Sulaiman Ajilara Ajobiewe Biography, Net Worth, Education, Personal Details, Wives, Career, Education etc. - IgbohoConnect
Sulaiman Ajilara Ajobiewe is a legendary Esa Oriki Orile exponent from Nigeria. Born in the Osun State town of Ila Orangun. He began his craft when he was seven years old, in 1962. He has traversed many of Nigeria’s western states with what he is best known for, “Esa Oriki Orile.” Oriki is a type of praise poetry used in Yoruba culture to rouse people and connect them to their roots. Oriki can take the form of a local chant composed of praise songs that link a family or individual to his or her ancestors.

ajobiewe biography

Ajike our Music Columnist visited this iconic figure at his office in Agege, last week to have a Heart to Heart interview with Ajobiewe on his God-given talent.


♦ Sir, where are you from?


I am from Ila Orangun in Ila Local Government Osun State. I was born on October 8th, 1955.


When did you start this craft?


This is my inheritance.  I can’t say it started so and so date. Nobody thought me.  It is not like music that you receive training for. My son has also inherited the craft.


♦ If you look back when was your first major performance in this craft?

I began when I was seven years old, in 1962. I usually travel the theater circuit with my brother Olu Olaiya.
He began his theater in my hometown of Ila Orangun. Many people didn’t believe in the art of theatre back then, so my brother Olu Olaiya gathered many of us together, including myself, Brother Olaniyi, Brother Lasisi, and others. Whenever we traveled, my brother would put me on stage and tell me to start praise singing, and many of the prominent people of the time would start spraying me and dancing after seeing my performance at my age.
We use a particular drummer, Babalola Professor, who later played for Barrister.


♦ Do you remember those you have sung their praises?


They are so many. One of my most memorable experiences was when I sang for the former head of state of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo who cried and hugged me when he witnessed his ancestral  eulogy . His late wife Stella was at this particular event. Also I have done the praises of Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, Kabiyesi Oba Rilwan Akionlu,  Baba Subomi Balogun, Chief Mike Adenuga, Governor Aregbesola, Ooni Sijuade, Oba Ogunwusi the present Oba of Ife, Oba Wahab, even in kwara where many believe the Yoruba poetry wont be appreciated Oba Sulu Gambari( Oni wa tutu), Oba Aseyin from the days of Osu Olale, Oba Olofa, Oba Olomu,etc they are so many.


♦ Do we have other people that are in this field?


There are many people in this field but I have been able to perfect my own skill since I see it as an inheritance


♦ What lessons are inherent in Yoruba poetry (ORIKI)?

Anyone who forgets his roots is compared to someone who has no heritage. Oriki was an important figure in Yoruba panegyric at the time. Allow me to tell you a story. Someone approached me and asked if I could assist him in apologizing to Olusegun Obasanjo. I told him not to be concerned. On that day, I began praise singing Obasanjo, and when it got to a certain point, I told him I needed a favor, and I asked him to please forgive so and so.
He then asked, “Where is he?” I then summoned the man who had knelt for Baba Obasanjo, who immediately forgave him.

The same happened with Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu when somebody asked that I should help him beg him immediately I praised him he forgave the person.


♦ How can you describe the coinage of your craft “Esa Oriki Orile”?


Esa in English can be described as something different, something uncommon.


♦ What kind of musical instrument do you use for Oriki Orile?


We rely majorly on Bata and Dundun drums. The drums play major role in Oriki.  Ajobiewe sings “ O pe temi O n da “ O pe temi ni ire’ Ilu ni o mu orin dun jo” The drum gives life to the music.


♦ You appeared on Television years ago, which programs to be precise?


I joined Feyikogbon in 1979. The program stopped when there was no sponsor. I have also appeared on Fokomoyo, Ajaka Oko, Oduduwa, etc


♦ What is your message for the Nigerian government and what do you think can be done to promote our cultural heritage?

It is surprising that Lagos State was the first to show interest in the field of culture in the entire federation.
Culture and tradition have been supported by the state. It is critical that both traditional and contemporary musicians are supported. Lagos State should serve as a model for the rest of the federation.

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