In September, Agunbiade who is a “cone head”-looking staff of the Ile-Ifa there asked me to work with them since I was coming there a lot and participated both passively and actively in the activities there. This came as a surprise to me even though I had been looking for job (in addition to my blog from which I had earned no cash), so I accepted it. One reason was that a message of the odu that Ifa revealed for me during my first ever consultation was that I would succeed and prosper with a “dirty job” but not with a corporate job”. Solagbade himself delivered this message to me from the odu Ofun Ogbe, and I already had corporate work experience which was depressing to me so I knew this intuitively. But I had not thought of becoming a babalawo even though it is clearly mentioned in my odu that lots of people will come to me as a most respected Oluwo for itefa. Also, the reason I wanted to get my own Ifa divination instruments was to learn Ifa and be conducting Ifa dida and perhaps ebo riru (ritual of offering ebo) for myself and my family, to fulfill an intuitive interest that I could not explain and whose source I didn’t consider, and most especially to learn what needed to be done to have my family restored. But, the most important reason was for me to perform Ifa dida about the resurrection of my father and the restoration of my family. And I vowed that this would be the first Ifa dida that I would perform, but Awolola delayed this for months by not getting the necessary instruments. When Solagbade heard later that day that I had begun working there his non-verbal reaction seemed to suggest that Agunbiade did it independently. Perhaps it was instead a set-up – “keep my friends close but keep my enemies closer.”
However, my experience was not pleasant as I had to be doing Ifa dida for myself frequently, like once or twice a month, and the income from the job was less than $5 (between ₦500 to ₦1,000) per week which could not cover transport costs let alone feeding. Thankfully, I was not paying rent as I was living in my father’s house which he was able to build before passing away. So I would trek for about forty-five minutes from my home to Oju-Ore roundabout in Ota where I would board a keke-marwa (tricycle) for ₦50 to toll-gate bus stop along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway where-from I would trek for around one hundred and five minutes to the Ile-Ifa, then I would repeat this journey at night. This was obviously tiring and left me too tired to study Ifa, and there were times the Ojugbona would expect me to resume work immediately without first relaxing. It was also affecting my knees which have been afflicted in times past, but prior to my itefa, with serious arthritis – according to Otura Irete I need to protect my legs.
In addition, Solagbade said I was not trying hard enough as his own similar trekking experience at my age while learning Ifa was a bit tougher. So he would give me handouts of ₦500 and ₦1000 at times. This charity was deceptive and there was a big factor that made his experience better. His mother was alive (she passed away much later and then he facilitated her reincarnation as one of his daughters named Iyabo) and he was married (to Jokotifa aka Alhaja his first wife and the Iyalaje of Odewale) and these women were there to ward off witchcraft attacks that were not in their favour unlike myself with no mother physically around and no wife and no girlfriend – according to Otura Irete I need my mother for protection from women. And I still had to be raising money to be offering ebos for myself and my family. Thankfully, some relatives especially a particular uncle would at times give me some money. This uncle has been my benefactor and I would have since died from starvation if not for his stipends.
Some of the trainees there would however criticize me for the long-distance trekking and frequent offering of ebo which used to leave me almost penniless and thus having to trek, adding. But, I have a gift of dreams which is characteristic of Otura Irete and from these dreams Ifa would at times tell me to da’fa from which I would have to offer the prescribed ebo as soon as possible. So, given my then predicament and my innate love for Ifa and subconscious desire and push to learn and embrace Ifa, how could I avoid not trekking? So I ignored them and persisted nevertheless but in the process gained an unenviable reputation for being quite poor and needy. One of the critics was Idris, a son of Bola who is one of the daughters of Solagbade and Jokotifa and based in the United Kingdom and with the Ifadiwura Temple there. He had been quite a truant in the UK and was brought here for reformatting, but his mother had been one of my most vicious enemies and I wasn’t yet aware. She was causing problems for others and was being afflicted with repercussions in the form of her son disgracing her but she never repented.