Matthias Olufemi Dada Ojo, Amos Olutunde Abisoye, Oluwasola Aina, Debrah Gloria Akazue


Alájọbí is a strong belief system among Yoruba people. It is the spirit of kinship which plays prominent roles among these people.Several studies have examined kinship systems in African societies but did not pay special attention to the roles of kinship in reward and punishment.This study, therefore, investigated the opinions of Yoruba people on efficiency of Alájọbí (spirit of kinship) to reward or punish members of kinship group.

The study adopted survey design. Data were collected through qualitative method. This involved thirty – four indepth interviews conducted in Ado – Odo, Ketu – Adie Owe and Edu communities of Ogun State in Nigeria. The socio – bio data of the respondents were presented and analysed, using percentage. The responses of the participants on Alájọbí were also presented in charts with percentage distributions of their responses.

Fifty – two percent of the respondents were female; 76.5% of them were Christians; 85.3% of them were married; 52.9% of them were holders of Bachelor degrees; and 85.3% of them were indigenes of Ogun State. 79.4% of the respondents affirmed that Yoruba people still strongly believe in Alájọbí; 52.9% of them agreed that Alájọbí is strongly efficient in rewarding good deeds and 38.2% concurred that it is strongly efficient in punishing evil deeds. Blood ties or bonds among the kinship members, constant references making to Alájọbí and its efficacy to punish offenders were the reasons given for its strong belief system among Yoruba people. Majority of respondents agreed that Alájọbí rewards people who do good to their kinsmen/kinswomen and that those rewards would even be extended to their children. The respondents also agreed that Alájọbí is very efficient in punishing people who do evils to other members of kinship group. Sudden death, madness, poverty and strange diseases were cited as examples of such punishment. People should not play down the role of Alájọbí to reward and to punish. It operates as a pay back, a just administration of rewards and punishment. It is not a barbaric belief system. Yoruba parents should be teaching their children the Yoruba cultural values and belief systems for preservation and transmission of Yoruba culture from generation to generation.

Finally, further studies on Alájọbí and other Yoruba belief systems and the documentation of such studies for academic and cultural preservation should be of paramount interest to us.


kinship; family; Alájọbí; Yoruba reward; punishment

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