 10 singers in the highlife music category.
“Now, with the dust settled on the semis, it is time for all finalists to brace up and prepare for the final,’’Agu said.
NAN reports that the talent hunt, which is aimed at celebrating the heritage of Igbo people through music, has featured a plethora of talents from seven state auditions.
The fight for the star prize of N2 million has reached its peak after several mentorship sessions.
Competing for the grand prize in the Highlife music category are Dons Ifeanyi Frank (Anambra), Kalapi Ojuka (Rivers), Emmanuel Agbom (Delta), Uwazie Chuks Arthur (Imo) and Chinedu Obiajulu Ada-Chi (Enugu State).
The traditional dance category will feature Kanaowo Dance group (Rivers), Noel Cultural Entertainment (Ebonyi), Asinodricks Africa (Imo) and Umuchiziri Egwu Cultural Dance (Enugu State).
The final will feature performances from Onyeka Owenu, Phyno, Bright Chimezie, Obiligbo Brothers, Tipsy Kelvano and Chibest David.
Denmark-based Nigerian movie producer and director, Stephen King, has disclosed that a Nigerian Cultural Heritage Carnival will take place in the Scandinavia from May 2 to May 5.
He told journalists during a the telephone chat from Copenhagen, Denmark, on Sunday that the event would be the first of its kind and that the event was aimed at promoting Nigerian culture to the people of Scandinavia.
King posited that the Scandinavia have a booming market opportunity that can be useful to Nigeria, adding that a day would be set aside for business forum for Nigerian entrepreneurs and business community to interact with colleagues from the Scandinavia.
“I made the proposal for this event and sent to the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture. The ministry approved the proposal and we have started arrangements to hold the event. We want to bring Nigeria closer to them and let them know about our country. Scandinavians are afraid to invest in Nigeria. If they know about us, there is a possibility that many of them will invest in Nigeria and do things with our people.
“The cultural carnival will be the first of its kind in this region. It is expected that Nigeria will take advantage of the booming market opportunity in the area. The event intends to help in the process of integration and cultural diversity in Copenhagen by offering a unique platform for Africans and African descendants to share the cultural aspects of our country,” the producer said.
King projected that the main event will feature Nigerian dance, music, clothes, drama, and films. States and Local Governments are free to participate to showcase their potentials.
“We want to show them what we can do, who we are. We want to show them that Nigerians are loving people and have great business potentials,” he said.
Scandinavia and the Nordic region is a historical and geographical region covering much of Northern Europe with countries like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland which make up the region.
Laolu Senbanjo’s rise to fame was not fortuitous. From his house in Nigeria’s north-central state of Kwara, where he taught himself how to paint on marble floors, his art has appeared on bodies of celebrities like Beyoncé and Alicia Keys to products of global brands such as Nike and Bulgari.
Laolu has come a long way since he quit his job as Senior Legal Officer at the Human Rights Commission in Abuja and moved to the United States in 2013, where his art called Afromysterics, which is the representation of the African thought pattern through his chosen medium – the Sacred art of Ori, blossomed.
His decision to leave the country was pivotal to his success. The main reason for this for him was the pressure from family and friends to get a job. He says, “I just feel like I needed to change the environment to be myself and just explore; that’s why I went to New York and the rest is history.” Almost like a need to clear up the air, he says, “I didn’t learn anything in New York; everything that I did there is the same thing that I did here.”
The representation of Ori according to him is a concept he developed that draws inspiration from Yoruba mythology. As Ori, loosely translated to a personal god, is individualistic, so is its representation in Laolu’s work.
“What I do is I listen to your vibes and take elements from your Ori; your Ori could simply mean your vibe, it could mean your light, your intuition, it could mean a lot of things. If you give me a vibe of one of the Orishas, for example maybe Osun, Oya, Obatala or Sango, I take elements, existing patterns from these deities, and put those patterns on your skin. What I’m doing is transporting you from who you are now back in the past and putting you back in that person.”
