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ISLAMIC GROUP, ILORIN TRADITIONALISTS ON COLLISION COURSE OVER ISESE FESTIVAL

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ISLAMIC GROUP, ILORIN TRADITIONALISTS ON COLLISION COURSE OVER ISESE FESTIVAL

ISLAMIC GROUP, ILORIN TRADITIONALISTS ON COLLISION COURSE OVER ISESE FESTIVAL
July 03
11:44 2023

Crisis is brewing between an Islamic group and some traditionalists in Ilorin, Kwara State over a plan celebration of a festival.

Report gathered that a Muslim group, Majlisu Shabab li Ulamahu Society, in Ilorin recently stormed the residence of a traditional religion priestess to caution her against embarking on planned Isese festival in five local government areas, which constitute the Ilorin Emirate in the state capital.

Isese, the Yoruba word for tradition, is used to denote different kinds of festivals held by adherents of the Yoruba traditional religion in Nigeria, Cuba, Brasil, the United States, Benin, and other countries.

The Islamic sect said Isese festival must not take place in Ilorin West, Ilorin East, Ilorin South, Moro and Asa.

The group, which took its protest to the home of the priestess, identified as Adesikemi Olatunji, believed to be a worshiper of Osun, warned the young woman that the Emir of Ilorin, Dr Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, sent them to convey the warning.

In a viral video published on Facebook on Monday by one Arowolo Abdulfatai (Sheikh Abdul Fathai Arowolo), members of the group, located in the Oke Adini area of Ilorin, said the visit was prompted by reports of an imminent traditional festival, known as Isese, by the priestess.

The priestess, who is an Osun devotee, Yeye Adesikemi Olokun Omolara Olatunji, had reportedly released fliers announcing a three-day traditional event aimed at celebrating certain Yoruba deities.

Reacting to the social media post, members of the Muslim group stormed the home of Yeye Adesikemi where her sister simply identified as Alaba, whom many of the Imams present, took turns to either address or confront with statements and questions, to warn against the actualisation of said event.

Although the group stressed that the visit and their intentions were peaceful, the Imams, while making subtle threats, warned the devotees against holding the Isese festival, while stressing that Kwara State only supports Islamic activities.

Speaking in Yoruba, a member of the group, who described himself as an Imam, said, “Ilorin does not permit idol worshipping, we are ardent Muslims in the land of the Emirate.”

Another Imam further reiterated the group’s stance, adding that they were sent by the “Emir of Ilorin, to warn against this Isese festival.”

He added that traditional religious worshippers could celebrate in private but never publicly in the Emirate as the only deity that could be publicly celebrated is the one Muslims in the state serve.

“We are here on behalf of the Emir of Ilorin to ask that you desist from any Isese. We are also backed by the laws of the land. We are not here to fight you but to warn you against this celebration.”

In a short video published after the visit, Yeye Omolara bemoaned the development.

Speaking in Yoruba she said, “I have been living in Ilorin for many years and I have experienced nothing but peace until recently. I have always been fair and kind to my neighbours and this has been reciprocated over the years.

“One of my people shared the invite online which caught the attention of the Imams. In a matter of hours, I was tagged on numerous posts and also began to receive death threats.

“I also heard that meetings were being held to ensure that the Aje festival does not hold in Ilorin,” she said.

However, the state Police Command on Sunday said that it had yet to get an official report on the purported ban imposed by the Islamic sect.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Okasanmi Ajayi, said, “Kwara Police Command has not received any official report from any citizens concerning the warning to Yeye Olokun you referred to.”

Ajayi also reiterated the command’s readiness to forestall any face-off that could arise between the Muslim community and the traditionalists in the state.

“We are firmly on ground to forestall any security breach that could happen,” he said.

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