How Sango Festival Was Celebrated In Cotonou

Many people may not know that as the Yorubas have the Sango festival in Nigeria, the Bennenoirs also have same Sango festival in the Republic of Benin.

Taiwo Abiodun was in Cotonou live and he captures the festival as it happened in Benin Republic.

“I was there when Arewa Omo’ba Oduduwa coordinated six (6) spiritually strong women to The Great Babalawo of the Nation Taiwo Abiodun last year August for holy marriage together at the Republic of Benin,” a Nigerian Prince Oba-Loye Adimula who attended the event told Taiwo Abiodun.com.

Adimula added that, “Whereas the deity of Ogho land Tunde Onibode was the Best man! — with Onisile Olanrewaju, Arewa Omo’ba, Erelu Ibukunoluwa Omomoh Adedokun, Taiwo Abiodun and Tunde Onibode.”

It was fun as Nigerians trooped to Cotonou to see the Benin version of the Sango festival. Of course Benin Republic formerly called Dahomey was once an extension of the Oyo Kingdom and no wonder some festivals and traditions of the Yoruba kingdom are still being observed in Benin Republic till date.

Incredible Twins

Owode Twins : 

They go to toilet same time, get sick same time , eat from same plate , wear same dress from underwear  to headgears. 

Welcome to the world of strange twins : Mariano Sanni( Taiwo)  and Hassanatu ( Kehinde).

They are identical twins,  their children said they hardly know who is who even their friends of many years cannot differentiate them.

Taiwo and Kehinde chorused  ” we  didn’t go to school but were into trading since our youth”the twins chorused.

“We wear same clothes from our undies to our headgears , we have same friends and doing everything same since our youth .

“We married same  day, and our parents did Nikai for us same day and went to our husbands houses same day!”

Marriage lives 

According to the twins when their husbands died  they remarried , “we didn’t want to remarry but our mother objected to it  .When we remarried again  our two husbands have died same time ” . 

Their children testified to their strange lives , according to Alhaja Musiliat Kilani who is one of the children of the twins, ” whenever you want to give them gift , the gift must be same too, but if they are not the same don’t bother to give them for they will not receive  or collect them from you.

When one is sick in the morning the second will fall ill in the evening, she gave several examples ” many times when Taiwo is sick in the morning and was taken to  Oluwalogbon Health Centre, Ishaga -Iju, her twin sister fell ill in the same evening and was taken there too.The two wer discharged on the following day .

It is true they eat from same plate, drink from same cup, eat from same meat , that is they will cut the meat with their teeth and the second will eat the remaining half no matter the number of meat in the plate , they will cut it with their teeth .

The twins added” when we were young we did our mensuration same day , or either one would  start a day earlier before the other  .Up till now we wear same  color of  undies”

What would happen if they don’t do anything together?, Senior Evangelist Saliu Sanni  who also refused to tell who between the two that is his biological mother said” You don’t need to bring unidentical  things for them as they will not receive them, they did everything together . 

Asked to tell which one is his mother but he said ” the two are my mother, I can’t describe them , they are over 100 years of age .The sleep together.  Share same bed, don’t want anybody to separate them even their children , no politics in the family.

MECCA

In 1982 when they were going for Hajj in Mecca, they caused a stir at the Murtala Mohammed Airport when their names were alphabetically called and Kehinde was called to go into the aircraft but refused and said she must sit by her twin sister, Taiwo  ; after much hassles they bowed to their wishes.Again at the Addis ababa  airport in Ethiopia they refused to sleep in different rooms they gave them and they insisted in  sleeping  in the same room and on same bed!

LEGACY

We pray our children should follow our footsteps where  we have no secret and we love ourselves .We have seen our four generational children 

How we were robbed 

The twins are not happy as they claimed some robbers came to their rooms at night to rob them, ” it was around 3 am as we both went out to ease ourselves when we sighted  two  young boys who entered into our room and asked us to keep quiet , they demanded for the money in our possession, we begged them to spare our lives as we were old  .They carted away with the mosque’s collection , they also went away with some ?????Owo ajo??

Asked whether the roughnecks tried to rape them, the twins laughed and said ‘ no’, we were chanting ” Laila ilalau, Laila ilalau, Laila ilalau, while they instructed us to keep quiet 

‘He controls me with ‘juju’

For Madam Yinka Olawande , 50, it is a cry of freedom as she says  she is now free from her man ( names withheld) who she  alleged has been under his   ‘spell’  for sometime .

In full rage the palm wine seller , Madam Yinka Olawande , 50, unwrapped the dark – colored  object that   looks like  animal horn, displayed it for all to see and with voice raised screamed   “I am now free from his bondage”. She was bitter as she was  sweating profusely while speaking with this reporter.

How  we met 

Asked how he met  the man in question , the woman said “the man is my man friend. He  toasted me some years ago before  I got married  but I didn’t accept his proposal . We  met again when I lost my husband few  years ago and since I did not want to stay / live alone I therefore accepted and had him as my ‘Man friend’  living with him as husband and wife. In fact when my son had problem with the National Drug  and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA ) and I needed financial assistance was when I met him”.

