Traditional worshippers in Oyo State on Tuesday appealed to Oyo State governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, to declare August 20 every year as a public holiday in the state for the celebration of Isese Day.
Traditionalists throughout the country celebrated the Isese Day today with their counterparts in Osun State enjoying a public holiday which was instituted in August 2017 during the administration of former governor Rauf Aregbesola.
In Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, traditionalists marked the day with pomp and pageantry but said it would have been a bigger event if it were a public holiday.
According to a representative of the traditionalists, Olukande Ajewole, the public must know that Isese Day is the climax of all traditional festivals as it is a day to pay special homage to God and ancestral leadership. He explained that it is the first foundation laid by Orunmila, before Islam and Christianity came into existence, adding that adherents of all other faiths will still trace their spiritual roots to Orunmila.
The Akoda Awo of Ibadanland, Chief Ifalere Odegbola, who led the traditional worshippers to the palace of the Olubadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, in Popoyemoja, Ibadan, stated that Oyo State ought to have recognised the day just as Osun has done. He explained that they presented a similar request to the outgone administration of Senator Abiola Ajimobi but it was not granted.
He then begged the Olubadan to help project their case to Governor Makinde. He argued that Muslims and Christians have always enjoyed and celebrated their days at certain periods of the months but there is no day to celebrate “the first tradition and religion of our people”
In his presentation to the Olubadan, Chief Odegbola said: “Kabiyesi, it has been done in Osun. It can be done here too. We demanded it from the previous government, but it was not granted. Please help us prevail on the governor, who is your son. We know he listens to you. If we have a public holiday, the celebration would be bigger and more impactful in Oyo than it is today.”
Responding, Oba Adetunji stated that he was happy to receive the traditionalists, stressing that he does not toil with the value and importance of Isese Day. He promised to deliver their message to the state governor and do all within his power to see how the wish could be granted.
After several prayers at the Olubadan’s palace, the traditional worshippers converged on Mapo Hall for more ceremonies.
Also part of the celebration were Chief Mrs Egbebunmi Ogunsoji, Chairman, Organising Committee; the Araba of Ibadanland, Chief Oyewusi Amoo Fakayode; President of the Traditional Religion Worshippers Association of Oyo State, Surveyor Dasolq Fadiran Adefabi and the secretary, Fayemi Fatunde Fakayode.
Newspeakonline recalls that two years ago at the eight edition of the Egungun Festival of Oje Awori held in Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos, the President of Awori Oje of Lagos State, High Chief Yaya Omooba and Olori Oluwo Ogboni Ibile of Lagos State, jointly pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to send an executive bill to the National Assembly to declare August 20 Isese Day as public holiday to celebrate the various age-long cultures and traditions across the country.