Lagos Chiefs, Traditional Custodians Commend Sanwo – Olu On Isese Day Recognition

Kunle Adelabu

The declaration of work – free day in commemoration of this year’s Isese Day, which afforded many Lagosians the opportunity to celebrate with the traditionalists, have continued to generate commendations for the Governor of LagosState, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo – Olu.

Many traditional chiefs and custodians of traditions and culture in Lagos, have equally expressed their happiness concerning the recognition which they have been clamouring for, over the years.

Like the Christians and Muslims, which are usually accorded public holidays in commemoration of many of their festivals, traditionalists in Lagos State and other Yoruba – speaking states, have also demanded that they deserved to be accorded same honour. While Ogun and other states have since been declaring public holiday every August 20, which is recognized as Isese Day, Lagos State follow suit this year.

In marking this year’s Isese Day, many communities, palaces and traditional worship places were beehive of activities, and THE IMPACT was on ground at the Ayangbure palace in Ikorodu, Adeboruwa palace in Igbogbo and the Kosoko palace, Ereko, Lagos Island, to cover the colourful and engaging activities, which have been captured in many of our reports since Sunday.

At the Kosoko palace, where Eyo Oniko, Eyo Angere, Ogboni, Iledi and drummers’ groups visited to pay homage to commemorate the day, some of the custodians of these groups shared their views with our reporter, on Isese Day, recognition by the Lagos State Government and other related issues.

Chief Alliu Bajiru, Captain, Eyo Oniko, an Eyo deity which is one of the highly revered Eyo, under the leadership of the Alagbeje of Lagos, Chief Tajudden Idris, led others to the Kosoko palace where Prince Abiola Olojo – Kosoko was installed as ‘Apesin Eyo Oniko’, commended the Governor, for the gesture.

He said that the clamour for the public holiday in recognition of lsese Day, was based on the important roles that traditions and culture play among in the society.

“We have been clamouring for the declaration of a public holiday since, and the Lagos State Government has just deemed it fit to do so. Our clamour is based on the fact that traditions and culture have pre – eminence status over other religions and deserved to be accorded respect and recognition”, he said.

“More important, there no practitioner of other religion that does not have their own family traditions and practice, so we are all from tradition.

“We are grateful to our Governor for the declaration as that has been the practice in other states in the Southwest”, Oniko captain said.

Coordinator Eyo Angere, Chief Muyideen Apinni, also expressed his happiness at the gesture of the Lagos State Government, adding that it is an acknowledgement of roles played by the traditionalists during the last elections.

“We are bringing out the ‘Opa Eyo Angere’ for the visitation to our father, Prince Abiola Kosoko, in commemoration of the celebration of Isese Day. We are here to pray for his well – being and wish prosperity for him”, he said.

“By this time next year when we will be returning here for another celebration, we pray that his installation that we are all praying for, would have been completed.

“We are happy with the declaration of a public holiday for Isese Day. We can confidently state that traditional practitioners played a very prominent role in the re – emergence of the Governor. We trooped out en masse during the last election and offered rituals and prayers for his victory and it came to pass.

“Today, he has started reciprocating our support and we are happy about it”, he added.

Apena Waheed Atorishe, the Otun Olori Apena Aborine, Lagos State and Olori Apena Atunse, Ojo Division, also speaking, said that the Isese Day is all encompassing, and that it’s a celebration of heritages and culture.

“Every part of Africa where water is poured as libations, are involved in Isese which is a celebration of joy and happiness. We are celebrating heritages that we inherited from our ancestors and we are sustaining its existence:”, he said.

“Isese Day is our traditional religion which encompasses all into cult, be it Babalawo, Onisegun, Elegun, Alawopa, Ologboni, Osun, Alagemo, Onifa and many others.

Apena Atorishe, who is also the Balogun Ijo Olorisa Parapapo Agbaye and Asogun Oba Asogun Ijo Agbara Asedalele Adulawo, also thanked and prayed for the Governor for the declaration of a public holiday and recognition of Isese Day.

“We thank our Governor for declaring a day for the celebration of Isese Day. We have been clamouring for it since the time of our former leader, Oba Ogboni, Oluaye Oba Mobolaji Noibi Alimi Salami, the Aare Oba Ogboni Agbaye. He fought for it during his lifetime and we are happy today that his dream has been fulfilled”, he said.

“We are hoping that this would not be the end of the support from the government. We hope that it would be the beginning of many more supports. We thank the Governor and pray for many more years for him.

Like the Eyo Oniko captain, Apena Atorishe also prayed for the soonest completion of Oloja of Lagos-elect’s installation.

“We are also praying that by next year when we will be gathering here again, the installation process of Oloja – Elect, Prince Kosoko, would have been completed”.

Meanwhile, Prince Abiola Kosoko, the Oloja of Lagos – elect, speaking with THE IMPACT, commended the Lagos State Government for recognising the Isese Day with the declaration of a public holiday. He, however, further charged that there is need to provide enabling law to back the public holiday.

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 differ 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.

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