The people of Obadan believe in Almighty God and many other gods. Amongst which are Ovia (god of providence and lover of concord), Olokun (goddess of the sea), Ogun (god of iron), Osanobua (Almighty God), Edion (ancestors of the elders) and so many others.
The jointly worshipped gods are Edion, Emizekun (the main river of Obadan) Egiemwinden in Enogie´s palace, Izokori. God Almighty with a shrine very close to the Edion´s shrine. Each of these gods has its origin and mode of worship. I am not going to delve into their origins but I will highlight some of their functions.
Obadan people believe in God Almighty the creator of heaven and earth. This is why they have His shrine very close to the Edion´s shrine (ancestor´s shrine). In all they do everyday, they remember God before any other thing. They believe that the smaller gods are agents or intermediaries to the Almighty God. There are churches like the Christ Choosen Church of God where Christians go to worship every Sunday. There are other sects between the traditional religion and Christianity called “Igbe”. This is an imported religion from the Urhobos. They have their own Sabbath day of worship.
This is the only major river in term of use and as a deity. The river Emizekun is jointly worshipped by all the people of Obadan. In fact it is one of the bonds of unity. The river Emizekun according to oral tradition was discovered in the olden days by a hunter. The name of the hunter is not known. Tradition has it that when he saw the river it was with great joy. He came home with the news to say “Imiezokun” meaning “I saw one of Olokun´s rivers” tributary. From the above the river derives its name Emizekun.
Legend has it that the river was very close to the town before but after a woman had done the te river an abomination, it went far where it is at present. Today, there are certain things forbidden of the women not to do to the river. For example, women under menstrual periods do not go to the source of the river to take water.
Edion (Elders Ancestral Shrine)
The Edion shrine hall which was recently built by Charles Isibor alias “Charlieben” in 1980 is where the elders meet and take important decisions that legally binds the people of the town.
Izokori (god of war and peace)
This shrine is very close to the old market site. It is directly opposite the Obadan Primary School. In those days before the soldiers went to war, they would converge there with the elders to perform certain ceremony. The outcome of the ceremony would decide whether they would be victorious or not.
In the olden days it also prevented people from taking court or police action on any of the citizens of Obadan, if there was quarrel among the citizens of the village that could result in police or court action. Once the offended got there he would have a change of heart and would decide to settle the matter at home or go to the farm.
Egiemwinden (palace and people’s protector)
This is in the Enogie´s palace. It helps to protect the palace and people of Obadan. It is jointly served by the people of Obadan.
Ovia (The god which punishes evil doers, god of peace and providence)
This god is individualized according to the streets. The yearly festival mostly falls on the same day. It was always celebrated with pomp and pageantry. The people of Obadan were rated very high in the early and late fifties for their art in the celebration of Ovia festival. People from far and near came to copy the art of worship from them. During the ceremony, women are not allowed to come out and watch otherwise it will spell doom for them. It has a time when the non-initiates are not allowed to watch too. The Ovia yearly festival was last held in 1964.
The six deified staff of Obadan (popularly called Ukhurhe – Ehan´Egho during the time of Ogiefo from Egho) now Ukhurhe – Ehan´Obadan are Edion/Ovia Staff in each of the original streets of Obadan.
In the olden days, the Ovia Staff were assembled together at Enogie´s palace and a curse was made to ward off evil from the village. An assembly of these spiritual staff strengthened the efficacy of the curse so far made. They could also be assembled for blessing for the whole of the village.
Obadan of Now and Days
Today, Christianity, urbanization, imported education and civilization have cutlassed and adulterated the art of worship.