An Open Letter to All the Obas in Yoruba Land Concerning Deaths Caused by Ritualists and Cultists

Prince John Adebayo Abolarin, PhD, Barrister at Law.

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I extend warm greetings to all Ori Ades in Yoruba land, the Oduduwa dynasty, including but not limited to the Osewemowe of Ondo, Akarigbo of Remo, Ooni of Ile Ife, Ewi of Ado, Soun of Ogbomoso, Deji of Akure, Oba of Benin, Olubadan of Ibadan, the Owa Ajero of Ijero Ekiti, Ataoja of Osogbo, Obajisun of Ayedun, Alofa of Ilofa, Timi of Ede, Olowu of Owu, Orangun of Ila, Owa of Ijesa Land, Alake of Egba Land, Owa of Idanre, Alawe of Ilawe, Ogoga of Ikere, Olowa of Igbara-Oke, Olubara of Ibara, Awujale of Ijebu, Oluwo of Iwo and all the Kabiyesis, even if the name or title is not explicitly mentioned in this letter.

Foremost, I want to crave the indulgence and forgiveness of the Ori Ades as the names and titles listed are not necessarily in any particular order of seniority, social status or relevance, and it is not a complete list of the names of all the Yoruba Obas.

Nonetheless, the message is addressed to all the Yoruba Obas, except the Emir of Ilorin. Not because Ilorin is not a Yoruba town but because the problem highlighted in this letter is of little relevance to the Ilorin township.

I also have to apologise to all the Kabiyesis for going through this route in communicating with Ori Ades. I would have preferred seeking an audience with each Kabiyesi individually.

On the other hand, reaching out to the Kabiyesis through modern telecommunication channels has the benefit of convenience, speed, widespread and efficiency. Thus, for the convenience of the Kabiyesis, I have included my email address and WhatsApp telephone number for responses and feedback.

By way of introduction, I am one of your brothers, nephews and cousins, John Adebayo Abolarin, Omo Owa Ijero, Omo Oke Ijero, Omo Alawewe ja ni Ikotun Omo Alawewe so fe ye je. A son to one of the great-grandsons of Oduduwa, Ejisunmade a son of Ajero of Ijero, a nephew of Orangun of Ila and Oba Oladile, the founder of Okuku in Osun State.

Ejisunmade my great grandfather settled in Ayedun and became the first Obajisun of Ayedun in Oke Ero Local Government Area, Kwara State.

Mo yika otun,mo si yika osi fun gbogbo awon Oba Alade. Ade a pe lori, bata a pe le se. A jinde ara a ma je yin.

Summary of the Issue

The primary aim of this message is to draw the Obas’ attention to the deep-seated problem arising from the influences of the Yoruba deities over the traditional thrones in Yoruba land and the toll in losses of human lives and general hardship the relationships with the spiritual entities have caused the Yoruba land for several centuries and by extension, Nigeria as a whole.

The year 2023 was particularly challenging because of many heart-wrenching and worrisome video clips that freely circulated on social media concerning accounts of ritual murders in many places in Yoruba land. These gruesome murder cases involved even young adults who have become audacious enough to kill their parents and remove their heads, genitalia, and other body parts to make money rituals and for other purposes.

These are in addition to deaths associated with cultism that ravaged some parts of Ogun State last year and the spate of killings by rival cultist groups in Ede, Osun State in early 2022.

As if these were not bad enough, there were instances of people arrested and paraded by the Police Command in Ogun State, where the arrested people were allegedly involved in selling piecemeal human flesh for N200 a piece and a whole human being for N50,000.

On 30th May, 2023, an Ile Ife Prince, Rahmon Adedoyin, was sentenced to death by hanging for his involvement in what is widely believed to be a ritual murder of a university student who lodged overnight in his hotel.

The prevalence of instances of this nature found in Yoruba land has reached a proportion deserving urgent attention to look into the causes of these problems and those behind them.

It is not enough to blame hardship in Nigeria for this problem or greed and the inordinate ambitions of desperate primary ritualists. Still, attention must now focus on the facilitators of the crime, the middlemen Babalawos and the ultimate recipients of human sacrifices, the Yoruba deities and Irunmoles.

It is not difficult to figure out that if the Babalawos were not doing ritual work and the Irunmoles had not promised and seen to be delivering blood money to ritualists, common criminals would not be doing money rituals, and our country would not be in great difficulty that we are in today losing innocent citizens that are fed to the gods in the land.

