Traditional religion worshippers in Oyo State on Tuesday appealed to Gov. Seyi Makinde for the establishment of an Isese Pilgrimage Board.
The worshippers made the appeal during a “thank you” visit to the Oyo State House of Assembly in Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the visit was in appreciation of the lawmakers’ efforts towards the approval of Aug. 20 as annual Isese Day by Gov. Makinde.
The worshippers said the board’s establishment would further strengthen their practice of traditional religion in the state, and also help regulate their activities.
Chief Ifalere Odegbola, the Araba Olu Iseese of Ibadan, said the board when put in place would aid the governor’s aspirations in the state’s culture and tourism sector.
“I have the belief that the development will not only boost the state’s international relations, but also improve its internally-generated revenue.
“It will also help to serve as a regulatory body for traditional worshippers in the state,” Odegbola, who is the Chairman of Araba and Oluawo of Oyo State, said.
Chief Omikemi Egbelade , the Aare Isese of Oyo State, said the purpose of Isese Day being celebrated on Aug. 20 annually was not only to promote cultural heritage.
”It is also to ensure that cultural values among children and youths do not go into extinction.
“A situation where our children have little or no knowledge about their family heritage is not good at all,” he said.
Egbelade called on parents, guardians and other stakeholders to instill in their wards the importance of traditional history to national development.
Odegbola and Egbelade commended Gov. Makinde, Speaker Adebo Ogundoyin of Oyo State House of Assembly and other lawmakers for their support in ensuring the annual Day was approved.
Secretary of Traditional Religion Worshippers Association in Oyo State, Dr Fayemi Fakayode, described the Festival as a means of appeasing and supplicating to God for peace and other kinds of blessings.
He added that it would also help to put an halt to any kind of misfortune in the society.
“An Isese Pilgrimage Board will allow traditionalists to be included in government activities, just like they (government) are doing for other religious bodies,” Fakayode said.
He advised traditional religion worshippers in the state to be honest and faithful at every point and refrain from any kind of social vices that can tarnish the religion’s image.
Fakayode said they should act just as the way they have been taught in the ways of Orunmila, the god of the Ifa divinity, to be good and refrain from evil.
He also urged people of the state, irrespective of their religious beliefs, to continue to live in harmony so that there will be progress and positive development in Oyo State.
NAN reports that Gov. Makinde signed the Isese Day/Festival Bill into law, and thus made Aug. 20 of every year a public holiday.(NAN)