“Omoluabi: the way of human being.”
Omoluabi connotes respect for self and others. An Omoluabi is a person of honor who believes in hard work, respects the rights of others, and gives to the community in deeds and in action. Above all, an Omoluabi is a person of personal integrity.
In Yoruba lingua structure, as olu-iwa could denote a dignified parent with excellent character. However, olu-iwa may create an exemplar of character or a baby as a person of dignity; yet, there is no guarantee that the baby would remain an exemplar of character like the creator of the biological father. And the ambivalence can also be seen in possibility that the child may turn out to be an
Omoluwabi while not born by someone with good character.
This combination thus gives us a good picture of Omoluabi in Yoruba culture wherein a person is given a deep knowledge, wisdom, and therefore be trained to be self discipline and to develop a sense of responsibility that shows in private and public actions which earns individuals social integrity, and personality in Yoruba society.
Among the Yoruba of Western Nigeria, the education of a child begins at the “naming ceremony,” seven days after birth. During this process, the baby is introduced to the ancestors, family, friends and community, and various food items such as salt and honey are dabbed on the tongue of the newborn, thus its education in becoming Omoluabi begins.
The principles of Yoruba (African) traditional education, according to Akinyemi and Awoniyi, are based on the concept of Omoluabi. In other words, the product of Yoruba traditional education is to make an individual an Omoluabi. In essence, the main idea of Yoruba traditional education has always been to foster good character in the individual and to make the child a useful member of the community.
Therefore, traditional education embraces character building as well as the development of both physical and mental aptitude. Education in Yoruba culture is a life-long process and the whole society is the school.
As far as African societies are concerned, personhood is something at which individuals could fail, at which they could be incompetent or ineffective, better or worse.
Wande Abimbola makes it clear that omoluwabi is a function of exhibiting and demonstrating the inherent virtue and value of iwapele. Thus, Iwapele via Abimbola tells us is “good or gentle character” and it is ultimately the basis of moral conduct in Yoruba culture and a core defining attribute of omoluwabi, set as a integrated principles of moral conduct demonstrated by an omoluwabi with the most fundamental of these principles include: oro siso,(spoken word),
inu rere (having good mind to others),
ise (hard work) and opolo pipe (intelligence)
It is instructive to note that iwa (i.e. good character) adds to the quality of appraisal that an individual garners; yet, it does not solely determine the humanity of the person in question, and for this reason, we can say that all human persons are human beings, but not all human beings are human persons (understood in the sense of omoluwabi).
Therefore, Iwa character plays an important role in the making and passing of rights, and in the integrity of individuals because a human being without good character, though human, but is no less than eranko, an animal.
The import of the above is that it is not the case that it is only ori (the guardian soul symbolic of destiny) that is solely responsible for what personality a person eventually becomes in life. Rather, it is man’s character that aids man’s destiny. Therefore, in knowing one’s personality,whether of repute or disrepute, and the ‘how’ factors that are quintessential to developing human personality, the elements of good character are imperative.
Ogbe Ogunda, which says:
Iwa nikan lo soro o,
Iwa nikan lo soro;
Ori kan kii buru lotu Ife,
Iwa nikan lo soro
Character is all that is requisite,
Character is all that is requisite;
There is no destiny (Ori) to be called unhappy in Ife city.
Character is all that is requisite.