Feb 21, 2018 – Obatala Worshippers Demand Public Holidays To Recognise Traditional Religions In Nigeria
Nigeria has been urged to recognise traditional religions by declaring some days as public holidays for its adherents.
The Obanisoro Obatala (chief priest of Obatala worshippers), Chief Oladotun Okanlawon Dada, who made the call in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, insisted that traditional religion be accorded recognition as accorded Christianity and Islam.
He urged the government to declare some days of the year as public holidays as a mark of respect for traditional religions.
Dada noted that the foreign religions have negatively affected Nigerians in terms of dressing, language and behaviour; thus putting on the back burner societal norms and practices.
According to him, without culture, language and tradition, Nigeria cannot move forward. He commended Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola for recognising African traditional religions.
“Only Governor Aregbesola has recognised African traditional religions by approving two-day public holidays for us every year; from August 20 to 21. The Federal Government should also exhibit such gesture.”
Dada also urged Nigerian youths to believe in themselves and stay at home to develop their country rather than travelling through the deserts and shark-infested seas to foreign countries.
He said the Europeans, Americans and citizens of other advanced countries work hard to make their countries attractive to Nigerians and other Africans.
Dada said: “We must find a way of working for this country, our children should be discouraged from going to overseas for nothing.
“Many of our children are in overseas roaming the streets and doing nothing. You find thousands of Nigerian youths washing cars, sweeping roads, doing what they find difficult to do at home.”
The Obatala priest also advocated regional government, saying it will allow preservation of natural endowments in each region.
He revealed that Obatala Temple said Nigeria would be great in 2018, but should be cautious and consistent for a landmark achievement.
He said it is the custom of the temple to confer chieftaincy titles on its members who have distinguished themselves in their various fields as far as African culture and traditions are concerned.
One of such distinguished persons in this year’s festival is the famous Ise-Ekiti-born traditionalist, Chief Olajide Oluwatoyin who was conferred with the title of Obalokun of Ekiti land.
The priest said ‘the primary duty of Obalokun is to take care of Olokun worshippers in his domain (Ekiti State), cater for their interests. If he goes astray, we have every right to correct him.
While receiving the chieftaincy title, Chief Olajide expressed his appreciation to the World Obatala Temple for the honour it bestowed on him.
He also commended Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi for his eminent role in the improving the culture, tourism and tradition.
Chief Obalokun of Ekiti land therefore promised to work for the improvement and preservation of African culture and tradition in Ekiti State.