Ibule-Soro is a town in Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State. The town which literally means ‘turning land to wealth’ is reputed to have good palm wine. However, Ibule-Soro is a no-go-area for ‘Albinos’ as they would die on getting to the town, located very close to the state capital. BABATOPE OKEOWO who was in the town reports that Jooro, a river goddess in the town abhors men and women of light skin.
In Ibule-Soro in Ifedore local government area of Ondo State everybody is welcome to the agrarian community where the best palm wine is sold in the state as long as you are not albino; the river goddess in the town forbids it. Apart from the fact that an albino cannot enter the town, no indigene of the town has ever given birth to one. In fact, a source in the town said Jooro, the river goddess in the town kills any albino given birth to by any indigene of the town wherever they may be living. A visit to the town by the New Telegraph showed there was no single resident of the town that is albino or even someone that is ‘excessively’ light in complexion. For many people living in Akure, who delight in taking palm wine, the nearest place to get good palm wine and bush meat is Ibule-Soro, as top government functionaries and political office holders usually trooped to the town to enjoy the undiluted palm wine.
For those who because of their tight schedule could not visit the town, they usually send their drivers or trusted aides to get it for them. However, the town, which has remained without a monarch since 2008 when the last occupant joined his ancestors, welcomes everybody to the town and is ready to host you provided you are not an albino. The highest ranking chief in the town, Chief Isaac Olawale Adegboye, the Oluoye of Ibule-Soro, said the people are hospitable to people but not to albino because of Jooro River which usually kill albino who come near to the town. Adegboye, who spoke with New Telegraph alongside the Priest of the River, Chief James Jayeoba, said the present residents of the town should not be blamed for the taboo as the history of the town predated many of them. His words: “We have a river called Jooro. The river does not see albino, if an albino comes to the town, the river will trace him and will kill him.
If the albino comes around the town, the river will get angry and flood everywhere until the albino is killed. “The river will not only kill the albino, it would kill the people in sight and destroy properties. Our forefathers told us that if you bring albino near the town, the River will turn to beach and wash away all the inhabitants of the town.” According to him, apart from albino, the river does not allow bead near it. “You don’t get near Jooro with bead,” he said, adding that only the priest could wear bead to the river. When asked what actually led to the River goddess forbiding albinos, the Priest said he was not told about it, but that it is a tradition handed down from generations past. He informed that the river which is worshipped yearly by adherents, takes pigeon and kolanut, and that it is also prevents calamities from befalling the town. His words: “The River is useful for the indigenes and non-indigenes alike.
It has curative power; it gives children to the barren, heal the sick and promotes the indigenes of the town wherever they are. “If any fetish object is being brought to the town, the river would render it impotent. You can’t also take any fetish object outside the town because the river goddess forbids it.” Besides the river also play a role in the installation and burial of a monarch in the town. Chief Jayeoba said they usually mixed the power used for the installation and once he dies, it is the water from the river that would be used to watch the remains. Chief Adegboye said they were hoping to have a new monarch one day and that normalcy would soon return once a new monarch emerges. His words: “The monarch of the town died in 2008, but we cannot get one because we are waiting for the government’s approval. The government must approve warrant chiefs to replace the chiefs that died. We have six kingmakers but four have died, reaming two. We have written to the government to appoint four warrant chiefs for us.”