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Rev. Fr. Dr. Paul Akin-Otiko Akinmayowa

The event which was hosted through zoom was moderated by Rev. Fr. Francis Chiadi, OP, Chairman of Senate Ceremonials, Dominican University, Ibadan, and monitored by ICT Department.

The guest speaker, Rev. Fr. Dr. Paul Akin-Otiko Akinmayowa, from the Institute of African Diaspora Studies (IADS), said the actions taken by the Catholic Church and Adimula (a traditional religion of the Yoruba) to war against COVID-19 pandemic are for the benefit of the public regardless of religion.

He said the COVID-19 outbreak was a rude shock to the world.

The Catholic Church and Adimula have played prominent roles in finding cure to the virus.

He stated that though the approaches displayed by the two religions differ, they are for the common good of all.

Giving illustrations, Akinmayowa explained that the Catholic Church aligned with the positions of healthcare providers and scientists by complying with the non-pharmaceutical COVID-19 protocols as well as encouraging others to do the same.

He added that the church also offers prayers for the end of the pandemic.

The Adimula, on the other hand, through divination identified the spirit responsible and made required sacrifices to appease the spirit.

It was also said that Adimula offers Iwure (that is, Prayer) and produce certain herbs for the cure of coronavirus.

Explaining further on the similar actions taken by the two religions, the speaker noted that “Both acted for the common good of all.

“Both deployed a blend of faith and reason.

“Both believed God has roles to play in the diagnosis, treatment and coping with the virus.”

However, it was said that there was difficulty in empirically assessing the impact of prayers on COVID-19.

He disclosed “Faith tells us that God has answered our prayers. The Babalawos tell us that their sacrifices are working, and Science tells us that all we need is the protocol and the curve will flatten.”  

Recall that Saint Aquinas Day is a yearly event by the Catholic Church in commemoration of the celebration of St. Thomas Aquinas, who was an angelic Doctor and Patron Saint of Dominican University.

About the Speaker

Fr. Paul Akin-Otiko is a Nigerian Dominican priest. He does research in the areas of African Religion, Culture and Traditional Medicine. He had his undergraduate and MA degrees in Philosophy, from the University of Ibadan in 1996 and 2006 respectively. His Ph.D. is in African Religion and Belief System from the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan; 2013. Over the years he has engaged in researches in the area of African Traditional Religion and Medicine. He lectured in the Department of Art and Social Sciences, Faculty of Education, University of Lagos from 2016 – 2018 and has since joined the Institute of African and Diaspora Studies, University of Lagos as a Researcher Fellow. Member of different academic associations, he has authored four books, and a number of book chapters and articles in different journals, and enjoys discussing African and Diaspora issues.


COVID-19 has affected every aspect of human existence such as finances, social relationships, technology, education, and religion.  It has inspired research in different areas, especially healthcare and economics. Religions have come up with approaches often dismissed as irrelevant.  It is imperative that the role of religions in the diagnosis, treatment and maintenance of COVID-19 be appraised. This paper offers a comparative appraisal of the responses of the Catholic Church and Àdìmúlà (the traditional religion of the Yoruba) to the diagnosis, treatment and maintenance of COVID-19 in Nigeria and around the world.

Keywords: Àdìmúlà, Babaláwo Catholic Church, Common good, COVID-19

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