The Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism in Oyo State, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun; Araba Awo of Osogbo, Chief Yemi Elebuibon; a Professor of Legal History, Prof. Akinkunmi Adegbola Alao, and other culture advocates, have emphasised the need to constantly look into ways of harnessing the intellectual foundation of an indigenous genre of music, ‘Ijala’, in developing the society.
They made the observation at a lecture celebrating the 2022 Ijala Are-Ode Cultural Festival in Ibadan, tagged, ‘Ijala: Beyond Social Gyration to Intellectual Exposition of Yoruba Cultural Heritage.’
Olatubosun, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Oye Oyedele, suggested that a home-grown method of teaching the coming generation Yoruba culture is the only way Yorubas can occupy their rightful place in the comity of nations.
He added that for the Yoruba race to conquer the world, they must appreciate who they are, learn the things of the race, and behave truly like Yorubas.
Olatubosun said Oyo State Government, under Governor Seyi Makinde, has shown commitment to resuscitating the Yoruba culture and tradition among the younger generation, by re-introducing history classes to public schools in the state.
While delivering his lecture, Prof. Alao said there is a need to go back to the basics, look beyond the social gyrations derived from Ijala by hunters, and find ways to deploy the intellectual foundation of Ijala in Yoruba cultural heritage.
Alao enjoined historians to constantly research Yoruba cultural values that can benefit the society.
The scholar noted that although the immediate purpose of any traditional music performance is to entertain, but the Ijala genre of music could influence a renaissance of Yoruba culture and traditions.
He enjoined Africans, especially the Yorubas to embrace and leverage indigenous technology to develop human society.
“We need to go back to the basics. Go beyond just the gyrations of individuals, amusing themselves, to unearth the intellectual premise of this rich cultural tradition,” he said.
Speaking on what led to the celebration of Ijala by hunters in those days, Alao noted that the neglect by the political class, gave room for chanting Ijala by the hunters to celebrate their contributions to the society.
Alao, who applauded the efforts of hunters in maintaining peace within the boundaries of their society, admonished the political class to forthwith stop diminishing their importance.
“The nature of their profession takes them away from domestic politics. They are always engaged in warfare and deep forest hunting and so many other activities outside the immediate precinct of the established kingdoms. So many times, they are not on ground to take part in the political process, so the political class diminished their importance.
“But they resorted to Ijala to celebrate themselves, to call attention to their importance and to let people know they have contributed a lot to the development of the society,” he said.
Alao, who chided the political class for refusing to recognise the little efforts of hunters, commended the Oyo State Government for partnering Ona ara Development Forum in celebrating the Ijala Are-Ode cultural renaissance.
“Rather than denouncing our hunters, we must encourage them to positively use their knowledge towards the development of human society,” he noted.
The said that the festival will open doors of opportunities to the hunters by helping them to showcase their talents and the importance of the hunters’ guild.
He further projected that in the next five years, the festival would have been internationalised, adding that in the coming years, the organisers will call attention of the world to the intellectual precinct of Ijala, stressing that the guild would have assumed new relevance in the Yoruba society by then.
Also speaking, Elebuibon urged Africans to develop their culture, adding that it is a must to “first appreciate who they are and what they are.”
Elebuibon also warned the Yorubas against jettisoning Ifa science and technology, noting that if care is not taken, in no distant future, people of the Yoruba tribe will soon be paying the Europeans for Ifa divination.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Organising Committee, Ijala Are-Ode Cultural Festival, Oloye Dipo Gbenro, noted that the forefathers of all Ona Ara indigenes were hunters and warriors, who played pivotal roles in the ‘Agbekoya war.’
He said Ijala is an expository of intellectual content, which spells history and family lineage.
“Ijala explores and exposes the inadequacies of our leaders, promotes social relations and is rich with powerful words,” he said.
Guests at the events include Maye Olubadan, Chief Lekan Alabi; Publisher, Alaroye Newspaper, Adedayo Alao; Chief Bayo Oyero; Chief Diti Oladapo; Chairman, Ona Ara Local Government Area, Musbaudeen Sanusi Shaba; Alakanran of Akanran, Chief Yekini Ogunlabi Obisesan, among others.