Residents Approve State Govt’s Declaration Of Work – Free Day For Isese Celebration

Wale Jagun

Many residents of Ikorodu, have commended the Lagos State Government and welcomed its decision to declare a work – free day for the 2023 celebration of Isese Day, which many traditionalists have been clamouring for.

Although, the annual celebration fell on a Sunday this year, but the Lagos State Government declared Monday as a public holiday for workers, the first time such declaration was being made in Lagos State.

August 20 of every year is set aside for the Isese Day.

While a public analyst, Oke Godwin OlaOluwa, queried the rationale behind the declaration by the government which he described as ‘unnecessary’, his position generated serious objections on THE IMPACT WhatsApp platform, as those that reacted proved that many residents actually welcomed the idea.

“What’s the essence of this holiday? Unnecessary! The event is on a Sunday, what’s the point of declaring a work free day on Monday?”, Oke queried.

He further buttressed his objection to the declaration, stating:

“Sallah and Christmas have national holidays. The events are celebrated state and nationwide. For me, those holidays shouldn’t take more than a day off work.

“We have different traditional religions that celebrate their respective events on different occasions. If we institutionalize this kind of holiday, we probably would be declaring different holidays for Oro, Sango worshippers, Osun Osogbo day and Eluku day among others.

“This holiday is unnecessary if we are a country that values productivity”, he argued.

However, a chieftain of the National Union of Local Government Employee(NULGE), Ikorodu Local Government chapter, Success Pepper Bolaji, reacting, said that it is fair that the traditional practitioners are allowed same benefit that has been extended to the Christians and Muslims.

“As long as there are holidays for Xmas, Ileya, Esther and Itunu awe, this holiday is equally important for the traditionalists…..”, he said.

“They celebrate with us during the aforementioned holidays, we should take time to reciprocate except if u don’t feel like… It’s not compulsory…”, he added.

A lecturer and social media commentator, Mr Ekundayo Hassan, also reacting to Oke’s submission, clarified that:

“Isese day is one day everywhere in Yorubaland…”.

Another public commentator and known traditionalists, Tayo Odesanya, in his own reaction, dismissed Oke’s position and called to question his ground of objections.

“It’s surprising how you fail to even differentiate these events despite being a Yoruba man. Oro, as we have it, is a cultural event with its spiritual importance, and hasn’t at any time demanded that it be given a holiday as it isn’t a general phenomenon. Isese Day is a recognition of a RELIGION, our ORIGINAL one before the importation of the counterpart beliefs. It’s benumbing how you can for a second, think our own heritage should be totally discarded, disregarded, relegated & unrecognized”, Tayo submitted.

“I’ll wait for you on another day to say something contrary to this gaffe of yours, till then, try & be consciously consistent.

“Let’s even help his hypocrisy this way: @Oke, are you aware that a public holiday & work-free day differ? On the latter, you are at liberty to work, should you choose to. Please, tell this assembly that you’ll be at work on Monday”, he further stated.

Otunba Dare Odufowokan, an editor with The Nation newspaper, who is also a prominent commentator on THE IMPACT platform, also joined in the discussion and reacted to Oke’s statements thus:

“I disagree! Isese means all traditional religions now have a day to mark their festivities (even if they celebrate such on other days.

“The holiday is good for equity. August 20 is the generally accepted day to celebrate lsese (tradition). Ironically, that is my birthday”, he added.

A scholar and humorist, Wole Ajifowoke, also speaking, said:

“Isese day is our own…We’ve been celebrating other holidays to please the gods of our colonial masters!”

Deacon Monday Ohi Obadan, a community developer and public commentator, agreed that all the religions must be treated equally, but also raised some concerns.

“Equity, Inclusivity and Sense of Belonging. Notched up! What is good for “Greece”, is also good for “Uganda”.

“For me, the concern is whilst this holiday signifies a renaissance of cultural/cum spiritual identity, it is worrying that why is it in, some cases, this holiday seemingly prohibitive, restricts free movement, and/or association as enshrined in our constitution, if we are to compared and contrast with other religious holidays as it were??”, he expressed his concern”.

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