Linking these African thoughts and patterns with lines, he has been able to create a roadmap of different subjects’ journeys as well as used his art to start a conversation and interpret his views of the world through his patterns.
But, in spite of the impacts his art has created, Laolu admits that his mastery of the mystery of Ori is not total at this point. It is expected his art will evolve as his understanding of the sacred art develops further. He says,
“There’s so much existing under Yoruba mythology in Nigeria, West Africa. Nigeria alone has over 500 languages; that’s a lot of ethnicities and culture in one spot. What I’m doing is just one, which is Yoruba.”
The journey to becoming the artist he is known for today wasn’t an easy one. When asked how he was able to hone his craft while practising law, he says, “I didn’t stop, I just practised a lot more.” Quitting his job as a lawyer did not signify the end of being an activist for social change.
As a lawyer with Nigeria’s rights commission, he was tasked with the education of parents in the Northern region of the country on the Child’s Right Act. He says, “This opened my eyes to my own privilege and understanding that I didn’t have to go through that and I know a lot of people didn’t have to go through that. It opened my eyes to poverty and classism in the Nigerian society. This is why some people will never attain a certain level of work in their life just because of their background, because their parents don’t see the reason for their education.” Moreover, he became aware of the vulnerability and many troubles of the girl child in the region.
The effect of this on Laolu’s work is pretty obvious as he reveals it’s why he does a lot of his work on women as a thing of elevation, saying, “A lot of my work centres around women as a cornerstone of the African society.” Leaving that job to concentrate on his art has not deterred Laolu from speaking against the harsh treatment of the girl child in Nigeria.
Through one of his works called Dreamscape, an intricately patterned painting, he highlights how the future of the girl child is determined by where she’s born.
“Children have no control over where they are born, so why should your life depend on that environment? And that in itself is something that disturbs me.” He adds, “[They] become sexualised depending on the environment they are and some girls at the age of 15, 20 are already adults because they’ve seen so much. I talk to some of them and when you look at them you can tell and it just breaks my heart because this is just a child but this child is already a woman.”
Global recognition came for Laolu when Beyoncé worked with him on a video for a track off her visual album Lemonade. His art was featured on the bodies of Beyoncé and some of the dancers in the track Sorry. His feature in the four-minute video catapulted his art to the world. It also initiated his parent’s acceptance of his art, as he recalls his dad calling him to ask, “Laolu, who is Beyoncé?”
Hitherto, his father was not disposed to him dumping his law career for art. Speaking on the acceptance, he says, “At the end of the day, every Nigerian parent just wants to be proud of their child and, if that thing is outside their reality, it’s hard for them to connect with it.” He is also quick to add that, “But they see it now because everything is changing; the whole concept of being successful and the method of being successful is changing.”
As the global acclaim blooms, Laolu finds himself becoming an international face of the Nigerian culture, a role he is happy to embrace. “I just want to be able to let other people around the world know that Nigeria is blessed with a lot of people like me,” he says.
“I’ve just been fortunate to have the chance to take advantage of opportunities that have been presented to me. I just want people to know that Nigeria is not just about 419 scams and bad governance; we have people who can work really hard, we have talent and culture; we have things we can actually sell to the rest of the world, things that can make other countries jealous.”
Even with the fame that he has, Laolu is still being stereotyped because of his county of birth. He is visibly miffed every Nigerian in the diaspora is deemed a scammer. “You just don’t use one broad stroke to brush everybody up,” he says. “Everyone isn’t a scammer because you’ve had one bad encounter with one person. I try to educate them as much as possible. When they know who I am and what I’m doing in the world, they begin to think differently; it paints a good picture. I’m trying my possible best [not to] let my people down because, at the end of the day, I’ve never felt more Nigerian than I feel right now, being outside Nigeria.”