For example, it is good for the police to arrest hard drug users and prosecute them, but it would be a futile exercise if the drug importers and the main drug dealers who are behind the distribution of hard drugs were left alone to operate freely. A problem must be dealt with at the source for maximum effectiveness.

In consequence, though it could be difficult to get ritualist Babalawos into the Police net, it is not an impossible task to achieve.

The most challenging part is dealing with the deities and the Yoruba Irunmoles. This is where the assistance of the Obas in Yoruba land comes in.

The Link Between the Yoruba Obas and the Yoruba Deities and Irunmoles

The general feeling is that the Ori Ades owe their utmost allegiance to the deities and the Irunmoles. It is widely believed that this situation has been the case from time immemorial, and as such, changing it would be disrespectful to the memory of our forefathers and, in fact, incur the wrath of the deities and the irunmoles that have been the backbone sustaining the Yoruba royal institutions.

Many suppose that the Yoruba Irumoles are friendly and helpful to the Yorubas. The general understanding that the Yoruba deities are providing beneficial services to the Ori Ades and the Yorubas generally may have inspired calls from some quarters who are of the view that traditional rulers are now more often disrespected only because the Obas have largely drifted from the powers behind the Yoruba thrones.

Consequently, Chief Fayemi Elebuibon, among several others, called on the Obas to cede more authority to the irunmoles and encourage their rule over the Yoruba land.

The argument is that considering the escalating cases of ritual murders across Yoruba land and discovered multiple hideouts of criminals in places where they were rearing human beings like cattle and later butchering kidnapped citizens, selling their body parts to ritualists, we need to question the assumption on the claim that the Irunmoles and deities are helpful patrons.

Costs and Benefits Analysis

There have been two notable occasions in the past three to four years when calls to return to the Irunmoles that our forefathers worshipped have been more prominent.

Remarkably, from 2019 to 2022, there were heightened calls during the invasion of Yoruba land by armed foreign Fulani bandits that were migrating in droves deep into our forests and the inner cities. There was a real fear of an imminent war looming over Yoruba land at the time. The fear worsened because, at that time, the government policy required that all arms and ammunition, even if owned legitimately by licensed citizens, be surrendered to the appropriate authorities. At the same time, there was no comforting corresponding operational modality regarding how the invading bandits would be disarmed. The Yorubas felt vulnerable and at risk of systemic destruction.

As such, there were calls for the Yorubas to fall back on the Irunmoles and deities to obtain traditional powers found in Egbe, Ayeta, Madarikan, etc.

Mercifully, the fear of war did not crystallise at the time.

The most recent episode, which led to a call by Chief Fayemi Elebuibon to the Yoruba Obas to seek spiritual fortification from the Irunmoles and deities behind Yoruba thrones, was inspired by an encounter some Yoruba Obas had in Iseyin with the retired former Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo on the 15th September 2023.

On that occasion, the former Head of State ordered the Obas in attendance, to rise to their feet to honour the presence of the Oyo State Governor in attendance. In compliance, the Obas in attendance responded spontaneously by rising to their feet, and they sat down when requested to do so. The retired army General’s commanding tone in ordering the Obas to rise to their feet did not sit well with many people.

Notwithstanding all of these, I should say that there is no number of benefits received from any deity that is worth the life of a human being.

The question remains: How long are we going to be held in bondage to our past? Is there no way out of this conundrum? Is there no better alternative? Do we want to continue living in this way forever?

My contention is that there is a way out because there is ample evidence that there were nations before us in exactly the same situation as ourselves, but they were set free when they demanded their freedom.

For example, the cities of Mecca, Rome, Athens in Greece, and Ankara in Türkey were all once idolatrous world capitals that housed the same deities and Irunmoles that our people still worship today.

When those people decided that they had had enough of their deities and Irunmoles, they demanded freedom and had their liberty restored to them.

Besides, some of the most militarily powerful nations today are not dependent on magical powers for victory in wars.

Crucial Issues that the Yoruba Obas Need to Put into Consideration

I want to invite the Yoruba Obas to please critically consider the following:

(i) A call for a review of the dire consequences and the price paid over several centuries of servitude to the Yoruba Irunmoles and deities.

(ii) Given the level of shedding of the blood of innocent citizens in our land, there is no way we can hope to escape severe punishment unless we take a proactive step to break this evil practice in our midst that has been with us for several centuries.

