Prominent ifa priest, Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon in this interview shares his experiences as a traditional priest, excerpts:
How long did you spend to learn Ifa?
I started learning from my father at the age of four. My father later gave me out to another priest who taught me. I stayed there for 10 years and six months. After that, I started learning from my father’s colleagues at different locations. I moved from Ilobu to Ede, Ibadan and Oyo to add to my knowledge of Ifa. Ifa knowledge is extended, so you continue to learn until you are dead.
Apart from Nigerians, do you have foreigners consulting Ifa through you?
As I said earlier, some of those who consult me are based abroad. They make telephone calls almost everyday. They send e-mails to me asking me to consult for them and to prepare sacrifices and to do other things for them. I have a lot of clients abroad.
Can you recollect any occasion when you were saved by Ifa?
There was a year I was invited to the University of Ibadan for a programme. On the day of the programme, I was set to go and I consulted Ifa to know how the outing would turn out but it was negative. I asked Ifa, “should I not go for the programme? And it said, no don’t go.” So, I cancelled the outing and stayed back indoors. The following day, somebody came and brought a newspaper and I read how those who attended the programme were beaten and molested. I couldn’t believe it; I had to fetch the invitation card to ascertain that the programme I was invited to attend was the one disrupted. I thanked Ifa because it saved my life that day.
Do you think that you could one day be converted to Islam or Christianity?
That one cannot happen. I have a deep understanding of the Bible and Quran and I also have a good understanding of Ifa but I cannot renounce Ifa. Christians and Muslims scare people with hell fire but I want you to listen to my CD on who will go to hell fire. They say that you will go to hell fire if you are not a Christian or a Muslim, but I am not afraid of hell fire because I am not a wicked person. I know what you can do that will take you to hell fire and I don’t do such things. What will now pursue me to be converted to Christianity or Islam? There is no problem that Ifa cannot solve. A lot of Christians, even pastors and Imams come to consult Ifa and use Ifa to solve their problems. But because we believe in fidelity, it is forbidden for me to start mentioning their names. It is confidential just like medical doctors don’t disclose the ailments of their patients to just anybody. Pastors and imams come to me and I prepare a lot of things for them. I use my Ifa knowledge to solve their problems. So, how am I supposed to go to them? Just this afternoon, a leader of a church came here wearing a native dress, you can’t know that he is a pastor but I know.