When he is not painting, Laolu is making music. His genre is subsumed under the broader umbrella of Afromysterics and complements his visual art. “A lot of my art is interpreted into music; a lot of my music is interpreted as art,” he says, adding, “I like to play music, not because I want to be able to perform, but because it’s how I live.”
He is working on a visual album and would like to work with genius producer Cobhams.
To Nigerian artists with similar backgrounds as himself, he says, “Everybody’s journey is different. Try as much as possible to understand you and listen to yourself because I also did not listen to anybody. I was very stubborn. Sometimes you just have to trust yourself because your body knows you more than anybody else; pay attention to those things.”
To artists he mentors, he says, “Take advantage of what you have, go to school, learn all that you can, but at the same time don’t lose your own creativity because that alone is what is going to set you apart.”
How does Laolu manage the expectations of being an artist with global acclaim? He doesn’t let it get to him. He says, “I don’t see it like I’ve accomplished a lot. I just feel like I’m still scratching the surface because there’s a lot to do. I just see my work as work and whatever needs to be done, I get it done.”
Facebook has announced its plan to provide less content from businesses, brands and media with more focus on contents from friends and family for its two billion users scroll on News feed.
According to its CEO Mark Zuckerberg who made the declaration on Thursday, the move was in a bid to make people feel more positive about the time they spend on social media. The content Facebook shows “should encourage meaningful interactions between people,”he said.
“The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.”
The announcement comes one week after Zuckerberg, who famously declares a News Year’s resolution on Facebook each year, announced his goal this year will be to “fix” Facebook. This includes dealing with abuse on the platform, such as Russian meddling in elections and ensuring users feel like logging onto Facebook is “time well spent.”
Facebook has denied it is a media company, but in recent years, brands, media companies and other content creators have turned to Facebook for its unparalleled reach and engagement. It’s a point Zuckerberg acknowledged in his post, writing that “video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years.”
“Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other,” Zuckerberg said.
The News Feed shake-up will also usher in a shift in thinking for Facebook’s product teams. They were previously given the mandate to help users find relevant content. Now, Zuckerberg said, they’ll be tasked with helping deliver more meaningful social interactions for Facebook users.
Facebook’s algorithm — think of that as a complex digital recipe for deciding what shows in each person’s News Feed — will now prioritize posts from friends and family that “spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.”
What’s unclear is whether the changes could perpetuate an echo chamber effect, assuming users are more likely to interact with posts that reinforce their beliefs.
The changes are also a blow to brands and media companies that publish on Facebook. Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s head of News Feed, said these public pages can expect to see their reach, video watch times and referral traffic decrease.
“Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect,” he wrote in a blog post.
With people no longer having as much content to passively consume in their News Feeds, Zuckerberg said he expects some measures of user engagement will decrease. That’s news shareholders may not want to hear, but Zuckerberg said he believes the changes will be mutually beneficial in the long run for Facebook’s two billion users and its bottom line.
“By focusing on bringing people closer together — whether it’s with family and friends, or around important moments in the world — we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent,” he said.
Botswana queen, Gaseangwe Balopi, 21, has emerged the winner in the second edition of the Miss Africa beauty pageant hosted by the Cross River Government with a take-home prize of $35,000 and a Ford Edge Sport Utility Vehicle.
Balopi was declared the winner of the 2017 African queen at the keenly contested competition after four rounds of appearances in different attires by 25 contestants at the Calabar International Convention Centre.
Miss Rwanda, Fiona Naringwa and Miss Luyolo Mngonyama of South Africa were first and second runners-up and they took home $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.
Gov. Ben Ayade said that the theme of the event `Climate Change and Migration’ was chosen as a need to create awareness in order to caution youths on illegal migration while protecting the Nigerian environment.
Ayade said that the event enabled the African continent the opportunity to choose another beauty queen that will use her beauty to create awareness on the need for Africans to see themselves as one.
