Unclear signals from Ekiti, Ondo as four S/West states declare Isese holiday

Governors of four South-West states have declared Monday as a holiday for all public servants and residents of the states in commemoration of Isese festival which will take place on Sunday (today).

The states include Lagos, Oyo, Osun and Ogun states while the situation remains unclear from Ondo and Ekiti.

In July, the Lagos State Council of Obas and Chiefs urged Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to officially recognise and declare August 20 as Isese Day holiday in the spirit of democracy and freedom of religion.

In a circular issued by the Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, and signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Gbenga Akosile, on Saturday, Sanwo-Olu said the recognition of the day was to serve as a means of preserving the indigenous Yoruba culture and its heritage.

He added that while all public servants were expected to get back to work at 8am on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, the state government would continue to provide the necessary support to traditional institutions in the state.

“The declaration of the work-free day by Governor Sanwo-Olu is a reaffirmation of his commitment to continue to provide the necessary support to traditional institutions in the state with a view to promoting our indigenous culture and tradition while preserving our heritage,” the statement added.

Also, the Chairman of the Ojodu Local Council Development Area in Lagos, Segun Odumbaku, said, “Being a custodian of culture, the Alaguda of Aguda Ogba, Oba Hakeem Agbaosi (Eweobaja 1) would be hosting the traditional and cultural rites at his palace in Aguda, Ogba and the Igunnuko Shrine in Akiode,” Odumbaku said.

The Osun State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, on Saturday, said his approval of Monday as a public holiday in the state was to promote oneness, unity, and religious harmony among diverse religions in the state.

The governor in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Kolapo Alimi, added, “Finally, Mr Governor while congratulating all traditional religion worshippers and wishing them happy celebrations on this occasion, also wishes to implore them to make the occasion not only peaceful and fun-filled but another opportunity to pray for the government and good people of Osun State. The state government wishes Isese adherents a peaceful and rewarding celebration.”

In a related development, the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, while declaring Monday as a work-free day to commemorate the Isese Day in the state, in a statement on Saturday by his Chief Press Secretary, Lekan Adeniran, commended the existing harmony among the adherents of all religions in the state.

On July 11, the Ogun State House of Assembly gave legal backing to the executive order.

Abiodun said, “The decision to accord Isese Day a special recognition was to continue in the tradition of respecting the tradition of our people and ensure the continuation of the unity and harmony among the three major religions in the state.

The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, had on Friday, announced Monday as a public holiday following the celebration of Isese Day on Sunday.

The declaration which was made via a circular signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Olanike Adeyemo, noted that every August 20 would also be recognised as the day for the celebration of Isese across the state.

This followed the resolution of the Oyo State House of Assembly that earmarked August 20 for the celebration of Isese Day.

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