(iii) I want to suggest that the pervasiveness of idolatry, cultism and the continued kidnapping, butchering and selling of human body parts for ritual purposes are the root cause of the hardship faced by all of us in Nigeria, including the rich, the poor and those who are living abroad but with relatives suffering in Nigeria.

Those who do not participate directly in idolatry, cultism and ritual killings are also affected by the consequences thereof.

The hardship in Nigeria today is unprecedented in the history of our country. More people are ravaged by poverty, so much so that if more countries around the world were to freely open their doors to Nigerian migrants, not many people would remain in Nigeria as most people would flee from the country as refugees fleeing a war zone.

We are blessed with great mineral resources such that, ordinarily, there is no reason why our country should be poor, but most of the people in our country have been reduced to paupers, which I associate with a curse arising from the shedding of innocent blood in the land and idolatry.

Corrupt government officials have been stealing and looting our collective resources on an unimaginable scale. Worse still, there is no end to it in sight.

(iv) For good reasons, the Yorubas are believed to be some of the most intelligent people in Africa and globally. That claim places a more demanding expectation on us. Ifa said that using metal chains, Oduduwa descended from heaven with sandbags and a Cockrel with which he created the earth from Ile Ife. The Yorubas know better than that. It is believed that the Ifa compendium contains information about computer operating systems. Yet, we had no hand in developing computer technology, notwithstanding that our forefathers, including our generation, have continued to serve Ifa for many centuries.

(v) I want to make the point that the Yoruba irunmoles and deities typically demand rituals through their priests, priestesses and Babalawos, who are working in collaboration with these spiritual entities. They prescribe and demand from ritualists human body parts to make blood money and satisfy a quest to gain political influence and all sorts of spiritual powers.

(vi) I want to suggest that we have had enough of the influences of the Irunmoles on the Yoruba people and the royal thrones in the Yoruba land. It is time to demand for a total severance and release of all royal thrones within the Oduduwa dynasty from the stranglehold of the Irunmoles.

All Yoruba Obas must be allowed to freely choose their religion. Those who are Christians and Muslims must not be compelled to fulfil any royal obligations to the Irunmoles.

Similarly, all Yoruba towns and villages should be freed from a collective obligation towards the Irunmoles.

(vii) Through the instrument of legislation, I want to suggest that the Yoruba Obas should consider collaborating with the government to ban and make illegal all secret societies and cults.

Who are these Irunmoles, Deities, and their Origin?

To know who the Yoruba deities are and their origin, we need to go outside what the Yoruba traditional belief system says of them.

We need to find out what outside sources say and compare the findings with our practical knowledge and experiences in our relationship with Osanyin, Ifa, Esu, Ogun, Sango, Aiyelala, Egungun and many other Yoruba deities that we have lived with for several centuries.

Although the Ori Ades may or may not accept the Bible as the definitive authority on spiritual matters, the information provided by the Bible about the spiritual beings involved in the traditional belief system is very consistent with the observable pattern of their behaviour, nature and characteristics of the Yoruba deities that still have significant influence in the Yorubaland today.

What the Bible says about the Irunmoles and all the Yoruba Deities.

  1. Esu and the spiritual powers behind the Yoruba deities, including Ifa, Sango, Aiyelala, Ogun, Oya and a host of others, were once angelic beings that served in God’s Court in heaven until these angels rebelled against God when Esu insisted that he also wanted to receive worship in heaven just as God, the Almighty. As a result, they were expelled from heaven.
  2. In a revenge mission for their eviction from heaven, Esu and his comrades promised to make God regret ever creating man and that they would make human beings worship them on earth to their hearts’ content and make human beings do horrible things to themselves to infuriate God, including using babies and adults as sacrifices to the demons, butchering human beings and selling the body parts for ritual purposes, making men sleep with their daughters to gain political influence and so many other despicable behaviours.
  3. Although God is very unhappy at what the powers of darkness are doing with human beings, the Lord God Almighty remains calm on the throne and has resolved that He will not use angels who are the equals of the Irunmoles in power and might to fight against these powers but human beings that Esu and his cohorts consider weak, frail and far beneath them in strength and experience.
  4. Part of Esu’s strategies include dulling the minds of adherents to promote the idea that Esu is not the same person as Satan and that God the Almighty is not the same as Olorun Olodumare, whom the Isese adherents claim to worship. Esu also makes the people see Christianity and Islam as foreign religions that must be rejected to preserve idolatry that neither truly helped us nor our forefathers.
  5. Given Esu’s rebellion in heaven and his works that have devasted the world and mankind, Esu, the Irunmoles and all collaborators are irrevocably judged and destined to burn in hell for all of eternity.
  6. Part of the adverse consequences of idolatry is spiritual blindness and dullness of mind so that people are unable to see the big picture but focus on the little pittance that Esu drops on their table and diabolical spiritual powers largely meant to cause harm.