Living in Confusion 

Madam Yinka said she has not been enjoying living with her lover  as he has been unfair and not treating  her well not knowing she was under a spell, juju . On how she knew he has been controlling her  with juju , she said  “I would  just wake up and go to his doorstep to wait for him no matter the hour he  comes back  and  I will be guarding  his house like a dog   waiting for him, I could  not eat without seeing him and even when he beats me I would still go there , it was not ordinary “.

She continued  “He will lock me outside till about 11pm  and he’ll be out there chasing women , he was once married to a police officer who  left him seven years ago. I thought his old age will make him to be responsible and a better person but I was wrong, he  is around 65 years of age.

“Whenever he mentions my name I’ll become restless , following him like a dog but since I have retrieved  this object  from him my eyes have  cleared .Our relationship  is  about two years old now”.

How  the bubble burst 

According to Yinka  , it all happened  when   he  locked her outside  last year and when she discovered  this strange object suspected to be  juju in his car where he kept it ,she said ” it is called  ‘afose’, and immediately I saw it I seized it, then my  eyes became cleared . I saw this object wrapped and hidden in his car and seized it. When I told him I have discovered his secret,he became jittery .Now , I no longer stay at his doorstep .I am relieved ” , she cried out.

Power of dream

According to Yinka ,  she dreamt about the strange object which was revealed to him by God, she said ” God gave me power of  dream and it always come to pass. I dreamt that I saw this  object in my dream. God showed it to  me in my dream, I don’t do juju. My dream always come to pass. That was  why   I abandoned my lucrative transport business I was doing from Owo/ Kaduna/ Kano, when I dreamt that I was involved in a motor accident and my limbs were  amputated, I then stopped the business  and now selling palm wine. My dreams always come to pass.”, she declared.

” I had wanted to report him at the King’s palace but refrained by people. Now he is sending people to come and beg me to return it but  I will not.I want the whole world to see and know it , since he has vowed to destroy me”, she said.

Defense 

When this reporter   contacted the man ( names withheld )  in question to tell his own side of the story , he was furious, stammering ,  as he showed this reporter the scar inflicted on his head by the woman , and also marks on the doorpost on how the woman vandalized his door, 

He said ” this woman is stubborn, very stubborn. She used iron rod to hit me on my head( he showed his head to this reporter) . Let her continue telling everybody .I didn’t steal, I am a boxer but  ……She is not the only one I have , I am married to a soldier, Police officer and a senior typist at FMC  but this woman has been stubborn.  I didn’t know that is how she is when  I married her. I thought she  would be able to take care of me , those who are not as rich as I am have many wives , I have a house in Ibadan, Owo ..let her go to court I am ready for her ” .

On the object she claimed she saw in his car, the man said  she is the  one who knows where she saw it and it is not compulsory to marry her, he said .

What is Ase? 

TaIwo Abiodun went to town to research on what ‘Ase ‘ is 

A young boy  met a septuagenarian  man in rags with foul odour in the bus ,  and made jest of  him of the  odour but the  old man kept mute but kept on shaking his head .Later he brought out an object suspected to be animal horn filled with some substances and chanted incantations on it.  After this, the old man quickly alighted at the next bus stop. Immediately he left, the young man started laughing like hyena .He came down from the bus and started  jabbing  the air with his fists  and at the same time  kicking the empty air with his legs until he reduced his clothes into shreds. The rest , as they say, is history .

Another episode happened  years ago as a Police woman  popularly  known as   ‘Iya Toyin ‘  living at Lawanson went insane  in Lagos . Her story was widely circulated .She was  said to be  very strict  arresting traffic offenders , she  was unpardonable  and whenever  they  prostrate to beg her she would accuse the  driver of trying to peep at her private part . She was said to have been cursed and in the end went gaga. It all happened in the early 80s.

” Iya Toyin went to Abeokuta to arrest young girls wearing ‘bikini’ wears , that was where she was cursed. I remember her vividly”, a woman who lives in Ogun state declared and a man who lives in Akure corroborated the story , both the interviewees  are in their late 70s .

A woman ( names withheld ) woke up one morning and chanted incantations asking her son to return home after 25 years of sojourn in the USA. The son eventually returned home but with unsound mind .

 Another episode  is   that of  a Police   officer  who after collecting bribe from a driver  somersaulted  several times then climbed the NEPA pole and capped it all as he went ahead to hold  on to the high tension wire .That was how he ended his life. Another police officer who was   cursed  was saluting all NEPA poles he saw till he died few years ago”.

About two years ago , this writer witnessed a  handsome young man at Lagos/ Abeokuta toll gate , the man  in question was at a petrol station  jumping from one top of a car bonnet to another , later he started  hitting his head against the wall. The on-lookers claimed   he must have been cursed .

