Traditional religion adherents under the umbrella of Traditional Religion Worshippers’ Association in Oyo State have implored governor Abiola Ajimobi of the state to as a matter of urgency declare August 20 a work free day in order to commemorate the annual Isese festival.
They noted that declaring August 20 a work free day is in the same spirit of public holidays enjoyed by both Muslims and Christians in the state.
While addressing a press conference to herald the 2017 Isese Festival at the Ile Ijuba Edumare, Osemeji Shrine, Oja-Oba, Ibadan on Thursday the group insisted that the people and the state had more to gain if public holiday was given to traditional worshippers.
General Secretary, Traditional Religion Worshippers’ Association, Chief Fayemi Fakayode who was accompanied by elders and high chiefs from various traditional religions in the state, urged the governor to do all what he could to grant their request in order to balance the equation.
While enjoining the people of the state to celebrate the festival with joy and happiness as ever, Fakayode implored them to use the period to present their supplications, including prayers for themselves, the state, the country and the whole world.
He said: “Isese Festival is one of the major festivals that we celebrate together in traditional religion irrespective of the practitioners’ respective cities, towns, states, countries, denominations or the Orisa affiliations.
“We also use this medium to call on Oyo State Government under the leadership of our able Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi to approve and declare August 20th every year as a public holiday for Isese Festival as Muslims and Christians in the state have been enjoying holidays for their festivals for long.
“We should remind ourselves that the Oyo State House of Assembly has moved the motion to declare a public holiday to celebrate traditional religion in the state on Wednesday, 8th February, 2017.
“Therefore, the executive approval is what is needed to declare the holiday in Oyo state as the people of other states like the state of Osun have been enjoiying it for the past five years”.
The Aare Isese Yoruba Foundation, Baale Omikunmi Egbelade while emphasising the benefits inherent in the request for the public holiday, attributed the various challenges facing the country to the neglect of the rich cultural and traditional heritages as practiced by the forebears.
Egbelade maintained that apart from boosting the tourist potentials inherent in the rich Yoruba culture, a public holiday for the commemoration will afford the people an opportunity to see some of the forgotten and neglected aspect of culture and tradition as practised by the forebearers.
“We are all black people. Before the introduction of Islam and Christianity religion, we had our ways of doing things. For instance, establishing or starting a town requires consulting the oracles but we don’t follow these things anymore.
“A lot of taboos which helped the society in time past has been neglected. The traditional people are more grounded in prayers for the country and community.
“I advise the federal government to put traditional religion in the right place like other religions and the country will be better for it.
“There are so many benefits for all to gain when government declare public holiday to commemorate Isese Festival. We the traditional worshippers are the ones who took custody of our traditional institutions and relics of our forefathers.
“If the holiday was declared, our tourism sector will be enlarged and enhanced. We will also showcase some of the forgotten cultures and traditional of our forefathers such as different ancestral materials such as drums, cloths, materials.
“The festival is a day of remembrance of our creator and our maker. It is purely a day prayers and teaching on what is wrong and what is right and to remind our people of the ways of our forefather”, he said.