GENDER EXCLUSION: A STUDY OF ORO CULT AMONG AWORI OF OJO, LAGOS, NIGERIA

Abstract

Author(s): Johnson AYODELE

Oro is one of the many systems for ensuring peace and harmony among Yoruba people of the South Western part of Nigeria. Being a mechanism used as an extra-judicial resource among Awori communities, the sacred forest (Igbo Oro) and Oro sanctuary (Ojubo Oro) are not accessible to non-initiates, particularly women. This paper examined the implications of women’s exclusion from Oro Cult for socioeconomic equity among the Awori people of Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos, Nigeria. Qualitative data were sourced through 20 in–depth interviews involving the chief priests, the traditional rulers, opinion leaders, community heads, and some Awori people who are resident in Ojo Local Government Area. These were complemented with archival records. Data were content analysed. The findings suggest that women were displeased with the abridgment of their right of freedom of movement for the duration of Oro festival. The study concluded that the threat inherent in the widespread belief that any woman who beholds the Oro cult shall die is not only discriminatory, it is inhibitive of sustainable economic interaction. The study suggests that public policy should enable the Oro cult to focus more on public security and minimize its life threatening trauma to Awori women in particular and Nigerian women in general.

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