WHAT IS OGBONI [AWO]?
Literarily, Ogboni means SECRET. These i believe we all do world over. For example, if your family
you like keeping secret, then invariably you are an AWO (Ogboni). That is, you are an initiate [awo] of such a family as you only being a member of such family exposed you to the secret of such family and you’re meant to keep such secret as a norm in such family. So also goes to whoever is an initiate of such any society. He or she is bounded by the rules and regulation of such society not to
reveal or say anything that is peculiar to/about such society.
WHO IS ALAWO (fraternal]?
This is a group of people who come together and keep secret to themselves and which remain
among them without outsiders knowing about it for progress of all members. As defined by some
dictionaries, of or like brothers, that is a society of men that have similar beliefs.
WHO IS BABALAWO?
This is a spiritual person (an Ifa priest) that learn how to cast divination and can foretell what is in someone’s mind without been told. The said priest can reveal a secret in that is hidden through
divination casting. That is why he is called BABALAWO (that is, the father of the secret group). He may and may not be a member of the OGBONI fraternity. He is different from OGBONI because he learns how to cast divination and took it as a work of life. He also makes use of herbs, leaves, roots and other traditional incantations / methods to cure. However, they believe much on sacrifices. In view of the literary definition aforementioned, the three initiates [Ogboni, Alawo & Babalawo] are separate entities with different call and mission. Therefore, these three initiates are not the same as being misconceived by most people from outside world. For clarity of purpose, many of the
BABALAWOs are not member of the OGBONI fraternity. Likewise, not all the Ogboni members are Babalawo. One is a means to live while the others are means of living. This got me bothered to query some acts among the fraternities. Hence, my questioning of how someone who is not an OGBONI but BABALAWO can give a big title of Ogboni to an Ifa worshipping member and say both are the same?
NO, both are not same due to the processes involve in becoming a member. Truly, BABALAWO is given respect in Ogboni for their traditional inclinations and activities but that does not make them an automatic member of Ogboni while he is not initiated. There is a lot of mixed up and misrepresentation that needs more explanation and clarity about Ogboni. It is worthy of note that Ogboni is not a secret cult but truly a group of people that are secretive when it comes to real initiation. Immediately you are initiated into Ogboni, you have become powerful and rich because of what you have gone through during your initiation (As the adage says “Ibi ti iku ti’n pa omo, ti iya re n’yo sese”.
Many will say we are killers because they have no knowledge of the fraternity and they cannot differentiate between Ogboni and other secret societies. After demise of a member, a lots of people believed that many part of the deceased member’s body like heart, head, etc are cut away by the Ogboni during the burial rites of
such a deceased member. In actual sense, is it the truth? Even the bible says John 8:32 – and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free and goes same in another book and verse that ask, and it shall be given you; seek. And ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you –Mathew 7:7 while Prophet Mohammed [SAH] said in the Quran Hadith HASAN MASHHUR “fair famous” that “seek knowledge even in China”. If the two other religious books [Bible & Quran] request us to seek knowledge, find and uphold the truth in them without condemnation, then why can’t we endeavour to practice what we preach by seeking knowledge on what we don’t know. Our forefathers did Ogboni and they are wealthy [without engaging in money rituals] with long life
because they do it with honesty and love. If this was their case, then why can’t we abide by the oath taken when we were being initiated to stay by the truth in all circumstance and stop deceiving
people to rob them of their money or properties. I need to let people know that personal behaviours to satisfy selfish interests/desires inculcated into Ogboni practices are individually perpetrated and it is far from the tenets, principles and practices of Ogboni Fraternity
establishments. Hence, the need for these public enlightenments lectures to protect the image of
our beloved Ogboni society. This also will help and ensure that people make the right decisions
when deciding to join the Ogboni Fraternity.