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Nigerian Politicians Are Experts In ‘Use And Dump’ —Professor Adeseye

Nigerian politicians are experts in ‘use and dump’. They engage expert thinkers the same way a sick man engages the walking stick. As soon as he has a clear vision and is cured of his sickness, he may not need the walking stick again.



Nigerian Politicians Are Experts In ‘Use And Dump’ —Professor Adeseye

Professor Bifatife Olufemi Adeseye is an Associate Professor of Media Ethnography (Reader), Department of Theatre and Media Arts, Federal University of Oye Ekiti. He is currently on sabbatical as Head of Department, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti. He was the Public Relations Officer of Ifa Council under Professor Idowu Boloofinde Odeyemi‘s presidency. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Orunmila Communications of Ifa Council’s publications. In this interview with BUNMI ISHOLA, he shares his view on the current political dispensation in the country from the perspective of an upholder of the African Traditional Religion.


Were you born into the practice of your religion or converted?



I was born in 1956 to a Catholic couple in Oke Irun, Akoko, Ondo State in Nigeria. My father, Chief John Adeseye Awosupin, the Olisa Ogbon Titun of Oke-Ase quarters was the secretary to the Church Management Committee of the only Catholic Church, in the area, at the time of my birth. I did not get converted. The urge grew in me gradually. I was noticing the missing link in my life.


The African traditional religion is usually linked with fetishism. Why is this so?


If we go by the dictionary definition of fetishism, the belief that natural objects have supernatural powers; a form of paraphillia where the object of attraction is an inanimate object or a part of a person’s body. Ifa is not fetish. It must be noted that Ifa is not a religion but contains elements of religion. It is not Philosophy but contains elements of philosophy. Ifa is like an encyclopedia containing everything in existence and their relationship to one another. Ifa relates man to all animate and inanimate beings such as a typical Ese Ifa is like projecting an Animation Movie. However, it is not wrong to believe that some natural objects do possess supernatural powers but the Ifa devotee may venerate such object in typical adoration of the essence of Olodumare. Olodumare is the Supreme Being without a prescribed shrine.


Professor Adeseye
Professor Adeseye


Olodumare’s shrine is therefore everywhere that is so venerated. If a religion’s doctrine says we are created in the image of the Supreme Being, is it wrong to venerate Ori, the headquarters and controller of the body, in the reverence of the Creator? Another side to the observation is that others perceived Ifa in the way we, the people who should have cherish it, had projected it to them. A poem in Irete-Ogbe says: Ohun abinibi kii wu wa.

ohun olohun nii ya wa lara.

A difa fun Iwo Deere tin se Alabarin Eja.




We loath whatever is indigenous to us;

We cherish everything foreign;


The Ifa message is for the Hook, a peer of the Fish.

The story is about the Hook and Fish seeking territorial expansion. The Diviner told them what to do. The Hook complied but the Fish was arrogant and didn’t comply. The Hook took over the waters and the Fish became slaves in every water thereafter. The parable is a metaphorical statement about Black Africans unwittingly enslaving selves to the Whites and Arabs, as they loath all things indigenous and cherish the ways of the foreigners. Ifa is the gift, the compass for cardinal directions to the divine wisdom in maintaining filial piety into the Supreme Being, Olodumare. It is the divine gift via the Yoruba race to the world.


Some Nigerians say the frightening state of the country is a collective guilt on the part of major stakeholders, including practitioners of traditional religion in the Nigerian project. Are you not culpable too?



We are all culpable.

The belief is that those involved in traditional religion assist influential politicians and are usually rewarded handsomely. Is that the reason why some of you haven’t deemed it fit to throw their hat into the ring?


Nigerian politicians are experts in ‘use and dump’. They engage expert thinkers the same way a sick man engages the walking stick. As soon as he has a clear vision and is cured of his sickness, he may not need the walking stick again.


During the last election, some communities came up with the idea of cleansing the community with Oro which many saw as a way to scare people away from participating in the poll. What’s your thought on this?


