The Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Cornelius Ojelabi, on Sunday, 20 August, 2023, lauded the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for declaring Monday, August 21, 2023, a work-free day for workers to mark this year’s ‘Isese’ Day.
The ‘Isese’ Day Festival, marked annually on August 20, is celebrated by adherents of the Yoruba traditional religion and culture.
In Lagos State, some cultural festivals to mark ‘Isese’ include the Adamu Orisa (popularly called Eyo), Igunuko, and Egungun, depicting the heritage of various traditional families and early indigenous settlers in Lagos.
Pastor Ojelabi urged the believers to celebrate with peace, saying anyone who believes that the African Traditional Religions (ATR) under which ‘Isese’ Festival falls are no more active is deceiving himself.
He said that many people who had been converted to other religions from their traditional religions were still affiliated to those beliefs. “That is why many people still have attachments to their cognomen or praise names depicting the heroic deeds of their ancestors to motivate and inspire them towards performing great feats also in their human endeavours,” he said.
Pastor Ojelabi advised the people to continue to study and embrace their traditional values and cultures saying that certain aspects of them could practically enrich their devotions and satisfy their felt needs.
“A public officer would not want to tarnish the image or dignity that his or her fore-fathers took ages to build if he or she should listen to such prowess by not embracing corruption, embezzlement of public funds, or getting involved in illegal activities that couldn bring disrepute to his or her bloodline,” he said.
The Lagos APC Chairman recalled that over the years, there had been a shift from the condemnatory or negative perception of ATR to a better understanding and appreciation of the values found in it.
“It had graduated from being regarded as a pagan cult, witchcraft, idol worship and fortune telling to being considered a providentially developed stage in man’s approach to and contact with God,” he said.
The APC leader urged Lagosians to use the day to pray for peace and progress for themselves, their families, the government and their communities
Ojelabi appealed for understanding, perseverance and tolerance from the practitioners of the various religions for peace, love and tranquility to continue to reign in Nigeria, Africa and the world over.
He said that God would not judge anyone on the last day based on his or her religious belief but how he or she kept God’s commandments while on earth and how he or she loved his neighbours.