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Isese Festival: How Muslim Group Storm My House, Threatened My Life- Osun Priestess

Isese Festival


Isese Festival: How Muslim Group Storm My House, Threatened My Life- Osun Priestess

No one should be subjected to harm or threats based on their religious beliefs or practices.

Ilorin, the capital city of Kwara State in Nigeria, is indeed a predominantly Muslim city with a history of peaceful coexistence among its residents.

The city has a rich Islamic heritage and is home to numerous mosques, Islamic institutions, and scholars.

The city is known for its tolerance and acceptance of diversity, promoting peaceful coexistence among its residents.

Recently, a reaction triggered social media over a traditionalist woman, Omolara Olatunji, popularly known as Yeye Ajesikemi who intends to perform her traditional festival called “Odun Isese” in Ilorin, Kwara State.

It would be recalled that the Isese festival was scheduled to hold on the 24th of July, 2023, but things Boomerang has people kicked against the festival in the city.

Trouble started on Monday following the release of fliers announcing the three-day event in Ilorin.

Afrika Eyes obtained a video where a Muslim group, Majlisu Shabab li-Ulamahu Society stormed her residence to serve her a warning notice not to carry out the festival as proposed.

It was learnt that the Muslim group was sent by the Emir of Ilorin, Dr Ibrahim Sulu Gambari.

The group said that Ilorin is an Islamic city that does not allow such festivity.

Our correspondent who visited Yeye Ajesikemi shares her experience about the incident that happened and how she deliberately cancelled the event for peace to reign in the community and its environ.

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According to her, since the issue escalated, she had received numerous death threats from some people.

“My journey into Isese is personal and It’s important to follow a spiritual path that resonates with you. Embracing Isese as my spiritual practice after being a Christian shows a willingness to explore and connect with different traditions.

Mrs Omolara told our correspondent that growing up in a household with parents practising different religions provided her with a unique perspective and exposure to diverse beliefs, said her parent has never mandated any belief on them.

“Inspiring that you have found your oath and chosen Isese as your way of worship. That’s my decision that reflects on my personal beliefs, values, and experiences.

“So embracing Isese as my spiritual practice is a testament to my open-mindedness and desire to connect with my own cultural and ancestral roots.

She noted that Isese is a beautiful way to honor her own heritage while finding spiritual fulfilment.

In her words, “This is my fifth year in Ilorin, and I have never fought with anybody. As we all know that Ilorin is indeed a city in Nigeria with a predominantly Muslim population, but it is also a part of the larger Yoruba cultural region.

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“My beliefs and religious practices are my personal choices, and everyone should be free to practice their faith without fear or intimidation. Interference or threats from individuals or groups based on religious differences are unjust and unacceptable.

According to her, I was invited by the Department of State Services DSS and by the Nigeria Police. They told me to desist from holding a planned Isese festival in Ilorin, and I obey what they said because of my safety.

During the interrogation at the police headquarters, I received a  call from the Islamic group who came to my house to warn me about the plan for the Isese festival.

‘I told them that I was invited by the Nigerian police and they asked me to give them the address, I explained that I needed some time to finish up at the division but they seemed hesitant and eventually, they met my sister and threatened her on my behalf.

“They gave a concerning warning and make vague threats over my life that the Isese festival is not allowed in Ilorin.

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Mrs. Omolara alleged that some people threatened to demolish her house and use her as a sacrificial lamb.

“Being a traditional believer has not stopped me from my philanthropic gesture, I have Facilitated the construction of a central mosque in my community as a positive step towards promoting religious inclusivity and providing a place of worship for Muslim residents.

Omolara explained that the gesture will foster a sense of unity, understanding, and tolerance among community members.

” By supporting such initiatives, I have contributed to creating an environment where people from different religious backgrounds feel respected and valued. This can lead to stronger community bonds and a more harmonious society overall.

She maintained that promoting tolerance, respect, and peaceful coexistence is essential in any society. No one should be subjected to harm or threats based on their religious beliefs or practices.

“It is also important to appreciate the diversity and coexistence of different traditions within a community.

“As a traditional believer, I adhere to the law while practising my traditional beliefs, respecting and abiding by the laws of the land is important for maintaining harmony within a society. By following the law, I have contributed to the overall well-being and peaceful coexistence of this community,” she said.

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Buhari Olanrewaju Ahmed, a seasoned investigative journalist and climate/environmental reporter with a decade of experience, unravels complex issues and amplifies critical voices. His in-depth investigative work and insightful reporting have earned him recognition as a trusted source of information. Ahmed's unwavering commitment to journalism and exceptional storytelling prowess make him a standout figure in investigative journalism. His work drives meaningful conversations, influences policy decisions, and inspires collective efforts toward a sustainable future.

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