Professor Rowland Abiodun in his book” Yoruba Art and Language , Seeking The African in African Art  he wrote Ase : The Empowered Word Must come to Pass ” …Both Ase and epe operate by identifying the targeted subjects by their original  or primordial name(s) and calling ( pe) them The Yoruba believe that they must answer or respond ( Je or dahun) that is they must obey the caller. Thus Ase and epe can be likened to ” potent and effective traditional medicinal preparations which respond like flint -ignited -fire ” that is commonly known as a- jé- bí iná.”

According to Abiodun ” Ase is effective ; it triggers a powerful response even when its workings may not be fully and immediately comprehended.”

Akoje Olayemi Omolaja  the Oluwo of Aborigine Ogboni Fraternity and Babalawo said ‘Ase’ is ayajo  , which is sent to whoever is to be attacked and acts  fast , it is because of its fastness  act that it is being used .It  is also involuntarily used as epe ( curse) .And it is difficult to recall, he said some of the items used are horns of antelope , cow, ram , goat.

High Chief Mukaila Awodumila the Ogwabumara of Owo Kingdom described Ase as a spiritual command that whatever you commanded  the victim to do he will do it through incantations and can be used on a tree to dry up  such is called ‘ abojowo’ ( goes with  sunset) , some are time- related , another is generational or  a family curse”.

Awodumila added ” Ase could be placed on tongue or lips .In most cases it is used when one is offended .Ase is never used for any good thing. It has repercussion on the sender”. 

Another Babalawo , Nuru Yisa Momoh  said “there are two types of Ase viz: the wicked and the good prayerful one . He distinguished ” the wicked one acts fast which  is the one that we curse with and it works faster while the other one is for prayer which can take seven or 14 days  or three or seven  months  to work and  in this case you have to exercise patience “.

 Chief Christianah  Famulagun said “Afose,  Ase  and epe are  the same thing but they  are different from ape ( compulsory home call) for Afose or Ase or epe  you will stand at a place and lace it upon the person but  for ape  the sender  will be walking up and down calling the name of the victim be forced home  , commanding him to do whatever he is instructed to do  and that is what the man in the story above used”.

She explained  further ” ape is a compulsory call  or  forced home call, this is used to recall those who travelled abroad  for many years and don’t want to come back home again or have forgotten home . When ape is used , the user will be walking up and down calling the name of the victim while the targeted victim  become  restless  .He would without caution and without any luggage return  home ” Famolagun added  “but many of those recalled like this will never  be normal again because he was spiritually recalled ,so he would come back home empty – handed and whenever he remembers that he left somewhere he would be yearning to go back to  retrieve  his belongings  , but   will never be a normal person again, for he was under supernatural control . 

The Olunaun of Unaun , Oba Olanrewaju Abegunde described Ase as a potent and irreversible curse, he said ” it is better not to be cursed than to be cursed. Curse is epe in Yoruba land , and that is why anointed men of God like Pastors, prophets, Babalawos and monarchs  always exercise patience and must not get angry anyhow for their curse is highly potent”. 

Olanipekun Adebeye said he is a Christian , he argued that curse is also in the Bible, used by Christians , he said ” the psalms in the Bible are full of prayers for loved ones and curses meant for enemies .Yes, I can tell you that the Holy Bible has portions for blessings and curses. Jesus used ‘ Ase ‘ when he cursed the fig tree.He also use Ase known as power of the word when he told Simon Peter to throw his net into the river and he caught fishes  .He also told Peter that he would deny him three times before the cock crows. What of Judas Iscariot whom Jesus said ‘ Curse be to that  man that will betray son of man, in the end Judas committed suicide”.

A Muslim Cleric, Ahmed  Musliu Soibu Libayan claims there are some verses like Ase in the Holy Koran,he  said ” All the verses of Koran have Ase , if  you go to Suratu Yashin , Suratu Kaf and many other verses . Ase is from Allah  and it is used to appeal to Allah for anything .The bad Ase is what does not go along with Allah’s  wishes like curses , demands  from Esu. Ase  is used for  curse which is worse than juju, because it was appeal to Allah  we have two Ase, one is an   appeal  to  Allah  and the other is for our  enemies .We should stay with God and not curse with it , because it is a generational curse on families”, he advised. 

Can it be revoked ?

When one is cursed it can be revoked depending on the type of Ase for we have strong and weak Ase said   Famulagun. “Ase will not affect the  person invoked it upon if he is not guilty of what he is  accused of that is why we said it has a target, it can also be reversed if there is a powerful Babalawo or a Man of God that will revoke it ,that is why we say we use curse to fight curse( epe la fi nwe epe danu) “.

Chief Mayomi Awoniyi    Obabiire, the village head of Ago Påànù said Ase , Afose,  epeand ape  are the same and it depends on their usage .He adds that Ase does not  fight an innocent person  , “it has target, and it goes to its target, it does not fight anyhow”.

Some Pastors, Muslim Clerics  and Babalawos  contacted agreed that  its only through prayer and fasting  , rituals as and sacrifices that Àse   can be   revoked.