Political gimmick! Every weapon is said to be fair in war. Game or not, I will not dare an indigenous ritual.


Are practices like the Oro and the Egungun still potent to curb societal vices they were in ancient times?

They are very potent till tomorrow.


To what extent do you think political leadership is responsible for Nigeria’s predicament?


If the supposition that every society gets the type of leadership it wittingly or unwittingly worked for, the leaders and followers should bear responsibilities for the end products: good or bad.


There is a consistent advocacy that Nigeria revert to true Federalism as the game changer . Do you subscribe to this?


Our problem is not exactly with the system of government to adopt, it is the implementation. What we copied from America, for instance, has been overwhelmed with the greed factor. It is being reported that the legislative arm of government is alone consuming about half of the federation resources. That is spurious and not acceptable. It is pure capitalism in disguise. The principle of separation of power is in comatose. Chief Bola Ige described the five parties at his time as five leprous fingers. The alarming scenario is that our youths are without direction. Where lies the future? Our immediate past has stalled our today such that tomorrow is very bleak. Nigeria is believed to have one of the most resilient economies in the world. What we need is a paradigm shift from the lust for foreign goods to loving our home made stuffs. This takes us back to what Ifa says about slavery in Irete-Ogbe: Ohun abinibi kii wu won,ohun olohun nii ya won lara. We loath whatever is indigenous, but cherish all things foreign. For a start, we should bring back the assembly plants, start manufacturing basic needs. We are too dependent on oil and the world is moving away from gasoline. Each person can grow something from the lots he needs. Almost half of our land is waiting to be cultivated because we all wish to stay and live in the cities to find non-existing jobs. For example, I am on sabbatical in Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti. The dress code is not just corporate but English corporate. I have initiated and tried to popularise three-piece suit from indigenous fabrics. The system is not violated in anyway. I am happy with myself and many senior friends are indicating support for my vision.

Why don’t progressive policies and programmers work perfectly here as they do in other climes fail?


Policies must have good foundation rooted in the needs of the people but when they are copied from a different setting, they seldom work. Secondly, it should be noted that policies are like theories, suppositions and implementation is a different kettle of fish. To have good intentions is not exactly the same thing as being able to implement the project. There is also the issue of sincerity of purpose. A playwright once said “There is a thief in all of us”. How best the individual is able to curtail his cravings, his greed, makes the difference. If you work diligently and did not acquire wealth while in government office, your people will be the first to compare you with those peers of yours who dubiously made his wealth from the source you called ignoble.


What is your assessment of the recently concluded electoral process?


You would have noticed that intelligent Awo Ifa has not rushed to the press with revelations. In what looks like a trilogy of existence, Ifa appropriates yesterday, today and tomorrow on the sphere of existence. If the Seer reveals all that is seen in a particular Odu about a subject matter, he may be perceived as insane. Hence, he selects that which is relevant for the moment and life goes on.

Most Nigerians wonder why their country still gropes in the dark about 63 years after independence from Britain, whereas its contemporaries especially Asian countries have achieved greater heights. What do you think is wrong with the country despite its immense human and material endowments?


Nigeria left all that needed attention undone and had been pursuing ghosts, not reality. Nigeria and India were colonized by Britain same time. Indians used the opportunity to import technology from Europe but never gave up the cultural values of Arabs and became confused Euro-Arab entities. Our politics, education, commerce etc have no roots in any of our indigenous dispositions. The worse is that our languages are pushed to obscurity and tagged vernacular, not minding the fact that language is the veritable vehicle of communicating cultural values.


What should be the priorities of the president-elect upon assumption of office to prevent further retrogression in the country? I will tell him not to be despaired by the unpalatable history but to sift through it and use the little good to chart a new course for progress. We should tame our greed. Our wealth is more than enough for us if we manage it as proper common wealth. Nobody needs more food than the stomach can take at a time.


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