“Migration and Climate Change have become burning and global issues today. Our gathering here today is to choose another African queen that will use her office to create awareness on the theme. Blackness is now a perception, beauty and character in the eyes of the people. The Miss Africa pageant is meant to tell the true story of Africa to the world.
“How can a continent like Africa that is blessed with abundant natural and human resources be poor? Africans are intellectually sound.
“We are not gathered here to pick the most beautiful woman. Rather, we want to pick the true African woman who can use her beauty to change Africa because for us to tell the true African story, we need a face that is appealing.
“Our theme for this year should caution our youths about the tedious journey through the Mediterranean Sea and Sahara Desert to Europe in search of ‘greener pasture’, he said.
Motswana Balopi, therefore, promised to use her crown to create awareness on the dangers of illegal migration by youths across Africa.
The former Miss Africa, Neurite Mendes from Angola, urged the new African queen to use her office to end illegal migration by some Africans to European countries.
Former Governor of Cross River, Mr Donald Duke, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr John Gaul-Lebo and other dignitaries were in attendance at the event.
No fewer than 3,000, horses, colorfully decorated, and camels, were able to find their ways to an arena in Kaduna State, where they graced Northern royals who were in the state for grand durbar that marked centenary celebration.
At the event, traditional rulers from Borno, Kano, Gombe, Bida, Zazzau, Bauchi, Hadeja and Keffi among others that led a team of riders of between 250 and 500 well decorated horses, to display different cultures.
In display, while riding horses and camels, various cultural groups danced to drums and other numerous tunes.
The Kaduna State governor, Nasiru El-Rufai, said that Shehu of Borno, Shehu Umar ibn Ai-Kanemi, lead the durbar and they were rulers of great honor whom people look up to.
Speaking at the Durba on Saturday, the governor stated that Kaduna was a Borno city since the state’s first indigenous governor was Shettima Kashim Ibrahim who was also a title holder in Borno State.
“And we chose the present Shehu of Borno to lead today’s durbar because coincidentally, his grandfather led the first durbar in 1956 while his father led the FESTAC durbar in1977, El-Rufai said.
El-rufai disclosed the incumbent Emir of Zazzau, Shehu Idris, wrote on 1977 FESTAC durbar how the related both Borno and Kaduna were.
“This history was related to us by our royal Father, Emir of Zazzau, and and I found this interesting”, he expresses.
Today is the birthday of the foremost Nigerian playwright and poet, Akinwande Oluwole “Wole” Babatunde Soyinka.
Born on July 13, 1934 Wole Soyinka was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first African to win a Nobel Prize for Literature.
He studied in Nigeria and the United Kingdom, before working with Royal Court Theatre in London.His first major play, The Swamp Dwellers (1958), was followed a year later by The Lion and the Jewel (1962), a comedy that attracted interest from several members of London’s Royal Court Theatre. Others are Death and the King’s Horseman (1975), A Dance of the Forests (1963), Kongi’s Harvest (1967), Madmen and Specialists (1971), A Play of Giants (1984) and so on.
An organisation, under the auspices of Progressives Leaders Association (PILA), which opened and inaugurated an Igbo Language School in the United States of America (US), has opened similar school in South Africa.
PILA is an organization sponsoring an Igbo Language School in the U.S., but has decided to extend its scope to South Africa in its bid to preserve the Igbo language, which was predicted by UNESCO to be one of the languages that would go into extinction.
The Coordinator, PILA, South Africa, Chima Umealo, said at a dinner in Johannesburg that 16 children had started lesson in the school.
He said the group’s aim was to secure the Igbo language and ensure it would not be extinct.
“Pila’s aim is to secure the Igbo language because UNESCO had predicted that the language was among those that will go out of fashion in no distant time. We decided to come out with a programme to secure our language because a people without a language are no people,” he said.
According to Umealo, who also is the President, Abia Union, South Africa, one way of sustaining Igbo culture was to secure the language.