Only a few adherents are given wealth compared with the vast majority of the people wallowing in abject poverty and misery. Even when they look, they cannot see anything wrong with
idolatry other than that it is a culture and tradition passed down by the forefathers which must be preserved and promoted.

How Could Esu, who was Born, Lived and Died in Yorubaland, Possibly Be the Same as Satan?

Most people accept Esu is very deceptive and sometimes manifests as an angel of light.
Each of the principal Yorùbá deities also once lived as a human being at some point in history.

For example, Esu, Sango and Ogun once lived as human beings.

Although the irunmoles and the Yoruba deities are spiritual beings with no physical bodies of their own, they have the capacity to come to the physical realm in human form through surrogacy, co-habiting in a human body.

A spirit can take over a specially selected person either while still in the mother’s womb or thereafter. Such people are called Orisa or Eni Ori Sa.

Typically, in Yorubaland, pregnant women are usually cautioned against going to the market at certain times of the day and prohibited from going about at night because, presumably, these spiritual entities are more active at such times.

The effect is that the human chosen as host manifests a double personality. His human part can relate to the world at the human level. At the same time, the tenant spirit can also display unusual traits and uncommon supernatural powers when desired.

This was clearly the case with Alafin Sango, who was human and at the same time became a deity that is worshipped today. He exhibited uncommon powers. He could summon thunder. The same thing applies to all other deities. It is under the same principle that made it possible for Esu to be the incarnate of Satan, and the Lord Jesus Christ came to the world incognito as God’s incarnate.

Incidentally, the spirit behind Sango had operated in Germany once under the name of Thor. He was worshipped in Germany as the god of Thunder, just as he was worshipped in Yorubaland. In Germany, Thor carried a double-headed axe as Sango did in Yorubaland.

What are some of the characteristics and acts of the Yoruba deities we know which Coincide with what the Bible says about the Irunmoles and deities?

(i) As Esu predetermined, the deities totally replaced God Almighty (Olorun Olodumare) in the hearts of Yorubas who are still in the Yoruba religious beliefs, so that only the deities, Irunmoles, including Sango, Oya, Esu, Ogun and so on that Yorubas worship and not Olorun Olodumare.

(ii) Where are the shrines built specifically for Olorun Olodumare in all Yoruba towns and villages? Who are Olorun Olodumare’s priests or priestesses? Which days are dedicated to Olorun Olodumare?

As the Kabiyesis would have observed, Yoruba deities have shrines, priests and days devoted to them, but none for Olodumare because the gods have effectively displaced Olorun Olodumare from our people’s hearts.

(iii) There is only one God, the Almighty. He could not have sent the deities. Otherwise, they would not have been taking human sacrifices from people, and they would not have usurped God’s position by taking worship, offerings, glory and adoration that are only due to God.

(iv) There are far more powerful forces behind Sango, Ogun, Oya and others. This is evidently so because the human hosts died long ago, but the influence exerted has not waned or abated.

(v) The Irunmoles are behind the activities related to the evil found in ritual killings, cultism, making parents to sleep with their children and despicable activities performed in burial grounds during the dead hours of the night.

Worst of all, clandestinely and through promises to give wealth and power of invincibility to supplicants, the deities have continued to make desperate people do atrocious things, including providing human body parts for wealth rituals and other favours.


  1. In view of the foregoing and preponderance of evidence adduced, this is a clarion call to the Yoruba Obas to kindly consider taking Yoruba thrones away from the influences of Irunmoles and the Yoruba deities. Everyone has a choice on who or what to worship. Killing other people’s children to appease the Irunmoles is a criminal activity.
  2. All Obas should be given the freedom to choose who to serve. Obas, who are Christians and Muslims, should no longer be compelled to worship the Yoruba deities and the Irunmoles or made to do anything that is incompatible with their faith in God.
  3. The Ori Ades should kindly consider working collaboratively with the government to proscribe all forms of secret societies and cultism.

Rev Dr John Adebayo Abolarin

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