-Calls for enabling law, support for custodians of culture
Different traditional groups, on Sunday, August 20, 2023, visited the palace of King Kosoko of Lagos, to pay homage to the Oloja – elect of Lagos, Prince Abiola Olojo – Kosoko, in commemoration of this year’s Isese Day.
The Isese Day, which Lagos State Government and other states in the Southwest, Nigeria, have declared a public holiday for on Monday (today), is being observed in all the six states of the Southwest, in recognition of the tradition and culture of the people.
The celebration started 6pm on Saturday, when Prince Kosoko and palace priests appeased all the gods and deities that are situated within the palace till 4.15am on Sunday, with Ifa consultation as first engagement.
After the Ifa engagement, it was the turn of ‘Maworun’ (the Kosoko shrine), ‘Egunnuga’ which comprises of 11 deities, Ogun Ile, Esu, Ogun Ona and Ogun Ile, which were all appeased, respectively.
On Sunday, which was the official Isese Day, Iledi Odua Sankodo led other traditional and Eyo groups to pay homage to King Kosoko palace. After the Iledi Odua, Eyo Oniko group maintained its colourful and enticing display as its practitioners equally stormed the palace in yellow regalia.
During the visit of Oniko, Prince Abiola Kosoko was honoured with the title of ‘Apesin Eyo’ (one that everyone worshipped).
It was the turn of Eyo Angere after the Oniko, a group which also put up a fascinating display.
Ogboni, a powerful group in Yoruba Traditional System, also came visiting. The group offered prayers for the Oloja – elect, and appreciated him for his support for them and his role in sustaining the tradition and culture.
Also at the palace to pay homage were different drummers’ groups.
A popular Nollyhood actor and producer,Mr Emeka Ike, also paid a courtesy call during the celebration.
Chief Alliu Bajiru, Captain, Eyo Oniko, an Eyo deity which is one of the highly revered Eyo, explaining the conferment of the title on Oloja – elect said that he was honoured based on his contributions to the group and Lagos in general.
“We installed Oloja – elect as ‘Apesin Eyo Osa Oniko’, which translates into somebody that many are worshiping. He is a great man that has done so much for Lagos and Eyo Osa Oniko and he is still contributing to the development of our Eyo. This is why our father, Chief Tajudden Idris, the Alagbeje of Lagos, the custodian of Eypo Oniko deemed it fit to honour him with the title. That is why we are installing him today.”
Prince Abiola Kosoko speaking with THE IMPACT, commended the Lagos State Government for recognising ‘lsese’ Day with the declaration of a public holiday, but further charged that there is need to provide enabling law to further sustain and project the celebration.
He also called for proper funding for the custodians of traditions and culture.
“The state government declaring a public holiday in commemoration of the Isese Day this year, is a welcome development, but one thing that is not clear is the position of the State Assembly on the matter. There is need for the declaration to be back by law”, the Oloja – elect said.
“It is not just to declare a public holiday alone, but we need to understand the importance of what it is all about. Is the declaration of the holiday for people to just gather or see Isese as a means for tourism and socio – economic development? That has to be defined.
“In defining this, there is need for proper funding for the custodians of the traditions who are not well taken care of. The custodians are the traditional customary chiefs who differed from the traditional chiefs and the royal fathers.
“I hope that the government will look into how to take care of these custodians of our traditions and culture, by making their titles to be gazzetted so that they will have recognition, and when that is done, they will be more committed to the preservation of our customs and traditions”, Prince Kosoko said.
While appreciating the honoured bestowed on him by the Oniko group, the Oloja – elect said that it is a welcome development which signifies recognition of his contributions.
“There are five major Eyo deities and Oniko happens to be one among them, and it’s very significant. What you have just witnessed is that the Eyo Oniko group has come to honour and include me in their decision – making system. The position given to me is Apesin, which means the one that everyone worships. This is not for anything but because of the position of the position that the Kosoko dynasty occupies within the Lagos traditional and royal families”, he said.
“It is very significant and we cannot ignore that. It is a welcome development. It shows that my contributions to the traditional religion and to the custodians of all the deities, are being recognized”.
Speaking on the homage paid by the different traditional groups to the Kosoko palace, the Oloja – elect said that their visit is necessary because of the royal status of the Kosoko family in Lagos.
“The last time all these kind of things happened was before 1975, when Prince Aminu was the Oloja of Lagos. After that, traditional groups stopped coming to the Kosoko palace. So, the visitations by different traditional groups, is sign of respect and honour of what Kosoko family represents”, he said.
“There are two prominent palaces in Lagos Island – the Iga Iduganran and Iga Ereko (Kosoko palace), while Iga Idunganran is the most influential, the Iga Ereko is the second and within and around it are families, residents, shrines and relics.
“It is a must for the traditional groups to visit the palace of Kosoko, when they come through the Ereko street which is also an important road. It is a sign of loyalty, commitment and presence. That is what they have come to do”.