“We therefore, resolved to establish an Igbo school in South Africa to affiliate with the one in the U.S to promote our culture and language,” he said.
The coordinator explained that the essence of the school was to enable Igbo children born in South Africa, who are not opportune to communicate with others when they go home, would be taught the language while in South Africa.
The time-table for the school would be run during weekends and vacations, adding that arrangements had been concluded to teach them at weekends during school session.
According to the Coordinator, in no distant time, the school would be offering and teaching the students mathematics and science in Igbo to make them put to practice what they do daily in school and at home.
The traditional head, Abia indigenes in South Africa, Eze Sidney Ihediwa, said the establishment of the school was a step in the right direction adding that it was important because Igbos should ensure that their heritage and culture does not go into extinction.
According to the traditional ruler, some Igbo children born abroad were losing touch with their language, stressing that such schools would assist them to preserve their culture.
However, Chairman, Ikwuano and Umuahia Communities, South Africa, Ikechi Otuonye, said the school would make children to speak their native language while abroad.
“Even when they travel to other countries, they can communicate in the language with other brethren there,” he said.
The Queen of Wealth Worldwide (Obabinrin Aje Agbaye), Ajetoke Oyekan, is the custodian of the spirit of wealth in Ogun State. Ajetoke was the owner of African Fashion and Cultural Festival, Ankara Fashion Festival and Ewurede Celebration in Igbore in Abeokuta, Ogun State, before she had an encounter with the spirit of wealth (Aje) a few years ago, who asked her to bring back his lost glory by serving him.
She hosted the World Aje Festival in February this year and has been in the forefront in promoting Africa’s rich culture.
In this interview with ADA DIKE, she speaks on how she uses Aje Festival to promote art, culture and tourism in Nigeria. Excerpts:
Can you tell us ways Aje Festival can help in promoting culture and tourism of Nigeria?
There are many ways we are using Aje Festival to promote culture and tourism. If you look at my mode of dressing, I used cowries (the first money in Africa) to adorn my hair. We Africans are beautiful and we have a very rich culture that we must not allow the borrowed culture to take away from us.
Look at what is happening now, our boys and girls sag on the streets which is not part of our lifestyle. It is shameful. It is sad seeing a queen mother going to the market putting on jeans trouser. It is not part of mode of dressing. There is an adage that says, “When you see a prince, you surely see the sign of royalty on him. What royalty sign are we going to boast of with sagging attitude? I implore my people to return home. We have a very rich culture in this country; we must not let it die. Let us teach the young ones the values of our culture. Many parents have taught their children the English way of life which will not help us.
I implore the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to do their best. We have many tourist centres that can be developed. For instance, we celebrate Lisabi Day in Egbaland. How many of us know where Lisabi is. His house in those days has become a dust. Let us raise a structure that will attract tourists so that when the young ones grow, they will know what the monument is meant for.
If we develop our tourist centres, apart from the revenue the government will generate from it, it will serve as archives for the unborn ones. I know that five centuries to come, people will talk about me, that when Ajetoke was alive, she used to adorn her hair with cowries and shells. It is going to be part of our history but if we don’t develop this historical values, how do we maintain them?
I thank God for using me to bring back the glory of Aje which has been attracting many tourists from outside Nigeria.
I humbly beg the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Federal Government to help us develop tourist centres. It is not everything that you put inside museums, but we have to keep them in archives to ensure that the story will be there for many generations to come.
Congratulations on the success of the maiden edition of World Aje Festival. What informed your decision to hold the Festival?
I am Her Spiritual Majesty (HSM), Oba Ajetoke Oyekan, Obabinrin Aje Agbaye (Queen of Wealth Worldwide).
