Muslim group visits Osun priestess, warns against Isese festival in Ilorin
The group warned the Osun priestess that Ilorin only supports Islamic activities.
The group's representatives, comprising Imams from various mosques in the state stormed the residence of the priestess, an Osun devotee identified as Yeye Adesikemi Olokun Omolara Olatunji, to announce a ban on any form of Isese festival in the city.
According to the group, the ban prohibits public display of any form of traditional religion in Ilorin West, Ilorin East, Ilorin South, and Asa local government areas.
Their visit came on the back of reports that the Osun devotee had perfected plans to hold a traditional festival, known as Isese. This came after she allegedly released fliers announcing a three-day traditional event aimed at celebrating certain Yoruba deities.
Isese, the Yoruba word for tradition, is used to denote all kinds of festivals held by adherents of the Yoruba traditional religion in Nigeria, Benin, Cuba, Brazil, the United States and other countries.
In a viral video posted on Facebook on Monday, June 26, 2023, by one Arowolo Abdulfatai (Sheikh Abdul Fathai Arowolo), members of the Muslim group located in the Oke Adini area of Ilorin confirmed their visit to the priestess' residence.
During the visit, the group warned Yeye Adesikemi's sister, who simply identified herself as Alaba, that the Emir of Ilorin, Dr Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, sent them to convey the warning.
Being the only person who attended to the visiting party, Alaba faced questions from many of the Imams present who took their turns to warn of the potentially dire consequences of holding such an event in the state.
Although the group claimed that the visit and their intentions were peaceful, their message to Alaba was laced with subtle threats as they stressed that the 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,” The Punch reported.
Speaking further, he noted that traditional religious worshippers are at liberty to celebrate in private but never publicly in the ’emirate’, insisting that 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,” he added.
Reacting to the development, Yeye Adesikemi posted a short video online in which she expressed her disappointment on the matter.
Speaking in Yoruba she said, ”I have been living in Ilorin for many years and 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.”
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