The Opemoluwa of Ikate Land, Lagos State and President General of the Association of African Traditional Religion in Nigeria and Overseas, (AATREN), Chief Ifasegun Elegusi has said that the traditional religion, despite its lack of recognition by the Nigerian Government, has gained global recognition and acceptance as a way of life of the African people all over the world and an acceptable way to worship God.
Speaking about preparations for the annual Isese Day Celebrations holding on August 20, 2018, Elegushi said that the date is the Yoruba day of harvest and a day to celebrate achievements and man’s continued existence on earth. He added that the day is usually dedicated to displaying the rich culture heritage of the Yoruba nation and a time to come out in groups and denominations with lots of singing and dancing to appreciate the gods and ancestors for their protection and the maintenanceof peace throughout the world.
In a message he delivered recently, Chief Elegushi said: ‘’As traditionalists, we have never ceased to offer prayers and sacrifices on a regular basis for peace and progress in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole. What people see as Isese Day Celebrations on August 20, every year in all Local Government Areas of Lagos State and in other parts of Nigeria are a public presentation of prayers we offer in our closets by our different groups and denominations accompanied with the display of our cultural heritage, as sponsored by the association. So, our prayers are not for traditional worshipers alone but for all mankind throughout the world because we know that we can effectively relate with all humans and also worship our Creator with gladness’’.
The traditional religious leader informed that in the traditional calendar, August 20 marks the 1st day in the New Year and so attracts lots of rejoicing and thanksgiving to the gods for the preservation of lives and the continued existence of our dear country. He assured that as in the case of earlier celebrations, the 2018 edition would also begin on the 11th August, 2018 with a seminar in Lagos with the theme: ‘’The once rejected Traditional Religion’’, during which lectures will be given on the roles that the Traditional Religion has been playing in the maintenance of peace in Nigeria and the world at large. The celebrations would continue at group levels until August 20 when all groups would converge on centres across the state to address the public and entertain them with cultural displays with the royal fathers and chiefs in attendance to offer royal blessings and colour to the occasion.
Chief Olusegun Elegushi who is the sole financier of the Association to its present enviable position in the country and brought the various traditional groups together to achieve a common goal however called on the Lagos State Government to grant the group its noble request for a holiday on Isese Day to enable all traditionalists an equal opportunity as Christians at Christmas and Easter and Muslims at Id el Moulud and Id el Fitri.