Before the incursion of Christianity and Islam in Yorubaland, the people are predominantly traditional worshippers ,their belief system was mainly in the African Traditional Religious , they worship Eledumare as the supreme being and also have other deities like Sango, Obatala, Osun, Ogun, even Esu and many as semi gods that are being appease to for immediate action.
In Africa, many believe that Osun river goddess is gives children, and anytime she is approached for the fruit of the womb, the result is almost immediate once the necessary things that needed to be done is done, the same thing to other gods but today many people are not proud worshipers of the ancestral deities, they considered worshipping their them as a taboo and actions that is inimical to worshipping of a supreme God through Christianity of Islamic.
Erio Ekiti is one of the ancient and historic community in Ekiti and Yorubaland where the practice of Traditional Religion is abolished and totally prohibited, the community with a population of about 50, 000 houses one of the most popular prayer mountain in the world, Oke Aanu or New Jerusalem was founded by late founder of CAC Evangelists Ayo Babalola and around 1930, he was said to established that prayer mountain as a place where God answers prayer base on directive and evidences.
Prior to the establishment of the prayer mountain , it was gathered that the people of the community like every other Yoruba towns and villages worship their gods, they have a deity called Olodeode, which resides inside the huge rock that is adjacent to the Ori Oke Aanu, Olodeode was their major deities and people have shrines charms and other form of materials in their possession, they lived and enjoy their lives, they organized festivals to appease to the gods for safety and blessings
But the situation changed around 1930’s after the Ori Oke aanu was established the community was plagued by chickenpox and young people were dying of the crisis, several efforts made to appease the gods to save them from the grave situation did not yield any positive result until Babalola who claimed to have received Miracle on the mountain where he served a better God intervene with prayers and the situation changes, the disaster began to reduce gradually and vanishes.
This development makes the traditional ruler of the town and some of his chiefs to rededicate their lives to Christ who saved them from the disaster that would have cleared the future generations of the community, shrines were destroyed, many charms and materials associated with traditional religion were burnt and majority of them with the exception of the few practicing Muslims resolve to serve the God through Jesus Christ and not any Orisa.
Today the community which is majorly dominates by Christians enjoys religious harmony, they few Muslims in the town relates peacefully with the Christians because they considered what they both served as a pure God that is far greater and better than Olodeode and other ones.
Elerio of Erio Oba Oluwadare Bamigbade in an interactive session with our reporter recently said “there was even a prophesy recently that God will deal with anybody or family that worship of any forms of Orisha in the town, that has been abandoned for long and nobody in the town will want to revive it.
The monarch who is a pastor told our reporter that during the selection of a new king in the town, emphasis on traditional rites only came from the government but other things were done through spiritual consultations as names of the selected few were taken to churches where they pray for God’s direction and the same result gotten from ifa correlates with the one gotten from spiritual consultations.
“The living God has been helping us as a community, there is religious harmony, people live in peace with one another and we enjoy steady growth as a community, we have a fertile land, our children are growing and enjoying divine protections and blessings in their various place of work, so we are direct beneficiaries of God’s blessing through the prayer mountain, even if the Government have refused to do what they are suppose to help this community but God is helping us” said the king.
On the contrary, some residents of the community who are culturally inclined said the decision taken by their grandparents is not helping the community , they are of the opinion that people who want to worship Orisha should be allowed to do so because of their belief in them and their ability to do something that will transform the community into a better community