By Alade Aromashodu
Worried by the government neglect of traditional religion, the Baale of Okobaba, in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State, Chief Musbau Jinadu, says government should be fair to traditionalists and stop giving all attention to Christians and Muslims.
He argued that government representatives often divert funds earmarked for traditionalists to Christians and Muslims. “A former LGA Chairman was assigned by the state government to give official cars to traditional rulers in the area, unfortunately, rather than do this, he allocated the cars to clergymen with customised number plates,” Jinadu said.
“Christmas, Eid-el-Kabir and Eid-el-Fitri are usually observed with two days public holidays by Christians and Muslims, respectively, yet government cannot declare public holidays for traditionalists Isese Day which is observed every August 20. Improper approach to tradition has caused the nation so many damages.
“The installation of Oba is normally done through Ifa oracle; through royal lineage. People are asked to nominate candidates for vacant stools. These nominations can be rejected by Ifa, but another person in the family could thence be nominated and eventually installed accordingly. Recently, a governor nominated a candidate for a vacant Oba/baale stool, using his veto power. This later negatively affected the nation as due process was not traditionally observed in the installation. I, myself was installed Baale of Okobaba when our family chose my senior brother who indicated no interest, but hand-picked me as the immediate junior brother to ascend the throne”.
Also speaking Chief Rasheed Olaitan Ogunyemi, the Balogun Eluku of Ibese, in Ikorodu Local Government Area of the state, said traditional rulers are clear-minded people who always critically investigate matters referred to them before arriving at conclusions. “There is never a time we punish our subjects unjustly, because we are always mindful of the repercussion from Olokun, our deity,” Ogunyemi said.
“We appease the Olokun deity by the Third Mainland bridge to protect the area and entire Lagos against flood from the river, as Lagos State is surrounded by water, so, whenever we appease the gods of the river, we catch enough fish, as fishing is our main occupation”.
He said Christianity and Islam had superseded traditional religion as most children had deserted traditional religion. “We pray as traditionalists that as they do in Islam and Christianity, we are not killing people in our shrine, rather, we deliberate on state of the nation and appease to gods for peace to resolve challenges.
“We do pray strongly, and we don’t keep malice; instead, we show love, guidance and pray for God’s protection at all times”, Ogunyemi stressed.
The Balogun Eleku explained that before the computer age, discussions in the shrine were directed at appeasing gods, saying, however, that technology had taken over. He stated that the situation now is such that shrine discussions could even appear on social media if not properly monitored. “In the olden days, offending children are jointly corrected by old people in a family compound, but presently, modernisation means that parents accompany their children to perform wrongful acts in the society. We are so insensitive to security that we entrust our duty to children and incapable persons,” he added.