“When the music fades
And all is stripped away…”
Above is the opening line from the deep worship track from the stables of the renowned father of Worship; Don Moen. The track titled ‘Heart of Worship’, speaks to mans need to connect with God with or without the instrumentality of songs and praises. He points out the fact that though emotions may be high and expectations even higher when songs of praises rent the air, what happens when the music fades…?
The 2022/23 ‘Seyi Makinde and Bayo Lawal’ Guber re-election (Omituntun 2.0) campaign in Oyo State had all the trappings of a funfair and fan fair. It sure was entertaining, colourful, loud, ubiquitous and more importantly (with respect to this article), all inclusive. The campaign trail went from Cities to Towns, Villages to Hamlets, Shrines to Mosques to Churches, Palaces to Town halls, Packed markets to open air street markets…we literally went everywhere, touching all 33 Local Government Areas in Oyo State, covering the whole 28,454 km² land mass.
Taking a cue from the worship track opener above, this writeup shall focus on religion and more specifically, the traditional religion. So, let’s go spiritual, shall we?
One sure partner that the author mostly kept company with throughout the campaign period, is the newly re-appointed Special Assistant to the Governor on Interfaith Matters; Reverend Femi Ibikunle. If you see him, the author may just be close by and this is not unconnected with the fact that Religion played a very vital role during the campaign and the S.A. Interfaith was fully on ground to ensure all religious groups (Islam, Christianity and Traditional Worship) were well serviced at all locations. Suffice to say that the duo of the author and the newly appointed Executive Assistant to the Governor on Disability Matters; Hon Femi Timothy, literally converted Reverend Ibikunle’s personal vehicle (Toyota Camry) to our official campaign jet. May God bless the Reverend for his large heart!
While traversing the religious circle across the State on the campaign trail, worthy of note is the fact that after the welcome ceremonial songs, prayer and chants, one constant request from traditional worshipers whether in Ibadan, Ibarapa, Oyo, Ogbomoso or across the Oke Ogun axis, is the need for a special public holiday and yes, August 20 was copiously suggested. Unknown to many, Governor Seyi Makinde took notes and made observations throughout the campaign and one can only expect (as we can see already) that decisions in Omituntun 2.0 will not be based on hearsay but rather from his firsthand experience on the campaign trail across the expansive length and breadth of the Pace Setter state. The proposed ‘Isese Day’ is one of such observations and later, promise made.
According to Oba Edu Faniyi Osagbami of the online traditional group, ’University of Ifa’;
“Once you make a promise with someone and you fail to accomplish it, be very sure that you have sinned against God.
Hear what the corpus said:‘
Lotunlotun ni a nsagun alara
Losilosi ni a nsagun ajero’
It is wherever it pleases ologun diviner that he will run his/her ògún divination. He divined for them in Ejigbomekun market when war used to battle them and cart away all their goods and commodity, they were advised to inform Ogun lakaye because it is he (Ogun lakaye) that can assist them and they all planned and invited Ogun lakaye to come and help them to conquer the war that used to battle them in Ejigbomekun market. They promised Ogun lakaye his favourite if he could conquer the battle and Ogun lakaye fought and conquered but when Ogun lakaye asked them what they promised him, they started turning Ogun lakaye up and down, Ogun lakaye was very angry and he cursed them in Ejigbomekun market that no matter how people patronise the market in the morning it will be scattered in the evening, that is why people will go to market in the morning and later come back home in the evening when there is no people in the market anymore till today.”
It is however gladdening that in His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde FNSE, DSc, GSSRS, Oyo State is blessed with a promise keeping governor and hence, just few months after requests for a special public holiday were presented on the campaign trail and the promise made, on Wednesday, 9th August 2023, the Oyo State House of Assembly passed and approved a bill to grant special public holidays for traditional worshippers in Oyo State to celebrate ‘Isese Day’ annually. The motion was read before the lawmakers by the Majority Leader, Honourable Sanjo Onaolapo Adedoyin representing Ogbomoso South State Constituency. The lawmakers stressed the importance of dedicating a day for adherents of traditional religion to celebrate as it is for Christians and Muslims across the country.
The lawmaker also noted that some states in the Southwest region had already done so, stressing the need to respect the beliefs of traditional religious worshippers as requested, The holiday was fixed for August 20, annually for adherents of traditional religions to celebrate.
So it goes in the annals of history that even when the music fades, His Excellency, Governor ‘Seyi Makinde FNSE, DSc, GSSRS, the eighth democratically elected Executive Governor of Oyo State, is a promise keeper and may he continually succeed.
God bless Oyo State,
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Oladayo Ogunbowale is the Special Assistant on Communications to the Governor of Oyo State.