The maiden edition of World Aje Festival was held at Igbore, Abeokuta, Ogun State from February 8th to 11th 2017. It was not my intention, but a spiritual intervention in the sense that when I met the spirit of wealth, that is, Aje himself few years ago, he came to me with a proposal and told me that he has been neglected for a very long time. He said other deities are being celebrated, but he is the one that is giving them wealth to do all sorts of things, but he has never been given recognition.
I then asked him what he wanted me to do and he said I should bring him out and let the world know that he exists. I asked him, “In what way?” He told me to be celebrating the World Aje Festival and gave me the World Aje festival calabash, that is, the calabash of wealth. Since then, he has been visiting, telling me one or two things to do concerning him. I told myself maybe, that is how my own destiny would be. So I decided to carry the cross and then made a trip to Igbore in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Where were you before you made a trip to Abeokuta?
I came for a traditional festival from Lagos, so when I moved to my hotel room in the night, the spirit came. Later on, we made some spiritual consultations and it was revealed that truly, I am one of his descendants he wanted to bring back his glory.
I then moved back to Igbore because through history, we were made to understand that the calabash of wealth was moved from Ile-Ife in Osun State to Igbore by the descendants of Aje in those days. This is because, when Aje came from heaven to this modern earth, he descended at Ile-Ife, being a very good businessman that used to move from one community to another, one day, he made a business trip from Ile-Ife to Igboore (The Forest of Wealth), which we now call Igbore. Since then, he has never returned to Ile-Ife. That is where he ended the journey of his life. He changed and turned to stones. That is what we call ‘Ota’. He made a covenant with an Iroko and told the Iroko to transfer his virtue to any of his descendants that visits the Iroko.
Fortunately for me, that oracle asked me to go and make a sacrifice to the Iroko. The Iroko I am talking about has been in existence for over 300 or 400 years. After I made the sacrifice to the Iroko with the permission from the Oluwo Igbore, some precious stones came out of the Iroko tree. I summoned courage and picked them up. I told my elder brother, Lisa of Igbore-Abeokuta/Baale of Eerin, High Chief Akeem Oladeinde, and also called a ‘Babalawo’ (Native Doctor), to make a consultation on the stone. So the oracle later revealed that Aje turned to stone in those days with a covenant that any day he sees his descendant, it should be transferred to him or her.
So I collected the stone and took it to my house in Lagos and started making atonement and sacrifices to it. And on that day, the Iroko sang a song for me and told me to always sing that song for him anytime I want to call him. It is a song of wealth that Aje used like a password to the Iroko tree. That each time I sing the song, the spirit of wealth will appear. Aje made me to understand that he has a spiritual name, which, when I call him with that name and ask anything I want, he will do it. I then asked him why he decided to choose me when other people are better than me. He said, it is because, there have been some cases of money making rituals in which people made blood and human blood sacrifices in search of wealth, which is contrary to his view.
He told me what I should use in making sacrifices to him, that he would appear and tell me some things after the sacrifices were made. So I have been on this for almost three years and Aje has never disappointed me in any way, though, there are ups and downs and jealousy from different people. I thank my creator, ‘Eledumare’, the spirit of wealth and the deities in general for being there for me and for their divine protection upon my life, despite the fact that the road has been a very rough one.
I am giving glory to him because, today in the history of Egba land, we, including my forefathers in Igbore are the people that brought the calabash of wealth. So the whole town is in jubilation.
I hereby thank my ancestors, the Oluwo of Igbore and my elder brother, High Chief Anthony Oluyide, who has been a good father to me for encouraging me. When I told him the story I had, he said that, when our forefathers left Ile-Ife, they moved to Igbore, which collaborates with the story Aje told me. I also thank the Baale of Lisa, High Chief Oladele Odugbemi, who has always been there for me. I also want to appreciate the effort of Amona Lisa who is also the Publisher of African Tourist Magazine, Hon. Adeyinka Adefunmiloye, for bringing out this festival in a colourful way.
