By Peter Adeniyi
An umbrella body of all Orisa faith-based organizations in Nigeria and the diaspora under the aiges of the Ancient Religion Societies of African Descendants International Council (ARSARDIC) on Friday held a prayer session for peace to reign in Nigeria.
The ARSARDIC also known as the Association of Ajo Esin Abalaye Adulawo of Nigeria held the prayer in commemoration of Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary at Ile Oduaa in Onirisa Ile-Ife’s Palace.
After the prayer session referred to as Iwure, the Asiwaju Awo Agbaye and President of the association, High Chief Sola Atanda at a press conference thanked and praised God for sustaining Nigeria since its independence, 61 years ago, despite myraids of challenges facing it.
He noted that the nation’s economy and insecurity have been worsened by Coronavirus pandemic, ravaging the world, therefore, calling on political leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders and the citizens to work together and look up to God and pray to Him for a positive turn around of the situation in Nigeria.
Atanda said: “Prayer can never be too much as Olodumare is a listening God. This is why we have unanimously come out to organise the prayer session of today for all and sundry irrespective of tribe, religion and political affiliation.”
According to Atanda, various groups of Orisa-based organizations prayed against COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria in 2020 and the God answered the prayers despite the scary predictions by health organizations across the world.
He, therefore, said the effort of traditionalists towards fighting insecurity and other challenges facing Nigeria should be acknowledged and appreciated.
He said: “Insecurity challenges is being addressed spiritually and we believe strongly that the way and manner this issue is being handled in the South West should be emulated by other geopolitical zones.
“So, we are appealing to all and sundry to propagate and give support to traditional religion, culture and tradition in other to deliver our society from various societal ills, including corruption and immoralities.
While appealing to the Federal Government to expedite action on restructuring Nigeria and ensure strict adherence to secular nature of the nation as enshrined in the constitution, he advised that the combination of traditional religion worshippers, Christians and Muslims should be allowed to participate in all governmental programmes to save the nation from collapse.
He said: “We all need to work together to save this country. Though traditional rulers are expected to play fatherly roles they are assumed to be apolitical and must not be spokespersons of any religion.
In his remarks, the Arole Oduduwa and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has charged parents to make sure their children do not abandon their culture and tradition.
Oba Ogunwusi pointed out that the traditional religion might be facing extinction if the practioners fail to make their children embrace it.
Represented by Erebese of Ifeland, High Chief Atetedaye Adeboye Opeyemi, the Ooni said that for the younger generation to embrace and practise traditional religion parents should handle them well and make it attractive to them.
Oba Ogunwusi insisted that parents should enlighten their children to value their cultural heritage and traditional religion the way Christians and Muslims are doing to their wards.
The Ooni also charged them traditionalists to continue to show love and unity to one another.
FULL TEXT OF THE ADDRESS DELIVERED BY AARE (DR.) SOLA OLALEKAN ATANDA (THE ASIWAJU AWO AGBAYE) AND PRESIDENT ASSOCIATION OF AJO ESIN ABALAYE ADULAWO OF NIGERIA (ARSADIC), AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE COMMEMORATING NIGERIA’S 61ST INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY PRAYER HELD AT ILE OODUA, AAFIN OONI OF IFE ON FRIDAY, 22ND OCTOBER, 2021.
I pay homage to God Almighty Olodumare, Igba Irunmole Ojukotun, Igba Irunmole Ojukosi, our ancestors and elders who have passed on but left behind a great legacy to be proud of.
I also pay homage to my Oluwo, other Elders, men and women alike. Special greetings to you gentlemen of the press for your usual response whenever we call on you to assist in conveying our views to the public or government of Nigeria.
ARSADIC as we all know is the umbrella body representing all ORISA faith-based organizations in Nigeria and the Diaspora which was conceptualized in 1795 and today has over 105 Orisa faith-based organizations as members spread across Nigeria and the Diaspora. There are still many more who are at various stages of formalizing their membership registration. Let me quickly state that it is therefore wrong for anybody to assume or ignorantly state that traditional religion worshippers do not have organizational structure. However, we will not go further to join issues but appeal to other religious leaders who truly love Nigeria to avoid inciteful flagrant statements but rather concentrate efforts to preach morals and speak for their religion only in the interest of peace. We must remember that Nigeria is a secular state.
Nigeria at 61 has come a long way but it is unfortunate that despite the abundant natural and human resources bestowed upon Nigeria, we are growing at a snail speed and the last few years has been very challenging from all spheres. The most glaring is economy and insecurity which however has been worsened by the CORONA VIRUS pandemic and its after effects. Therefore, there is a need for Nigeria as a whole, from our political leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders and all citizens to join hands to call on God for a positive turn around of the situation in Nigeria. Prayers can never be too much as OLODUMARE is a listening God. This is why we have unanimously come out to organize the prayer session of today for all and sundry irrespective of tribe, religion or political affiliation. It saddens our heart that our political leaders will continue to play politics with religion despite its sensitivity. There is no ethnic group or tribe in Nigeria without their indigenous religion before the advent of foreign religions. We once again appeal to the Government through the Ministry of Internal Affairs to quickly restructure the Nigeria Inter Religious Council to reflect the true secularity of Nigeria. We all need to work together to save this country. Traditional rulers are respected and have a fatherly role to play also, but our traditional rulers are assumed to be apolitical and multi religious and should not be assumed to be the spokesperson of indigenous religions. The missing third leg of the tripod stand is necessary for stability and balance of the pot of Nigeria. We will continue to pray to God Almighty. This we have always done. We have the various groups of Orisa based organizations praying against the pandemic, this certainly has played a role in the effect of the covid virus in Nigeria despite the scary predictions by health organizations. Also, the insecurity challenge is been addressed spiritually and we believe strongly that the way and manner it is been handled in South West Nigeria needs to be emulated by all other geopolitical zones. In the days of old, there were traditional measures towards insecurity. Recently, was the Ogun appeasement and propitiation towards calming all forces promoting the embers of insecurity. These are just to mention a few of the religious roles been played by ARSADIC or its member organizations.
There have been recent calls from various quarters about restructuring or otherwise expressed by different authors with different connotation, we as traditionalists who don’t just speak, but listen to the voice of God through Ifa divination can emphatically say that for Nigeria to progress and occupy its rightful position, there is a need for Nigeria to be restructured into federating units. We all need each other for survival and with a renewed defined relationship majorly centered on resource control and revenue sharing. Nigeria must not break up but President Buhari would be remembered for good as that leader who was bold enough to return Nigeria to the true Federal Republic of Nigeria if he acts now. Sooner or later, this would still be achieved.
We, Traditional Religion Worshippers and Practitioners, collectively known as ISESE people because we honour God OLODUMARE, our father, our mother, our ORISAS and our own individual existence appeal to you members of the 4th Estate once more to propagate and give support to ISESE, our culture and tradition in order to deliver our society from the various ills ranging from corruption, immorality, deep rooted hate for fellow kinsmen. These are certainly not the attributes of traditional religionists or any other true believers of GOD OLODUMARE.
Thank you all and God bless us all as we return to our various destinations.
AARE (DR.) SOLA O. ATANDA ASIWAJU AWO AGBAYE PRESIDENT, ARSADIC.