The Emir of Ilorin, Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, not too long ago, made headlines after announcing the cancellation of the Isese festival, an annual sacred Yoruba cultural ceremony held in the town. This decision has generated widespread anger and criticism from individuals who perceive it as an affront and alarming encroachment on Yoruba culture by a supposed foreigner using Arab religion as underhand tool.
Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, voiced his disapproval of the Emir’s decision in an open letter. Soyinka condemned the cancellation of the festival, stating that it amounted to “a crime against the cultural heritage of all humanity” and “an assault on civilized conduct.” He emphasized that the Nigerian constitution guarantees freedom of belief and expressed concerns about the detrimental impact this decision could have on the country’s progress.
In response to Soyinka’s criticism, the Emir of Ilorin defended the cancellation, citing the need to prevent potential crises. The Emir described the decision as a proactive measure aimed at sustaining peaceful co-existence in the society. According to a statement issued by the Emir’s spokesperson, AbdulAzeez Arowona, the cancellation aimed to avert situations that could lead to “reprisal attacks by sympathizers or promoters of such belief (Isese festival) in other parts of the country.”
The statement further explained that the priestess involved had been living harmoniously in the town for many years until she allegedly exceeded her boundaries. The Emir’s spokesperson emphasized the importance of preventing a crisis rather than waiting for it to occur, as the cost of managing such a crisis far outweighs the wisdom and courage required to prevent it.
However, many individuals are expressing their anger and disgust over what they perceive as a desecration of Yoruba culture by a supposed foreigner who is using Arab religion as a means to encroach upon their traditions. These individuals argue that the cancellation of the Isese festival infringes upon their native culture and erodes the rich heritage of the Yoruba people. They believe that the festival should be celebrated without interference, as it serves as a vital link to their ancestors and reinforces their cultural identity.
Meanwhile as the APC,s presidential candidate battles in court to prove his legitimate win as current Nigerian president, his formal position on the Ilorin saga, as an influencial Yoruba native, is yet to be made official
SOURCE: JKCYNO BLOG, ioiNews
IMAGE/ VIDEO: The Guardian, Youtube