known as Olomba in Ikorodu, as another edition of Isese Day was held amidst pomp and celebration. The event, which comes up every August 20, was instituted to celebrate and recognize the African Traditional Religion and its adherents across Nigeria every year.
Like the previous editions, the Ayangbure palace in Ikorodu, which has been playing host to the event every year, was once again a beehive of activities as it was filled to its capacity by over 2,000 traditionalists, traditional Chiefs, Baales, dignitaries and residents. Over eighty seven (87) groups and societies under the Association of African Traditional Religion of Nigeria and Oversea (AATREN), the umbrella body for all traditionalists, Ikorodu chapter, came in full force with their members, who looked unique in their respective white traditional regalia, which caught the attention of the teeming audience. Also at the event were the trainees of the twenty four (24) Regular Course of the Foreign Service Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, who were led by their Director, Dr. Cyprian Heen.
The event took off around 7a.m as the traditionalists, led by their leader, Chief Kareem Ore, Apena of Ikorodu, moved round Ikorodu town in procession to offer prayers and rites for the continuous development and peaceful existence of the town and its residents. The procession berthed at the palace around 10a.m. as Oba Kabiru Shotobi, Ayangbure of Ikorodu, his wife, Olori Kudirat, Chiefs as well as other guests later joined the cheering crowd of traditionalists, who had seated under canopies for the social session of the Isese Day.
It was indeed a great display of the richness and beauty of Ikorodu traditions and culture as various traditional groups and societies defied the heavy down pour on that day and took to the centre stage to entertain the gathering with their thrilling performances to the admiration of Oba Shotobi and his guests. Among those that performed were: Onigunuko (Igunuko custodians), Elegun (masquerade custodians), Oloosa (Deity worshippers), Alasa (Asa custodians), Turupu masquerades, Megboyi masquerade, Oloro cultural group and others.
The event also featured a special traditional prayer session for Oba Shotobi, his family, Ikorodu town and the residents. Also included was the paying of homage by the traditionalists to the monarch and presentation of traditional drinks (Seaman Schnapps) and food packs to all the eighty seven (87) traditional groups and societies at the event.
In his remarks, the Director of the Nigeria Foreign Service Academy, Dr. Cyprian Heen, thanked Oba Shotobi and the people of Ikorodu for the warm welcome accorded him and his entourage despite the short notice of their visit. He disclosed that those that accompanied him to the event are trainees of the Nigeria Foreign Service Academy, established in 1983 to train officers that would represent the country as her envoys in other countries across the world. Dr. Heen explained that his team chose to visit Oba Shotobi in order to learn about the culture and traditions of Ikorodu people, adding that they had already visited Egbin Thermal Station in Ijede LCDA to learn about the economic value of the power station.
The Director stated that the various displays by the traditional groups proved that Ikorodu division has rich culture and traditions worth exporting to other countries while also expressing confidence that his trainees have acquired important information and knowledge that would enable them represent Nigeria when they become full-fledged ambassadors. He commended the traditionalists for using Isese Day to preserve and promote the culture and traditions of Ikorodu and wished them fruitful celebration.
Oba Shotobi, in his brief response, thanked Dr. Heen and his team for visiting his domain to learn about the culture and traditions of his people and wished them safe journey back to their base. He also advised the trainees to be diligent and committed to their training and be good ambassadors of Nigeria and her citizens wherever they are deployed after successfully completing their training.
The Monarch, in an interview with Oriwu Sun, described Isese Day as a very important event that helps in preserving and promoting traditional and cultural heritages of the people. He lauded the traditionalists for safeguarding the traditions and culture of Ikorodu while ensuring that peace and harmony reigns in the town. He also thanked them for the role they played in his ascension to the throne of Ayangbure.
Oba Shotobi appealed to the Lagos State Government to take a cue from the Osun State Government and declare August 20 of every year a public holiday in recognition of the traditional religion. He equally advised the traditionalists to purge themselves of bad eggs, who engage in immoral deeds and dealings, and also conduct their activities in the open to attract others to their fold.
Also, Chief Kareem Ore, the Apena of Ikorodu and Chairman of AATREN, Ikorodu Chapter, while speaking with our reporter, explained that Isese Day is a very important festival that enables traditionalists to offer prayers and rituals for the peace and development of Ikorodu town and its residents. He stated that traditional religion has been existing before any other religion and urged its adherents and other people to support its propagation to preserve and promote Ikorodu culture and traditions.
Chief Ore thanked Oba Shotobi for providing all the necessary materials and financial supports needed for the successful organization of the event every year and prayed that his reign would last long and witness great development for Ikorodu.
Other traditional groups and societies at the event were Awopa, Ogboni Aboridgine society, Eleluku, Asogun Oba, Wonpari, Erelus, Onipakawa, Obanla Isese, Obaluaye, Olomitutu, Agemo, among others.