OJUẸLẸGBA: Wizkid’s amazing tribute to Eṣu


Twenty-five year old Nigerian songwriter and performer Wizkid whose real name is Ayo Balogun, an Aku (aka Ọmọ Oduduwa), released the video of his hit single Ojuẹlẹgba on 5 January 2011. It is the 5th track of his self-titled album Ayọ and has been dominating the airwaves. Recently, on 11 July 2015 to be precise, it received a major boost when US fellow artists Drake and Skepta collaborated to and released their audio remix of this song. The original song is about Wizkid’s gratitude for overcoming the challenges he faced in the early stage of his career from a neighbourhood called Ojuẹlẹgba, while Drake and Skepta included theirs in their remix. Despite its popularity, there has been deafening silence about its glaring connection to Eṣu as seen in the title and Wizkid’s outfit for the video!

The Eṣu in question is not Eṣumare (aka Ọbatala) the Saviour but the assistant of Ọrunmila known variously as Eṣu Laalu, Eṣu Ọdara, Eṣu Laroye, Eṣu Agbẹbọ, Eṣu Beleke, Ẹlẹgbara, and so on. He exists both as an irunmọlẹ and an oriṣa. One of his paths as an oriṣa through which he is popularly remembered is as Eṣu Laalu who is also the biblical Joshua son of Nun. As an irunmọlẹ he is known as Ẹlẹgbara (also Ẹlẹgba and Papa Lẹgba) who is the biblical Gabriel and from which the name Ojuẹlẹgba is derived. You see, Ojuẹlẹgba belongs to Ẹlẹgbara.

Ojuẹlẹgba is the name of a most popular and busy junction on Lagos Mainland where four roads meet to intersect and form a crossroad. For strategic reasons, many business entrepreneurs fight tooth and nail to site their businesses there. According to the odu of Ifa called Ika Meji, Ẹlẹgbara has his shrine in any public place where three or more roads cross. Backing this is the English translation of Ojuẹlẹgba which is “eyes/face of Ẹlẹgba.” It is not just the name of the junction but the immediate vicinity as well. Perhaps this junction has been quite popular as an Eṣu shrine since pre-colonial times or the beginning of the colonial era, hence the name. Wizkid started his career in Eṣu’s territory.

The other connection between Eṣu and Wizkid is the colours of the outfit the latter wore for the video – dudu and pupa. Dudu is translated as black or dark while pupa is red and associated colours like pink and orange. Dudu and pupa are the colours of Eṣu, and Wizkid wore a black face cap, a black t-shirt, a pair of black pants/trousers and a pair of red sneakers. What could be clearer? He employed Eṣu’s colours for his song named after (or should I say dedicated to) Eṣu! The song was also about giving gratitude for making music his career choice and this choice proving to be a success. Well, Eṣu governs choices, hence the location of his shrine at intersections, and he dishes out the consequence (reward and/or punishment) to each of us for our choices no matter who the individual is – not even Ọbatala is spared e.g. when he refused to da’fa /ru’bọ and then got very thirsty following he drank some and got drunk on palm wine which Eṣu had strategically placed in his path. Perhaps Wizkid used the song to thank Eṣu for helping him make the right choice.

All these got me thinking of the following:

  1. Is Wizkid secretly a devotee of Eṣu?
  2. If (1) is true, is he using the video to pass on to viewers subliminal messages about Eṣu?
  3. Is the odu that gave birth to him the same as Eṣu’s, that is, Ọwọnrin Ogbe (also Ọwọnrin S’Ogbe)?
  4. If he unintentionally praised Eṣu with his video, has Eṣu been subconsciously been informing him that he is an Ọmọ Eṣu (child/devotee/follower of Eṣu)?
  5. Is Eṣu using this video to remind the world of himself and his claim to the place called Ojuẹlẹgba?
  6. Did Eṣu tell Wizkid, even if subconsciously, to sing for him?
  7. If yes to (6), did Eṣu reward Wizkid by prompting Drake and Skepta to get involved?

Whatever the answers are to all especially (6), the result has been positively massive. I wonder if Drake is familiar with the spiritual system of the Aku people known as Ifa, which is also described as the Word of Olodumare. I hope he gets to read this and get even more familiar. Surely he does not sport the ancient Egyptian owl symbol on his outfits for nothing. As for Skepta, he is an Aku but I wonder if he has been aware of the song’s connection to Eṣu, that by getting involved he has been praising Ẹlẹgbara. Also, I hope they release a video of the remix that eulogizes Ẹlẹgbara just like or more than the original.

Finally, would it not be a good idea for anybody from any part of this world who wants to present an offering to Ẹlẹgbara to sing this Ojuẹlẹgba song while presenting it?

Ọwọnrin S’Ogbe!

K’Eṣu gba!!!

(Note: Someone had noticed this much earlier, about 4 months ago. He is a YouTube user called Gerry Coldham and posted his observation

In Lagos--Ojuelegba is a bus station on the A1 road southwards via Surulere to Apapa Wharf. The place name derives from”eye of Elegba” – a deity in the old yoruba religion.

in the comments section of a YouTube post of another remix if this song that features Sarkodie this time.)

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