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Ogboni Practices Culture......Members attend churches and Mosques - Leader

A seasoned administrator and chartered accountant, Francis Oluwagbenro Meshioye, the Olori Oluwo (Supreme Leader) of the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity has said being a member does not stop members from practising religions of their choice. 

In an interview with the Nigerian Tribune, he explained the fraternity takes its roots from Nigerian culture.

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On the negative perception of the group and what attracted him, Meshioye said: “I wanted to understand my culture, to know why I am here. Why was I not born in India as a Hindu or in China to embrace their culture and religion? This made me to begin to look within myself to know who I am and I extended this to what I have within my area. I am a firm believer in the Yoruba saying, ‘Animo ni peregun laso’ meaning you add to whatever you have.

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A seasoned administrator and chartered accountant, Francis Oluwagbenro Meshioye, the Olori Oluwo (Supreme Leader) of the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity has said being a member does not stop members from practising religions of their choice. In an interview with the Nigerian Tribune, he explained the fraternity takes its roots from Nigerian culture.
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On the negative perception of the group and what attracted him, Meshioye said: “I wanted to understand my culture, to know why I am here. Why was I not born in India as a Hindu or in China to embrace their culture and religion? This made me to begin to look within myself to know who I am and I extended this to what I have within my area. I am a firm believer in the Yoruba saying, ‘Animo ni peregun laso’ meaning you add to whatever you have.

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“If that is the case, I wouldn’t leave what I have found within my environment to embrace other things. I do embrace other things, mind you, but I believe that there is something we inherited from our source. I wanted to know why I am a Nigerian, a Yoruba man, what is my culture like and what is wrong with it amongst other things.

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“Aside these, I wanted to know God my own way because if you know God and His laws, you will be a better human being. Thereafter, I realised that what I wanted was in my immediate environment. I looked at my culture and realised that it is very useful to realise my oneness with God. Our culture does not cast aspersion on any other and I found out in the Bible – I was raised a Christian – ‘Thou shall not judge’. The bible also says ‘search all things, find out the one that is true and hold on to the truth.’ So, I looked at everything and opted for Ogboni. Incidentally, Ogbonism does not prevent you from going to the church or the mosque.”
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Affirming that one was free to engage in religous activities, he stated that: “Ogbonism does not prevent you from doing whatever you want to do. It is about understanding our culture which guides in living a better life and improving the society. These were the things that prompted me to go into our culture. I wasn’t particular about Ogboni but it satisfied my urge of knowing what we have in our culture to assist in living a better life, a respectable life. I love to be respected and I love to respect people and I like to be a noble character.
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“I had the same line of thought about Ogboni as the public before I joined. When I was contemplating joining, I had nobody to direct me because you don’t see them easily but I had heard about them; so I said if they are bad I will leave. I later found somebody who introduced me to a member and during the period before induction, they were observing me but I was also observing them. They love each other and are respectable people; so I got interested and got glued to it. I found out that it is excellent and what I had been looking for.”
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On the criteria for joining the fraternity, the Leader said: “You must be known by someone who is a member because we want people of good character. You must have a sponsor who will attest to your good character. You must be an adult according to the laws of the land; you must have a verifiable source of livelihood and you must be industrious.
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“You apply and your letter will be sent to the state where your sponsor lives; you will be investigated, apparently without your knowledge. If you are found lacking in those key areas during the investigation period, we will tell you sorry you can’t be our member. If you don’t have any shortcomings, you come for an interview. You meet people who will discuss with you and if you are successful at the interview you are on your way to joining.”
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Although Archdeacon T.A J. Ogunbiyi started the fraternity on December 18, 1914 and named it Ogboni Onigbagbo, Meshioye, in the interview, explained the name change to Reformed Ogboni Fraternity.
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“At that time, there were only few Christian members in the fold but soon after its inauguration, they realised it’s not meant for Christians alone. It’s a cultural heritage and you can’t restrict heritage to religion. In Yoruba culture, we have Christians, Muslims and other faiths. That was why it was changed to Reformed Ogboni Fraternity to accommodate people of different religious leanings, race and political affiliation. It is incorporated and recognised under Nigerian law.
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“Our past leaders include Sir Adeyemo Alakija, who was the first Olori Oluwo and he was followed by Sir Adetokunbo Ademola. We have had members including Chief Oladeinde Lawson, the late Archbishop Vining, Reverend David Mellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Sardauna, Ahmadu Bello, and Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola amongst others.”
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On the difference between Aboriginal and Reformed Ogboni, the Leader explained that there are in fact three types of Ogboni.

“There is Ogboni Ilu, the governing council of a town. In Yorubaland, the governing system in any reputable town is Ogboni Osugbo. So, we have Ogboni Ilu, Ogboni Aboriginal and the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity. However, the major difference between Reformed Ogboni Fraternity and the others is that it focuses on the core principles and tenets of Ogbonism without tilting to the right or left.”
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On the forthcoming centenary centenary celebration of the fraternity on December 18, Meshioye said he hopes people will have a proper understanding of what Ogboni is from the perception of the ROF. “It would be my wish that as many people as possible learn, understand, imbibe and practice the principles of Ogbonism of the ROF because it home-based culture and one’s culture matters a lot,” he added.


Friends, Jesus Christ is coming soon.  Where will you spend eternity - In heaven or Hell? God knows you, where you live and what you are struggling with.  He wants to help you, if you will come to Him today. 

Repent of your sins, believe the word of God and accept His son Jesus as Saviour and Lord of your life. He will give you a new life, victory and eternal life. 

Will you accept Him today?

Say this Prayer: 
Lord Jesus I come to you as a sinner.
I am sorry for my sins, forgive me.
I believe you died for my sins, and was raised for my justification. 
Come into my heart be my Lord and Saviour, 
Give me the grace to serve You in truth and spirit. 
Thank You for saving my soul - I am born again!

His grace be with you all. 


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