Traditional religion adherents, under the umbrella of Orunmila Youngsters International (OYIN), on Wednesday appealed to Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State to immediately assent to the bill earlier passed by the State House of Assembly which set aside August 20 every year as public holiday for traditionalists in the state.
Chairman of OYIN in Oyo State, Olaide Fadamilola Ipadeola made this appeal while speaking at the opening of a one-day annual lecture/training organised by the group held at Mapo Hall in Ibadan, the state capital, on Wednesday.
Dignitaries at the event include: President, Traditional Religion Worshippers’ Association of Oyo State (TRWASSO), Surveyor Dasola Adefabi, Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ancient Religion Societies of African Descendants International Council of Nigeria (ARSADIC), Chief Fayemi Fatunde Fakayode, Chairperson, National Youth Council, Oyo state chapter, Mrs. Adebobola Agbeja, Araba of Ona Ara, Chief Fadare Anisere and Akoda Awo of Oyo, Chief Fadare Kusanu.
Ipadeola, while imploring the youth in the state and Nigeria to have the fear of (Olodumare) God in mind and stay away from any activities that can tarnish their image, urged governments at all levels to stop undermining traditional religion but accord them their right of place.
Ipadeola, who urged government to promote religious tolerance among the youth, appealed to Ajimobi to assent to the bill which had already been passed by the Oyo State House of Assembly in August 2017.
He recalled that the bill that will make August 20 a public holiday in the state has been passed by the state lawmakers but up till now the Governor is yet to give his assent to make it a law.
Ipadeola said that the programme where no fewer than 300 youths were trained in tie and Adire making was aimed at reducing the unemployment rate in the state.
He said, “Furthermore, we traditional believers urge the Oyo state government to declare August 20th as public holiday (Isese Day) which we had been clamouring for.
“Oyo State House of Assembly had passed the bill which just remain the Governor’s endorsement to make it a reality and this will go a long way to showcase part of the religion to foreigners (tourists) that can boost the economy of the state.
“We want the state governor to declare August 20th known as Isese Day a public holiday in Oyo State, that is what we are requesting from the state government to grant our request. We will be happy if our request is granted on time.
“Consequently, on behalf of the entire traditional worshippers, we urge government at all levels to stop undermining traditional religion and give us our worthy reputation just like they do to Christians and Muslims when anything is required from them. It should be noted that traditional faith can contribute immensely to development of tourism in the state and Nigeria at large which can lead to creation of jobs for our teeming population, if government show interest.
“For instance, countries like Cuba, Brazil, China, India USA just to mention a few, they generate more revenue from tourism than other sectors. We also urge government to address the issue of religion tolerance especially among the youth both in our schools and the society, so that peace can prevail in our dear state and Nigeria at large. In addition, we urge youths in the state to shun violence during and after the forthcoming general elections.”
Barrister Olumide Okunmakinde, while delivering a lecture entitled: “Traditional religious pilgrimage as a bedrock for tourism development in Oyo State”, maintained that there are scores of activities that can be harnessed to attract visitors to the state.
Okunmakinde said, “To get the best of our indigenous religious tradition for the purpose of consolidating the tourism industry, we need to employ full scale cultural and historical assessment.”