Traditional worshippers in Oyo State have advised the governor-elect in the state, Engr Seyi Makinde, not to discriminate against them or their religion, but see them as bonafide citizens in the state.
The traditionalists, under the aegis of Traditional Religion Worshipers’ Association of Oyo State (TRWASSO), also tendered certain requests to Makinde as they paid a congratulatory visit to him at his Ikolaba Ibadan residence at the weekend.
The traditionalists in a congratulatory letter handed over to Makinde during the visit and signed by Mr. Dasola Adefabi (President), Chief Fayemi Fatunde Fakayode (Secretary), Baale Omikunmi Egbelade, Aare Isese Yoruba Foundation (Patron) and Oluwo Fasoji Fasola (President, Oyinbo Ifa Foundation), urged him to give recognition to them in all public programmes organised by his government.
The letter reads: “On behalf of all the practitioners of traditional religion in Oyo State, we congratulate you on your victory in the recent gubernatorial election in the state. In fact, it is obvious to all and sundry that your victory was a divine one because your political party neither bought votes nor forced people to vote. In a nutshell, we could vividly see that the election was free and fair and you emerged as the Governor because, the people of the state have confidence in you.
“Sir, we implore you to always remember that Olodumare (God), puts you in this position as a test. We pray that you will never fail in execution of the assignments. Oyo state will witness peace and development during your reign.
“The believers of traditional religion believe that we will not suffer any act of discrimination under your leadership as we have suffered under the outgoing government. On behalf of the practitioners of traditional religion in Oyo state, we implore you to refrain from religious bigotry. We want you to see us as bonafide citizens of Oyo State. You should always welcome us as we will always present our plights before your Excellency one after the other.”
The traditionalists noted that their requests have been presented to the state government in the past but they were not granted.
The letter said: “Sir it will amaze you to hear that in February 2017, the Oyo state House of Assembly moved motion for holidays for traditional religion in the state and passed it, but the government under the leadership of Senator Abiola Ajimobi refused to give executive consent to it till present. This is our plight under the outgoing government. Funny enough, the Osun State government did it five years ago despite the fact that we started agitating for it ever before our people in Osun state.”
The requests include:
- Annual Public holidays as follows: Isese festival – August 20; Ela festival – May 15. Oke Itase pilgrimage – Friday precedng the first Saturday of June.
- Traditional religion pilgrimage
- Traditional Religion Studies introduced as a subject in all levels of education in the state “so that our children will no more be tactically indoctrinated or frustrated and forced to renounce their belief and convert to either Islam or Christianity.”
- Due recognition in all public programmes organised by the government “as government recognise Muslims and Christians.”
- Slots for commissioners, board chairmen and other political appointments
“The post of Governor, Deputy and SSG should not be only for Muslims and Christians, we deserve to present SSG if the Governor is a Christian and the Deputy is a Muslim,” they posited.
The traditionlists ended the later by praying: “We pray that Olodumare (God) will guide you throughout your tenure. We pray that Oyo state will progress in all ramifications. We pray for peace in the state”.