I hereby thank my people in Egbaland, from the Alake of Egba land, HRM Oba Adedotun Gbadebo. I also thank Olori Parakoyi of Egbaland, Chief Kashimawo Laloko. I hereby appreciate the effort of our father in Ile-Ife, Ojaja 11 Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi. Many thanks to Obatala Agbaye, Almighty Adalakun for being there for me. I also appreciate my husband and my family for giving me the opportunity to display my talent.
Why are you called the Oba Aje?
I was made to understand that the title Aje has given me is ‘Oba Aje’. He took me on a journey of eleven days to Ile-Ife. It was when I came back that I was given a crown and Aje told me that the crown is not transferable to any community and added that it belongs to our family (Lisa Community) in general.
What were you doing before you accepted to serve Aje?
I have had a lot. In the first place, I was a Director of Modern Concept. I write concepts, organise concerts and package events. I am the proud owner of African Fashion and Cultural Festival, Ankara Fashion Festival and Ewurede Celebration in Igbore, among others. I also had a multi-million boutique in Lagos, but when Aje came to my life, he asked me to drop everything and return to him. I cry each time I remember this. But at the end of the day, I have accepted my fate and I always remember that he has put me in a place that is higher than anybody in this world.
Can you tell us some of the major challenges you are facing in your current responsibility?
After I was made Oba and also received a crown, I have been very popular. People hail me wherever I go. Also, my mode of dressing has been so unique. Aje made me different from every other person all over the world. So I have challenges among my mates in the ‘Orisa’ kingdom.
The jealousy, bad mind, backbite and so on, are appalling. They defame me and try to taint my personality, but each time they come with one thing or the other, my ancestors and deity are always there to deliver me from shame and their evil plans.
Sometimes, they cause accidents for me but I narrowly escape them. There has been a case of hired assassins but I escaped it. Even the festival we did, they were not happy about it, so they ganged up against me, but Aje always tells me to remain my humble self and not retaliate.
How do you intend to sustain this festival to ensure that it outlives you?
As a matter of fact, I came from a traditional home. My mother was an Olorisa and my father was an herbalist. So I am not new in this system. They used the Orisa money to send me to university. We are pure traditional people. I thank God that my children are always in the temple anytime I travel. They know how to appease the deities, and at times, they do see Aje himself. I believe that the deity will not die in my family because my ancestors are now raising people to succeed me.
Let’s talk about my compound, that is, Lisa compound in Igbore and Lisa community in general. We are pure traditional people. The younger ones are picking so much interest and sometimes, suggest to me how we will do things.
I marvelled during our gala night, even less than four years old children came to the hall to dance and praise Eledumare (Our Creator), Alale Ilu Igbore, Alale Lisa and Alale Egba.
Do you have any other information?
There is an adage that says, “A three-legged pot is what carries soup and make it cooked”. What our government is doing towards the ‘Onisise’ (traditional people) is not good. They have not really given us attention or carried us along. I know their fear and threat because in this traditional set up, you don’t backbite. We follow the instructions of the oracle. We follow the guidelines of the deities and must not deviate because there is an instant judgement when you deviate. Maybe, they believe it would affect them if they introduce it into the system of governance due to their selfish interest.
I want to remind them that traditional set up is the first system that was created by Eledumare. This is where Eledumare kept 99.9 per cent of the secret of his power.
Look at the economic situation in Nigeria presently. The economic recession is caused by lack of knowledge. There is a way we can appease to the gods of the land. They are not happy with the government because they don’t carry them along. When they come to us, we will make sacrifices and atonement for sins.
Take for instance, we are celebrating the spirit of wealth where we pray that the spirit of our deity should restore the wealth of this country. This country supposed to be flowing with milk and honey because God endowed us with resources to enjoy. We have been begging the spirit of wealth to have mercy on our people, government and restore the wealth of people so that Nigerians will stop living in hardship and penury. Anywhere Aje is absent is a total blackout and collapse of the system, but Aje has promised that he will hear the cry of Nigerians.