When OLOJO dawns, Yoruba people of Western Region of Nigeria, Africa and in the diaspora, as in most parts of West Africa, Brazil, Cuba, the West Indies, the United States of America etc, like other races of the world, observe their traditional New Year Day, in various forms.

The Igbo, Chinese, English, Jews, Arabs,J Indians etc also celebrate their NEW YEAR. All the tribes of the world thank Olodumare, the Creator,God Almighty,A SWT), Yahweh Chukwu, Sokodonbo,  Deu, for His mercies that endured in the outgone Year,as they offer prayers and sacrifices for more blessings in the New Year.

Such was the scene last week,in Ile Ife,Osun State of Nigeria,when the Ooni of Ife and Arole Oduduwa emerged from the age-long annual 7-day seclusion,into public view,signalling the beginning of OLOJO (OWNER OF THE DAY),Yoruba New Year.

During the highly-revered Royal Father’s seclusion,and in accordance with Yoruba time-honoured practice,the Ooni makes supplications/sacrifices and commune to/with the Creator of the Universe and the Heavens,through ODUDUWA,the progenitor of our dear pacesetting Yoruba race.

At the conclusion of the seclusion rites,the Ooni would emerge into public view from the Oduduwa Groove,wearing the very sacred AARE crown,worn once a year, and offer prayers/predictions to/for Yoruba,Nigerians and the whole universe,to commence OLOJO, the Yoruba NEW YEAR.

My humble self,Oloye ‘Lekan Alabi,the Ekefa Olubadan of Ibadanland and the first Culture Ambassador of the National Museum and Monument,Ile If e,started attending the annual Yoruba “OLOJO DAY FESTIVAL”,in 1962,during that year’s ANNUAL 7TH-DAY ADVENTIST MISSION CAMP MEETING in Ile Ife,during the reign of the late Ooni Adesoji Aderemi.

I was a pupil of the 7th-Day Adventist Primary School,Ita Saku,Oke Foko, Ibadan, Oyo State of Nigeria,from 1958 to 1963,during which I was Class Captain from Class 2 (1959) to Class 4 (1961), School Mailboy(Class 5 1962) and School Headboy(Class 6 1963).
The 7th-Day Adventist Mission in Nigeria,in the 1950s,organised the 2-WEEK ANNUAL CAMP MEETINGS among pupils of it’s schools in the now-defunct Western Region of Nigeria. The CAMP MEETINGS were in the mould of the current NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE(NYSC) SCHEME for graduates of tertiary institutions.
The significant difference was that our parents paid for our attendance/boarding  of the Meetings,during which Christian Religious Knowledge(nobody EVER attempted to convert we,Muslim participants),Civics,Endurance,Unity lessons,among others,were taught by Nigerian and visiting American missionaries.

I represented Kabiyesi Alayeluwa,the Olubadan of Ibadanland,Oba Saliu Adetunji,Aje Ogungunniso 1,at this year’s OLOJO DAY” celebrations in Ooni/ Arole Oduduwa Palace,Ile Ife,Osun State of Nigeria. I was accompanied by the Mogaji of the Akere Royal Family of Oja ‘Ba/Oritamerin,Ibadan,Oyo State of Nigeria,Chief Moshood Adegboyega Akere .



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